Friday , August 23 2019
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John Quiggin

Another High Court disaster, coming up ?

Unsurprisingly, the rejection of Cardinal Pell’s appeal against his conviction for sexual abuse has led to the expectation that the case will go to the High Court. As far as I can tell, there are quite a few bad reasons for the High Court to take the case, but no good ones. The bad reasons (all related to each other) are Cardinal Pell is an important personHe is strongly backed by other important peopleThere is a lot of public interest in the caseWhat is missing is any legal...

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Cutting the financial sector down to size

That’s the provisional title I used for my latest piece in Inside Story. Peter Browne, the editor, gave it the longer and clearer title “Want to reduce the power of the finance sector? Start by looking at climate change”. The central idea is a comparison between the process of decarbonizing the world economy and that of definancialising it, by reducing the power and influence of the financial sector. Both seemed almomst impossible only a decade ago, but the first is now well under...

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Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page Like this:Like Loading...

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Economics in Two Lessons, reviewed

A couple of reviews of Economics in Two Lessons have come out, from opposite ends of the political spectrum. The more interesting is Max Sawicky’s in Jacobin. Sawicky does a great job in summarising the key ideas in the book. His is probably the best review so far for non-economists to get an understanding of the main themes. Given the Jacobin audience, the key question is “Why should a socialist read a book about markets?” As Sawicky observes, the answer is easy for socialists...

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Give children the vote

Looking at the array of ignorant and vindictive old men attacking Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists, the case for lowering the voting age is just about unanswerable. Anything that could be urged in justification of stopping 16 year olds, as a group, from voting, is equally applicable to those over 60 (a group to which I belong). Over 60 voters are, on average, poorly educated (the school leaving age in Australia was 15 when they went through and I assume similar in most...

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Adani beware: coal is on the road to becoming completely uninsurable

That’s the headline for my latest piece in The Conversation. Although I use Adani as a convenient example, it’s about the bigger issue of whether insurers will flee from the potential litigation liability of insuring fossil fuel producers. Of these, thermal coal miners and generators are the most vulnerable because they are already marginal in economic terms. Share this:Like this:Like Loading...

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Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page Like this:Like Loading...

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Hard cases make bad laws. Bad judges make them worse

Another day, another disastrous and anti-democratic decision from the High Court. The Court has already disqualified a large proportion (perhaps a majority) of Australians from standing for Parliament. It has now excluded a huge group from any participation in our democracy, beyond the bare right to vote. The case in question concerned a public servant, employed in the Immigration Department, who criticised the department under a pseudonym (which proved inadequate to conceal her...

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Are SMRs vaporware

It seems as if nuclear fans in Australia have given up on conventional Generation III/III+ reactors such as the Westinghouse AP1000 and Areva EPR: unsurprising in view of the massive cost overruns and delays experienced in attempts to construct them. They’ve also gone quiet on the prospect of more advanced “Generation IV” reactors. Again that’s unsurprising. Most of the leading research projects in this field have been abandoned or deferred past 2030, even for prototypes. The...

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