A fly on the wall at the 2020 Summit

But the meeting’s facilitator, Insurance Australia Group’s Sam Mostyn, searching for solutions, not problems, replied: “Warwick, I’m looking for an idea.”

If parliament’s main committee room wasn’t carpeted, you could have heard a pin drop.

And McKibbin didn’t disappoint.

“The idea,” he replied, “is to build a framework.”

Soon everyone was piling onto the idea. After all, McKibbin wasn’t just proposing any old framework. It was, as Mostyn told the group, “a national framework, a big framework”.

But just as it seemed the room would erupt in some sort of national framework/co-ordinated policy/enabling institution fever, CSIRO economist Steve Hatfield-Dodds chipped in with a reality check.

“I think the idea we should have a co-ordinated approach to climate change does not qualify as big or new,” he proffered.

Before long, the nation’s best and brightest found themselves in a lengthy debate about what this thing might be called.

Yesterday afternoon they had their answer, as group leader Roger Beale revealed his panel’s first Big Idea: “a national, sustainability, population and climate change agenda”.

– John Breusch, “Getting to grips with the big one”, Australian Financial Review, 21 April, 2008.

Published in: on 21 April, 2008 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  


In the eternal struggle between economics and sociology, a savage blow is struck with Problem 2.10, Workouts in Intermediate Microeconomics [7 ed.], by Theodore C. Bergstrom and Hal R. Varian [2006]:

Martha is preparing for exams in economics and sociology. She has time to read 40 pages of economics and 30 pages of sociology. In the same amount of time she could also read 30 pages of economics and 60 pages of sociology.

(a) Assuming that the number of pages per hour that she can read of either subject does not depend on how she allocates her time, how many pages of sociology could she read if she decided to spend all her time on sociology and none on economics? (Hint: You have two points on her budget line, so you should be able to determine the entire line.)

(b) How many pages of economics could she read if she decided to spend all of her time reading economics?

Published in: on 17 April, 2008 at 12:40 pm  Comments (3)  

Get yourself a noutbuk

From a Russian McDonalds ‘help wanted’ ad, as run through Babelfish by Chris Doss and reported to the Left Business Observer-talk list:

Makdonalds pays more than you think! In the month of work into Makdonalds, you will quietly purchase to yourself noutbuk, plasma panel, stylish shmotki or something still! Moreover you await diverse bonusy.

VALUE YOUR TIME Together with the possibility to earn money we allow flexible schedule so that it would not be necessary to select between the work and the studies, but also, since in essence we work with the young people, you it awaits many merry measures and chances to appear ourselves in the most different regions.

GROW Each has the equal possibilities to be arranged to us to the work or, if you already work, to obtain addition to the wage and increase in the post.
Remember: that only, that can influence your advance on the career stairs, your activity, the energy, also, for the new achievements.

BE JOINED Yes, work not simple, but it hardens spirit, and it gives the habits, which will be highly useful in further life. You can directly now fill form and send it to us. If you value your time, Makdonalds – your place of work.

Published in: on 15 April, 2008 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

On the liberal use of artificial ice in the ruling of India

In the context of a discussion of the impact of climate on various races’ fitness to rule:

This may have to be modified a little, but only a little, if F. Galton should prove to be right in thinking that small numbers of a ruling race in a hot country, as for instance the English in India, will be able to sustain their constitutional vigour unimpaired for many generations by a liberal use of artificial ice, or of the cooling effects of the forcible expansion of compressed air. See his Presidential Advice to the Anthropological Institute in 1881.

– Alfred Marshall [1920 – but 1 ed. in 1890], Principles of Economics, 8 ed., p. 603.