Posts tagged ‘economics’

Link: “One percent of the world’s population accounts for more than half of flying emissions”

Original post found at: https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/one-percent-worlds-population-accounts-more-half-flying-emissions

I can’t say I’m surprised; it’s always seemed like those to blame for aviation-related emissions are not really ordinary people who jet off for the occasional holiday,1 but business travellers who fly multiple times a week (and as this article says, especially those with private planes).

Of course, I think wherever possible, high-speed trains should be used ins­tead of planes, being considerably less polluting as well as way more pleasant to travel on. Australia could eliminate the need for sooooo much flying if we had a high-speed line connecting every city from Adelaide around to Bris­bane. But not everywhere is easily accessible without flying (think about islands, or relatively isolated cities like Perth…). Sometimes I see “environmentalists” online basically arguing to abolish aviation, but it’s not really a huge problem if people occasionally take a long-haul flight, or a flight to one of these isolated/island places. The bulk of the emissions are from frequent flyers, who are predominantly concentrated on short-haul routes like Mel­bourne-Syd­ney that could easily be replaced with trains.

  1. Although note, the article also says that only 11% of the world’s population flew at all in 2018 (as a representative, recent pre-Covid year), so this definition of “ordinary people” is definitely skewed towards the “ordinary people” of relatively affluent, developed countries. But still. ↩︎

Link: “Lift the minimum wage and employment still rises? How to anger the establishment and win a Nobel Prize”

Original post found at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-13/nobel-prize-in-economics-2021-david-card-minimum-wage/100531994

Quite an article. By observing and comparing fast food joints in neighbouring areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey when the latter increased the minimum wage in the 1990s, two economists found that raising the minimum wage did not increase unemployment – in fact, if anything it did the opposite. In so doing, they incurred the wrath of “mainstream economists” who were incensed to have experimental data disproving their irrationally-held article of faith that higher wages somehow raise unemployment 😆

As an aside, I’ve never understood how economists have ever been able to get away with claiming that lower wages = more jobs… employers don’t hire people just because they have room in the budget, because that’d be lost profit! They only ever hire (or schedule) the absolute bare minimum of people who are required for the amount of work that needs to get done. cf. when penalty rates were cut here a few years ago – workers did not get any more shifts to compensate for those lost wages; all the money companies no longer had to pay in penalty rates went straight to their profits. TBH literally every single time one of those talking monkeys from the small business council or whatever rattles off these dishonest talking points I would like journalists to take them to task over it.

Link: “Robert Menzies wouldn’t recognise the Liberal Party's employment policies today”

Original post found at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-03/robert-menzies-wouldnt-recognise-the-liberal-partys-policies/100509358

I’m no fan of Menzies, nor of the Liberal Party. But it’s always worth noting how things we take for granted today as “sad facts of life” like high unemployment, insecure work, low taxes = inadequate funding for the public services we depend upon like healthcare, education and infrastructure, were simply not taken for granted at all prior to 1975. The Overton window has shrunk so much that not even the so-called progressive parties are willing to challenge this orthodoxy now, and yet two generations ago it was the right-wing party presiding over an economic system that’d be denounced as loony left fantasism today! (Also, the right-wing party actually believed in and funded science at that time, too.) Australia in the 1950s was plagued by many other social ills (nationalism, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, etc.) but it’s not like the manifestly better economic policies we had then were predicated on that bigotry. And it’s depressing that, as inadequate as those policies were (many marginalised people slipping through the cracks), they were still so much better than what we have now.

Link: “Public Housing For All”

Original post found at: https://www.noemamag.com/public-housing-for-all/

I have long thought that public housing for all is the only way, long-term, to ensure a decent standard of living for all while current economic trends (automation, etc.) continue on their current trajectory. And similar to other “welfare state” features, like public healthcare – the best way to ensure it’ll be high-quality is to make it something rich people use, too 😊

Link: “Vacant Nuance in the Vacant Housing Debate” by Darrell Owens

Original post found at: https://darrellowens.substack.com/p/vacant-nuance-in-the-vacant-housing

Good piece on how talking points like “in the US there are 28 million vacant homes and only 500,000 homeless people” are quite an oversimplification, for a few reasons:

  • the “vacant homes” figure represents a snapshot in time; a much smaller proportion of these homes are actually sitting empty for months or years
  • many of the homes that are sitting empty are not in the same places as the homeless people
  • many of these long-term vacant homes are dilapidated and basically uninhabitable
  • the “500,000 homeless people” is also a snapshot in time, and doesn’t include people in ultra-precarious living situations who may become homeless tomorrow, and will also need homes

Then it goes on to talk about how having a higher proportion of (short-term) vacant homes is a good thing, actually, because when there are very few vacancies, it makes it really hard to move house (which people need to do from time to time!) – waiting for a vacancy to come up in the area you need to move to, then basically having to pay whatever outlandish rental price the landlord demands, because you have little option. The key is that these vacancies do have to be short-term, or at least the homes have to be in good condition and ready to be leased whenever; they shouldn’t be sitting idle, “off the market”, to drive up artificial shortages. (Which is the exact thing left-wing activists are mad about.)

There are clearly further issues with housing that this article doesn’t go into, but no article can just cover everything 🙂 Overall I thought it was a thorough explainer of some issues that I’d had a gut feeling existed, but wouldn’t have known enough about to describe myself.

Link: “Other Australians earn nothing like what you think. If you're on $59,538, you're typical”

Original post found at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-09/typical-australian-wage-less-than-you-might-think-typical/100198488

$200,000 is unusual. I’ve never quite understood why politicians were so keen to tell us such incomes are normal. It might be because they are on them. Each backbencher gets $211,250 plus a $32,000 electorate allowance (boosted by $19,500 if they turn down the use of a private-plated vehicle) plus home internet and travel allowances.

Good article breaking down income distribution in Australia, based on 2018-19 tax data (wages haven’t gone up in years so nothing much will have changed since then – except the rich getting richer). The median taxable income is $60,000; the 75th percentile is $90,000. Earning a six-figure income is very uncommon indeed.

Addendum: Hmm, except according to this ABS page(external link), the median income is actually just under $50k, not just under $60k as the article says 🤔 I wonder if there are different definitions of “income” at play.

Link: “Just 1.2 per cent of rental properties in Australia are affordable for minimum wage earners, analysis finds”

Original post found at: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/just-1-2-per-cent-of-rental-properties-in-australia-are-affordable-for-minimum-wage-earners-analysis-finds

Some depressing housing unaffordability statistics here. Among them:

  • just 1.2% of rentals affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker
  • only 3 listings in the country affordable for someone on JobSeeker, and all for shared accommodation
  • zero listings affordable for someone on Youth Allowance

Melbourne's Property Development Crisis

Like many people, I think, I have an instinctive contempt for property developers.

It’s not that I object to new apartment buildings, per se. There do seem to be a lot of people in Melbourne who think that three million was the perfect population size for our city, and since as far as they’re concerned we were “full” at that point, we should continue to have a housing …

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a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.