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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

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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Another nuclear renaissance?

7 days ago

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

8 days ago

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

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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Sandpit

12 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

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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Can Labor provide cost-of-living relief without feeding inflation and interest rates?

26 days ago

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!)

26 days ago

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

26 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 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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A ‘no first use’ U.S. nuclear policy could save the world

October 21, 2022

My latest piece in Independent Australia

THE RISKS of nuclear war are greater than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not only is Vladimir Putin threatening to use nuclear weapons to stave off defeat in Ukraine, but the North Korean Government has continued to develop and test both missiles and nuclear warheads.

U.S. President Joe Biden has responded to Putin’s threats with admirable calm so far, playing down the risk that Putin will use nuclear weapons and avoiding any threat of escalation.

Leaks from the U.S. Administration have indicated that the response to a tactical nuclear weapon would be massive but confined to conventional weapons. 

Yet the official doctrine of the U.S. would call for the use of nuclear weapons in exactly the situation faced by Putin

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Capitalism without capital doesn’t work

October 17, 2022

The future of the information (non) economy

For quite a while now, I’ve been making the argument that, in an information economy, the relationship between investment, production and profit, central to capitalism, no longer works. Here’s an early statement from my Giblin lecture in 2005.

to the extent that innovation and productive growth arise fromactivities that are pursued primarily on the basis non-economic motives, the linkbetween incentives and outcomes is weakened. This in turn undermines thereationale for policies aimed at sharpening incentives and ensuring that everyoneengaged in the production of goods and services is exposed to the incentives15generated by a competitive market. Such policies represent the core program of‘economic rationalism’, the set of ideas that

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Capitalism without capital doesn’t work

October 17, 2022

The future of the information (non) economy

For quite a while now, I’ve been making the argument that, in an information economy, the relationship between investment, production and profit, central to capitalism, no longer works. Here’s an early statement from my Giblin lecture in 2005.

to the extent that innovation and productive growth arise fromactivities that are pursued primarily on the basis non-economic motives, the linkbetween incentives and outcomes is weakened. This in turn undermines thereationale for policies aimed at sharpening incentives and ensuring that everyoneengaged in the production of goods and services is exposed to the incentives15generated by a competitive market. Such policies represent the core program of‘economic rationalism’, the set of ideas that

Read More »

Monday Message Board

October 16, 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.
Share this:Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

Monday Message Board

October 16, 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.
Share this:Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

Sandpit

October 9, 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 »

Sandpit

October 9, 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

October 9, 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.
Share this:Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

Monday Message Board

October 9, 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.
Share this:Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

John Quiggin 2022-10-08 06:39:08

October 8, 2022

There’s been a lot of excitement about Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately, much of focused on long-standing “big questions” like “is AI really intelligent” (short answer, no)

I don’t have an answer to that, so I’ll stick to the easier questions like “will a robot take my job”. I’ve argued before that this isn’t a good way to think about the issue. New technology has been changing the way we work for centuries, and will continue to do so. But for particular jobs being transformed by technological change, it is certainly relevant.

One area that’s moved ahead very rapidly is the generation of human-like text. The cutting edge here is a program called GPT-3, launched in 2020, which can produce impressive looking philosophical discussions. The underlying research has already been

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John Quiggin 2022-10-08 06:39:08

October 8, 2022

There’s been a lot of excitement about Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately, much of focused on long-standing “big questions” like “is AI really intelligent” (short answer, no)

I don’t have an answer to that, so I’ll stick to the easier questions like “will a robot take my job”. I’ve argued before that this isn’t a good way to think about the issue. New technology has been changing the way we work for centuries, and will continue to do so. But for particular jobs being transformed by technological change, it is certainly relevant.

One area that’s moved ahead very rapidly is the generation of human-like text. The cutting edge here is a program called GPT-3, launched in 2020, which can produce impressive looking philosophical discussions. The underlying research has already been

Read More »

Stage 3 tax cuts: The fight is on

October 7, 2022

That’s the headline for my latest piece in Independent Australia . The next couple of weeks, leading up to Labor’s first budget, will determine the fate of this government, one way or another.

If the tax cuts go through unchanged, the government will be a failure as far as economic and social policy is concerned. Some have suggested that the problems could be fixed in a second term. But having handed out big tax cuts for 2024-25, it’s absurd to suggest that Labor could turn around immediately and campaign on cancelling them. And, there’s no guarantee of a second term. While the LNP is looking pretty hopeless at the moment, an economic downturn would change things. Locking in the cuts would leave Labor with little or no capacity to respond to such a downturn.

Modifying the tax

Read More »

Stage 3 tax cuts: The fight is on

October 7, 2022

That’s the headline for my latest piece in Independent Australia . The next couple of weeks, leading up to Labor’s first budget, will determine the fate of this government, one way or another.

If the tax cuts go through unchanged, the government will be a failure as far as economic and social policy is concerned. Some have suggested that the problems could be fixed in a second term. But having handed out big tax cuts for 2024-25, it’s absurd to suggest that Labor could turn around immediately and campaign on cancelling them. And, there’s no guarantee of a second term. While the LNP is looking pretty hopeless at the moment, an economic downturn would change things. Locking in the cuts would leave Labor with little or no capacity to respond to such a downturn.

Modifying the tax

Read More »

Monday Message Board (On Tuesday)

October 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 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.
Share this:Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

Monday Message Board (On Tuesday)

October 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 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.
Share this:Like this:Like Loading…

Read More »

A day late, and $20 million short

September 30, 2022

I wrote a piece for the Guardian, urging the Queensland government to hold the line on its plan to close a tax loophole for wealthy investors, in the face of a ferocious Murdoch media campaign, and sabotage from the Perrottet government in NSW. Sadly, just as I submitted it, the government caved in. But the critique of the Courier-Mail might get a run on Media Watch. Anyway, here it is

The Queensland government’s announcement that it is closing a loophole in the land tax system, benefiting interstate investors has produced a furious reaction from the Murdoch-owned Brisbane paper Courier-Mail. More than a dozen editorials and articles have quoted ‘experts’ who warn that the proposal will be unworkable, unconstitutional and will raise rents. These articles have been backed up by

Read More »

A day late, and $20 million short

September 30, 2022

I wrote a piece for the Guardian, urging the Queensland government to hold the line on its plan to close a tax loophole for wealthy investors, in the face of a ferocious Murdoch media campaign, and sabotage from the Perrottet government in NSW. Sadly, just as I submitted it, the government caved in. But the critique of the Courier-Mail might get a run on Media Watch. Anyway, here it is

The Queensland government’s announcement that it is closing a loophole in the land tax system, benefiting interstate investors has produced a furious reaction from the Murdoch-owned Brisbane paper Courier-Mail. More than a dozen editorials and articles have quoted ‘experts’ who warn that the proposal will be unworkable, unconstitutional and will raise rents. These articles have been backed up by

Read More »