Saturday Quiz – August 9, 2014 – answers and discussion

Here are the answers with discussion for yesterday’s quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
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    Saturday Quiz – August 9, 2014

    Welcome to the Billy Blog Saturday Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.
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      Posted in Saturday quiz | 3 Comments

      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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        Australian labour force data – policy failure now stark

        Today’s release of the – Labour Force data – for July 2014 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a deteriorating situation. The Australian labour market is weakening. While the participation rate rose by 0.1 points, which pushed extra workers into the labour force,the negative employment growth was well below the underlying population growth and so unemployment would have risen without the participation rate rise. In fact, unemployment rose sharply in July to 6.4 per cent. This is a terrible outcome. There are now 789 thousand officially counted as unemployed. Overall, the labour market is scudding along a very flat path and unemployment continues to eke its way up. The teenage labour market also weakened and in my view represents a national emergency. Overall, the policy failure at the federal level is now stark.
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          Posted in Labour Force | 10 Comments

          Intergenerational fairness improved by fiscal deficits

          There was an interesting article in the UK Guardian today (August 6, 2014) – Debt and housing costs make young worse off than past generations – which reported on the so-called ‘intergenerational fairness index’ published by the – Intergenerational Foundation, which is a UK-based organisation which “researches fairness between generations” and believes that “government policy must be fair to all”. The – 2013 Edition – is the most most recent published version of the index. The UK Guardian journalist has the most recent index, which has not yet been publicly released (probably in London later today). The points I wish to make are not dependent on knowing the detail of the 2014 result. My concern is about principles and basic neo-liberal macroeconomic myths that are embedded in an otherwise reasonable exercise. A case of progressives shooting themselves in the foot again!
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            Posted in Economics, UK Economy | 15 Comments

            When the left became lost – Part 1

            I read a book a long time ago (1994) called “The Principle of Duty: An Essay on the Foundations of Civic Order”. I note it was republished in 2009. The book by David Selbourne – who is a British philosopher and these days writes regularly for the British magazine New Statesman. His latest article (July 24, 2014) – How the left was lost: the need to relearn what true progress means – reprises the argument made in his book. He has been making the argument for a long time, which, in itself is not a bad thing if it a reflection of a good idea being ignored. At the time I read the book the Dark Age of neo-liberalism that we are within was forming but its internal contradictions had not yet manifested fully. But the left had certainly lost direction by then, getting caught up in a Post Modernist haze with career politicians and their union buddies abandoning progressive principles and, instead, adopting neo-liberal economic stances to prove that they were ‘responsible’. The aim – to get power. That was the end game. Selbourne’s book and current article captures a lot of that but, I think, also misses some vital parts of the story.
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              Posted in Economics, Politics | 38 Comments

              Information is dangerous for neo-liberals

              On Friday, I reported that a senior psychologist working in the off-shore detention centres was alarmed at the growing mental health problems of children of refugee-seeking parents who are detained with their families in these hell-hole prisons that Federal Government has set up in PNG and elsewhere. I noted the doctor had admitted to a National Inquiry that he was told by the Department of Immigration to take out some of the damaging research evidence covering the incidence of mental illness in the off-shore refugee prisons. Here is a followup of how systematic the government is in using its power to repress the release of information that might alter the public perception of its competence and desirability.
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                Posted in Freedom, Labour Force | 16 Comments

                Saturday Quiz – August 2, 2014 – answers and discussion

                Here are the answers with discussion for yesterday’s quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
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                  Saturday Quiz – August 2, 2014

                  Welcome to the Billy Blog Saturday Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.
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                    Friday lay day blog

                    It is Friday and so a short blog only. It has been a terrible week for Australian government abuse of human rights. I have dealt with the treatment of the unemployed already this week. Yesterday, it was revealed that the federal government is exhibiting the same behaviour that characterises totalitarian regimes. We often get moralising lectures from so-called liberals about abuses in, say North Korea, including the suppression of information which helps the regime sustain activities that would not be tolerated by the public if they were aware. Welcome to Australia.
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                      Posted in Friday | 7 Comments