Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Economics and Business’ Category

Financial advisors lie – why is the sector any different?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2012-04-29

My SkepticLawyer less-lefty-than-I-am friends (in facebook) linked to "Is the Pope a Catholic" results from an experiment about financial advisors providing self-serving advice, and there is no reason I can see why the same dynamics, behaviour and outcome wouldn’t apply to the financial sector as a whole, pressuring societies into baring their collective throats to the predators.
 

"Valuable advice on investment advisors" (Tim Harford, 2012-04-28) points to a neat double-blind experiment, sending portfolios with common biases and some stupidities to financial advisors to see what would be advised.
 

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Posted in Economics and Business, Ethics, Governance, Society, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

US default can be good value

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-30

I admit hoping the impasse in the US continues until a US default – as it would do much good worldwide, not the least, help the US citenzery a great deal, although in the long term

For one, the US dollar needs to be treated on its merits, devalued by the market rather than priced at a premium on the basis of nostalgia.

A default, then backdown of the Republicans so employees are paid, would through a low greenback and deserved loss of consumer confidence, might help muzzle consumerism first in the US and then across the world.

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Posted in Economics and Business, Environment, International, Politics, Society | Comments Off

The higher you are, the more you overestimate yourself

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-29

Is this why the bastards high up in penthouse and executive suites think they are better than everyone else – because of where they spend their time?  Perhaps even why "upstairs" thinks "downstairs" are worth less?

"Higher Height, Higher Ability: Judgment Confidence as a Function of Spatial Height Perception" (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022125) looks at self-perception of ability, and shows being higher (or even thinking you are up higher) makes you pump up estimates of your own judgement and abilities.

Based on grounded cognition theories, the current study showed that judgments about ability were regulated by the subjects’ perceptions of their spatial height. In Experiment 1, we found that after seeing the ground from a higher rather than lower floor, people had higher expectations about their performance on a knowledge test and assigned themselves higher rank positions in a peer comparison evaluation. In Experiment 2, we examined the boundary conditions of the spatial height effects and showed that it could still occur even if we employed photos rather than actual building floors to manipulate the perceptions of spatial heights.

So… it would be interesting to do followup studies on wage differentials, workplace attitudes (including friction, resentfulness, arrogance) from staff to senior management, and from senior management to staff, based on building layout.

What effect does this have on resistance of those on high to requests or suggestions from those on the ground floor, and what might this do to organizational efficiency?

Hell, in city blocks, adjusting for rent differences and wages, do voting intentions change?  Might this paper affect town planning for high-rise buildings, one party pushing it more than another, even pushing it more or less depending on how marginal a seat is?

No wonder Kirk never took any real notice of Scotty down in the engine saying "She canna handle any more o’ this Cap’n"!



Posted in Biology and Health, Economics and Business, Politics, Science and Tech, Society | Leave a Comment »

Coming soon – GDP per cm, not just per cap

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-25

If the figures in this economics research paper stand up (ahem) on nation-by-nation economic performance, one wonders whether performance of individual companies might show the same correlation, … and intrusive x-rays might be used during hiring procedures, but hopefully not included in the company prospectus.

The research shows a relationship between average erect male member length and economic growth – an inverted U shape – with not-too-big, not-too-small, but just right (13.5 cm), leading to the best economic growth.

Imagine the spam: "Dear CEO – are you giving your stakeholders enough satisfaction?"  Imagine the econometric pages – we might get gory statistics on current accounts and budget balances per-cm as well as per-cap.

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Posted in Biology and Health, Economics and Business, Society | Leave a Comment »

Bushfire bastardry

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-04

The dead in the horrible Victorian bushfires a few years back, and those that will die in the future from similar causes, seem to be, by misdirected investigations and blind eyes to evidence, poorly served by both current and previous governments.

Who benefits from this? Only the negligent – the privatised power supplier cutting corners on safety, or a government unwilling to pay compensation, or politicians in both major parties who do not want a proper evaluation of the fundamental dogma that pushes privatization of state assets in general and utilities in particular.

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Governance, Media, Politics, Victoria | Comments Off

Bent and Bungled

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-06-29

There are three billion more reasons to detest, and hopefully prosecute, the unlamented ALP Brumby government of Victoria.

The general continuity of policy under Liberal Premier Ballieu will be tested to see if it can use legal smarts to annul the 10 year pokies contracts the came out of deceitful behaviour by one, if not all parties.

Will Ballieu use the chance to kill two birds with one stone – sink the ALP in Victoria for a decade or more while helping the states coffers to the tune of billions at the same time?

It’s a win/win for Ballieu and Victoria if he does, and if he doesn’t, there is no reason to believe the Liberals will be any more honest, any more competent.

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Posted in Economics and Business, Governance, Politics, Victoria | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Old cartoon more relevant than ever

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-23

A post from 2007-08-14 with a KAL cartoon from "The Economist" is more relevant than ever, the 1.3 trillion Chinese reserve of US dollars then growing to 3 trillion now.

Chinese dragon on top of floodgates for dam, threatening, oh so politely, Uncle Sam

China and the US Talk Money

Wargame this – as soon as Asian consumption (which is paid for) starts to get close to US consumption (put on the credit card), China can release those floodgates and hit the US economy so hard it will find the cost of any military action, even maintaining existing capability, prohibitive.

Watch for more and more long-term international contracts where people want to buy in greenbacks and sell in baskets of other currencies.


See Also



Posted in China, Economics and Business, International | Leave a Comment »

The Libs and The Oz do not want government

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-12

I’m beginning to suspect that the Liberal party machine does not want a federal Liberal government soon, and neither do the major backers of the Liberal party – including the partisan mouthpiece, Murdoch’s The Australian.

The Libs could easily gain control of parliament before the year is out, simply by re-instating Turnbull as parliamentary leader – for Turnbull is the preferred leader of voters (even attractive to Labor and Greens voters), and could woo the independents to support a Liberal government in a month or two.

Why wouldn’t the Libs and their backers want government, want control of the country’s economic and social direction?

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Environment, Media, Politics | 6 Comments »

Major party politicians have low self-esteem

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-08

Peter Martin, The Age economics correspondent, gives a raft of facts ripping apart the percerptions of Greens voters as economic idiots, shows the major party mouthpieces as promoting incorrect perceptions, but doesn’t go far enough about what this means about voters.

One of his key points, about the difference between Greens and major party voters, is the following:

If the Greens have got it wrong on economics, then so too have the economics text books they seem to have read and so too has Ken Henry.

His list of items points to greater economic literacy and general awareness of current affairs among Greens voters, but doesn’t stress the wilful ignorance and stupidity of Labor/Liberal voters – especially on economic policy, the key spruiking point of both majors, and the key factor voters for the majors say determines their vote.

When someone says "X is of prime importance to me, but I will not ensure I am well-informed about X, even the general princples", it shows general stupidity and hypocrisy, which doubtless carries over into every other area of public policy.

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Politics, Society | Leave a Comment »

Health funds admit they should not exist

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-03

It’s good when an advertiser tells the unvarnished truth, sad when you realize that neither people mor government are prepared to join the dots… and the advertisers know this.

The ad in question was for a health fund.  The argument was "use us because we pay out 96 percent of what we collect in premiums, the average health fund returns 91 percent."

In other words, if the 5% difference makes it worthwhile switching to them from a more wasteful place to put your month, the extra 4% from putting your premium under the mattress is even more attractive, and you’d do much better putting it in a bank for another couple of percent.

In other words, they admit the nation is better off without a health fund, or that the best health fund is a bank, where you are guaranteed a few per cent more than you put in.

It would be bad enough if only stupid individuals were being sucked in, but that governments subsidize premiums, knowing they are throwing taxpayer funds down the drain – well, that is stupid, if not corrupt.

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Posted in Australia, Biology and Health, Economics and Business, Governance, Politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Adam Smith on Prosperity requiring Poverty – the Archimedes Principle

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-15

How often can we find the words of Adam Smith giving justification to a lefty wealth redistribution agenda, even if Smith never intended his words to be used this way?

Whenever there is great prosperity, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.

I wonder if what would be the income determined by Adam Smith’s 500:1 rule based on the poverty line?  Is the poverty line too low, our notion of "very rich" wrong?

The plutocrats and their tame mainstream politicians around the world understand this all too well, but will never proclaim this to voters.

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Posted in Economics and Business, Politics, Society | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Dumb marketing or dumb market

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-06

On the back of today’s Age "Sunday Life" fluff liftout is an ad that made my jaw drop – mentions St Valentine’s day, romantic picture of a couple walking under blossoming trees, picture of the products (jewellery)…

… but the brand name… "Pandora"!

Ever heard the common phrase "Opening up a Pandora’s Box"?

I wondered if the person suggesting that name was an idiot, a cynic after a very ugly marriage, or thought it a nice sound while assessing the wealthy demographics as untutored… or probably two out of three.

The message for the guy buying the ring? "The girl might have a lot going for her, apart from trustworthiness – things will get really ugly with the worst things happening – things so bad you’d never heard of them before – and there won’t be even a glimmer of hope."

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Posted in Economics and Business, Education, History, Humor, Language Use | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Last on-site mention of IPv6 by relevant Minister was … Coonan not Conroy

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-06

With the last IPv4 internet addresses having been allocated, and the only way forward being IPv6, it’s obvious that the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy should be on top of this issue.

Hunt around and you might wonder if he has ever heard of it.

Well, the Minister has his own site: www.minister.dbcde.gov.au, and Minister Stephen Conroy doesn’t mention it according to his search engine, while going out to google and entering "IPv6 site:minister.dbcde.gov.au" does find ONE mention, by Helen Coonan, way back in 2005 (see images below, taken 2010-02-05).

W…..T…..F…..!!!  I rarely use such words, even those acronyms, but ONE F***ING MATCH for IPv6???  On the site of the Minister who has to get IPv6 in urgently?  And it ISN’T from the Minister since Howard got booted out a parliamentary-term-and-a-bit ago?  W….T….F…..!!!

On minister.dbcde.gov.au, there is one mention of IPv6 - not by Conroy, but Coonan, in 2005 - Google Search

One mention of IPv6 in the site of the relevant Minister

And what if we search inside Conroy’s own webpage?

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Information Management, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Choices Left Conroy

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-06

It's time to kick ass and assign IPv4 addresses - and I'm all out of IPv4 addresses - said by big tough guy

Mind you - some IPv6 would make me calm again


Who is our Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and what has he done to address this by bringing in IPv6?

Isn’t he one of the righties in the ALP who is so against acting on climate issues?

For more background – go to: "Internet runs out of addresses: a model for climate policy inaction" (2011-02-04) and follow the links.

Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Humor, Information Management, International, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Internet runs out of addresses – a model for climate policy inaction

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-04

I cannot imagine a better model of the political response to climate change than the way IPv4 internet addresses have just run out.

Domain experts warning for years about a crisis: but politicians doing nothing, powerful businesses charging big bucks for resources running dry… Sound familiar?

The only difference between the political inaction making the shift to IPv6 is that the perfect solution was already in place years ago, pretty soon after the geeks started worrying.

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Posted in Economics and Business, Environment, Information Management, International, Politics, Science and Tech | 7 Comments »

 
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