Kosciuszko Walk 1pm Thurs­day 15th Fed­er­a­tion Mall

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On Thurs­day April 15th at 1pm, Steve Keen will begin a walk from Par­lia­ment House to Mt Kosciuszko, to ful­fill the famous bet with Rory Robert­son over house prices.

Keen claimed that, just as Japan­ese house prices had fallen 40% since its Bub­ble Econ­omy burst in 1990, so too would Aus­tralian house prices. In Octo­ber 2008, Robert­son chal­lenged him to a bet that this would never hap­pen at a debate in the Par­lia­men­tary Library, where the loser would have to walk from Par­lia­ment House to Mt Kosciuszko.

Keen­Walk T-shirts Avail­able

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The T-shirts have been printed and they look fan­tas­tic (if I do say so myself). There are 3 designs:

One high­lights the core issue that con­ven­tional eco­nom­ics ignores, and Debt Defla­tion the­o­ries take seriously–the ratio of pri­vate debt to GDP:

Debt to GDP Ratio from 1860 till 2010

Another shows the rela­tion­ship between the ratio of house prices to dis­pos­able incomes and the First Home Own­ers Grant. The Grant has been intro­duced, relaunched, or dou­bled on five occa­sions, and each time it made hous­ing less afford­able:

The FHOG and housing unaffordability

Keen­Walk: Get­ting to Can­berra

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I’ll be post­ing a few links about the Walk to Kosciuszko here, mainly for infor­ma­tion of those who will be tak­ing part. They will dupli­cate posts on the Keen­walk site itself, where the mem­bers are largely but not exclu­sively those who will be join­ing me for the walk.

This post is largely about logis­tics: get­ting to Can­berra, and pos­si­bly pool­ing resources to do so. Apolo­gies to those who are look­ing for ana­lytic content–this post will have none what­so­ever. But if you are one of the walk­ers, please pop over to Keen­walk now and make your com­ments on this post there rather than here…

Vote for Revere Award

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Vot­ing is now open for the Revere Award for Eco­nom­ics. The Revere Award is the pos­i­tive com­pan­ion to the Dyna­mite Award in Eco­nom­ics, which was devel­oped by the Real World Eco­nom­ics Review to rec­og­nize the fail­ure of the vast major­ity of econ­o­mists to fore­see the Global Finan­cial Cri­sis. It was awarded to the three econ­o­mists whose work most helped cause the GFC, with the even­tual win­ners being Alan Greenspan, Mil­ton Fried­man and Larry Sum­mers (see Greenspan, Fried­man and Sum­mers win Dyna­mite Prize in Eco­nom­ics).

Grow­ing like Topsy

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My Walk to Mt Kosciuszko is no longer a soli­tary affair: at last count, I will have a dozen com­pan­ions for the entire dis­tance, and another 16 join­ing me for at least one day.

One of those com­ing for the entire trip is the Com­men­tary Edi­tor from Busi­ness Spec­ta­tor, Rob Burgess. Rob will report from and on the Walk on a daily basis, cov­er­ing it both as a news story, and as the basis for a dis­cus­sion of the wider issues fac­ing busi­ness and eco­nom­ics in the uncharted ter­rain of the sup­pos­edly  ‘post-GFC’ world.

Final T-Shirts

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After exten­sive and much appre­ci­ated crit­i­cal feed­back on the draft designs, this blog entry show­cases the three T-Shirt designs I’m pro­duc­ing for the Walk to Kosciuszko.

Each has the words “I was hope­lessly wrong on house prices. Ask me how” as required by the bet. Each also has a graph­i­cal answer to the ques­tion:

  • Tim­ing;
  • Our Debt Bub­ble; and
  • Gov­ern­ment manip­u­la­tion of the mar­ket in the form of the First Home Own­ers Grant.

Everyone’s a critic…

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Thanks for all the feed­back on the T-Shirt designs for my forth­com­ing walk from Par­lia­ment House to Mt Kosciuszko. I must admit I was a bit sur­prised by how many peo­ple were opposed to the dis­torted text, but I take the point (of course, there were some who were strongly in favour of it).

And I do also want to have some fun–it isn’t all sour grapes! As some­one who has done graphic design at var­i­ous stages in my life, I like the look of the “fit text to curve” text–it’s the T-shirt I’d like to have in my col­lec­tion. So what I’ve decided to do is to pro­duce at least 4 of the 5 T-shirts shown below, two of which have text fit­ted to the curves, and three of which do not.

T-Shirts for Kosciousko

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As is widely known, I will be walk­ing from Australia’s Par­lia­ment House to Mount Kosciousko–a dis­tance of 225km–as the result of los­ing part of a bet with a well-known “bull” on prop­erty in Aus­tralia, Rory Robert­son. I am obliged to wear a T-Shirt with the words “I was hope­lessly wrong on house prices: ask me how” embla­zoned on it.

As I explain on www.keenwalk.com.au, I was ambushed with this bet in front of an audi­ence of 80–100 peo­ple at Par­lia­ment House. I have responded in kind by turn­ing the walk into a protest about the man­ner in which keep­ing prop­erty prices high has come to dom­i­nate eco­nomic pol­icy in Australia–with what I pre­fer to call the First Home Ven­dors Boost being the most out­ra­geous exam­ple of that.

Debt­watch Asso­ci­a­tion Meet­ing March 9

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Sev­eral mem­bers have pointed out that I got the month wrong: the meet­ing to form the Asso­ci­a­tion will take place this com­ing Tuesday–which is March 9, not April 9 as I first posted here.

My apolo­gies for the con­fu­sion. In any case, it looks like quite a few peo­ple were able to see past my slip and we now have about 15 mem­bers signed up for din­ner this Tues­day at a rather nice venue in Syd­ney (I will stick to just let­ting peo­ple know where by return email). The cost for the din­ner will be $65 per per­son, and it will start at 7pm at a venue not too far from Sydney’s CBD.

Talk­ing About the Blog II

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Last month I gave a talk about the blog at Swin­burne Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, at the invi­ta­tion of one of the blog’s most active mem­bers, Dr Matt Mitchell. Swinburne’s video of the talk is below, and it neatly melds my talk and the pre­sen­ta­tion I gave:

Steve Keen’s Debt­watch Pod­cast http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/talks/SteveKeenOnEducation.mov

| Open Player in New Win­dow

The vol­ume will appear too low when you hear Matt’s intro­duc­tion, but this is because the audio level was set on my radio mic, which is much louder than the the­atre micro­phone. Turn the sound up to hear Matt’s open­ing, but be ready to turn it down when I start talk­ing.