Russell I concur that this is the most thoughtful and informative commentary I have read on the whole saga.
My thoughts as well - thank you Russell.
There is nothing irrational about hording in shortage – quite the opposite. If people anticipate future shortage then hording now is an obvious response.
Ok - I'm not completely up on the news here. But isn't the fact of the matter that petrol isn't actually going to run out? and that within a couple of days supplies will be flowing again? If this is the case, then - assuming people are aware of these facts - hording strikes me as irrational behavior. And, just to be clear, in saying this I'm not saying that people are bad for behaving irrationally; I'm sure I would too under the circumstances.
Seems to me there are three main problems with Crampton's argument:
1. If people are behaving irrationally now (petrol hording when long run shortages are unlikely) what's to make him think they'll respond rationally to price signals? (i.e consume less petrol rather than focus their ire on petrol station owners, or panic buy more because they assume prices are going up because the stuff really is running out).
2. While, contrary to what's been claimed on this thread, Crampton does attempt to address the moral objection about the impact of the price rise on the poor, his attempts don't square with the rest of his argument. He claims that more costly fuel will only push people $20 further into debt (he must have a real small car) but either the costs will have a material impact on people's finances or they won't have a substantive impact on the queues - that's how price incentives work. Or, at least, that's how they work when people are placing a very high premium on having something, in this case petrol.
3. It ignores flow on effects -- i.e. all of a sudden it's a lot more costly to go and help people. Which is obviously bad at a time when so many people are dependent on the help of others.
Like Ben said there are lots of different species of economist out there. If anyone's interested Chris Hayes article in the Nation from a few years ago is a great intro to a bunch of thinkers who all sit somewhere to the left of the orthodoxy.
Also, Eric Crampton himself is a particular type of economist, heavily influenced by Public Choice type arguments, so I'd be careful generalising about the whole discipline from his arguments alone.
Clearly the key to great polling (and presumed electoral success) is to open your country up to mining, and demand next-to-nothing in return.
No. Clearly the key to winning an election is not to pick a fight with a uber-powerful lobby (their ads have been playing more or less non stop on telly here) when you're already hemorrhaging in the polls. It was good policy but bad politics at this particular moment. A year ago he could have pulled it off.
And just to reiterate - the mining tax wasn't everything. See the other 7 points above.
I reckon Rudd's demise came down to this:
1. No real power base in the ALP; and a tendency to centralise power which made him unpopular with many MPs.
...which would have mattered much except that:
2. There were policy stuff-ups (particularly the insulation thing), which tarnished his image.
3. And the climb down on climate change, which punctured his aire of invincibility.
4. And immigration raised its ugly political head again.
...which still wouldn't have mattered that much except that:
5. Labor started tanking in the polls.
...which still wouldn't have been enough to finish him off had he not:
6. Picked a tactically disastrous fight with the mining companies (which isn't to say the tax isn't good policy) and made a hash of it too.
7. Been so terrible on the defense on TV in recent weeks. Really poor - sounds whiney and inept.
8. While Ms Gillard has been pretty impressive.
Put all of these together and with an impending election and - wham you get an incredible reversal of political fortune.
Thanks Russell - a very nice blog post.
Agree with you completely on the splendour of health professionals.
On questions about pain, it isn't so much the "how bad on a scale of 1 - 10" that baffles me but rather the "what type of pain are you feeling?" I don't know - the sore type?
On Tramadol: very pleasant. I can remember, just after my arthritis relapsed in the wake of aortic valve replacement surgery, lying in a pool of sun at my parents' place, immobilised but with the pain melting away as the Tramadol kicked in, thinking to myself, 'maybe a broken down body isn't so bad after all if it gives me a reason to keep taking this.' Too pleasant.
(see the list of Obama's economists )
That's an interesting list. A whole heap of Bill Clinton's team; a pinch of University of Chicago (albiet liberal UC); and Bernstein and Galbraith (who are much more clearly to the left)...
Mikhail Gorbachev offers his thoughts.
Weirdly, over at The Hive, which normally doesn't get many comments there are lively discussions by people who seem to have a stake in all this. Even comments in what I assume to be Russian?
The same thing happened to the first Crooked Timber thread on the conflict. All of a sudden the polite discussions of academics were disrupted by POST IN CAPITALS AND NO SO GOOD ENGLISH.
I'd love to learn what guides these virtual flash mobs.
The bear has definitely escaped the cage.
Before the grammar of the discourse plunged at CT someone offered up a Henry Kissenger quote along the lines of 'don't expect a former great power to stay ungreat for long'. Kissenger was, alas, talking about the UK during the Falklands conflict, which kindof undermines what he was trying to say. Much more convincing in the case of Russia though...