Missing Link Friday – Left-wing Paulbots, the Great Gatsby curve and the politics of evil technologies

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."

Left-wing Paulbots are go! Left-wingers, greens and progressives should be supporting Ron Paul‘s bid for the Republican nomination, writes Leichhardt Greens Councillor, Daniel Kogoy.

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.

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On your Marx
On your Marx
9 years ago

Noah Smith has a very good (and long) article on Krueger’s claim and its ‘lies’.

Excellent for wonks

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Industry subsidies and political tribalism:

All I have against electric cars and windmills is that I think they owe their existence to government subsidies aimed at highly dubious outcomes.

I’m aware that there are government subsidies for power, oil&gas and finance which I oppose also, but I firmly believe that those industries would exist without government subsidy.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Noah Smith is a very talented guy. I think (and hope) he will exert considerable influence on public economic discourse over coming years.

Pedro
Pedro
9 years ago

Perhaps John Q’s perplexion is due to thinking about the cultural right, which includes heaps of people who hate dirty hippies but otherwise share most of his views, though they might not realise it. I don’t know many people who can say yay for the free market without then enumerating the yes-buts. The country party is subsidy central (and pretty big on redistribution too).

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

I know, Don, which is why my comment omits the word nuclear :)
But I support nuclear in Australia only as a lesser (and possibly less expensive) evil compared to every other scheme I’ve heard of to replace coal.

paul walter
paul walter
9 years ago

Apart from the collapse in poll numbers for the Mitt and Nooties “Islamic” take on marriage, the big furphy this week from the msm is that Ron Paul is “left”.
Paul and Noot represent right libertarian and neo con imperatives,altho Paulhas ben rightly criticalof USforeign policy. Romney is of the neolib wing and the evidence is that he is a fair representation of the ideology at a personal and business level, which has him as much a threat to democracy as the mad uncles.
Sorry, wont sign away my life for a joint, but can understand the ire directed at Paul, given some of his criticisms of Wall
st and its influences; also it’s true that Paul scathed the likes of Santorum in public debates on these things.
Yet Paul is backed by right wing Wall streeters and corporate mavericks. The (wilfully?) nebulous Paul program would ultimately be diverted to the same sort of thing as Romney would impose; Cameron style austerity and an actual suppression of civil liberties.
Most fruitful to regard him as a US version of a Hansonist spoiler, rather than a lefty.

Richard Tsukamasa Green
Richard Tsukamasa Green(@richard-green)
9 years ago

Patrick – Did you omit motor vehicles (requiring as they do road infrastructure) for the same reason?

Mel
Mel
9 years ago

Lots of good stuff there, Don, but you missed the feuding over our university commissars’ ruling that all universities should now yield to the benign racism of embedding “Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in all university curricula …”

What a f#cking patronising A grade wank!