A monkey off my back

[video src="http://www.keenwalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/images/KeenInterviewUphillRun.flv" width="500" height="400" ][video src="http://www.keenwalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/images/SwagsRoadTest.flv" width="500" height="400" ]

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The Keen Walk to Kosciuszko was a fab­u­lous experience—as Matt Car­roll (one of the orga­niz­ers) put it, it was “the best hol­i­day ever”. That’s not to min­i­mize the effort involved: cov­er­ing 235 kilo­me­tres on foot in 8 days is no mean feat. But the com­bi­na­tion of great com­pany, per­sonal suc­cess for all involved in an impres­sive phys­i­cal chal­lenge, lovely scenery, excel­lent weather, and a cause that united a remark­able group of peo­ple, made The Walk far more plea­sure than pain.

Is it all “Supply & Demand”?

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As we head towards the fed­eral elec­tion, the term ‘hous­ing short­age’ will be trot­ted out again and again by politi­cians. Their rhetoric will rely on the deeply ingrained received wis­dom that Aus­tralia has a ‘hous­ing short­age’, and no politi­cian will want to do the hard work of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing between a gen­uine short­age in hous­ing stock (which we don’t have) and a short­age of ‘afford­able hous­ing’ which we do have.

And why won’t they acknowl­edge this dis­tinc­tion? Sim­ply, because admit­ting that it is only the prices of houses that are dys­func­tional, and not sim­ply the sup­ply, would be too much even for their loyal voters.

Interview on Ten’s The 7pm Project

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After Aus­tralian house prices rose 20 per­cent in one year, everyone’s talk­ing a bub­ble.  Chan­nel Ten’s new(ish) avant-garde cur­rent affairs pro­gram asked for my per­spec­tive on the day the RBA yet again increased inter­est rates.

After lead­ing in with the news and a fea­ture on Neil Rober­ston, the 26-year-old Aus­tralian snooker player who won the World Cham­pi­onship, the story on house prices began 4 min­utes and 5 sec­onds into the video below.

Letter to PM on Residential Property Prices and Foreign Investment Laws

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The news that the Rudd Gov­ern­ment was rolling back its changes to Australia’s for­eign invest­ment rules on hous­ing came as we were still on The Walk. Just prior to start­ing it, I received a note from Dr John Daffy, with the fol­low­ing let­ter from him to the PM attached. I asked John whether I could pub­lish his let­ter on the blog, and he agreed.

Just as the absence of sta­tis­tics on for­eign pur­chasers means we’ll never really know the impact they had on the mar­ket, we’ll prob­a­bly never know how many indi­vid­u­als like Dr Daffy sent sim­i­lar let­ters to their MPs and the PM; but judg­ing from the rapid back­flip on that pol­icy, there must have been plenty.

Revere Award Voting

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Edward Full­brook, the edi­tor of the Real World Eco­nom­ics Review that cre­ated the Dyna­mite Prize in Eco­nom­ics and the Revere Award, has just sent out the mes­sage repro­duced below.

Vot­ing for the Revere Award for Eco­nom­ics for the three econ­o­mists who first and most clearly antic­i­pated and gave pub­lic warn­ing of the Global Finan­cial Col­lapse and whose work is most likely to pre­vent another GFC in the future, will close in a few days.  Please vote. So far the num­ber of peo­ple vot­ing has been dis­ap­point­ing.  To stim­u­late inter­est, the poll has now been set to reveal to you the cur­rent results once you have cast your votes.  You can vote for three. To view a time­line and to vote now, click here .  It takes only sec­onds.  By vot­ing you reward the deserving.

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).