Philippine rankings for governance and business environment

Portuguese, Italian, Greek and Spanish equilibrium unemployment rates, 1968 – 2017

The Italian and Portuguese equilibrium unemployment rates aren’t that bad compared to what has happened in Spain and Greece. Their equilibrium unemployment rates are now in the mid-teens. Spanish equilibrium unemployment has been terrible for a long time.

Data extracted on 10 Nov 2015 07:07 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat

Escaping from Australian immigration detention facilities – what’s the point?

Some poor bugger died shortly after escaping from the Australian immigration detention facility on Christmas Island a few days ago. I wonder where he was intending to escape?

Christmas Island is in the middle of the Indian Ocean and the only way off is by the airport. He had nowhere to run. There would be lucky to be 2000 people living on the small island of Christmas Island so he would stand out very quickly.

Many years ago, a fight broke out one breakfast time between the different nationalities regarding the management of the canteen at the Port Hedland immigration detention facility. They resolved the differences about this largely self-managed canteen where each cooked their own foods by deciding to stage a spontaneous escape.

As they marched down the road, free at last, the manager of the facility caught up with them. He asked them where were they going? He said it already telephoned Greyhound buses and told them not to sell them bus tickets. Perth is 1300 km away from Port Hedland. The manager of the facility suggested they all come back to settle things over a cuppa as it was warming up as noon was approaching.

violence and the anti-war movement


A few days ago, Gary Becker and Richard Posner asked why there are few violent anti-war protests. They pointed to the usual suspects: no draft, the fact that the war directly affects a small portion of the population, cultural change, etc. Aside from the usual lame entries, the comments were quite good. Here’s what I would add to the discussion, based on my own research:

  • The anti-war movement has realized that violence simply isn’t effective. Few people will change their minds in response to riots. However, many voters will sympathize more if you are “for the troops” and pro-American. You can read about it here.
  • There is also a tendency to professionalize and act more like a lobbying group. The anti-war movement is trying to expand its repertoire so that it can take advantage of more routines avenues of influence, not just confrontational tactics. Read more about this…

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Gun Control Advocates Do Not Understand Gun Violence

The Modern Libertarian

Earlier this week, a nine year old Chicago boy was lured into an alleyway and brutally shot to death. Tyshawn Lee was executed because of his father’s gang ties as part of an ongoing bloody turf war. Father Pierre Stokes – a convicted felon on parole – refuses to cooperate with police and claims he has dissolved gang ties; despite a recent arrest over a .45 caliber handgun that had no serial number.

One would think that Tyshawn’s execution would be the catalyst for another nationwide debate about gun laws. After all, bloodthirsty criminals walk the streets and execute children – the very people gun control advocates claim to protect. In this day and age, however, the focus has shifted from reality to narrative.

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Who spends more than half their income on housing in the UK?

Gordon Tullock: Oral History, April 2010

Do the European welfare states free ride off American entrepreneurship and innovation?


Source: Daron Acemoglu A Scandinavian U.S. Would Be a Problem for the Global Economy –

Are land taxes the answer to house prices?

croaking cassandra

I’ve been pondering a post on land taxes for some time, but was prompted to jot something down today by a couple of recent pieces, including in today’s Herald  by two lecturers in politics at AUT, Nicholas Smith and Zbigniew Dumienski.  Sub-editors present their arguments under the headline “Land tax best fit for housing crisis”, and the authors’ own conclusion is only a little more nuanced.

Given the multiple problems stemming from Auckland’s housing crisis, an LVT stands out as the best-rounded of the policy options on the table. Not only would it address house price inflation, it could also result in a more efficient use of land, mitigate urban sprawl, lower the burden on the natural environment and reduce the risk of real estate bubbles; all without undermining the foundations of economic growth.

I’m not a land tax expert, but I’m no longer so convinced.

Which doesn’t mean…

View original post 1,447 more words

Ban foreign buyers?

If a foreigner wants to pay over the odds for my house, I will gladly separate a fool from his money.

My only regret is the Resource Management Act prevents me from building an unlimited number of additional houses to sell to cashed up foreigners.

The Sand Pit

Phil Twyford’s bill banning foreigners from buying existing New Zealand houses has been drawn from the ballot. I just have a hard time seeing the point.

Let’s work up from first principles. The price of houses depends on the supply and demand for houses, but the demand for houses is derived from the demand for housing. What do I mean? If houses didn’t supply housing services either to owners or to tenants, nobody would want the things.

Demand for housing depends on the number of people who want to live in an area. If a lot of people want to live in a place relative to the existing stock of houses, then the price of existing housing is bid up (rents) until it becomes economical to build new houses. The price of houses then derives from the expected flow of rental income that comes from them. And note that this…

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