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Hunt's love of Bush

Comments on Greg Hunt “George Bush key to green future”, 31/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/george-bush-key-to-green-future/story-e6frg6zo-1225814832888

Hunt's line of argument may or may not even be attractive to Australians. But it certainly misses the point totally.

The main causes of failure at Copenhagen were not because:
there were too many players or moving parts;
the target were too big; or
China was playing what Hunt describes as "classic 19th century power politics".

The fundamental causes of failure were:
developed countries wanted a deal that is unfair and will disadvantage developing countries and possibly will suffocate their economies, while rich countries can continue their much higher emissions;
the unrealistic expectations by main developed countries that developing countries must accept that unfair deal; and
the continued push by some developed countries for some developing countries to have even higher reduction targets.

If you have got the fact wrong, it is impossible to get the solution right.

A deal on climate change must be based on fairness if it involves all countries that have drastic differences in living standard, in income levels and in per capita emissions.

The only long term solution to climate change is to use the "emitters pay" principle, based on per capita emission levels.

Hunt should stop trying to be smarter politicians of developed countries and fool-playing developing countries.

Blair conviction not credible

Comments on Tony Blair “Conviction politics trumps short-term populism”, 31/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/conviction-politics-trumps-short-term-populism/story-e6frg6zo-1225814832818

While Tony Blair was for a long time a reputable British politician and former prime minister, he has lost his considerable political capital and persuasion after the revelations of his behaviour in the leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

Was he really convinced that was the right cause to take? Only he himself would believe his defence.

He has lost his credibility to the public once the secrets have been out in the open for everyone to see!



这是关于一名英国籍人在中国贩运毒品被判死刑等待执行的新闻。见:ABC news "Family makes final appeal for death-row Briton", 29/12/2009, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/29/2781823.htm?section=justin



Use of mile by Chinese scholar

Comments on Cai Fang “A tale of two cities: Chinese labor market performance in 2009 and reform priority in 2010”, 25/12/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/25/a-tale-of-two-cities-chinese-labor-market-performance-in-2009-and-reform-priority-in-2010/

This is an interesting paper, although it is falling far too short in detail about how the hukou system was in play to have so drastically and categorically different effects on in the two cities mentioned.

Why did the same system, in the same country, faced with the same externally generated crisis faired so differently?

Was that because of the hukou system, or was that because of other reasons, like different stages of development, different structure of the economy?

A minor point: why was the author using "mile" as the unit of distance in China?

Was it because China has learned so much from either the America or British that it has abandoned what was once labelled as the international, scientific unit of measurement?

Or was it because that occurred in the economically more advanced southern region?

Or was it because the Academy of Social Science leading the country in making another revolution?

The huge American influence it seems to have on some Chinese people!

Or maybe it is a result of globalisation, although ironically this is in the wake of such a crisis in many decades!

Strange Chinese!


Christmas gifts and praises presented to Rudd government

Comments on Ian Buchanan “Australia avoids the crisis, by luck and good management”, 23/12/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/23/australia-avoids-the-crisis-by-luck-and-good-management/

"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his government deserve credit for their decisive actions in dealing with the onset of the crisis."

So decisive and deserving credits that for the Australian situation, they poured tens of billions cash handouts, as if there were no costs with government cash handouts!

So decisive and deserving credits that they have got a $43 billion NBN with no business case study and cost benefit analysis!

So decisive and deserving credits that they have cash handouts to schools for JG Memorial Halls, even for those to be closed soon and some schools with perhaps one student!

That was decisive, indeed, by its very definition in terms of its speed and hastiness!

No question about it, good management!

So decisive and deserving credits that these should be a classical and compulsory learning material for the ANU Crawford School - and government school!

A higher education institution, with such a governance height in mind, indeed!



Post bubble America

Comments on Alan Kohler “China – America's terrible enemy”, 24/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au//bs.nsf/Article/Reflation-China-America-Copenhagen-stockmarket-bub-pd20091224-YZRYR?OpenDocument

Alan, you are so effective in being either humorous or cynical.

America does not have an intelligent enemy! Its real enemy is itself, as you said.

The Americans is unlikely to repeat the Japanese experience of its post bubble era since the early 1990s.

The Americans are smart enough. If they can get their act together, they will emerge from the post bubble era fairly soon.

But in the process, America is likely to spread its losses to other countries. It has already started doing that, due to its reserve currency status.

What is global leadership?

Comments on Greg Sheridan “Don't look to Beijing for global leadership”, 24/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/dont-look-to-beijing-for-global-leadership/story-e6frg6zo-1225813287831

Sheridan has probably used his own or a partial definition of global leadership.

In that definition, China can have global leadership if and only if it sacrifice its own interests and the interests of developing countries to the interests of the developed countries, otherwise China fails to have global leadership.

Not surprisingly, others may respectfully and strongly disagree with his definition. By resisting the unfair demands by some of the developed countries that China must reduce its emissions as the developed countries do even though China's income level is still very low and its per capita emissions are only a small fraction of the developed countries, China has done justice to the world and especially to the developing countries.

Why should the people in developing countries pay a high price for the high emissions of the developed countries just to maintain their high living standard while the people in developing countries are still living in poverty?

Even leaving the historical factor aside, the developed countries need to pay for the damages they are still causing to the world climate. There is no reason for them to continue to escape from their responsibility.


Why has Copenhagen failed and implications for next steps

Comments on Will Steffen “Climate change: a post-COP15 diagnosis”, 20/12/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/20/a-post-cop15-diagnosis/

The difficulties in managing the enormous tasks of dealing with the externalities and free riding of climate change issues were increased by many folds by the industrialised countries demanding for targeted reductions in developing especially emerging economies, because of their greed and ignorance or deliberately using offence as defence tactics.

The Kyoto bypassed the equity this difficult equity issue by requiring industrialised countries having reduction targets and no targets for developing countries and achieved the Kyoto Protocol.

At Copenhagen, the developed countries did not mention or deliberately ignored their very unfair advantages of several times higher of their per capita emissions over the developing countries and the need for them to reduce their current levels of emissions firstly and unconditionally. Instead, they were demanding the developing countries to do this and that.

Why didn't they acknowledge the fundamental principle of equality of each and every human being in terms of the right to equal per capita emissions?

Why didn't they adopt the user pay or polluter pay principle?

Why didn't they use the clear economic principle of addressing externalities?

It begs anyone's belief that the developed countries are serious about climate change, serious about human rights, serious about poverty reduction in the world, serious about a fair deal.

Just think about the leaked draft text by Danish and its "co-authors" and one knows what the developed countries wanted to do and achieve.

They might just think that the developing world is intellectually incapable of understanding the climate change issues.

They just want to keep the developing world in “developing” in perpetual forever, so they can always enjoy the advantages they have by starving the need of the developing world of their equal per capita emissions rights and their rights to improve their living standards.

That was the fundamental cause of the failure at Copenhagen.

What lies ahead post Copenhagen? It depends on the actions of the developed countries and the ball is clearly in their court, because notwithstanding the extremely unfair state of the negotiations to developing countries, major developing economies have pledged significant reduction measures.

If they continue to act selfishly, ignorantly and arrogantly, it is unlikely to make real progress on climate change.

Hardballs at Copenhagen

Comments on Lenore Taylor “Failure puts heat on Kevin Rudd”, 21/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/failure-puts-heat-on-kevin-rudd/story-e6frg6zo-1225812250597

Mr Rudd said some participants played hardballs, but unnamed them.

He is right. Some parties must have played hardballs.

The question is who they really are.

When industrialised countries, while some have already failed their targets under the Kyoto and the US has not ratified it, demand developing countries to cut their emissions without mentioning their level of emissions, it is an open question that they were not playing hardballs.

Just think about what both the US Secretary of States and its President's talk at the meeting, it will not be difficult for one to derive their own conclusion.

Also the leaked draft text by the group including Rudd at the meeting is another remainder what the industrialised countries have been doing.


Difficulties with BAU in discussing emissions reduction

Comments on Ma Xin, Li Jifeng and Zhang Yaxiong “China’s carbon emission reduction targets: trancending business as usual”, 18/12/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/18/chinas-carbon-emission-reduction-targets-trancending-business-as-usual/

It is unbelievable why most people just don't talk directly about a simple, fair and transparent measure of emissions and emission reductions.

People talk about absolute or relative reductions. But as this article shows, neither can be objectively measured. This leads to the situation that developed countries say the target by developing countries relative the BAU is no good because of problems with measures or BAU; and developing countries say that the absolute reduction target by developed countries are no good, because their BAU can actually be lower than their proposed target emissions.

So, there are no objective measures of BAU for both camps.

The most fundamental issue in carbon emissions is it has global negative externality that affects the wellbeing of everyone detrimentally no matter who is emitting.

So the simplest solution is the "user pay" principle, that means those who emits pay for the negative externality they cause.

But paying to whom? They should pay for everyone on the earth.

This naturally leads to an equal per capita emission criterion that can be used to calculate which countries should pay and which countries should be paid as a result of unequal emissions per capita between countries, irrespective rich or poor.

Further, due to the global nature, the most efficient and effective way to undertake emissions reduction or limitation is to employ a global carbon tax that will achieve the emission reduction target and use that to calculate each countries emissions tax liability.

A country's share of the tax revenue is its population share of the total global carbon tax collections calculated using the above method.

In this way, there is no room for dispute or argument about BAU, relative or absolute reduction.

Every country can focus on how to manage its economy under a global emissions regime that has no distortions.


Judging effects of fiscal policy needs carefulness

Comments on Alan Kohler “Big Brother is managing you”, 17/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Big-Brother-is-managing-you-pd20091217-YSS7E?OpenDocument&src=sph

Alan, with all respect, I think there is a logical problem in some of the argument here.

Yes, there is no question that the Australian has been performing the best in the wake of the crisis and the Rudd government did spent the second largest stimulus in the world after China.

But that does not necessarily mean that it follows that the Australia's best performance was the result of the Rudd stimulus or in another word the success of the Rudd stimulus resulted in the best economic performance among the western economies.

In your line of argument, you implicitly assumed away the baseline scenario and the different external impacts on different western economies of the Asian economies especially China's.

So blindly singing praises to the Rudd stimulus is simply spurious, illogical and irrational.

It is obviously problematic.

We need objective and rational analysis of the role the fiscal stimulus played, not to understate it, not to overstate it.

That will require rigorous discipline, not superficial and empty statements, or political spins.

A sound analysis will be useful to future use of fiscal policies.

Economic stimulus may be right policy at right time but were done awfully wrongly

Comments on Alan Wood “Economic stimulus was right policy at right time”, 17/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/economic-stimulus-was-the-right-policy-at-the-right-time/story-e6frg6zo-1225811144761

While David Gruen put some useful arguments as most conventional economists would do, he has missed an important point, that is, this time there is a common action of fiscal expansion in many countries. This differs from the implicit assumptions used to derive the monetary and exchange leakage result.

The traditional argument of leakage by only one country's fiscal policy due to monetary and exchange effects is invalid in this rare international circumstance. Every countries were doing the same and there was no place to leak to!

Further there is no justification whatsoever for fiscal wastefulness and efficiency and ineffectiveness, even in this circumstance of a rare financial and economic crisis.

One has to note that Gruen is a Treasury official. He has to defend the government's policy, doesn't he?

The government has got so much resource to design and implement prudent fiscal policies.

The federal government's fiscal spending in the wake of the crisis or in the excuse of dealing with the crisis, is just so shameful and disgraceful.

There are so many examples.

There is no credible defence for it whatsoever.

Emergence does not justify overkill!

It is just of the same quality as Rudd's essay on the economic crisis and its causes!

Mr Sheridan is talking about nuke security!

Comments on Greg Sheridan “Report on nuke threat is a dud”, 17/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/report-on-nuke-threat-is-a-dud/story-e6frg6zo-1225811144890

Sheridan is out with full his usual nonsense again.

Just look at what he says here:

"A widespread campaign against the possession of nuclear weapons, such as Evans seems to envisage, could at most lead to a re-creation of the politics of the 1980s and a mass movement for unilateral Western nuclear disarmament (though of course Evans is arguing for universal disarmament). Such a movement will have zero effect on the sentiment towards nuclear weapons in Moscow, Beijing, Islamabad or Tehran. Such dynamics could well make the world more dangerous, not safer."

Why Sheridan did not dare mention about India's Nuke weapons? Does he really think that India, as one of the violators of non-proliferation treaty, will voluntarily disarm its nukes? Or is he kidding himself and other people alike?

In the article Sheridan mentioned the phrase "brilliant fool". That phrase may be very suitable for someone here.

What a brilliant xxxx dud have we got!


A strange argument - China's interest rate should equal to its economic growth rate

Comments on Rajiv Kumar “Chinese exports and the global market: Bypassing infringement of WTO norms”, 15/12/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/15/chinese-exports-and-the-global-market-bypassing-infringement-of-wto-norms/

This is not the first time that I have seen the argument that China's official interest rate has been too low, so the households have been subsidising industrial firms. As a result, China's international competitiveness has been assisted by the subsidy.

If completely ignoring the world capital market, then one may be persuaded by this argument, or at least may be not inclined to finding it strange.

However, if one is true to reality, as opposed to some economists' strange very partial modelling/models, then one would find a big hole with this argument.

If capital is available at very cheap price from world market capital market, then what on earth should China's interest rate be linked to its rapid economic growth rate?

Further, why should there be such a link? Isn't economics about demand and supply equilibrium to clear the market including capital market?

I have indeed found it difficult to comprehend such an argument about interest rate in China. They don't mention inflation, but attempt arbitrarily to link it to economic growth rate.

To expose the fallacy of such an argument, let us suppose that the growth is purely driven by population growth, then why should that growth rate determine interest rate?

I find it puzzling to say the least.

Either some economists, or me are out of the normality of their minds of rationality to invent strange fantasies to argue for a point!

That is interesting or exciting perhaps, isn't it?

We have just lost Paul Samuelson – a great economist, so it may take a while to find a competent economist to sort this out.

From NYT: Paul A. Samuelson, Economist, Dies at 94

The following is from The New York Times website. First the link:


The following is copied from that site to keep a record:

Paul A. Samuelson, Economist, Dies at 94

Published: December 13, 2009

Paul A. Samuelson, the first American Nobel laureate in economics and the foremost academic economist of the 20th century, died Sunday at his home in Belmont, Mass. He was 94.

His death was announced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which Mr. Samuelson helped build into one of the world’s great centers of graduate education in economics.
In receiving the Nobel Prize in 1970, Mr. Samuelson was credited with transforming his discipline from one that ruminates about economic issues to one that solves problems, answering questions about cause and effect with mathematical rigor and clarity.
When economists “sit down with a piece of paper to calculate or analyze something, you would have to say that no one was more important in providing the tools they use and the ideas that they employ than Paul Samuelson,” said Robert M. Solow, a fellow Nobel laureate and colleague of Mr. Samuelson’s at M.I.T.
Mr. Samuelson attracted a brilliant roster of economists to teach or study at the university, among them Mr. Solow as well as others who would go on to become Nobel laureates like George A. Akerlof, Robert F. Engle III, Lawrence R. Klein, Paul Krugman, Franco Modigliani, Robert C. Merton and Joseph E. Stiglitz.
Mr. Samuelson wrote one of the most widely used college textbooks in the history of American education. The book, “Economics,” first published in 1948, was the nation’s best-selling textbook for nearly 30 years. Translated into 20 languages, it was selling 50,000 copies a year a half century after it first appeared.
“I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws — or crafts its advanced treatises — if I can write its economics textbooks,” Mr. Samuelson said.
His textbook taught college students how to think about economics. His technical work — especially his discipline-shattering Ph.D. thesis, immodestly titled “The Foundations of Economic Analysis” — taught professional economists how to ply their trade. Between the two books, Mr. Samuelson redefined modern economics.
The textbook introduced generations of students to the revolutionary ideas of John Maynard Keynes, the British economist who in the 1930s developed the theory that modern market economies could become trapped in depression and would then need a strong push from government spending or tax cuts, in addition to lenient monetary policy, to restore them. Many economics students would never again rest comfortably with the 19th-century view that private markets would cure unemployment without need of government intervention.
That lesson was reinforced in 2008, when the international economy slipped into the steepest downturn since the Great Depression, when Keynesian economics was born. When the Depression began, governments stood pat or made matters worse by trying to balance fiscal budgets and erecting trade barriers. But 80 years later, having absorbed the Keynesian teaching of Mr. Samuelson and his followers, most industrialized countries took corrective action, raising government spending, cutting taxes, keeping exports and imports flowing and driving short-term interest rates to near zero.
Lessons for Kennedy
Mr. Samuelson explained Keynesian economics to American presidents, world leaders, members of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board, not to mention other economists. He was a consultant to the United States Treasury, the Bureau of the Budget and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
His most influential student was John F. Kennedy, whose first 40-minute class with Mr. Samuelson, after the 1960 election, was conducted on a rock by the beach at the family compound at Hyannis Port, Mass. Before class, there was lunch with politicians and Cambridge intellectuals aboard a yacht offshore. “I had expected a scrumptious meal,” Mr. Samuelson said. “We had franks and beans.”
As a member of the Kennedy campaign brain trust, Mr. Samuelson headed an economic task force for the candidate and held several private sessions on economics with him. Many would have a bearing on decisions made during the Kennedy administration.
Though Mr. Samuelson was President Kennedy’s first choice to become chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, he refused, on principle, to take any government office because, he said, he did not want to put himself in a position in which he could not say and write what he believed.
After the 1960 election, he told the young president-elect that the nation was heading into a recession and that Kennedy should push through a tax cut to head it off. Kennedy was shocked.
“I’ve just campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets and here you are telling me that the first thing I should do in office is to cut taxes?” Mr. Samuelson recalled, quoting the president.
Kennedy eventually accepted the professor’s advice and signaled his willingness to cut taxes, but he was assassinated before he could take action. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, carried out the plan, however, and the economy bounced back.
Adding Bite to Academia
In the classroom, Mr. Samuelson was a lively, funny, articulate teacher. On theories that he and others had developed to show links between the performance of the stock market and the general economy, he famously said: “It is indeed true that the stock market can forecast the business cycle. The stock market has called nine of the last five recessions.”
His speeches and his voluminous writing had a lucidity and bite not usually found in academic technicians. He tried to give his economic pronouncements a “snap at the end,” he said, “like Mark Twain.” When women began complaining about career and salary inequities, for example, he said in their defense, “Women are men without money.”

Remarkably versatile, Mr. Samuelson reshaped academic thinking about nearly every economic subject, from what Marx could have meant by a labor theory of value to whether stock prices fluctuate randomly. Mathematics had already been employed by social scientists, but Mr. Samuelson brought the discipline into the mainstream of economic thinking, showing how to derive strong theoretical predictions from simple mathematical assumptions.
His early work, for example, presented a unified mathematical structure for predicting how businesses and households alike would respond to changes in economic forces, how changes in wage rates would affect employment, and how tax rate changes would affect tax collections.
His relentless application of mathematical analysis gave rise to an astonishing number of groundbreaking theorems, resolving debates that had raged among theorists for decades, if not centuries.
An Economic Theorem
Early in his career, Mr. Samuelson developed the rudimentary mathematics of business cycles with a model, called the multiplier-accelerator, that captured the inherent tendency of market economies to fluctuate.
The model showed how markets magnify the impact of outside shocks and turn, say, an initial one dollar increase in foreign investment into a several dollar increase in total domestic income, to be followed by a decline.
Mr. Samuelson provided a mathematical structure to study the impact of trade on different groups of consumers and workers. In a famous theorem, known as Stolper-Samuelson, he and a co-author showed that competition from imports of clothes and similar goods from underdeveloped countries, where producers rely on unskilled workers, could drive down the wages of low-paid workers in industrialized countries.
The theorem provided the intellectual scaffold for opponents of free trade. And late in his career, Mr. Samuelson set off an intellectual commotion by pointing out that the economy of a country like the United States could be hurt if productivity rose among the economies with which it traded.
Yet Mr. Samuelson, like most academic economists, remained an advocate of open trade. Trade, he taught, raises average living standards enough to allow the workers and consumers who benefit to compensate those who suffer, and still have some extra income left over. Protectionism would not help, but higher productivity would.
Mr. Samuelson also formulated a theory of public goods — that is, goods that can be provided effectively only through collective, or government, action. National defense is one such public good. It is nonexclusive; the Navy, for example, exists to protect every citizen. It also eliminates rivalry among its many consumers; that is, the amount of security that any one citizen derives from the Navy subtracts nothing from the amount of security that any other citizen derives.
The features of public goods, Mr. Samuelson taught, stand in direct contrast to those of ordinary goods, like apples. An apple eaten by one consumer is not available to any other. Public goods, he concluded, cannot be sold in private markets because individuals have no incentive to pay for them voluntarily. Instead they hope to get a free ride from the decisions of others to make the public goods available.
A Predictive Principle
Mr. Samuelson pushed mathematical analysis to new levels of sophistication. For example, economists routinely write mathematical models of market economies that assume consumers and producers make choices to maximize their well-being. The question arises when such economies are stable: if disturbed by, say, droughts or wars or technological change, will the economy return to appropriate levels of prices and output or, instead, fly out of control? What Mr. Samuelson’s “correspondence principle” shows is the theoretical link between the behavior of individuals and the aggregate stability of the entire economic system. Information about individual responses, Mr. Samuelson’s theorem holds, shapes predictions about overall economic stability.
He analyzed the evolution of economies with a mathematical model, called an overlapping generations model, that scholars have since used to study, for example, the functioning over time of the Social Security system and the management of public debt.
He also helped develop linear programming, a mathematical tool used by corporations and central planners in socialist countries to calculate how to produce pre-set levels of various goods and services at the least cost.
Late in his career, Mr. Samuelson laid out the mathematics of stock price movements, an analysis that became the basis for Nobel Prize-winning research by his student Mr. Merton and Myron S. Scholes. They designed formulas that Wall Street analysts use to trade options and other complicated securities known as derivatives.
But beyond his astonishing array of scientific theorems and conclusions, Mr. Samuelson wedded Keynesian thought to conventional economics. He developed what he called the Neoclassical Synthesis. The neoclassical economists in the late 19th century showed how forces of supply and demand generate equilibrium in the market for apples, shoes and all other consumer goods and services. The standard analysis had held that market economies, left to their own devices, gravitated naturally toward full employment.
Economists clung to this theory even in the wake of the Depression of the 1930s. But the need to explain the market collapse, as well as unemployment rates that soared to 25 percent, gave rise to a contrary strain of thought associated with Keynes.
Mr. Samuelson’s resulting “synthesis” amounted to the notion that economists could use the neoclassical apparatus to analyze economies operating near full employment, but switch over to Keynesian analysis when the economy turned sour.
Midwestern Roots
Paul Anthony Samuelson was born on May 15, 1915, in Gary, Ind., the son of Frank Samuelson, a pharmacist, and the former Ella Lipton. His family, he said, was “made up of upwardly mobile Jewish immigrants from Poland who had prospered considerably in World War I, because Gary was a brand new steel town when my family went there.”
But after his father lost much of his money in the years after the war, the family moved to Chicago. Young Paul attended Hyde Park High School, where as a freshman he began studying the stock market. At one point he helped his algebra teacher select stocks to buy in the boom of the 1920s.
“Hupp Motors and other losers,” he remembered in an interview in 1996. “Proof of the fallibility of systems,” he said.
He left high school at age 16 to enter the University of Chicago. “I was born as an economist on Jan. 2, 1932,” he said. That was the day he heard his first college lecture, on Thomas Malthus, the 18th-century British economist who studied the relation between poverty and population growth. Hooked, he began taking economics courses.
The University of Chicago developed the century’s leading conservative economic theorists, under the later guidance of Milton Friedman. But Mr. Samuelson regarded the teaching at Chicago as “schizophrenic.” This was at the height of the Depression, and courses about the business cycle naturally talked about unemployment, he said. But in economic-theory classes, joblessness was not mentioned.
“The niceties of existence were not a matter of concern,” he recalled, “yet everything around was closed down most of the time. If you lived in a middle-class community in Chicago, children and adults came daily to the door saying, ‘We are starving, how about a potato?’ I speak from poignant memory.”
After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Chicago in 1935, he went to Harvard, where he was attracted to the ideas of the Harvard professor Alvin Hansen, the leading exponent of Keynesian theory in America.
As a student at Chicago and later at Cambridge, Mr. Samuelson had at first reacted negatively to Keynes. “What I resisted most was the notion that there could be equilibrium unemployment” — that some level of unemployment would be impossible to eliminate and have to be tolerated. “I spent four summers of my college career on the beach at Lake Michigan,” he said. “It was pointless to look for work. I didn’t even have to test the market because I had friends who would go to 350 potential employers and not be able to get any job at all.”
Eventually he was converted. “Why do I want to refuse a paradigm that enables me to understand the Roosevelt upturn from 1933 to 1937?” he asked himself.
Mr. Samuelson was perceived at the outset of his career as a brilliant mathematical economist. He shot to academic fame as a 22-year-old prodigy at Harvard when he began a boldly sweeping and highly technical doctoral dissertation, published as a book in 1947 by Harvard University Press.
At Harvard, as at Chicago, he was not shy about criticizing his professors — “respecting neither age nor rank,” according to James Tobin, a Nobel laureate of Yale University. The young Mr. Samuelson’s chief complaint against economists was that they preoccupied themselves with finer economic principles while all around them people were being thrown into bread lines.
A Bold Dissertation
His attitudes did not endear him to the austere chairman of the economics department at Harvard, Harold Hitchings Burbank, with whom he had a rocky relationship.
But the publication of his dissertation was an immediate success. It won him the John Bates Clark Medal awarded by the American Economic Association to the economist showing the most scholarly promise before the age of 40; it would eventually help him win his Nobel, and it was frequently reprinted despite the heavy resistance of Professor Burbank, selling to economists around the world for more than 20 years. (“Sweet revenge,” Mr. Samuelson said.)
Among Mr. Samuelson’s fellow students was Marion Crawford. They married in 1938. Mr. Samuelson earned his master’s degree from Harvard in 1936 and a Ph.D. in 1941. He wrote his thesis from 1937 to 1940 as a member of the prestigious Harvard Society of Junior Fellows. In 1940, Harvard offered him an instructorship, which he accepted, but a month later M.I.T. invited him to become an assistant professor.
Harvard made no attempt to keep him, even though he had by then developed an international following. Mr. Solow said of the Harvard economics department at the time: “You could be disqualified for a job if you were either smart or Jewish or Keynesian. So what chance did this smart, Jewish, Keynesian have?”
During World War II, Mr. Samuelson worked in M.I.T.’s Radiation Laboratory, developing computers for tracking aircraft, and was a consultant for the War Production Board. After the war, having resumed teaching, he and his wife started a family. When she became pregnant the fourth time, she gave birth to triplets, all boys.
Marion Samuelson died in 1978. Mr. Samuelson is survived by his second wife, Risha Clay Samuelson; six children from his first marriage: Jane Raybould, Margaret Crawford-Samuelson, William and the triplet sons, Robert, John and Paul; and 15 grandchildren. Mr. Samuelson is also survived by a brother, Robert Summers, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Pennsylvania and father of Lawrence H. Summers, director of President Obama’s National Economic Council and former secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton and former president of Harvard.
A Keynesian Textbook
The birth of the triplets doubled the number of children in the Samuelson household, which soon found itself sending 350 diapers to the laundry each week. His friends suggested that Mr. Samuelson needed to write a book to earn more money.
He decided to write an economics textbook, but one that would not only be compelling for students but also sophisticated and comprehensive. And he wanted to center it on the still poorly understood Keynesian revolution. President Herbert Hoover, he noted, had never referred to Keynes other than as “the Marxist Keynes.”
“I never quite understood that venom,” Mr. Samuelson said.
He said he “sweated blood” writing his book, employing detailed charts, color graphics and humor. He wrote: “Economists are said to disagree too much but in ways that are too much alike: If eight sleep in the same bed, you can be sure that, like Eskimos, when they turn over, they’ll all turn over together.”
It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of “Economics.” Business Week, taking note of the textbook’s publication in Greek, Punjabi, Hebrew, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and other languages, once said that it had “gone a long way in giving the world a common economic language.” Students were attracted to its lively prose and relevance to their everyday lives. Many textbook authors began to copy its presentation.
“Economics,” together with shrewd investing, made Mr. Samuelson a millionaire many times over.
Friendship With a Rival
A historian could well tell the story of 20th-century public debate over economic policy in America through the jousting between Mr. Samuelson and Milton Friedman, who won the Nobel in 1976. Mr. Samuelson said the two had almost always disagreed with each other but had remained friends. They met in 1933 at the University of Chicago, when Mr. Samuelson was an undergraduate and Mr. Friedman a graduate student.
Unlike the liberal Mr. Samuelson, the conservative Mr. Friedman opposed active government participation in most areas of the economy except national defense and law enforcement. He thought private enterprise and competition could do better and that government controls posed risks to individual freedoms.
Both men were fluid speakers as well as writers, and they debated often in public forums, in testimony before Congressional committees, in op-ed articles and in columns each of them wrote for Newsweek magazine. But Mr. Samuelson said he always had fear in his heart when he prepared for combat with Mr. Friedman, a formidably engaging debater.
“If you looked at a transcript afterward, it might seem clear that you had won the debate on points,” he said. “But somehow, with members of the audience, you always seemed to come off as elite, and Milton seemed to have won the day.”
Mr. Samuelson said he had never regarded Keynesianism as a religion, and he criticized some of his liberal colleagues for seeming to do so, earning himself, late in life, the label “l’enfant terrible emeritus.” The experience of nations in the second half of the century, he said, had diminished his optimism about the ability of government to perform miracles.
If government gets too big, and too great a portion of the nation’s income passes through it, he said, government becomes inefficient and unresponsive to the human needs “we do-gooders extol,” and thus risks infringing on freedoms.
But, he said, no serious political or economic thinker would reject the fundamental Keynesian idea that a benevolent democratic government must do what it can to avert economic trouble in areas the free markets cannot. Neither government alone nor the markets alone, he said, could serve the public welfare without help from the other.
As nations became locked in global competition, and as the computerization of the workplace created daunting employment problems, he agreed with the economic conservatives in advocating that American corporations must stay lean and efficient and follow the general dictates of the free market.
But he warned that the harshness of the marketplace had to be tempered and that corporate downsizing and the reduction of government programs “must be done with a heart.”
Despite his celebrated accomplishments, Mr. Samuelson preached and practiced humility. The M.I.T. economics department became famous for collegiality, in no small part because no one else could play prima donna if Mr. Samuelson refused the role, and, of course, he did. Economists, he told his students, as Churchill said of political colleagues, “have much to be humble about.”

Global agreement on climate change must be fair and practical

Comments on “Greenhouse gas emissions: a theoretical framework and global solution” by Guest Author: Project Team of Development Research Centre of the State Council (DRC), China. 9/12/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/12/09/greenhouse-gas-emissions-a-theoretical-framework-and-global-solution/comment-page-1/#comment-84755

While the equal per capita rights of emissions are a good approach, to mingle the present task with historical emissions makes the proposal difficult to realise and accept by industrialised countries. Many people in industrialised countries who enjoyed the benefits of high emissions in the past have died. Do you want who to pay for their "over the equal per capita emissions"?

So it would be better to have two parts, first the present and future and the other part for the past. Focus on the present and future and reach an agreement.

For the past, it is up to those rich countries to "voluntarily" make some financial, technological and other assistance to developing countries.

Only this is a practical way to reach a fair and simple deal.

Attempting too much may mean achieving little.

Americans not outplayed by anyone

Comments on Alan Kohler “America is being outplayed”, 15/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au//bs.nsf/Article/Americas-obligatory-lessons-pd20091214-YPRTJ?OpenDocument

No, the Americans are not outplayed by anyone, but by its own irresponsibility both domestically and internationally. Alan you are wrong on this, unfortunately.

Domestically, they were irresponsible in over consumption and over spending by government and privates. They created sub-prime mortgages problems and financial problems. They squandered the available cheaper capital on consumption and spending as opposed to investing in infrastructure and improving productivity.

Internationally, they refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and take any actions in reducing emissions or prepare themselves for it. It launched pre-emptive wars in Iraq, with nothing to do with war on terror, but controlling oil supply.

China is not out playing the US in Copenhagen. What it does is a legitimate right for any developing nation.

It is a developing country, with low income per capita less than 1 tenth of those in most industrialised nations. It’s emission per capita is only a fraction of those in the industrialised countries.

How can some people so blindly say China is the largest emitter by ignoring its huge population?

Where are those people who often talk about and demand for human rights in developing countries including China? Why don’t people in developing countries have the same emissions rights as the people in industrialised countries? Why should they pay for the much better living standard in industrialised nations?

Isn’t that hypocritical?

Understanding public goods properly

Comments on Andrew Colley “NBN failings exposed on public data, costs” 15/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/nbn-failings-exposed-on-public-data-and-costs/story-e6frgakx-1225810370311

While there is a potential case for some public goods as in any infrastructure, but the CSIRO case is not a case of public goods. It should be properly accounted as costs of CSIRO, and should be paid for by CSRIO.

If the government thinks it is worthwhile for CSIRO to do that, it should allocate funds for that.

Public goods should be just that public goods for public consumption, but not just an agent to use irrespective what and how its outputs will be used.

It is appalling for CSRIO to make such a poor argument in terms of NBN. They have no proper understanding what is a public good and what is not.

Australia playing US deputy again at Copenhagen

Comments on Lenore Taylor “Poorer countries quit the summit”, 15/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/poorer-countries-quit-the-summit/story-e6frg6n6-1225810400652

Australia is really playing the US deputy again by rejecting developing countries' demand for continuing Kyoto.

There is also self interest involved, because Australia ratified it very late just two years ago and now there is report that Australia's emission would be 80% higher than the 1990 level using proper accounting.

If the international community does not enforce the past agreement and let Kyoto fail, then what is the prospect for any future agreement? What is the point to have another new agreement?

Australia should not stand shoulder and shoulder with the US on everything. The alliance issue should not overwhelm everything Australia does internationally.

Australia needs to stand up as a nation and fulfil its international obligations. Otherwise it will be an international laughing stock.


Copenhagen - a rich ploy?

Comments on Dennis Shanahan “China fights for its right to develop”, 12/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/china-fights-for-its-right-to-develop/story-e6frg75f-1225809562949

Let's leaving the argument about the climate change science aside for the moment and make no conclusions about that.

While some climate change sceptics may say that the argument that human activities has been causing climate changes and global warming is a conspiracy, now it appears that it may look more like a conspiracy or a ploy of the rich countries to contain the development of developing countries, especially big developing countries, particularly China.

The rapid economic growth of China and other big developing economies might be seen by some as a threat to the rich countries’ living standards, life styles and even security.

Let's leave the the fact that it is the rich countries that have produced/caused the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to the current level during the past century or so that is the cause if the theory that human activities have caused global warming is correct, because those countries even don't face up the reality that their emission levels are still several or tens of times of developing countries. The argument that China is the biggest emitter is more and more like to force China to split up or disintegrate, by deliberately ignoring its low per capita emissions of only a fraction of those of the developed countries.

UN acknowledges that there are still 150 millions people living in poverty in China, living in harsh winters without adequate heating. What does 150 million mean? It is about between six and seven times of Australia’s population.

So now it is known that Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister is one of the few who has drafted an agreement to reduce the responsibilities of the developed countries including Australia and the US, and increase the requirements for developing countries to put their development in jeopardy.

Isn’t it a conspiracy? Or doesn’t it sound like a rich ploy?


The world needs US action on climate

Comments on “There's little love for the US”, COPENHAGEN DIARY: Lenore Taylor, 11/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/theres-little-love-for-the-us/story-e6frg7go-1225809225747

The US, arguably the highest per capita emitter of the world and the world largest economy, will continue to be a drag on climate actions of the world.

It may hold the world at ransom.

That will be disappointing for many years to come.

The world urgently needs the US to act on climate change. The US president wants actions, but those proposed steps are not big enough and he is constrained by US congress.

Deeds needed from Labour

Comments on Lindsay Tanner “Trust at the core of Labor project”, 11/12/2209, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/trust-at-the-core-of-labor-project/story-e6frg6zo-1225809216831

Tanner argues the importance of trust and building trust for the survival of Labour. He says:
"I think there is a central theme around which modern Labour can build its program.
It's a theme that is central to the tribulations of the global financial crisis.
And it's a theme that reflects the policy agenda of the Rudd government.
This theme can be expressed in a single word: trust
A great deal of present thinking about modern human society is pointing us in this direction.
Trust is the underpinning of our existence."

However, in reality trust has been hard to find from Labour and the Rudd government 2 year since it came to government in November 2007.

What has happened to Labour's promise of fixing the nation's public hospital system and taking over by the middle of 2009 if things had not improved?
It has been deferred, delayed, again and again.

What has happened to Rudd's education revolution by now?
A laptop for every high school student? How does that contribute to or can bring a revolution?
A Gillard school hall or library irrespective whether there is a need or not, or whether that is the most needed for a school or not? Or it is just one student? Or even for schools that will be closed soon?

What has happened to the Indigenous housing projects? A few week's ago, it had been reported that after such a time and with hundreds of millions planned or some spent, there was no one single house had been built?

What about economic conservatism or responsibility? Think about the NBN. With $43 billion announced for the project, with no business case study? With no cost and benefit analysis and study? Is that economic conservatism? Is that an economically responsible government?

What about climate change? When there is low cost and safe alternative like nuclear power generation that has been used in so many industrialised and developing countries including the US, but Rudd government is steadfast refusing to consider it, instead, it introduced a deeply flawed ETS (as compared to a carbon tax and equal distribution of that tax among people).

Is that a responsible government? More Australians are prepared to accept nuclear power solution, but Labour is not. Is that trust?

The public need real deeds from Labour, not empty promises! There have been so many and that is more than enough, surely!


If not broken, then don't try to fix it!

Comments on David Llewellyn-Smith “THE DISTILLERY: Full of holes”, 10/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/THE-DISTILLERY-pd20091210-YKTQ3?OpenDocument&src=sph

The column's view on banking regulation is plainly silly. Did the financial crisis have a serious adverse impact on Australian banks as that had on the banks in either the US or UK for example?

If not, then why aren't Australian bank little different from the other banks?

Why do people want to impose unnecessary costs on banking and finance and reduce efficiency without real benefits?

Isn’t it a simple case of “if not broken why fix it?”

Are you a follower of the PM Rudd, just wanting a big government and increase regulations for the sake of regulations?

You got to be kidding and fooling yourselves!

Wong democratic?

Comments on Giles Parkinson "COPENHAGEN CALLING: The Penny drops", 10/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/COPENHAGEN-CALLING-Wong-way-pd20091210-YKR2Q?OpenDocument&src=sph

The Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong says: “It’s been a difficult start. Some of the language has been disappointing … some unhelpful,” she told her first news conference. “We’ve got to move away from blame shifting and finger pointing … there’s a whole range of sticking points.”

But if you attempt to create a deal that is very unfair to others but a handful of rich countries, you had already created the problem.

In such an environment, asking others not to make their points is simply extremely disappointing itself.

It is like a person is doing something bad but does not want other say that thing is not good.

While Wong does not want others to criticise the leaked “draft”, we should allow her to the freedom to express herself to show how some people are hypocrisy.

Internationally we need to encourage freedom of speech and democracy and equality between the rich and the poor.

A slippery argument by a journalist

Comments on Robert Gottliebsen “Let Australia's carbon reform begin”, 10/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Serious-about-carbon-or-Follow-the-leader-pd20091210-YKSFR?OpenDocument&src=sph

It is disappointing to see you are making rubbery comparisons and hence slippery arguments in favour of Australia, or maybe to deceive Australians.

An example is you talk about the absolute cuts by the US in its target compared to the fixed level of the past, but then moves to a moving base for Australia to compare its cut to the hypothetic business as usual emission level of 2020 for Australia.

That is exactly what people talk about “that statistical lies”.

This kind of tactics, while you may think is skilful, is disgusting, to say the least. That does not make you look good, or big or better or more Australian.

As a commentator or journalist, you should not learn the skills of some politicians of prostitution in the use of language. That is just too low!

You have got to be honest and a fair dinkum Australian.

Climate science and potential spurious fitting of data

Comments on Lenore Taylor “Plimer the toast of Copenhagen sceptics meeting”, 10/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/plimer-the-toast-of-copenhagen-sceptics-meeting/story-e6frg6so-1225808821955

In the article, you have:
"But over at the Bella conference centre, the consensus, and the evidence, that humans are causing a dangerous change in the climate is really overwhelming.

Added to it is new evidence from the World Meteorological Organisation showing 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest years and the decade of the 2000s as the warmest decade since records began in 1850.

The more than 100 world leaders showing up next week buy the science, and so do the UN officials, with UN climate change executive secretary Yvo de Boer yesterday declaring the science of climate change "rock solid".

The scientists are more convinced of their evidence than ever."

From 1850, there have been only 160 years. How does it compare with the length of the earth?

Declaring the science of climate change "rock solid", how solid is it? Isn't there a danger that such a short period of data and the complexity of climate changes may render that “science” “spurious”?

I don't understand the science, but the wild variation in earth temperature and logic tell that the causes of climate changes are anyone's guess at the moment.

One can also argue that it "is" due to purely the increase in the number of human beings on earth. You can also get a good "fit". Can anyone draw a conclusion that by the logic of that so called science, the only way to prevent human catastrophe is to reduce the number of human being?

Isn't that ridiculous?

Indigenous people should be given the rights to "govern" themselves

Comments on Sara Hudson “Wasting money damages Aboriginal health”, 10/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/wasting-money-damages-aboriginal-health/story-e6frg6zo-1225808818702

It is very disappointing that there has been such a large gap between the Indigenous population and the rest of the nation in Australia.

The history shows that the government and bureaucracy and money are not necessarily effective in closing that gap.

There should be less red tapes and more accountability on the government's part. The problem with government on this issue is likely that they are either too afraid to do something for fearing that that is not right or not politically correct, or got involved too much in the detail where it simply does not have the expertise.

The government needs to stand back and take a different approach.

On the other hand, bureaucracy has also clearly been a problem. The recent Indigenous housing saga is one example. They are just too ineffective and inefficient. They should also stand back and get off the back of Indigenous people.

Indigenous people should be given the opportunity, funding and the rights and power to solve problems by themselves, with the assistance of government and other organisations when they require.

Indigenous people should take the initiatives and responsibility for their own welfare. If they fail themselves, that is their choice. But they are more likely to improve their welfare than any other outsiders can.

Common sense and intelligence required

Comments on Alan Wood “Why mortgages no longer rate”, 10/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/why-mortgages-no-longer-rate/story-e6frg9qf-1225808812458

While it is fair enough that when banks' funding costs go up their lending rates should go up too, there are 2 problems with a simplistic interpretation of that general principle.

The first one is that why it happened after the RBA's move and not happened when their costs really went up. That is just inexplicable and stupid on the banks' part. The RBA's move can only increase their funding costs by the amount of the rise by the RBA rate. It should not increase their other costs by that action per se.

Secondly, why can't the banks make a difference between the rates for existing borrowers and new borrowers? They may pass the full rise of the official rate to existing customers, but have a higher rate for new borrowers to discourage new lending.

After all, the banks are being silly and show no strategies and tactics.

Further the nation’s politicians including PM and Treasurer are also stupid, why didn’t they point that out clearly and frankly?

It may be a case that the businessmen in a country mirror the intelligence of their pollies!

It's not too bad that the ETS failed

Comments on Gary Johns “Thank heavens cap and trade is dead”, 10/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/thank-heavens-cap-and-trade-is-dead/story-e6frg6zo-1225808817696

It is more than just a giant tax; Rudd government wants to use it as a redistribution resource. Just think about the free permits planned for big polluters and the more than 100% compensations for some people or families.

Why should some people pay more than fair share in reducing emissions?

Why should some people profit /benefit more than their share from other peoples' actions?

The Rudd government wishes to be big and wants to control people’s lives more than any reasonable standards by a government.

Besides, there would be huge bureaucracy, red tapes and unnecessary carbon markets and market participants. They would impose more costs to emissions reduction, as compared to a carbon tax and a system of equal distribution of that tax revenue.


Rich countries are jeopardising Copenhagen

Comments on ABC report “Leaked agreement rocks Copenhagen”, By Europe correspondent Emma Alberici for AM, 9/12/2009, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/09/2765792.htm?section=justin

It is reported Australia is in that so called committed group of the rich.
Isn’t it familiar?
The US is in that group.
They want to abandon Kyoto.
They want o hand the rein to rich countries.
They want to sideline the UN in the future.
Isn't it akin to GW Bush's policy?
Doesn’t it sound like our PM, keen to set up new focused groups like the Asian Pacific Community?
Is it a meeting of "minds"?

Climat change - what are the main causes?

Comments on Michael Asten “Climate claims fail science test”, 9/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/climate-claims-fail-science-test/story-e6frg6zo-1225808398627

If the facts mentioned in this article are true, then they are very inconvenient to the consensus view of the scientific community on climate change.

The world will be better of to investigate this openly and fairly.

It can be costly one way or another, with or without action on climate change. It is not the right attitude to simply brand some people’s doubts on the causes of current climate change as climate change deniers or sceptics.

It is so easy to go with the majority view, but that is not necessarily the right thing to do. Just take a minute and think about the days when a lonely person said that the earth was not the centre of the solar system and the sun was! He was persecuted to death.

What is the true of the centrality of the solar system? We all know it now, but at that time most people thought that person was crazy and insane.

But the focus on a very short term data and construct models of “climate change” can be problematic, given the long history of the earth and huge variations in both temperature and CO2 levels.

The scientific community needs to take a scientific attitude.

A fair world deal is required for climate change

Comments on Lenore Taylor “Rudd left with little room to move as reality looms of deeper cuts”, 9/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/rudd-left-with-little-room-to-move-as-reality-looms-of-deeper-cuts/story-e6frg6zo-1225808413426

All the current offers and a likely deal at Copenhagen is unlikely enough to meet what the scientific community has demanded to contain the rise of temperature to within 2 degrees by end of century.

The only way to achieve that target is to move to a fair principle to avoid blame games and have emitters pay for what they emit.

Such a principle is to set equal amount of emissions right for everyone, irrespective they are rich or poor and whatever a country's situation.

There are very little acknowledgement from rich countries for such an equality based principle, because that means they would have to pay for their emissions.

Further, they are hypocritical to say they will "donate" to help poor countries for climate change.

What an irony and prostitution by the rich!


Incredible incompetency by government and bureaucrats

Comments on Alan Kohler “The NBN solution was there all along”, 8/12/2009, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/telstra-nbn-structural-separation-conroy-pd20091208-YHRMC?OpenDocument&src=sph

Look at what the minister and his advisors including the bureaucrats have done!

Were they competent enough to run regulate the industry? One would have to doubt it, wouldn't it?

Why should they be paid for such poor work?! It is unbelievable!

Be sensible on gender pay gap

Comments on Michael Stutchbury “Stop attacking the gender gap”, 8/12/2009, http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/currentaccount/index.php/theaustralian/comments/stop_attacking_the_gender_gap_gap/

The gender inequality in pay is likely to be red herring. There is no foundation or practice in Australia that would contribute to gender inequality. So there is no gender gap in Australia. Overly simplicity in comparing pay by gender is the wrong approach.

Any further regulation of pay in terms of gender is likely to overkill and result in inefficiency in the labour market and more bureaucratic red tapes.

Further to the left for labour market regulation or reregulation cannot be justified whatsoever.

Rudd will use the ETS to tax people and redistribute income

Comments on Malcolm Farr “Kevin Rudd pledges to repay ETS rise”, 8/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/kevin-rudd-pledges-to-repay-ets-rise/story-fn3dxix6-1225808012641

Rudd government is using the ETS as a tax and redistribution scheme.

Is it for tackling the climate change? Or is it to increase taxes and redistribute income in a disguised manner by the Rudd government?

It just unnecessarily complicates the climate change policy.

It appears part of the Rudd government's stealing approach, using the name of the climate cause and increase the size of his government and regulation of the country and the economy and people.

Where will Rudd government stop in its big government approach?

From the proposed more than 100 per cent compensation to low income families for the impact of its ETS, it is not difficult to see why Abbott is saying Rudd ETS is a big tax. There is no doubt it will be if Rudd gets his way!

Where did it get its mandate to do that? More than 100 per cent compensation?

Rudd is delaying health actions yet again

Comments on Adam Creswell “The clock is ticking on Rudd's promises of change”, 8/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/the-clock-is-ticking-on-rudds-promises-of-change/story-e6frg6zo-1225808006689

Rudd has been a disappointment in many fronts by not fulfilling his promises.

What is his education revolution? Is it a laptop for a high school student? Or, is it a school hall?

Health reforms or federal takeover: what time is it now according to Rudd’s election promise of health takeover? Or has the national health system improved to his standard?

Rudd is big in talking but small in action. He certainly has a big month.

It has been the Coalition's internal disunity and ineffectiveness that has sustained the popularity of the Rudd government over the past 2 years.

Unfortunately, the whole nation suffers due to Rudd’s and the Coalition’s poor performances and incompetency.


UN officials's sensitional talking unhelpful to climate change cause

Comments on Ben Webster and Murad Ahmed “Hackers probably paid to help undermine Copenhagen climate summit: UN”, 7/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/hackers-probably-paid-to-help-undermine-copenhagen-climate-summit-un/story-e6frg6xf-1225807575795

No matter what purposes the hackers may have had, the disclosure of the information from those emails, presumably true, provide the public with a voice of a different view present by official channels.

The world should not spend resources on investigating how the hackers got in but on investigating what the email really mean and whether they are reliable and which side of the story is likely to be more correct.

A question is that why the official channel has not allowed some decent views from some of the equally qualified climate scientists choose by the official to be published at all.

It is unhelpful to simply brand people having or asking questions of climate changes and the likely causes.

Potentially, so much is at stake on possible actions or inactions to tackle climate changes if the true causes of the current climate change are not understood correctly.

An incredible piece of rubish for the environment

Comments on Rupert Darwall “A Marxist climate of denial”, 7/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/a-marxist-climate-of-denial/story-e6frg6so-1225807504997

It is so hard to get what message Rupert Darwall is trying to put out to the public.

What is the relevance of this piece today?

Are we dreaming to the past days of the Marx era? What is for?

Shouldn’t people focus on how to reduce emissions and do something about climate changes now, as opposed to what and where Darwall is attempting to lead us to?

It is an unnecessary waste of resources to have this piece.

It is a shame that at this particular time before the glocal climate change conference at Copenhagen, we have such a piece to distract people's attention.


Clean future in nuclear power by new technology

Comments on Barry Brook and Martin Nicholson “Clean future in nuclear power”, 4/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/clean-future-in-nuclear-power/story-e6frg6zo-1225806766579

This is a remarkable report I have seen over a long time!

Why haven't the authors or any other people report this earlier, or, publicise this earlier is a mystery to me. Or maybe I just did not read wide enough, or some people had tried to disallow reports on this to reach the public.

Is it something like "it is too good to be true"?

I think any governments or businesses in power generation should consider this option very seriously and very urgently.

The first task is to ascertain that what is reported here is actually true and the technology is not much more expensive than the existing nuclear power generation technologies.

Once it is proved, the second step is just build new nuclear power stations using this technology.

The McKibbin model a second best at best

Comments on Michael Stutchbury “McKibbin bid to spread the load”, 4/12/2009, http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/currentaccount/index.php/theaustralian/comments/mckibbin_buid_to_spread_the_load/

But surely there should be some sort of markets for those free long-term emissions permits, shouldn't it? Otherwise how business and people sell (or buy) emissions permits?

Doesn't involve emissions trading? Or is it not called that, but another name?

Yes, I know there is a difference that the rights belong to businesses and people, not government. But that does not avoid the question of trading.

In that there is a difference that the government does not have that right as a tax to businesses and people.

While such a scheme may be better than most cap and trading schemes, it is likely still much inferiors to an explicit carbon tax on pollution and distribute the tax equally to everyone.

Carbon tax versus "cap and trading" schemes

Comments on ABC news report: “Top climate scientist hopes Copenhagen fails”, by Europe correspondent Emma Alberici for AM, 4/12/2009, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/04/2761602.htm?section=justin

This report includes the following:

"I think it's just as well that we not have a substantive treaty."

Professor Hansen argues that the process is so flawed because it relies on cap and trade emissions trading schemes, like the one proposed by the Australian Government.

Instead of allowing polluters to buy the right to continue polluting, he prefers a tax on the price of carbon at the mine or the port.

What the Australian government and many other international governments are doing or proposing to do is even worse than what Professor Hansen describes. Those governments allocate free permits for polluters, not just allowing them to buy permits.

The Australian government should take notice of Professor Hansen’s point.

A carbon tax approach and no free subsidies to polluters should be adopted.

There are many advantages of a tax approach than the cap and trading approach. One of them is it can avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and their inefficiency and mistakes.


Abbott's climate change talk nonsensical

Comments on Lenore Taylor “Liberals stick to emission targets by other means”, 3/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/liberals-stick-to-emission-targets-by-other-means/story-e6frg6nf-1225806336561

Mr Abbott is acting like talking nonsense.

Of course he has no choice but to be hypocritical himself now.

He can't support an either ETS or carbon tax, because that what the opposition or coalition has just killed or argue against.

He can't afford to be seen as a climate change denier, because that will make himself a fool in the electorate.

So his only choice at the moment is talking nonsense, if he cannot say definitely on how much electricity will come from nuclear power and renewable and what their costs will be and how they will be met with no tax or government subsidies.

He tried not to be looking like a fool, but his acts may betray him and portrait him as one, one day, nevertheless.

It will be interesting to see how and when he will have to change his nonsensical talking about his policy on climate change and emissions reduction.

He will fall down to earth very hard at that time for acting emotionally rather than rationally.

Interesting Sheridan on Abbott, climate change and US centrality

Comments on Greg Sheridan “Tony Abbott's rise starts a great political battle”, 3/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/tony-abbotts-rise-starts-a-great-politcal-battle/story-e6frg76f-1225806318042

Mr Sheridan, you seem always to dislike many developing countries in general and China in particular.

Your have said “Elements of the Copenhagen model seem to me unlikely to be implemented. It calls for billions of dollars to be given, beyond the normal aid budget, from developed countries to developing countries to finance green energy.
China insists it is a developing country. China also has international reserves of more than $US1 trillion ($1.08 trillion). Just imagine President Barack Obama, or any US politician, standing up in congress to argue that unemployed auto workers in Detroit should receive lower benefits so the US can give billions of dollars in extra aid to China.

How can you assume that China has called money to be given to it for it to take actions in combating climate change, given that China has announced it would reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 per cent by 2020 from its 2005 level?

Just compare this with China’s pledge with your argument that “There is no particular benefit to Australia from moving early on an ETS. Many greenhouse moves are open to us that don't involve an ETS. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but at the same time we don't want to impose costs to our economy beyond those that similar economies, such as the US, will bear. To do that would be highly counter-productive.

Don’t forget that China is a developing country and Australia is a developed country, and further Australia has the highest per capita emissions on earth.

So who is the selfish and slef-interested one?

Distorted minds generate distorted arguments. That is what happens with your point of view on this issue; that I hate but have to say that, unfortunately.

Further, you argue that “He is sometimes too sentimental about Britain, but as a political hardhead and natural national security hawk, he understands very deeply the centrality of the US to the global system, such as it is.

I am afraid it is a highly laughable view to have now, given the rapidity of the changes in world balances. How long will that centrality be able to last, Mr Sheridan?

Some people will have the wrong view that the sun revolves around the earth until they die and take that view with them to their resting places.

There is no slightest difference here.

Effective federal opposition leadership is needed

Comments on Paul Kelly “Liberal party making policy on the run”, 3/12/2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/liberal-party-making-policy-on-the-run/story-e6frg74x-1225806340685

Unexpectedly Mr Tony Abbott was elected the leader of the Liberal Party last week and has become the leader of the opposition that ended the leadership of Mr Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull is a very intelligent guy and was full of promises when he became the leader of the opposition a year ago. But he has made some serious political mistakes and errors in judgment.

Now that is all behind the Liberal Party and it is Mr Abbott's turn to make the opposition electable at the next election in less than a year's time.

I personally wish Mr Abbott every success; because the nation deserves effective opposition at the federal level to hold the government accountable and to be a force to make the government policies better than just the government wishes to be. Only an effective opposition can make it possible that the nation is governed in the best possible way.

However, with all respect to Mr Abbott, I am afraid to say that he is very unlikely to win the next election, simply because his political history and experience does not help him and is detrimental to his success as an opposition leader.

There is also a question that how long his leadership will last. It is also likely that once the liberal party realises the political inevitability, they will seek another more presentable leader to replace him before the next election. It will not be between him and Mr Turnbull, but someone else.

The summer break of the ffederal parliament will not give the opposition the opportunity to think the ETS as the government wishes, but to contemplate seriously its future leadership and the best strategy to win the next election, or at least to minimise the losses if it cannot win it.