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.
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
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…
DebtWatch No. 44 April 2010
House Prices Are Not Normal
“I think it is a mistake to assume that a riskless, easy, guaranteed way to prosperity is to be leveraged into property. It isn’t going to be that easy.” (RBA Governor Glenn Stevens, Sunrise Program March 29 2010)
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).
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.
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:
- Our Debt Bubble; and
- Government manipulation of the market in the form of the First Home Owners Grant.
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.
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.
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.