by Brian Easton

A review of some critical decisions in Jim Anderton’s life reminds us of just how contingent politics can be.

Jim Anderton was appalled by Rogernomics to the foundations of his soul and his political upbringing, at first in the Catholic Youth Movement and, from the age of 25, in the Labour Party, becoming its president in 1979 and an MP in 1984.

The editor-in-chief of The Lancet said she is

            ‘Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has said that capitalism is ‘the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created’. But more and more people, especially younger generations, believe that economies based only on free markets are not necessarily the best means to deliver fairer or healthier societies.

How big does a country have to be?

I have friends who live in the ‘Independent Republic of Houghton Bay’. Those outside Wellington may need to know that they live in a cove between Island Bay and Lyall Bay, with magnificent views of Cook Strait, its sea life and its shipping. Its total population is probably around a hundred and perhaps not all the locals are as devoted to the republic as my friends are.

Too much of our public discussion is led by those who are have strong opinions based on prejudice and ignorance rather than thorough research and understanding

Bill Gallagher (he’s a knight), chief executive of the Gallagher Group, claimed that the ‘Treaty [of Waitangi] papers on display at Te Papa were fraudulent documents’ as well as making other extravagant statements. (The papers are actually held in the National Library.) Later he apologised,

December’s Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) was combined with the Government’s plans for its first 100 days.

Each December, six months after the budget, the Treasury reports on the state of the economy and the government accounts. Since the August Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update nothing much has happened in the macro-economy, so the HYEFU reports little new. If it had been presented on its own, journalists would have been scratching around to find something of interest.

But do we have the foggiest idea of what it means or how to do it well?

Once upon a time, say 80 years ago back in the days of the First Labour government, ‘social investment’ referred to the government spending, including on education, health and children, which in the long run would add to the wellbeing of the nation.

So claims   Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard. 

(These are notes prepared for a Radio New Zealand ‘Nights’ Pundits conversation with Bryan Crump. Tuesday 12 December 2017.)

Niall Ferguson is known for his provocative, contrarian views and a number of books, including The Ascent of Money. I am not in a position to judge him as a historian – although a chair at Harvard is no mean achievement – but when he got into a blazing economic row with Paul Krugman, in my jud

The retirement of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand leads to a reflection on what has been really going on.

During Graeme Wheeler’s five-year term as the Governor of the Reserve Bank (RBNZ), consumer prices rose 1.05 per cent annually.

Comparative advantage is rarely important in modern trade deals, such as TPP11 (CPTPP). Why bother?

Economics students have ‘comparative advantage’ drummed into them. The intuition seems commonsense; specialise in what you (or the country) do well and exchange the surplus for what you are not as good at.

The connection between famines and democracy may not be obvious. but each sheds light upon the other.

The fourth Saturday in each November is Holodomor Remembrance Day which recalls the great Ukrainian famine of 1932-3 in which 2.4m to 7m died in a population of about 30m. The intensity of the distress and suffering was such that more than 2,500 people were convicted of cannibalism.