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Monday, 15 February

15:02

Nuclear commission findings spell more trouble for wind and solar in Australia Renew Economy

Nuclear royal commission concedes that nuclear generation is too costly and not viable. But it is betting that Australia will fail in its climate policies and eventually have no choice but to turn to nuclear. That spells trouble for the wind and solar industries.

14:45

Victorian network signs up to help rural community go 100% renewable Renew Economy

Victorian network operator Powercor signs MOU to help rural town of Newstead shift to 100 renewable energy by 2021.

14:43

BP’s energy outlook barely changed after Paris climate agreement Renew Economy

The 2016 BP energy outlook, published this week, shows the oil company’s views on the shape and direction of energy demand over the next 20 years have barely shifted.

12:36

Greens unveil rooftop solar plan for Australian council buildings Renew Economy

New Greens policy to cut local government energy bills by allowing solar companies to install PV on council buildings and infrastructure, as well build new solar car parks and shades at community centres.

12:18

Understanding Google’s goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy Renew Economy

Google has made a big deal of its 100% renewable energy goal, and has explained exactly how it plans to get there.

12:16

Poll finds majority would support party proposing solar on every rooftop Renew Economy

Poll finds most Australians would favor parties who promoted maximum uptake of rooftop solar and battery storage, and strong commitment to large-scale solar and wind.

12:14

Redflow’s Hackett: Why batteries will not cause mass defection from grid Renew Economy

While cutting the power cord sounds good in theory, in practice consumers gain many more advantages from staying connected to the grid.

11:27

Australian solar PV market charts worst start to year since 2012 Renew Economy

January 2016 marks worst start to year for solar PV in Australia since 2012, with volumes down across almost all states and system sizes.

11:12

Tasmania energy prices to soar as supply crisis forces switch to diesel gen-sets Renew Economy

Tasmania wholesale electricity prices set to rise to 10 times last year's rate as state turns to diesel to solve supply crisis. Wind and solar would have been much cheaper>

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Saturday, 13 February

16:00

The Weekend Quiz – February 13-14, 2016 – answers and discussion Bill Mitchell – billy blog

Here are the answers and discussion for the Weekend Quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.

Question 1:

If the fiscal balance of a currency-issuing national government moves into surplus:

(a) It is a sign that the government is trying to constrain economic activity.

(b) It is a sign that the government is worried that inflation is rising.

(c) You cannot conclude anything about the government’s policy intentions.

(d) Options (a) and (b).

The answer is that You cannot conclude anything about the government’s policy intentions.

The actual fiscal deficit outcome that is reported in the press and by Treasury departments is not a pure measure of the fiscal policy stance adopted by the government at any point in time. As a result, a straightforward interpretation of

Economists conceptualise the actual fiscal outcome as being the sum of two components: (a) a discretionary component – that is, the actual fiscal stance intended by the government; and (b) a cyclical component reflecting the sensitivity of certain fiscal items (tax revenue based on activity and welfare payments to name the most sensitive) to changes in the level of activity.

The former component is now called the “structural deficit” and the latter component is sometimes referred to as the automatic stabilisers.

The structural deficit thus conceptually reflects the chosen (discretionary) fiscal stance of the government independent of cyclical factors.

The cyclical factors refer to the aut...

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Friday, 12 February

16:00

The Weekend Quiz – February 13-14, 2016 Bill Mitchell – billy blog

Welcome to The Weekend Quiz, which used to be known as the Saturday Quiz! The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.

1. If the fiscal balance of a currency-issuing national government moves into surplus:




...

07:16

Thursday, 28 January

02:00

288 – Bowie albums ranked Pannell Discussions

Since David Bowie’s death a couple of weeks ago, I’ve playing his albums pretty incessantly. Playing them all within a short time made me think about which ones I prefer. I’m sharing, in case it’s helpful to others thinking of expanding their Bowie collections.

David Bowie is in my second rank of favourite musicians: not someone whose music I’m completely obsessed with, but definitely one of the greats. He fits into mainstream rock, but like the most original and creative rock artists (The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Radiohead) he was renowned for making radical changes in his music from time to time. In fact, Bowie’s changes were more radical and more frequent than any other major artist.

My decade-by-decade summary would be:

  • The 1960s: An awkward debut, one brilliant single, and a very good second album.
  • The 1970s: Mostly stunningly good, progressing through five utterly distinct phases.
  • The 1980s: Starts with one very good album. After that, several dreadful albums that I can’t bear to listen to it.
  • The 1990s, 2000s and 2010s: Everything from 1995 on was very good to excellent.

You can see that I have a strong preference for his more adventurous work, and a very strong dislike of his most commercial work (from the mid 1980s).

To be more specific, here is my ranking of all his albums, from best to worst, with some comments about each.

1. Low (1977). The secon...

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