Hard on the heels of the fiasco over the “Bolt clause” in the government’s proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act comes the news that the government is prohibiting public servants in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from criticising it in any medium, even anonymously, and urging colleagues to dob in violators. Except for the handful of people who took the government’s talk about free speech seriously, there’s no surprise here. But I’d like to respond to this from the “Freedom Commissioner”, Tim Wilson of the IPA, who says “Ultimately public servants voluntarily and knowingly choose to accept these limits on their conduct when they accept employment”. On the contrary, it seems clear from the report that, at a minimum, the interpretation of existing rules (allowing free comment in general, but not on matters related to your own work) is being tightened.
How I Became a KeynesianUntil last September, when the banking industry came crashing down and depression loomed for the first time in my lifetime, I had never thought to read The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, despite my interest in economics. I knew that John Maynard Keynes was widely considered the greatest economist of the twentieth century, and I knew of his book's extraordinary reputation. But it was a work of macroeconomics--the study of economy-wide phenomena such as inflation, the business cycle, and economic growth. Law, and hence the economics of law--my academic field--did not figure largely in the regulation of those phenomena. We have learned since September that the present generation of economists has not figured out how the economy works.
BlogToday is Equal Pay Day, a reminder that women and men are not always compensated at the same rate. While the widely reported statistic that women, on average, earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar has been is a great indicator that women are put in situations every day that for a variety of reasons mean they earn less, it has been criticized for not measuring individuals of similar characteristics, such as age, occupation, education, or experience. To try to get a better understanding of the gender wage gap among specific age groups, and given that many high school and college seniors are on the brink of graduating and entering the labor force, I thought it would be interesting look at the gender wage gap by age and education, to see how women and men fare as they enter today’s unsteady labor market. To close the gender wage gap, women need to see real wage growth faster than their male counterparts. The best type of narrowing occurs when both women and men see real annual wage growth.
Climate Debt DenialClimate Debt Denial Art by Roger Peet At the height of the Washington feeding frenzy about the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, and sequestration, austerity hawks coined a new label to denigrate lawmakers who were opposed to cutbacks brought on by the cynical manipulation of national debt: “debt deniers.”Modern Monetary Theory … alternative economic thinkingThe Weekend Quiz – March 5-6, 2016 Welcome to The Weekend Quiz, which used to be known as the Saturday Quiz! The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days. See how you go with the following questions.Stumbling and MumblingNobody will thank me for saying so, but I have a bit of a mancrush on Ed Smith. Yet again, he has raised a profound point in the social sciences: Nakedly ambitious people rarely achieve their ambitions...Simplistic self-interest is not just bad PR, it is often bad strategy. It suffers from a fatal flaw: it is predictable.
Worthwhile Canadian InitiativeThis is speculative. I don't know whether it works empirically. Or, I should say, I don't know how much it works empirically. The effect I am talking about here might be large, and explain almost everything.Grant's Interest Rate ObserverJames Grant was born in 1946, the year interest rates put in their mid-20th century lows. He founded Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, a twice-monthly journal of the financial markets, in 1983, two years after interest rates recorded their modern-day highs. Born in New York City and raised on Long Island, he had thoughts, first, of a career in music, not interest rates—french horn was his love.
Business / EconomicsNational Security Notice We are NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, we are calling for the reinstatement of our government. We are not calling for lawlessness. We are calling for an end to lawlessness and lack of accountability and a return to the rule of law.Steve Keen's DebtwatchI’ve attended two conferences in two days where both the power and the impotence of the European Central Bank (EBC) have been on vivid display. Its political power is considerable, both in form and in substance. At both seminars, the ECB speaker—ECB Board member Peter Praet at the first, and ECB President Mario Draghi at the second—spoke first, and then left. In form, the ECB has no need to defend its policies because it is unimpeachable in its execution of them. In substance, it does not even considering engaging with its subjects—I use the word deliberately—in open and robust discussion. The position of the economy in the environment is a shared blindspot in economics: no existing school handles the topic well, and yet this is the key issue we need to understand.