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).

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.