Kenneth Davidson has been one of the most consistent voices for sensible economic analysis in the Australian media for decades now (another I’d give a similar accolade to is Brian Toohey), and he’s written a brilliant piece in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on the specualtive bubble that is the Australian dollar.
Davidson lays out the causes and probable effects superbly in the length of a newspaper feature. The causes are that:
- The bailout funds in the USA and UK in particular have cashed up financial institutions that don’t want to lend any more to mortgages (and have long ago forgotten how to lend to fund productive enterprises), so they’re looking for short term hot money gains;
As I’ve noted here earlier, the blog newsfrom1930 performs a very valuable “reality check” for today by each day publishing a summary of the Wall Street Journal from the same day in 1930. The overwhelming flavour of reports from that time is that the Depression was over and recovery was imminent. Plus la change…
This week it’s offering another service–publishing summaries of news reports from one year earlier: 1929. The reason, of course, is that we are approaching the 80th anniversary of “Black Tuesday”: the day in 1929 when the Dow Jones fell for more than 10 percent for a second day in a row, bringing to an emphatic end the bull market of 1929 and ushering in the Great Depression.
Thanks to all those Debtwatch readers who made donations to assist with the costs of bringing Michael to Australia for this speaking tour. Roughly A$800 has been raised–I’ve allowed $10 for every donation made since I put that message up to go to Michael’s expenses, and there have been 81 donations (many of more than $10, some of less) since then.
Paul Krugman sometimes introduces his more complicated posts on his blog as being “wonkish”. This post is wonkish in spades–though in the linked papers rather than the content here.
I’ve just finished the first reasonable description of my multi-sectoral monetary model of production, which I’ll be presenting at the Paul Woolley Centre for Capital Market Dysfunctionality conference later this month.
There’s lots more to add before the model is complete, but this is a working first draft. Later additions will include a tendency to equalise profit rates across sectors and fixed capital, as well as fiat money creation in addition to pure credit money as in this model.
In the spirit of “we all need a laugh”, this list of jokes is doing the rounds in the USA:
The RBA has put rates up now on the belief that the financial crisis is behind us, and it has to return to its established role of controlling inflation.
That this decision was likely was flagged by the speech by Anthony Richards last week, which implied that the RBA, having ignored the house price bubble created by private credit growth in the preceding two decades, was worried about the renewal of the bubble initiated by the Government’s First Home Vendors Boost (I refuse to call it by its official name, since the money clearly went to the vendors, while the buyers copped only higher prices).
One of the keynote speakers at the 38th Australian Conference of Economists in Adelaide last week was Edward Lazear, who was Chairman of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09.
In other words, he was in one of the world’s economic hotseats right when the “Great Moderation” (see also Gerard Baker’s UK Times article in early 2007) gave way to the Global Financial Crisis.
2010 is shaping up as the year that the bulls and bears of the world’s last unpopped asset market bubble—Australia’s property market—will collide head on. The gap between those predicting yet another bubble, and those predicting its ultimate demise, has closed.
The bulls as always, emphasise the “fundamentals”—population-fuelled demand outstripping laggardly supply—and that “Australia is different”.
The bears, as always, emphasise leverage— that the true fundamental behind asset prices is people’s willingness to go into debt to buy them, in the belief that they can flog them for a leveraged profit to the next Greater Fool. And on the “We’re different because we have kangaroos” theory, the bears contend that Aussies are just as susceptible to a well disguised Ponzi Scheme as anybody else on the planet.
If the economy does in fact recover from the Global Financial Crisis—without private debt levels once again rising relative to GDP—then my approach to economics will be proven wrong.
But this won’t prove conventional neoclassical economic theory right, because, for very different reasons to those that I put forward, modern neoclassical economics argues that the government policy to improve the economy is ineffective. The success of a government rescue would thus contradict neoclassical economics just as much—or maybe even more—than it would contradict my analysis.
A new blog member asked “Why do you use Mathcad?” in response to my most recent post about using some of the funds donated by visitors to the blog to help fund my research.
It’s a very good technical question, and one that deserves more than just a reply to the comment. So I’ll try to explain why here.
I build dynamic models of the economy using systems of ordinary differential equations. There are many programs that support this these days, from public domain programs like Scilab to commercial giants like Mathematica and Mathcad. I’ve tried most of them, and I’ve stuck with Mathcad for two reasons: