Thursday, 31 October 2013

Around the Traps 2/11/13

It is time for Around the Traps.
Too many quality articles to comment on separately but David Glasner, Kruggers, Nick Rowe, Simon Wren-Lewis, Matt Cowgill et al are in sparkling form. AND Francess Woolley is BAACK!

I will update on Sunday

Northern America

Andrew Gelman ( The king of the p values)
Dave Giles (the bespectacled econometric genius)
Dianne Coyle + Frances Woolley ( quirky and book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Costs of Austerity

Simon Wren-Lewis examines the official costs of Austerity in Europe.
please note that Europe did not get any growth what so ever by imposing these policies when their economies were slowing. It made their economies WORSE!

Here is a table he uses in his article

GDP losses due to Eurozone fiscal consolidation (including spillovers) 2011-13. Source European Economy Economic Papers 506, Table 5.

Impact on GDP 2013
Cumulative Impact 11-13

Note where it starts. It isn't when the GFC occurred but well after .
Note too the cumulative impact on the economy.
Those fools who say Greece has not adopted austerity at all should apologize!

Okay any sane person knows you do not impose austerity policies when the economy is slowing. Almost all countries which did this in response to the GFC had a DEPRESSION which is not a recovery!

The time to do it is when the economy is humming along fine thank you very much. Bill Clinton did this, Paul Keating and Peter Costello did this in Australia.

Keynes 4  Austerians 0!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The pricing of Carbon

Just compare and contrast

Here is John Quiggin  and there is Samuel J .

Note too the comments generated.

Now guess which one of these three  whoopsy  two  believed the most contractionary budget since 1971 was expansionary!

Say no More! Oh Forrest

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Lou Reed RIP

Lou Reed was one of the greats  in rock and roll music.

His live albums Rock n Roll Animal and then Lou Reed Live were possibly the best ever live albums.

His 1975  live performances at the Hordern pavilion were the best live acts I have ever seen. It was just like the above albums. As far as I am concerned they were the best concerts I ever saw. Rock'n'roll Animal was the best live album I have ever heard.

The concert was just like the album. So here is what it was like .

First Intro and then Sweet Jane. That is Steve Hunter on guitar.

 and then to end it all  rock'n'roll


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Around the Traps 25/10/13

It is time for Around the Traps. Dave Giles is back from his hairdresser and actually has some articles!
Nick Rowe, Kruggers and Simon Wren-Lewis are still in god good form. I have enhanced the Climate section after finding out about Roger Jones's blog. Andrew Gelman is always good value. Wonk is always valuable reading and Voxwonk has again some interesting articles. As an aside I find Chris Dillow, a Marxist, surprisingly interesting reading.
Great weekend reading!

Cricket all day tomorrow and Junior Representative Cricket has started in Sydney and I will be umpiring so updates on perhaps Monday morning

Australia, Australia,Australia,Oy,Oy,Oy
Canada and some other country
Europe  (or is it France and other countries)

Brian Banisch ( Climate)
Dave Giles ( the bespectacled  eccentric econometrics guru)
Dianne Coyle and Frances Woolley ( Where for art thou Frances?)


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Castle: Was there method in Marlowe's madness?

We have now had 5 episodes in series 6 of Castle and I can now shout from the rooftops Marlowe has his mojo back. ( I am saying Marlowe but including the whole team here.)  I might add it is about time.

It is fantastic to have that eager enthusiasm to watch the next episode ( over the Internet) and simply enjoy the moment and know this is the GREATEST series of all time!

IMHO there NEVER will be two people in a series who act as they are totally in love as Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. This gives the series its magic.

But to our topic at large. We have been quite critical of the final arc and the first two episodes here.

(See castle-is-it-about-to-jump-shark? , castle-beckett-watershed-dc-job-and-restcastle-questions-and-some-advice-for-Andrew-Marlowe and maybe even castle-debate-about-andrew-marlowe )

However let us give Mr Marlowe the benefit of the doubt. What if his main story was Beckett learning from her many mistakes. After All he paints her as stupid and selfish BUT we know overall she is not like that.

(Even some of us ageing people have been known to be stupid and selfish but change when given advice from our wives!)
We know Beckett really did not think about both the DC job nor her relationship very much when she accepted the DC job.
She showed a complete lack of self awareness on her part ( i.e. she did not understand what made her tick).
She has no idea of what getting engaged meant nor how the job would impact her,Castle and Caskett.

She is unquestionably a far different woman since the engagement and since the sacking.

This I believe Marlowe is showing the whole DC job to be her watershed moment except it is a lengthy watershed moment and ongoing.

She is growing emotionally and maturing in the relationship. Let us remember she has little experience of this compared to Castle. (How ironic she was suspicious of Castle at first but he has vastly more experienced than her in lengthy relationships.)

Thus I find it quite brave of Marlowe to portray Beckett as both stupid and selfish for a short time however I do applaud his general direction of her as a person.

She has learnt from her mistakes. A person who went to business school could not have done better!

Beckett revealed in the episode she moved into a place with a bloke in her life. more grist to the mill for my married man thesis. ( see Kate Beckett update )

The bushfires and climate change

In the recent bushfires Greens MP apparently wrote a newspaper article the innumerate Andrew Bolt disagreed with.
Via Brian Banisch I came across Roger Jones rebuttal.

Then Roger has written fire-and-climate-no-smooth-ride.

Monday, 21 October 2013

A short note on the history of this blog

I started up this blog in September 2012. The very first article showed how John Roskam of IPA infamy either did not know his subject or was extremely misleading in his knowledge of 'facts'.

I also entertained the fact that the essential poll seemed out of kilter with the other polls.

Since then many articles have been written.
A few things that have occurred are thus:

  • I started Around The Traps . It had modest beginnings. My idea was simply to show up the 'best' articles I had seen on blogs.Since then it has blossomed. I read a lot more blogs, the articles of 'quality' have increased and other people tell us of articles I have not come across. Here Mark Thoma must have an honourable mention. He has a daily links section on his blog and I do find articles I haven't come across.
  • It seems this has become a resource for people as the numbers on the various Around the Traps  are increasing all the time. If so I am glad to have helped out.
  • I read a lot more different blogs than I previously did. I found out about Andrew Gelman and Dave Giles on statistics and econometrics respectively and now follow each religiously. I found out about Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Tim Harford, Dianne Coyle and Chris Dillow from Simon Wren-Lewis's excellent blog . He also has a link to Vox which is not to be missed. Brian Banisch started up his excellent climate clippings at LP
  • I found out about David Glasner via a debate on Keynes and have remained a fan of his ever since.
  • Similarly in Australia Ricardo Ambivalence writes high quality articles that should never be missed.
  • I hardly comment these days. Possibly the reason is i do not have to. If something is on my mind I can write about it here.
  • My wife complains to me I am on the computer for too long at night. Reading blog articles can be time consuming!
  • The number of people coming here to read has increased over time. Around The Traps ( naturally ) has the largest numbers but there are also large numbers of Castle fans out there, particularly in Russia
  • I am still perplexed why I get so many comments to me via e-mail and not via the comments section
I thought when I started this blog I would write a lot on sport but this has not happened. I did not think I would become a Caskett shipper simply because I wrote about the series. nor did I think I would attempt to put on music tracks every Sunday but when I can that is what I do.

All in all I have enjoyed myself. I hope you have as well.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Keynesianism and Big Government

I was intrigued by a piece at Mark Thoma's blog on ideology-and-macroeconomics.

Mark looks at a conversation between Arnold Kling and Scott Summer on whether keynesian economics always leads to bigger government. The short answer is of curse it doesn't.
John Quiggin and Henry Farrell showed this some time ago as well.  (Quite ironically they show that keynesian economics is much tougher on fiscal policy in the good times than classical economics is.)

Let us do the expurgated version. Stimulus projects are always of a short -term nature. So at some time the expenditure finishes and you are back to where you were beforehand.
A look here confirms this for Australia.

Arnold Kling claims that although Mark Thoma and Paul Krugman agree with the hard keynesianism in good times they are yet to advocate this in the USA.

Me thinks Arnold has forgotten the lessons of 1937 in the USA and a repeat in Japan in the 90s where premature fiscal tightening cut off a budding recovery. This is why most fiscal consolidation programs are gradual. I know both Kruggers and Mark are well aware of this in the USA and the US recovery is by no means robust as yet otherwise the Fed would not be still engaging in QE!

In Australia our economy is in slowdown mode as mining softens and the terms of trade has lead to below trend nominal GDP growth rates.Now is not the time here to engage in fiscal consolidation. You simply let the automatic stabilisers do their job. This means no fiscal stimulus as well.

All in all this is yet another example of some people having little idea of what keynesian economics entails.

( I am not including Arnold nor Scott in this comment by the way.)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Around the Traps 18/10/13 Nobel Prize Edition

It is time for Around the Traps. In the wonk section you will see a number of articles on the prize winners in economics.They are in bold and larger than normal and all together.
Dave Glasner has two outstanding articles for those interested in economic history and a must read in book review, Andrew Gelman is always good value, Vox is always interesting HOWEVER Dave Giles is a bad boy. not one article this week!! Dave did actually write an article on the nobel prize. Good boy Dave!
What has happened to Frances Woolley?

Will update on Sunday as Saturday is all cricket. Cricket of course is the best example of a highly cultural nation!

Northern America
nuttin yet

Brian Banisch ( Climate)
Andrew Gelman ( King of the p Values)

Dave Giles ( the bespectacled econometric genius)

Dianne Coyle & Frances Woolley ( Quirky + Book Reviews)


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Greg Sheridan and Sinclair Davidson are INCOMPETENT

Wow Greg Sheridan and Sinclair Davidson do a tag team on competing for just who is the more incompetent on the topic of international schemes to price carbon.

They both must have missed The WORLD BANK  or maybe the OECD or how about the IMF  ( look at the links) .  Funny about that.

Anybody else would be embarrassed by making such a false accusation but not these two!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tony Abbott is dreaming!

Tony Abbott is dreaming if he thinks the threat of a double dissolution will stop the current Senate voting against his proposed legislation on abolishing a fixed price on carbon.
 ( There is the question on whether he could call one anyway. see link at the bottom of the page.)

Imagine he did call a double dissolution.

This would mean the next half senate election would be out of kilter with the house of representatives.

He then would either :
1) have to have a separate half senate election and hope history does not repeat itself. The last time this occurred in 1967 there was a massive swing against the government. The electorate simply made it into a large by-election or
2) have an early election combining the house of representatives and the half Senate as normal.  how do you think punters out there would like to have have not one but two early elections?

That is why Tony Abbot is dreaming. Just remember it looks likely the new Senate in July will pass his legislation so the threat then looks even more shallow.

See Here for an interesting paper on double dissolutions courtesy of Antony Green.


Here is MUMBLE

Monday, 14 October 2013

The New ALP Team

The ALP have a new leadership team.
Bill Shorten won the leadership contest which included party members voting for the first time and Tanya Plibersek is the new Deputy Leader.
Bill Shorten will do a good job as Leader. He knows how to use the news cycle and how to address points so people can understand the message in a succinct fashion.

Tanya Plibersek was a reasonably successful minister, is telegenic which never hurts and also can carry a message well over the media.

HOWEVER, one has to wonder why anyone would want to be an Opposition Leader after a Government has changed hands. Mumble  spells out what usually happens in these circumstances.

Shorten has not yet finalised his team but it is off to a bad start. Anna Burke, one of the better Speakers we have seen in recent times ( and remember it was a minority government which made her job very very hard) was overlooked inexplicably.
Don Farrell has a guernsey yet he was not re-elected as a Senator.  These a but two examples of factions rewarding hacks not talent.

Having said that the ALP should target obvious weaknesses in the government and concentrate on them. Bronwyn Bishop will undoubtedly be one. She has neither the intellect nor the temperament to be speaker.
Joe Hockey is looking like another. He appears to be a person who has just been given the portfolio.
Scott Morrison, of course is another.

One thing is for certain there will be failures and success of which people will be surprised about on both sides of parliament

Do not try and be 'smart'. Just highlight the contradictions and inconsistencies between their stance in Opposition and what they are doing in Government.

However just remember the Government isn't likely to lose a lot of mileage in their first term. You only have to look at the first term of the last time the Liberals were in Government to see that. Sacked Ministers, rorting of allowances, oh the memories. you only have to look at the new State governments at present to see major setbacks do not get much traction in the first term.
You simply have to hang in there and keep on doing the hard yards. Being in Opposition is very hard work!

The Socceroos need a new Coach!

After our second successive 0-6 defeat The coach of the Socceroos was sacked.

I have to say such performances were on the cards given the way the team was performing and the lack of any comprehensible team formation.

One large problem the incoming coach will have is having to ditch most of the older players for younger ones. This will make it very hard to get any sort of team cohesion so close to the World Cup.

For my money the new coach needs to be in charge for the World Cup, The Asian Cup ( in 2015) and then for the World Cup qualifiers and therefore hopefully for the next World Cup.

The one person who should be reflecting on this situation is Frank Lowy. It was he who appointed Pim Verbeck who although he got Australia to the World Cup was totally unprepared for it once we played in it.

Inexplicably Lowy did not learn from this failure at all. His thinking has been far too short term and correspondingly not enough long term.

The A-League is now going gangbusters, David Gallup looks to be comfortable as CEO of FFA so we just need the Socceroos to play with the passion, skill and commitment we expect of them!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Roland Kirk

Roland Kirk is quite simply the BEST sax player I have ever seen. This video doesn't do him justice!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Around the Traps 11/10/13

It is time for Around the Traps again.

I am coaching cricket on Saturday morning and umpiring on Saturday afternoon and I am sharing a Rosemount Balmoral on Sunday Lunch with an old mate so I may have to update on Monday!!

For Stats junkies Andrew Gelman and the cleanshaven  business suited Dave Giles are in sparkling form. ( there appears to be over a 1,000 people in OZ who love Dave besides me!)
The Evergreen David Glasner is wonderful on his latest tome on Hawtrey. Simon Wren-Lewis writes about Austerity again and in  Vox there is a great article on World Cup football and game theory. However its all good!
Noah Smith writes from his hiatus!

Updated on Sunday!


Canada and something shutdown

Brian Banisch ( Climate)
Andrew Gelman ( Stats stuff)
Dave Giles ( Econometrics)
Dianne Coyle & Frances Woolley (quirky + book reviews)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Is Steve Kates delusional or simply an Idiot?

We are used in data free irrational rants from Steve Kates but yesterday he went into overdrive.

He 'looked' at Greece and suggested that the reason Greece was about to experience growth for the first time since 2008 was because the budget was being balanced.

Well I went and looked at the latest IMF report.

Wow guess what it showed a lot of what Kates said was complete and utter cobblers.

First let us go through what Keynesian economics would say about Greece.
Given the private sector has been contracting ever since the GFC any Government imposing austerity would make the economy worse . This occurred.
It would only get weaker if the CHANGE in the structural part of the  budget was larger than the year previous. This occurred.If the change is smaller then it would be positive for the economy.
see Here for example. update This is even better

Kates then goes on to say even though there has been no growth since 2008 this only occurred in the public sector. The private sector continued to grow. Now dear reader when you examine the data in the IMF report can you see this? No? No-one can. Kates is simply making stuff up as he always does.

Have a look at the private sector in terms of consumption and investment. When does it become positive . Around 2015 as the IMF projects after a tentative recovery in 2014.

If the private sector was in such a healthy state wouldn't investment be rising over that time instead of FALLING?

This is another of the Kates fictional stories like the 10 fiscal stimuli's that never occurred in Japan during the 90s or the only reason classical economics has never worked was because all the statisticians were Keynesians!

Put Kates in a white jacket ans stick him in a mental institution. The man is seriously deranged and has no idea of reality!

And yes you can tell I'm bored!


An e-mailer makes the valid point if Kates is to be consistent about Austerity promoting growth in a recession then why did it take so long?
I am afraid Kates has never been consistent except in being wrong!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Castle: A debate about Andrew Marlowe

The Lovely Lady from Writing on the Castle Walls has written a lengthy answer to a very good question HERE.

I would like to explore the issues here as Fans in Castledom are split over Andrew Marlowe. The Lovely Lady is most definitely a fan and I am no longer.

So here goes.
Just before that however my feelings on    castle-is-it-about-to-jump-sharkcastle-beckett-watershed-dc-job-and-rest and castle-questions-and-some-advice-for-Andrew Marlowe.

Okay now whose show is it?
Once the show hits the TV screens it is the fans show. It is a bit like football. The team I support in MY team.
As such the fans always deserve their questions to be answered. At this stage the major questions from the final arc of series 5 have not been answered.They can't all be answered on the screen because of time constraints but surely the Paley panel is the ideal time to do that. But all questions and anger of the final arc of series 5 were totally ignored.
This merely intensifies feelings that they didn't realise the extent of the mistakes they made in the  episodes.
The best example of this is the suddenness of Beckett being an idealistic homicide detective and then hey presto she is an ambitious career driven woman. Why did this occur, how did this occur, when did this occur? We still do not know yet it is intrinsic to the final arc.

Before we examine the job in DC let us decide on what is bad writing.
 I think the best description of bad writing involves the writers writing something that is completely inconsistent and contradictory to the 'canon' of the series. It would also involve being lazy in research.

Now the job in DC was seen by most fans as fictional. Afterall you can't have it being an Agency then a Task force and then the Deputy Director of the FBI ringing up Gates if it wasn't!
However Castle fans are used to a reasonable amount of authenticity.
Here are just some of the problems emanating from the job.
  • A job which is involved in national security would not have people being invited to an interview. They would have to apply.
  •  A person who ONLY had experience in homicide would be rejected.
  • Any applicant would have a large dossier on them.
  • In Beckett's case there would be a HUGE red light on why she was suspended. When they learn't she went rogue she would be rejected.
  • All applicants would be screened for psychological tests and as well as being examined on their record. It would not take long for Beckett to be screened out because of her emotional and psychological empathy for the victims of murder. we actually see this in episode 3 of series 6.
  • They would know she had no partners before Castle and examine carefully why Castle was the only partner she ever accepted.
Hence even if you take poetic licence to its most extreme and imagine Beckett would be interviewed for the DC job no competent interviewer would offer her the job.

The fact she accepts the job offer means she has absolutely no self awareness at all.
The fact she was offered the job shows that the interviewer was totally incompetent.

The fact that Beckett accepts a marriage proposal and then in the next second tells Castle she has accepted a job offer which is incompatible with that acceptance shows Beckett to be quite selfish and self-centered however her background of both getting her Father off the demon drink and her sense of justice for victims shows her to be very altruistic!

The fact that Series 6 shows Beckett only realising the problems of the job in terms of the Caskett relationship, of having a different partner, of homicide being totally different to issues of national security means she put no forethought at all into what the job would mean to her and to her relationship with Castle.. In other words Marlowe and co have shown Beckett to be quite stupid and fickle.

This puts people such as the lovely Lady who are Marlowe lovers in a quandary.
Either Marlowe and co are good writers and Beckett is both selfish and stupid or she isn't and the writers have been poor writers since the final arc. They cannot have it both ways.

As ALWAYS ( Castle pun intended)