The carbon tax and the deceit of one of its advocates

Gerard Jackson

Dealing with someone as relentlessly deceitful as John Humphreys is indeed a tiresome endeavour. Humphreys starts with the statement that “everybody knows, I wrote a paper that said that a carbon tax was ‘relatively better’ than an emissions trading system.” To begin with, an ETS is a carbon tax. This fact is not altered just because the price of carbon is exogenously set for an ETS. This is something that Samuel J at Catallaxy pointed out. If Humphreys disagrees, then I suggest he debate the matter at Catallaxy and not here.

That a self-professed economist could write a paper on a carbon tax versus an ETS and not realise that the latter is merely a more complicated version of the former should beggar belief. It certainly brings into the question the state of the author’s critical faculties. I always argued that 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 set up a false choice and then declared that to disagree with him “is to say that you think an emissions trading system is better than a carbon tax.”

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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.

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The ‘wealth effect’: an Austrian view

It is being said that if the fed could just get the ‘wealth effect’ into motion the US economy would fully recover from the recession. But the ‘wealth effect’ is a phantom, the sort of economic fallacy that only a Keynesian could conjure up.  Those who support this fiction argue that a stock market’s performance is driven by a net inflow of funds which in turn is driven by economic growth. They go further by saying that growth in turn is driven by investment, innovation and productivity, all of which influences corporate profits which in turn drive stock prices. Naturally, when these factors are positive GDP expands. Continue reading The ‘wealth effect’: an Austrian view

Australia and the Great Depression: What you don’t know but should


Greg Byrne

 I think this article about Australia and the Great Depression might open up another chapter on that economic tragedy.  It reveals that contrary to the standard view Australia in fact suffered a near monetary collapse and it was this massive deflation that sent the Australian economy into depression. It is a known fact that manufacturing led the recovery. What is revealed here is that though real wages (nominal wages divided by the price level) remained stable during the depression the real factory wage in terms of output fell by 43 per cent! It comes to the remarkable conclusion that Australia recovered not because of the Premiers’ Plan but because the Plan did so little while allowing prices to do their work.

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The Institute of Public Affairs Negative Response to the Real Classical Theory of the Trade Cycle

Greg Byrne

 I emailed Gerry Jackson’s article The Real Classical Theory of the Trade Cycle to the Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs John Roskam, IPA Review editor Chris Berg, Quadrant editor Keith Windshuttle and On Line Opinion editor Graham Young — and,  of course, Steve Kates. For those of you have not read Gerry Jackson’s article it is a complete refutation of Steve Kates presentation of his so-called classical theory of the trade cycle. Continue reading The Institute of Public Affairs Negative Response to the Real Classical Theory of the Trade Cycle