Friday, August 30, 2013

New Readings for Australian Foreign Policy 7007GIR

Report in the New York Times about Australia's PNG 'solution'

The aid implications of the PNG deal

Asylum seeker fact check

Rudd: Australia middle power with global interests

An Abbott foreign policy?

Comparing foreign policy

Australia's foreign aid

China unhappy with US pivot

Delusions of grandeur

Foreign investment history


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Readings on Globalisation, Asia and Australia (for 1003GIR, 2016GIR and 6005GIR)

Swan defends economic record and future prospects of the Australian economy 

Down with the running dogs of capitalism ... or at least liberalism

Confucian soft power

More dire climate warnings

An era of relative peace

Where is it made? 

Chinese economic dependence and lack of global companies

Britain has at one time invaded most of the world

China as a global but 'partial power'

The financial underpinnings of economic crisis

The impact of technology on the middle class 

Peace through globalisation and capitalism (available through uni)


Monday, August 19, 2013

Austerity v Keynesianism

John Quiggin has a short article in Crikey on the economic theories supported by Rudd and Abbott and makes the excellent point that:
The only major governments to undertake and sustain Keynesian fiscal stimulus were those of China and Australia. Supporters of the classical view have sometimes argued that Australia’s stimulus had no effect, and that our economy was rescued by strong demand from China. This amounts to the nonsensical claim that fiscal stimulus in China was effective enough to provide a substantial flow-on benefit to Australia, but that fiscal stimulus in Australia had no effect.
Quiggin also contends that Labor has conceded too much ground to the austerity argument:
The stimulus package introduced in 2009 included, quite appropriately, a strategy for a return to surplus as the economy recovered. Unfortunately, after committing to an optimistic timetable, former treasurer Wayne Swan treated the return to surplus as an end in itself, not a tool of macroeconomic management. This effectively conceded the ground in the macroeconomic debate to Abbott and the opponents of Keynesian stimulus.

To win the election Rudd needs to move beyond attacks on the specifics of Abbott's policies (or the lack thereof). He must explain why the Keynesian and social democratic policies he espoused and implemented in his first term as PM are the right way forward for Australia, and why the Howard government policies of consistent surpluses, regardless of economic conditions, represent a recipe for disaster next time there is an economic crisis.
Abbott, he contends, is a committed austerian:
Although Abbott presents himself as favouring "practical solutions to practical problems" rather than "market theory", his position is derived from the "classical" free-market economic theory that held sway before the Great Depression, and was revived as "New Classical economics" in the 1980s. In the classical view, recessions and depressions in a market economy are self-correcting. Government attempts to stimulate the economy can do no good, and may do positive harm by "crowding out" more productive private investment.
Well worth a read.


New Readings for Globalisation, Australia and Asia (for 2016GIR, 1003GIR and 6005GIR)

The importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Japan and the rest of Asia and for US influence in Asia

New ways to measure GDP add billions to the size of the US economy

US Primacy?

Japan's quadrillion yen debt

An oldy but goody from Mearsheimer

China's environment - some hope?

How Japan could have defeated the United States in WWII

Energy gamechanger

A picture paints ... 


Sunday, August 18, 2013

'Post' Recession Blues: Not for Australia ... Yet

Australia has fared well since the global financial crisis, especially in comparison with a lot of countries which have still not returned to their pre-crisis GDP peaks of 2007-08.  Greece, for example, is not suffering a recession, it's a fully fledged depression, which is bound to cause long-term damage to Greece's polity, society and economy.

While Australians seem to be angry about politics and the economy, it's good that we still need to debate why this is the case, given that Australia has not even had a recession since 2007-08. Indeed, we haven't had one for 22 years. In Greece and other countries still in the midst of depression, there's no real doubt as to why people are unhappy.

The following graphic doesn't include Australia, but if it did we would be at the top of the table, not at the bottom, but reading the Murdoch press you would think that we were worse off than Greece or Slovenia.

According to RBA Governor Glenn Stevens
Over the past five years, the economy has expanded by about 13 per cent ... Korea has recorded growth about the same as Australia's (13 per cent), Singapore more (about 18 per cent). And of course China's growth over this period has, despite frequent talk to the contrary, been rather stellar. Chinese GDP has risen by over 50 per cent since early 2008.
While debate continues about whether Australia's relatively excellent economic performance is primarily due to Chinese luck rather than good policy, Stevens argues that the crisis came at the right time for Australia.
… we were ‘lucky’ that the effects of the global economic downturn worked to help reduce inflation in Australia from its peak in 2008 of 5 per cent – which was way too high – to something acceptable. It could also be said that we were fortunate that the sub-prime crisis in the US emerged from early 2007, and not later. Although such lending was less prominent in Australia at that time, it was growing fast and would have become a much bigger vulnerability had it continued at that pace. The fact that things went wrong in the US when they did meant that what was a small problem here stayed small. It could be added that we were lucky that the change in behaviour of households – slower borrowing, more saving – came when it did. For a start, had households continued as they were, they would have become more financially extended, and it is obvious now that that would have been risky. Moreover, this changed behaviour of households has helped us absorb the resources investment boom.
I would argue that Australia's success is due to a fortuitous confirmation of good luck and good policy, but don't expect the ideological warriors of the right, ably led by The Australian, to concede that the Rudd and Gillard governments have done anything right at all economically or otherwise.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Readings for Power in East Asia 2016GIR

Japanese lessons for China

The trans-Atlantic trade deal as a response to the shift of power to the East

The US shift to Asia

The hard side of soft power 


The coming slowdown of the Chinese economy

Chinese self containment? 

US containment of China

China as a maritime power? 

Should Russia be a focus of this course

Rsing Chinese military power in perspective


Friday, August 2, 2013

New Readings for Globalisation, the Asia-Pacific and Australia 1003GIR

Are Asia's economies in trouble?

Should Australia be worried about Chinese surveillance? What role should Australia play in the Indo-Pacific?

The development of Facebook

The problems with rising debt in the United States

How will manufacturing fare after the boom

Mining tax debacle

Chinese investment in Australia

Ross Garnaut on the ETS changes 

Progress on climate change

Analysis of the mining boom

Costs of 'reform'

A Chinese housing bubble

Peak demand for oil?|hig|8-1-2013|6280705|36817576|


Nuclear Power in Decline

From The Economist

Nuclear accounts for 10 per cent of electricity production, 75 per cent of French and 19 per cent of US electricity production.

Europe accounts for all countries where nuclear accounts for a percentage higher than 30 per cent of production.
The number of reactors peaked in 2002 at 444, compared with 427 today. The share of electricity they produce is down 12% from its 2006 peak, largely because of post-Fukushima shutdowns in Japan. As a proportion of all electricity generated, nuclear peaked in 1993 at 17% and has now fallen to 10%. The average age of operating plants is increasing, with the number over 40 years old (currently 31 plants) set to grow quite rapidly.