Yesterday, I published a full analysis of the national account release in Australia, so today I am pretending it is my Wednesday ‘news’ blog with the music segment that seems to be popular. The news is all floods in Australia, death and destruction in the Ukraine and big talk (about 2 or more decades too late) from the Western governments. I note that the German government has confiscated a luxury yacht owned by some Russian ‘oligarch’ (don’t you just love their terminology) while stacks of other oligarch yachts are heading or are in the Maldives to avoid such a fate. Stupid question: if these oligarchs are so bad and their fortunes ill-gotten why have we waited so long to do something? Today we talk briefly about the resolve of the RBA to resist the gambling addiction of speculators in the financial markets. We also consider a discovery I made last week that top New Zealand economists seem to support Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), and then if that isn’t enough – some music.
It is Wednesday and I have three live presentations to make throughout the day. So we will be brief today. The ABS released the latest Wage Price Index today which shows that annual wages growth in Australia was 2.3 per cent, compared to the official inflation rate of 3.5 per cent. I will analyse that data in detail tomorrow, given I am short of time today. But there was also disturbing data coming out of the UK last week on the wages front, which reflects a major imbalance in priorities and also tells me that there is no wage demands driving the current inflationary episode.
It’s Wednesday and I have a lot on today. I was scanning some transcripts from the European Parliament today as part of a project I am embarking on to update my 2015 book – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale (published May 2015). I have had lots of requests (including from publishers) to provide a revised version to take into account events since 2015, include Brexit and the pandemic. So my head is back in transcripts, hansard reports, and other official documents to create the trail of evidence I need to make the continued case against the monetary union and the EU, in general. I report today on a particularly interesting exchange that appeared in November 2020 in the European Parliament. And then we have some great harmonica playing.
It’s Wednesday and I am working on other things today, which need finishing. But today we saw once again why the Australian Labor Party is a disappointment. They regularly frame the economic debate in neoliberal terms, which make it harder to break out of the mainstream narratives. But, today, they even go social policy wrong and will support legislation that allows religious organisations (schools etc) to discriminate against gays and trans people under the platform of ‘religious freedom’. The legislation allegedly is designed to stop non-religious people saying bad things about Pentecostal extremists. But it just enshrines the rights of religious characters to inflict damage on others. And the Labor Party is supporting it. Spooky – which brings in my music feature today.
It’s Wednesday and a ‘blog lite’ day but there was an important speech delivered by the Governor of Australia’s central bank today that reveals the reasons that the RBA is once again refusing to be bullied into increasing interest rates rises by the ‘markets’. It is almost comical to observe the ludicrous self-importance that the ‘markets’ are exhibiting at the moment. Every day there is a new article or segment on the finance reports about how the ‘markets’ are going to win the battle against the RBA, who will buckle soon on interest rates. Well, yesterday the RBA didn’t buckle and they made fools of the ‘markets’. Remember the ‘markets’ is just a collection of economists who work for financial institutions that make more profits when interest rates are higher. It is no wonder they are always demanding higher rates. That is what vested interests are about. And for the media to just continually give them a platform, especially the national broadcaster, is a disgrace. Anyway, the ‘markets’ lost out yesterday and the RBA clearly doesn’t think that interest rate rises cure Covid and make trucks go faster.
It’s Wednesday and I am flat out finalising writing commitments and my teaching responsibilities at present. I have also been doing a lot of media interviews given the inflation release yesterday. People are believing the nonsense coming out in the financial press that inflation is ‘out-of-control’ and interest rates need to be hiked to stop it in its tracks. How will increasing interest rates allow a Covid sick truck driver to return to work any quicker? How will a rise in rates, increase the number of container ships in the right locations? Etc. It is tiresome to be sure. Today a video, some information about my university classes that we are making available to the general public (starting later today), and then some post minimalism.
It’s Wednesday and so some short discussion and news then some jazz, the latter being the highlight. I read an interesting research paper yesterday from the – Conseil d’Analyse Économique (CAE) – which is an French-based organisation that brings together professional researchers “to enlighten the government’s choices in economic matters by comparing points of view and analyses”. It operates under the authority of the French Prime Minister. Its latest public report under its – Focus – series – The effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, health outcomes, and the economy (published January 18, 2022) – presents some very interesting empirical results pertaining to the impact that the enforcement of Covid vaccination certificates has had on the rate of vaccination uptake, on health outcomes (short-term) and on GDP growth rates. I consider the research (methods etc) to be credible and the results are in accord with an array of evidence that other researchers are coming up with.
It’s Wednesday and I have been digging a bit into what appears to be a growing coalition opposing lockdowns, mask wearing, vaccine rules, and vaccinations in general. The claims are that none of these things work and that the economy is better off without them. I am not writing today about these matters (I have in the past) but rather about the nature of these coalitions. One of the things that has held back progressive causes in the past is the tendency of social democratic type interests to adopt the mainstream macroeconomics, which not only limits what they can do but exposes them to accusations that the government will run out of money and cause inflation if they have ambitious programs. The pattern of progressive interests aligning with non-progressive voices is thus not new. I am seeing it again in the context of the public health debate, which, in part, explains why our world is in such a Covid-mess. It isn’t all bad today – there is some nice music to finish, being Wednesday.
My blog is on holiday until Monday, January 3, 2022. The baffling quiz at the coming weekend will still appear. While the local beach is enticing I am actually in personal lockdown while I finish some outstanding (and late) writing commitments.
It’s Wednesday and a shorter blog post, which includes the latest from Turkey and some music. The mainstream narrative against Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has been ramped up significantly in recent weeks as a result of events in Turkey, where, up until yesterday, the currency had depreciated significantly. The screams for interest rate rises from bankers etc (of course! they profit or protect foreign debt exposure) have been deafening. But the most recent monetary policy decision was on December 16, 2021, when the CBRT reduced its policy rate (the one-week repo auction rate) from 15 per cent to 14 per cent. The ‘markets’ can’t really get a handle on the current government’s thinking because it is running against the mainstream in several ways, including cutting rates to reduce inflationary pressures (see Press release on Interest Rates – from the CBRT). Overnight a big swing happened after the government made a significant fiscal policy announcement. That will further confound the markets who were forced to scramble to close out short-selling positions as the lira appreciated by around 25 per cent in one day. The fiscal squeeze worked. You couldn’t make this stuff up.