Bad economics and double-dealing

Over the weekend a friend asked me whether I rated George Megalogenis, a former economics writer for The Australian, as a decent economic thinker. No way. That people with Megalogenis’s low level of economic thinking get respect as economic commentators should bother anyone who holds economics in high esteem. My criticism of Megalogenis applies equally across the political spectrum. Economic arrogance and stupidity is not confined to one politically oriented group.

 For example, he supported the destructive carbon tax and the daft idea that it would compel businesses to “switch to cleaner energy sources.” The idea that the tax would instead force them out of business did not occur to him anymore than the idea that the tax would lead to the dissipation of capital. But Megalogenis was not alone in this lunacy. In 2008 the Centre for Independent Studies published a monograph by John Humphreys making the same utterly absurd claims. Since then Alan Moran, Judith Sloan, Steve Kates, Sinclair Davidson, et al., have piled it on the carbon tax and also the assertion that so-called “cleaner energy sources” can support the economy.

But the funny thing is that while these free market warriors sneer at the green fanatics refusal to consider alternative views they themselves never uttered a word of criticism of John Humphreys’ CIS paper—and that includes their media mates, particularly Andrew Bolt. Even now they adamantly refuse to even mention it by name. To this very day the Institute of Public Affairs makes a particular point of avoiding any reference to Humphreys’ paper.

The only reference to its existence was by Sinclair Davidson who had the gall to describe it as a “carefully narrowly construed argument”. Utter rubbish. According to Humphreys a carbon tax would have “little or no economic cost[!]” and that the tax was “necessary” in order to “[t]o combat man-made climate change.”

Perhaps under the influence of an illegal substance Humphreys even imagined that like manna from heaven new “energy sources” would flow from the effects of a carbon tax. In fact, John Humphreys appears to do a lot of imagining. In 2009 he even conjured up in his mind a situation where he could “imagine entire workplaces getting together and jointly agreeing” to help fund a scheme to fight what he calls “anthropogenic global warming”. Regardless of the deficiencies in Megalogenis’s economics he never sought to substitute fairy dust or imaginary situations for economic policies.

Then in 2011 Sinclair Davidson proudly announced on Catallaxy that “John Humphreys and Tim Andrews have set up a Stop Gillard’s Carbon Tax page.” Ain’t that just amazing. No apologies, no explanations, no nothing. Davidson and his pals just airbrushed John Humphreys sorry record on the carbon tax out of existence. No wonder they now refuse to even acknowledge the very existence of Humphreys’ shabby paper. When Tim Andrews was asked to explain why Humphreys was working with the Stop Gillard’s Carbon Tax organisation he was unable to give a coherent answer. Evidently bad economics and double-dealing are not the province of anyone political group.

Sinclair Davidson once sneered at George Megalogenis for making the silly statement that the Gillard government was allocating capital between labour and capital. But as we can see, Davidson is in no position to sneer at anyone. Sinclair Davidson and Julie Novak made gross errors in a piece they did regarding Australia and the Great Depression. They have stubbornly refused to acknowledge their errors. Those who do not have the moral courage to publicly defend what they write should at least have the decency to cease criticising others. And that goes double for Professor Sinclair Davidson.

27 thoughts on “Bad economics and double-dealing”

  1. what’s going on here? Humphreys goes all out for a carbon tax and then he is hired to fight it!

  2. I did a google on John humphrys. His paper is called “Exploring a Carbon Tax for Australia”. I then googled the mob Gerry named. i couldnt find a word of criticism humphrys.

  3. If Gerry’s post is accurate, then I smell a payoff. Either that or that lot at the IPA were intimidated by someone. Whatever the case, it’s still stinks.

  4. i’m with Dave and Sara. i noticed that Davidson and Novak never responded to the great depression post. They must be hiding out.

  5. You have some interesting stuff here, heavy but interesting. How about posting more frequently.

  6. Gerry exposed Steve kates big blue on classical economics. He does the same to Davidon and Novak on the great depression and none of them say anything!!!! We then learn that the same mob covered for a joker who supports a carbon tax!!!!!!!

  7. I encountered similar things when I was in PR. If I have read the situation correctly our little friends at the Institute of Public Affairs and their mates have been caught out and they know it. They have obviously decided to sit it out in the hope that nothing more will be said.

  8. Well I think their behaviour tells us exactly what kind of people they are. It does not say much for the Institute of Public Affairs, either.

  9. Lol — who are all these fake profiles?

    As everybody knows, I wrote a paper that said that a carbon tax was *relatively better* than an emissions trading system. To disagree with me is to say that you think an emissions trading system is better than a carbon tax. Is that really what you think?

    If Gerry actually had an economics degree perhaps he wouldn’t have to stoop to such childish personal attacks and could actually debate the grown ups.

  10. Humphreys could not hold an honest debate to save his life. He says that to disagree with him “is to say that you think an emissions trading system is better than a carbon tax. Is that really what you think?” Baloney. Humphreys knows exactly what I think. I made my self clear on this issue more than four years ago when I stated:

    “No matter how it is dressed up any emissions trading scheme (ETS) is in fact a carbon tax which in turn translates into a tax on economic growth and hence living standards.”

    Yet Humphreys has the gall to come here and insinuate that support an ETS. I was going to make this brief. However, I realised that Humphreys fully deserved a comprehense answer. So next week I intend to give him exactly what he deserves.

    By the way, Humphreys, if I were you I’d see a shrink about your multiple personality problem: ESS is a dead give away.

  11. Humphrys is a sick puppy. First he comes as ESS and then he comes back as himself. He must think we are stupid.

  12. Some years ago I rang the IPA and asked for information about the “West German Economic Miracle”. They didn’t have any information. This was an innocent inquiry not an attempt to find dirt on them. Coming from an organization with so many economics graduates this was not a good sign. What could be more fundamental to a free market organization than information on the best modern example of the free market at work? This is “Australia’s Premier Think Tank”.

  13. The closure of the Point Henry Alcoa Plant is partly attributable to the Carbon Tax. That is one that we know about. We don’t know how many small firms have gone. Surely there are jobs lost at Alcoa and from its suppliers and for what?

    Now Mr Humphreys said that a Carbon Tax is better than an ETS. Neither is better still. And there is no reason for either. If Mr Humphreys was a qualified meteorologist he would know that global warming is nonsense. It was first proposed by Sir Maurice Strong who is a dodgy character at best. This was around the time of the “Population Bomb” and the “Club of Rome” and is of the same pedigree. So Mr Humphreys your basic tenet that we need to deal with global warming is false because there is no global warming and let me suggest that you consult a reputable meteorologist and find out for yourself and failing that consult Lord Chistopher Monckton who has all the proof that anyone needs.

  14. i’ve got an idea. if jackson is so bad why doesn’t davidson prove him wrong on the great depression

  15. Oh Gerry. It must burn. First you accused me of being Chris Berg and ended up having to issue a groveling apology. Now you think I’m John Humphreys?

  16. ESS used to send malicious emails a site called Mangled Thoughts, accusing Gerry Jackson of being Douglas Bignell. Now Bignell had made the mistake of accusing Chris Berg of being ESS. Two things followed: Berg persuaded Bignell that he was not ESS. Bignell apologised. Berg also stated that Gerry Jackson was indeed not Bignell and he never thought he was. Prodos Marinakus, who knew Bignell, called the accusation ridiculous.

    There is no doubt in my mind that John Humphreys is in fact ESS. Gerry is right: the man needs to see a psychiatrist.

    We are not deleting Humphreys post because want readers to know how pathetic some of our opponents are.

  17. I must be stupid because I only just realised what humnphreys is saying. He’s credentialed in economics so that makes him automatically right no matter how bloody stupid his argument is. What a bloody dickhead. And hes got the bloody nerve to express opinions on climate change and he he’s bot even a credentialed scientist. Bloody heck!!!!

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