Debtwatch No. 32: Is Rudd the new Whitlam?

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 A quick quiz: when did Australia’s biggest pri­vate debt bub­ble burst?

A young Gough Whitlam

A young Gough Whitlam

If you con­sider the rate of increase of debt, the cor­rect answer is “in mid-1973″. The bub­ble started to expand a year before Whit­lam  came to power, and its col­lapse dur­ing Whitlam’s term was the real–but at the time, unappreciated–cause of the eco­nomic cri­sis that undid his government.

And you think I’m ornery? The Dahlem Report

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My rail­ing against the eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sion on this blog might give you the impres­sion that I’m a lone wolf, tak­ing on the eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sion single-handedly. I’m pleased to say that’s not the case; though the rebels are out­num­bered by the True Believ­ers in neo­clas­si­cal eco­nom­ics, there are many aca­d­e­mic econ­o­mists who are crit­i­cal of the eco­nomic orthodoxy.

Neoliberalism and economic breakdown

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Australia’s pre­vi­ous Lib­eral Party Prime Min­is­ter John Howard “came out swing­ing” last night in sup­port of the pol­icy agenda his gov­ern­ment shared with the pre­ced­ing Labor Party gov­ern­ment of Bob Hawke and Paul Keat­ing:  “neolib­er­al­ism” (for non-Australian read­ers, the Aus­tralian Lib­eral Party is closer to the US Repub­li­can Party or the UK’s Tories than the US vision of the word “Lib­eral”, while the Aus­tralian Labor Party is akin to the US Demo­c­ra­tic Party or the UK’s Labour Party).

USA Public Broadcasting Service FrontLine Special

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Front­line is run­ning a spe­cial on the finan­cial crisis:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meltdown/

It should make inter­est­ing view­ing. It will be avail­able from 9pm New York time on Feb­ru­ary 17th–which I think means mid­day or there­abouts on the 20th, Syd­ney time.