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Friday lay day – being ashamed of one’s nation

It is my Friday lay day blog – a recent institution designed to give me more time for other things. This week, an Australian author, Richard Flanagan, won the 2014 Man Booker literary award for the best book of the year. It was the first year the prize has been extended to all English language literature published in Britain. That is, it included American writers this time. Previously it was confined to that curiosity collection of nations called the Commonwealth, a residual from the British colonial days plus the Republic of Ireland. The book recounts his father’s experiences on the Burma railway during World War 2. The author has caused a stir back here after he told the press after receiving the award that he was, in fact, “ashamed to be Australian” because of the Australian government’s approach to climate change policy and coal. Our Prime Minister has said recently that “coal is good for humanity” and his Government has scrapped taxes on mining and carbon emissions, as a sop to its rich benefactors in those sectors.

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Friday lay day

The Friday lay day comes around again. I am at present working on a paper on European unemployment clustering (a spatial econometric analysis commissioned by a leading academic journal). When we have finished I will post results in a layperson’s type of blog. I also am working on the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) book (a collection) for Edward Elgar which will come out early in 2015 (as well as my other Eurozone Groupthink book). So I need more time and hence the easier Friday. But I was watching a program on the plane yesterday about the number of people being displaced from Syria and the crisis that nations such as Turkey are now facing trying to house and feed them. Guess what? They lack basic resources because the governments claim they haven’t enough money. Austerity strikes again and as winter approaches in that region, many people including children are going to die through lack of basic care that could be at the fingertips of any number of government officials if they cared escape the neo-liberal world they are locked up within.

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Friday lay day

Its Friday lay day for me. I am up in Northern Australia until later today finalising my involvement in some projects that I have been part of. I was watching the TV in my hotel this morning after a run in the early morning humidity. There was a program on the Ebola crisis and how medical teams in Western Africa are so short of basic resources that the virus is spreading and becoming uncontrollable. The world is facing a major health crisis at present that is currently centred on the impoverished nations of West Africa. The struggle to combat the spread of the Ebola virus is being seriously hampered, if not imperiled by a lack of resources – simple things like disinfectants, drugs, staff etc. You might be wondering how the world could envision cutting the budget of the World Health Organisation, which is the prime institution charged with dealing with these sorts of crises. Well – fiscal austerity – take a bow! A class act.

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Friday lay day

Its my Friday lay day, which means a relative blog rest day. Relative is relative. This week saw the ramping up of the so-called ‘War on Terror’, which was a smokescreen George Bush and his conservative allies used to illegally invade countries that they didn’t like or who had strategic assets (such as oil) and who they knew couldn’t defend themselves. The pretext was to make the world safer but the reality is that it has made the world more dangerous. If we are to believe the press, yesterday’s raids in Sydney and Brisbane and subsequent press reporting suggests that some random citizens were about to be dragged off the street, beheaded with a nasty looking sword inscribed with Arabic characters, and then paraded on YouTube for the whole world to see. I think the whole ‘western’ response to all this is unwise.

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Friday lay day

Its Friday and my declared lay day for blogging. I am currently working on some research analysing the shift in patterns of regional unemployment in Europe as a result of the GFC and the policy austerity that followed (it is an invited paper from one of the leading regional science journals). That is my most pressing deadline. The patterns that we are picking up are interesting already and will be analysed in more formal terms using spatial econometric tools. I will report more fully when the paper is finished around the end of the month. I am also working on the completion of our Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) textbook, and a book on the evolution of MMT (due later this year). Bit busy.

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Friday lay day

Its my Friday Lay Day blog, which means I don’t really write one. I am working on an Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) volume for my publisher, Edward Elgar, which will document, to date, the key literature that I consider to be foundational to the development of what we now call MMT. I am putting the literature together and writing an extended introduction explaining how each contribution fits into the jigsaw. I am starting with Marx (of-course)! But today, I also take a moment to briefly reflect on an article that apppeared in the German Der Spiegel (September 3, 2014) – France and Friends: Merkel Increasingly Isolated on Austerity. I will follow up on this next week in more detail. The reflection is really just a segue for one of my favourite songs …

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Friday lay day

Its Friday lay day, where I don’t really write a blog anymore. Whatever! Over the last few weeks, I have written a few blogs that have examined the state of affairs in France – for example, Germany contracts as the French suggest defiance and French government in tatters and the financial markets want growth. I recall that earlier this year (January 28, 2014), the French President Francois Hollande told the press that unemployment in France had “finally peaked” (Source). Every month since he made that prediction, unemployment has risen.

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Friday lay day

Friday, and its my short or no blog day day. Today, I am hosting a Workshop in Newcastle on the Eurozone crisis. We have three papers and a panel discussion. I will post video once it has been processed. But earlier this week there was a meeting in Lindau, Germany where several Nobel prize-winning economists attended along with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Some of the economists are starting to voice their opinions more vocally now and they are very critical of the European policy makers. One might say, what took them so long.

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Friday lay day

Its Friday and my blog lay day – which might mean anything. That is, I might write no blog or just a small blog. Its what I call freedom. A big week has gone. Edward Elgar will publish the English-version of my Euro book – more details later. The Treasurer has turned his nonsensical fiscal statement into a ‘trainwreck’, we learn that the world is actually in danger of ‘global cooling’ and more NSW conservative politicians bit the dust as the corruption scandal widens. Next stop – the Federal Liberal Party administration. It is lots of fun watching the conservatives meltdown.

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Friday lay day blog

Its Friday blog lay day – which might mean anything. But today I provide some commentary on the scientific acumen of our federal government and a recipe to soothe souls torn by neo-liberal economic policies.

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