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, 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

| 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.

Establishing an Association

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This is mainly of inter­est to Syd­ney mem­bers: I need to form an Asso­ci­a­tion, pri­mar­ily to admin­is­ter the funds that have been raised via dona­tions to this blog (and also

Dona­tions have totalled over A$10,000 so far, and while I had thought this raised no income lia­bil­ity for me, I have been informed that it could be regarded as income by tax­a­tion author­i­ties. Form­ing an Asso­ci­a­tion to man­age the funds will over­come this difficulty.

Debtwatch No. 43: Declaring victory at half time

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Note: the first part of this post will mainly be of inter­est just to Aus­tralian read­ers, but I con­clude with a numer­i­cal expla­na­tion of “Why Debt-Deflation Causes Depres­sions” that will be of inter­est to read­ers everywhere.

Last week I took part in a debate enti­tled “The Great Res­i­den­tial Hous­ing Debate — the next Bub­ble or a legit­i­mate Boom?” at the annual con­fer­ence for Peren­nial Invest­ment Part­ners; I put the Bub­ble case and Chris Joye of Ris­mark Inter­na­tional pre­sented the Boom case (here is my paper and my pre­sen­ta­tion). As is well-known, Aus­tralia is one of the few coun­tries in the OECD not to expe­ri­ence two quar­ters or more of falling GDP as a result of the GFC, and prob­a­bly the only coun­try that has not expe­ri­enced a fall in its prop­erty market.

Adam Schwab’s Pigs at the Trough

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Adam Schwab has fol­lowed up his many columns on Crikey with a book on the pil­lage of Aus­tralian com­pa­nies by Ponzi financiers and incom­pe­tent exec­u­tives. Some of the com­pa­nies mis­man­aged and in many cases fleeced by these once high-flying exec­u­tives no longer exist–but the exec­u­tives are still “high fly­ers” since the crash of their cor­po­ra­tions didn’t seem to affect their own per­sonal wealth.

The book, Pigs at the Trough, is launched today, and hav­ing read it I do com­mend it to Debt­watch read­ers. The pref­ace to the book, which gives a good feel­ing for both its sub­ject and its flavour, is repro­duced below.