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Cash

Dispatches from the Core

We are lucky that, last year, economist Aaron Schiff provided us with an excellent collective noun for a grouping of economists. Owls, in concert, form a parliament. Economists, in convention, form a core. Or at least they hope to. In economics, the ‘core’ is the set of alternatives that cannot be beaten by some option from outside of the set. So a good economics conference will bring together all of the ideas that cannot be beaten by ideas that didn’t... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
7 July, 2018
economy newspaper1

The lack of interest in the public interest

Late last month Housing New Zealand was widely condemned for being overzealous about amphetamine contamination.A report by the chief scientist had concluded that tenants were being evicted and state houses de-contaminated when there was no clear scientific evidence of a threat to human health.Some media articles asked how this could happen.  How could perhaps $100 million be spent, people evicted and houses left vacant by Housing New Zealand alone for no good reason?Having studied the analytical basis for government spending... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
The National Business Review
29 June, 2018
Socialism fist

Millennial ignorance

"One of the uses of history is to free us of a falsely imagined past”, the late American legal scholar Robert Bork once wrote. One might add that another use is the prevention of repeat mistakes. But a new paper from our colleagues at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney suggests the younger generation is bound to make wrong choices because they know little history anymore. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
29 June, 2018
Taranaki oil2

Sovereign risk and the divine right to rule - at a whim

Last week a long-standing geologist friend chewed my ear about the government’s irresponsible ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration. I call it irresponsible because on the evidence no meaningful consideration was given to the interests of New Zealanders. Industry was not consulted; Cabinet was reduced to a rubber stamp. The ban was not prior Labour Party policy. Respected New Zealand Herald columnist Fran O’Sullivan wrote that it was rushed through by the three coalition party leaders “so it... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
22 June, 2018
Coal wagon

An assault on our senses

A couple of years ago we got the lads together and set off on a South Island road trip. It was a great opportunity to get away from the rat race and show some of my North Island mates around the South Island. Beers, banter, and beaut scenery. On day three we pulled into Westport. “What’s that smell?”, asked one of the blokes. Bemused, I responded to my North Island friend, “Coal, mate. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
22 June, 2018
Euro

Nothing is forever (except for the euro crisis)

In a different country, a long time ago, I once set out to be a weekly columnist. And it was no ordinary column. No, at the time I thought I had just landed a job for life.It was in early 2010, right at the start of the Greek debt crisis, when I submitted a one-off opinion piece to the Australian online magazine Business Spectator.To be frank, I did not even write it with any employment-seeking intentions. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
22 June, 2018
Waste

Waste not, store that

Dilbert creator Scott Adams likened knowing a bit of economics to having a mild superpower.High among economists’ mild superpowers is the ability to use formal mathematics to define what words mean. Working through the implications often leads to implications that seem counterintuitive but are hard to overturn.It also makes it hard to read documents like Auckland Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.Let’s think about waste and then come back to Auckland’s plan – but we’ll leave the maths to one... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
15 June, 2018
Earthquake1

Preparing for the big one

Having a change in government is a bit like moving house.When you pack up the house for a move, you get to take a hard look at a lot of stuff that’s accumulated over the years – things that might have been a mistake to buy in the first place and almost certainly should have been gotten rid of ages ago.It’s an opportunity for clearing out the junk where you don’t really need to admit that you had made a... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
1 June, 2018

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