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Pernicious inflation and an imploding Europe – a few things for Joe to think about

February 22nd, 2015 Comments off

22-02-2015 consumerprices

  • Feeling down – Deflation can be a good thing. But today’s version is pernicious – “Deflation poses several risks, some well-understood, one not. … The least-understood danger is also the most serious, because it is already here. Deflation makes it harder to loosen monetary policy. … Policymakers should be more worried than they appear to be, and their actions to avert deflation should be bolder. Governments need to boost demand by spending more on infrastructure; central banks should err on the side of looseness.”
  • An orderly Greek exit is the only option for Europe – “The euro will eventually break up. But, before it does, we’ll see a lot more democratic transgressions as big countries, aided by the Brussels machine, impose their will on smaller neighbours.’If we aim deliberately at impoverishment, vengeance, I dare predict … will not limp,’ Keynes wrote in 1919. ‘But who can say how much is endurable, or in what direction men will seek at last to escape from their misfortunes?’ I’m not predicting war in Western Europe. But I am saying the eurozone will generate ever-rising tensions and spiralling financial instability until it finally implodes or is deliberately dismantled.
  • The hideous dialectic of Isis savagery – “The methods of the jihadi blackshirts are chillingly savage. But Isis is chillingly smart too.”
  • Facing Up to the Democratic Recession  – Democracy has been in a global recession for most of the last decade, and there is a growing danger that the recession could deepen and tip over into something much worse. Many more democracies could fail, not only in poor countries of marginal strategic significance, but also in big swing states such as Indonesia and Ukraine (again). There is little external recognition yet of the grim state of democracy in Turkey, and there is no guarantee that democracy will return any time soon to Thailand or Bangladesh. Apathy and inertia in Europe and the United States could significantly lower the barriers to new democratic reversals and to authoritarian entrenchments in many more states.”
  • Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? “We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition. “Some even have doubts about the moon landing.”
  • The Great Jewish Exodus – “Israel is indeed the home of every Jew, and that is important, a guarantee of sorts. It is equally important, however, that not every Jew choose this home. That is another kind of guarantee, of Europe’s liberal order, of the liberal idea itself.”

22-02-2015 shape

Time to start taking notice of Victorian opinion polls

March 1st, 2014 Comments off

With only nine months to go before the Victorian state election we are now at the point where opinion polls start to tell us something relevant. And the message from this morning’s Nielsen survey result in The Age is that the Liberal-National coalition government has a real battle on its hand to win again. The Age reports that the poll of 1000 Victorian voters taken during the past week shows the Coalition’s primary vote stuck at 41 per cent, well below the peak of 45 per cent achieved at the November 2010 election, with Labor on 37 per cent and the Greens on 13 per cent.

1-03-2014 victorianpoll

Not of such relevance in my opinion is the Nielsen poll of voting intentions in New South Wales where the next election is 13 months away. As published in the Sydney Morning Herald the poll has Labor hitting the front on the two party preferred vote for the first time since its disastrous result in 2014. If I was a Sydney Liberal I would not be at panic stations yet but I would be trying to persuade the Daily Telegraph to stop taking cheap shots at Premier Barry O’Farrell.

1-03-2014 nswpollJust in passing I note that in Victoria, where the opinion poll probably does say something meaningful, The Age consigned it to an inside page. In NSW, where the next election is much further away. the new tabloid Saturday Herald used the egg beater to make it a tasty front page tale.