The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

The global economy needs global regulation

Only fools and faith-driven free-market ideologues accept the notion that banks and financial markets should be unfettered by regulation. We have accepted the ‘inevitability’ of a global economy, so it is reasonable and logical to have an efficient and effective global regulatory framework.

This is the enormous challenge facing the G20 summit. Of course, achieving such a framework will be the hard part, but hopefully we will see the recognition that an effective global regulatory framework is the way forward.

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics,

Liberals still on track to irrelevance

The behavior of Federal Liberals these days reminds of the Young Liberals way back when I was first at university. But then again, they mostly are the Young Liberals from those days. Turnbull’s crash and burn strategy, while rich with purile lawyerly debating tricks, is no substitute for actually having a policy stance.

What exactly do they stand for? What would they do differently? Trouble is we have no idea, nor I suspect, do they. Our economic stimulus package would be 5% bigger/smaller than Rudd’s? That’s the problem with presuming to be the natural party of government. The economy would naturally be better under the Liberals. How so? If they have any ideas, we don’t know what they are. All we hear is political static. In a week when the Government announces a $6billion automotive industry package what do the Opposition have to say? Nothing but obsessing over whether or not Dubya knows what the G20 is and whether Rudd leaked the information. Confidence inspiring stuff – not.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, and the health of our democracy, they are determined to stick by my post-election strategy from 12 months ago. There is no evidence to suggest that the Liberals will return to Federal power any time this decade.

Filed under: Politics,

Free Market Fundamentalism

From The Age today:

“THE belief that markets tend towards equilibrium has given rise to policies which seek to give financial markets free rein; I call these policies market fundamentalism, and I contend that market fundamentalism is no better than Marxist dogma,” declares billionaire George Soros, in his book The New Paradigm for Financial Markets.

Part of the new paradigm, Mr Soros writes, is that “instead of always being right, financial markets are always wrong”. That is, investors and regulators are acting on an imperfect understanding of what is really happening in the market. Those imperfect understandings have paved the way for the current crisis.

Years ago, the rationale for the growth in new types of derivatives and credit swaps was that they would help spread or hedge against risks. Mr Soros dismisses the possibility.

“The idea that risk management can be left to the participants was an aberration,” Mr Soros writes. And only ideology, one as rigid and oversimplified as market fundamentalism, could support the notion that markets can self-regulate.

At the centre of our financial troubles is the mistaken belief that markets tend towards an equilibrium, an article of faith among free market economists.

Markets don’t tend towards equilibrium, Mr Soros writes. Instead they cannon from one unique historical event to the next. Market activity gets caught up in an initially self-reinforcing but eventually self-defeating process, which almost invariably leads to crises, he writes.

“Boom-bust processes arise out of a reflexive interaction between a prevailing trend and a prevailing misconception,” the billionaire philanthropist writes. He believes the “reflexivity” stems from the fact “people’s understanding is inherently imperfect because they are part of reality and a part cannot fully comprehend the whole”.

Another prevailing misconception is that the economics of markets are a science, he writes.

“In order to establish and protect the status of economics as a science, economists have gone to great lengths to eliminate reflexivity from their subject matter … it was a mistake to model economics on Newtonian physics.”

For markets and regulators, the certainty of economics has actually slowed effective responses to crises over the past three decades.

Ya think? Who would have imagined such heresy was possible even one year ago. How times change!

Love this quote “Another prevailing misconception is that the economics of markets are a science.” Judging by local freemarket enthusiasts I would have thought it was more a religious thing – God’s Natural Law.

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, , ,

God is Green

Film-maker Mark Dowd travels the world to question religious leaders as to why faith, the greatest motivator of man, is doing so little to confront the devastating problem of climate change. He discovers that especially in the US systematic efforts by AGW campaigners are winning over many evangelical churches and their congregations, and such will campaigns will be instrumental in effecting climate change policies.

Skeptics and deniers will be outraged, and very, very afraid.

Filed under: Big Picture, Environment, Politics, ,

Bye Bye Bushites!

ABC Onine

ABC Onine

Praise the Lord and pass the whiskey! The election of Barrack Obama to President of the United States marks the end of the toxic neocon dream – we don’t react to reality – we create reality.  The Bush Administration has been the most grotesque in US history. The foxes had finally taken over the hen-house. It was bound to end in tears, and so it has. To use some Bushite vernacular – it has been the mother of all clusterfucks.

I cannot recall a single redeeming feature of the Bush Administration, let alone three. The littany of policy disasters is mind boggling both in extent and all-encompassing range. Begun by stealing the 2000 election, to the cronyism of putting Monsanto in charge of the EPA and Halliburton in charge of the administration. Deficit creating tax cuts for the uber-wealthy – the golden boys and girls of the ponzi financial schemes and scams. Two ill-advised and botched invasions which have done nothing but breed support for Al Q’aida and run up trillion dollar budget deficits. Hurricane Katrina. The failure to plan for energy efficiency, preferring instead to wage war on oil rich dictatorships under the guise of spreading democracy and liberation, all the while enriching the coffers of Halliburton and Bush’s oil cronies. The cultivation of Christian Fundamentalists within the Administration and lobby industry while undermining the fundamental principles of the US constitution in the name of an apocalyptic Never-Ending War on Terror.

All finished off with the mother of all financial distasters when the ponzi schemes collapsed – products of the great freemarket experiment allowing the proliferation of unregulated financial systems that no-one really understood. The undoing of which almost resulted in a global meltdown, narrowly averted only by massive injections of liquidity from the public purse.

No doubt the challenges facing the Obama administration are monumental and no doubt Obama will fall short of people’s expectations. But as one commentator put it, there has been a change in chemsitry – too subtle to measure on any grid, but with profound long term effect. I think he will have a steadying and restorative influence. He possesses a noble demeanour – a refreshing change from the arrogance, ignorance and ignominy of the last eight years.

Yet, at this moment, I welcome the death of the neocon fantasy. Game over. That creaking sound you hear is the prevailing paradigm from the time of Ronald Reagan shifting to a neo Keynesian era.

Nor do I shed tears for the Bushites and their local acolytes. Rupert Murdoch and his tame tabloid attack dogs, Howard and the Howardians, the obsequious punditariat and countless other spotted Herberts who looked the other way in return for prestige and easy money leached from the blood sweat and tears of world’s less fortunate.

Good riddance.

God bless America!

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, Politics, , ,

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

Add to Technorati Favorites

Flickr Photos