The Jericho amendments: At Grog’s Gamut Greg Jericho checks out the Australian Public Service Commission’s new guidelines for public servants engaging in public comment. Some of the principles are "so obvious or dumb as could only be written by a public servant", says Jericho, while another is "utterly stupid."
Ron Paul on the "whole global warming terrorism" thing: In 2009 Paul said that the Copenhagen treaty on climate change "can’t help the economy. It has to hurt the economy and it can’t possibly help the environment because they’re totally off track on that. It might turn out to be one of the biggest hoaxes of all history, this whole global warming terrorism that they’ve been using, but we’ll have to just wait and see, but it cannot be helpful. It’s going to hurt everybody.” He made similar comments in an interview with Fox Business (at 7:00).
Industry subsidies and political tribalism: At current levels, subsidies to the car industry are third-order, writes John Quiggin. So why all the fuss? "It’s taken for granted on the cultural right that some technologies and industries (nuclear power, oil, finance) are good and others (wind energy, electric cars, Hollywood) are evil – essentially a mirror image of what they think we on the left think. For people who are supposed to believe in the free market, this is a big problem."
There’s a margin in error: "Like advertising, journalism now is mostly about constructing a version of the truth that suits a chosen market. It’s about making an impact and attracting eyeballs and building a brand. And the greatest shame of it all is that a gullible public buys it." Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate.
Voting is about values not interests: "It isn’t rational to vote for your economic interests. It isn’t rational in the economist’s sense to vote at all. Why not, because your individual vote doesn’t count." The Philosopher’s Beard.
The Great Gatsby Curve: Alan Krueger calls it the ‘Great Gatsby curve’ — the finding that countries that have more inequality across households also have more persistence in income from one generation to the next. As Matthew Yglesias points out, that’s bad news for Republican claims that America doesn’t need to redistribute income because it’s the land of equal opportunity and upward mobility.
Hands up if you want downward mobility: "Someone in society is going to end up doing crappy jobs," writes Megan McArdle, "because trash needs to be hauled and Alzheimer’s patients need to have their diapers changed. The primary job of a middle class parent is to ensure that their children are not those people."
Technological change and economic growth : Steve Kates picks a fight with a ‘socialist’ blogger who claims that free markets drive technological change and generate wealth. “Gimme a break" he says, "It is free markets that drive tech change and generate wealth. But it is not ‘tech change’ as such, but entrepreneurs, those people, like Mitt Romney, who do the driving and if they succeed, end up very wealthy. To present it as ‘tech change’ means that rubbish like the NBN or batts in the belfry might get counted."
Mobile phones and the price of fish: Mobile phones are transforming the way people in countries like India do business. In a 2007 paper economist Robert Jensen explained how access to mobile telecommunications allowed fishermen in Kerala to get the best prices for their catch.
"My mother died in 1976. Is she all right?" Kerryn Goldsworthy visits the supermarket.