I keep thinking that living in today’s world is akin to someone holding on for dear life to an aircraft they somehow got outside of, but it’s about to crash anyway. People are on edge. Societies are bending before the strain of a whole raft of factors topped by a virus that, alas, won’t go … More As the world comes undone…
A little while back some guy on social media informed me for the umpteenth time that New Zealand couldn’t afford HMS New Zealand – a major warship that the government gave to Britain in late March 1909 – because (according to him) the colony was too small, in recession and had only minimal labour force. … More How to pay for expensive government projects by drinking beer
This week New Zealand’s inflation hit a 31-year high after decades when the spectre of relentlessly rising consumer prices seemed to have been conquered forever. What happened can only partly be blamed on domestic issues – a 32 percent rise in the price of fuel, for instance, simply had to be accepted. Although that last … More The inflation monster is baaaaaaack
I watched a documentary by Noam Chomsky the other day – Requiem to the American Dream. It was thought-provoking. I remember him being invoked as a world intellectual back when I was studying anthropology – Chomsky was a linguist – and he has to be one of the most thoughtful people around today. Not everybody … More Noam Chomsky and the American dream
Just now the New Zealand property market has gone into turbo mode. It’s been hot for the past few years. Now it’s gone mad – and this in the middle of the deepest recession the country has seen since the 1930s. The country has long had a tradition of home ownership. Back in the nineteenth … More Why are houses so expensive in New Zealand?
This week governments around the world have suddenly unleashed the fiscal faucets and begun pouring money into their economies. The idea is that this will, at least in part, offset the crushing economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and – if targeted properly – will help those in need. This surely must be why we … More Covid-19 and the economic rescue packages
What worries me about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak isn’t so much the virus itself. It’s the economic effects of the way people – and societies – have been reacting to it since the outbreak began. Because of the way western economics has gone in the past forty-odd years, what economists call a ‘shock’ can have … More The coronavirus outbreak – the economic impact
As I write this the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has many unknowns, including the actual death rate. I have no doubt that many of those unknowns will be discovered; the fact that the genome has been sequenced (and shared) is a huge step up. What intrigues me is the way that this outbreak has also acted … More The coronavirus outbreak – the human cost