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John Quiggin

John Quiggin

He is an Australian economist, a Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a former member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government.

Articles by John Quiggin

Sandpit

5 days ago

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.
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Monday Message Board

5 days ago

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

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Mitigated disaster

5 days ago

How can we respond to a world of cascading disasters?

Over the past past few years we’ve had to deal with all sorts of new or resurgent evils, including climate catastrophe, Covid and the global assault on democracy. That’s been made harder by the fact that our political leaders (and plenty of their supporters) have either failed to respond effectively, or have actively promoted these evils. Yet there’s nothing positive about giving in to despair, either politically or personally.

In trying to respond, I’ve started thinking about the idea of ‘mitigated disaster’. Despite our collective failures on all of these issues, there’s still a good chance that the worst of the catastrophe will be staved off. And individually, we need to find ways to act responsibly and to resist the

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Australia (Act) Day (annual repost)

9 days ago

As usual, 26 January has been marked by protests, denunciations of those protests, and further iterations. Even apart from the fact that it marks an invasion, the foundation of a colony that later became one of Australia’s states isn’t much of a basis for a national day.

A logical choice would be the day our Federation came into force. Unfortunately for this idea, our Founders chose 1 Jan 1901. The first day of the 20th century[1] must have seemed like an auspicious choice for a new country, but it ruled out the anniversary as a national day.

The ideal thing would be to fix the problems of our current system with a republican constitution including a treaty with the original owners of our land. That would provide a date really worthy of celebration.

In the meantime, I

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The Voice to Parliament referendum is in danger of defeat

11 days ago

Why it’s vital to present a model before we vote

Shorter JQ: Albanese should release draft legislation before the Voice referendum if it is to succeed. Not doing so is a recipe for failure based in part on a mistaken analysis of the 1990s Republic referendum, which I shared for a long time.

Although polls suggested majority support for a republic, the Turnbull/Keating proposed model (appointed president) was defeated. Analysis assumes alternative of elected president would also be defeated. So, suggestion is “vote on principle of referendum first, then choose model”. Sounds convincing, BUT

On the stated facts, status quo would beat either alternative and is therefore the Condorcet winner. On most theories of voting it should be selected.

More, given the stated facts, and

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Monday Message Board

12 days ago

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

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Open thread on Brazil

18 days ago

An open thread on the insurrection in Brazil. I’d particularly be interested in comments from a Latin American perspective.
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Monday Message Board

19 days ago

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

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Dasein and Der Fuhrer

21 days ago

Back in the Paleolithic days of blogging, I got interested in the relationship between philosophical thought and political action, particularly in the cases of Hayek and Heidegger and their support for Pinochet and Hitler respectively. I think the evidence is in on Hayek (see here and here), so I won’t discuss it further.

In Heidegger’s case, there’s been plenty more evidence on Heidegger’s personal conduct, cumulatively quite damning. But the claim that he was one of the greatest of 20th philosophers remains widely accepted. This seems to imply (via an easy application of modus ponens), that his support for Hitler was not a consequence of his central philosophical ideas. The typical version of this claim attributes Heidegger’s embrace of Nazism to some combination of opportunism

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Why the (US) right is always wrong … and how both-sidesists help to ensure this

December 28, 2022

A decade ago, when the issue of Republican anti-science bias was raised, a common response was to point to attitudes to vaccination, where, it was claimed, Democrats were the anti-science party. I observed at the time that this claim wasn’t justified by the available evidence. A little later, I noted the likelihood of the Republicans becoming anti-vax , a point on have been proved tragically right by the Covid pandemic.

But this case, and many more like it, hasn’t prevented the publication of a continued stream of pieces starting from the premise that “both sides do it”. The latest iteration relates to housing policy, and the claim that Democrats are the party of NIMBYism. For example this piece in The Atlantic by Jerusalem Demsas states

liberalism is largely to blame for the

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Monday Message Board

December 18, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

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The slow demise of neoliberalism

December 12, 2022

That’s the headline for my latest piece in Inside Story, a review of Brad DeLong’s Slouching Towards Utopia and Sebastian Edwards The Chile Project . Some extracts

The Chile Project, of which Edwards was a generally sympathetic observer, ranks with Thatcher’s Britain as the paradigmatic case of what I’ve called “hard neoliberalism,” which combines authoritarianism and radical free-market policies …Outside the United States, soft neoliberalism was often described as the Third Way. Its central theme was the idea that the goals of social democracy (or liberalism in the US sense) could best be achieved by embracing market-oriented reforms, and particularly financial deregulation, while maintaining a generally redistributive welfare state.

Edwards sees the protest movement that

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Monday Message Board

December 12, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Jefferson rejected even voluntary emancipation

December 7, 2022

The Washington Post has a long piece about a Virginia family whose current (substantial but not huge) wealth derives from their slaveholding forebears and who may now be greatly enriched by the discovery of uranium under their land. There’s an interesting discussion of the arguments for and against reparations

Buried in the middle of the article is something much more interesting, to me at any rate. One member of the family, Edward Coles, opposed slavery. He hid his views until he inherited ownership of 17 enslaved people, then took them to Illinois and freed them. None other than Thomas Jefferson wrote to Coles, seeking to dissuade him.

Jefferson wrote Edward a letter on Aug. 25, 1814, trying to talk him out of it.

[M]y opinion has ever been that, until more can be done

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Monday Message Board

December 4, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Monday Message Board

November 27, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Another nuclear renaissance?

November 26, 2022

And did environmentalists kill the last one?

There has been a lot of talk lately about a revival of nuclear power, partly in response to the need to replace the energy previously supplied by Russia, and partly as a longer-term response to climate change. To the extent that this means avoiding premature closure of operational nuclear plants, while coal is still operating, this makes sense. But new nuclear power does not.

The misconception that nuclear makes economic sense remains widespread, but has been refuted many times. Less remarked on is the misconception is that the big obstacle to nuclear power is opposition from environmentalists.

Environmentalist opposition was a big factor in the decline of nuclear power in the late 20th century, but not since then in most

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No new coal

November 24, 2022

Thanks to the efforts of Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) and the Environment Council of Central Queensland (EcoCeQ,), Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek reopened the environmental assessment process for 16 coal mines and two gas projects that had previously been approved. To take part, it was necessary to submit new information not available at the time of the original approvals.

I wrote the same comment for all of the coal projects*.

I wish to draw attention to the following information which was not available at the time this project was approved. This information implies that the climate damage caused by the project will be worse than seemed likely at the time, while any offsetting benefits will be smaller.

International agreement on the necessity of phasing out,

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Monday Message Board

November 20, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Sandpit

November 20, 2022

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.
Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

Monday Message Board

November 13, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Mastodon here

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Can Labor provide cost-of-living relief without feeding inflation and interest rates?

November 6, 2022

I was part of a panel who responded to this question for The Guardian

Here’s my response

The economic situation facing the majority of Australian households is dire. However, the common framing of the problem in terms of the “cost of living” distracts attention from the real problem, which is the decline in the real purchasing power of wages. Having remained stagnant for years, wages have now fallen far behind inflation. Moreover, the average rate of tax paid is rising because of bracket creep and because of the expiry of the Morrison government’s low- and middle-income tax offset, which was not extended in the October budget.

Under our current policy approach, economic welfare is declining

Neither of these outcomes is likely to improve significantly during the current

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Vote for democracy (please!)

November 6, 2022

It seems highly likely that the Republican Party will win control of the US House of Representatives, and possibly also the Senate, next week. Unless the margin is so narrow that a handful of believers in democracy can tip the balance, that will mean the end of electoral democracy in the US for the foreseeable future. Most House Republicans voted to overturn the 2020 election. All (except a few who were on the way out) voted against the Electoral Count Act which is supposed to make cheating more difficult, but which will surely be ignored if necessary. That’s without considering the vast numbers of election deniers who will win (or already hold) crucial offices at state and local level, and the likelihood that the Supreme Court will enable them further. And once the Republicans hold

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Monday Message Board

November 6, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Monday Message Board

October 30, 2022

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.
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Labor’s love lost:the tide is turning on private ownership of electricity grids

October 28, 2022

I’m not a fan of the convention that newspaper and magazine editors choose the headline for articles, but I liked this one in The Conversation. The heading is neat and the sub-heading gives you the tl;dr version.

The promise by the Andrews government to reintroduce public enterprise to Victoria’s electricity industry, through a revived State Electricity Commission, is something of a shock.

The process of electricity privatisation in Australia began with Labor in Victoria, when the government of Joan Kirner sold 51% of the Loy Yang B power station in 1992. Her Liberal successor, Jeff Kennett, then sold the remainder of Loy Lang B, as well as the rest of the state’s publicly owned generation, transmission and distribution assets.

Labor has been office for all but four

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Seminar on mental fitness

October 23, 2022

I’ll be giving a talk on Tuesday (1pm ADST) to the ANU seminar on health service research and policy. Topic:Mental health and mental fitness in an age of disaster. The Zoom link is https://anu.zoom.us/j/81262299147?pwd=eWRJNDJFSC9JbHh4dDd0a0IvTUFvdz09
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