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Thursday, 25 February


The British Monetarist infestation Bill Mitchell – billy blog

I have been on the search for historical turning points again today. The famous Mitterand austerity turn in 198Z is one of these points. Another, which I will consider today, was the British Labour Prime Minster James Callaghan’s speech to Labour Party Conference held at Blackpool on September 28, 1976 was laced with pro-Monetarist assertions that have been used by many on the Left as being defining points in the decline of the state to run independent domestic policy aimed at maintaining full employment. This is a further instalment of my next book on globalisation and the capacities of the nation-state, which I am working on with Italian journalist Thomas Fazi. We expect to finalise the manuscript in May 2016. Today, I am writing about the background events that turned Britain on to Monetarism. Margaret Thatcher was, in fact, a ‘johnny-come-lately’ in this respect. The British Labour Party were infested with the Monetarist virus in the late 1960s and Callaghan’s 1976 Speech just consolidated what had been happening over the decade prior. Further, it was not the oil crisis in the early 1970s that provided the open door for governments to reject Keynesian policy. In Britain, the Treasury and Bank of England were captivated by the ideas of Milton Friedman some years prior to the OPEC price push.

To understand how Callaghan’s Speech has been viewed over the decades, we only have to read a relatively recent article written by Liam Halligan in the UK Telegraph (August 18, 2012) – A message from the 1970s on state spending – which considered Callaghan’s speech to be “among the most important uttered in the history of modern British politics”.

The Telegraph...


Paris pact promotes but complicates carbon trading Renew Economy

The mishmash nature of national climate pledges made under the Paris agreement is creating fresh complications for the growth of pollution trading.


Reform Negative Gearing Now! Prosper Australia

Are you locked out of the housing market? Do you want to see an end to market distorting subsidies to property investors? Sign the petition! This petition calls for the Federal Government to reform negative gearing NOW! Negative Gearing must be limited to new housing only and in time should be removed entirely. It is time […]


California says Australia has nothing to fear from more renewables Renew Economy

California energy commissioner says world is seeing beginning of the end of fossil fuels, and high renewables will not crash the economy, and they won't cause blackouts.


Infigen sees end to renewables investment drought, market ‘starting to move’ Renew Economy

Infigen Energy CEO Miles George says Australia's LGC market now working as intended, to drive investment and meet the LRET.


Graph of the Day: The myth about energy subsidies Renew Economy

Fossil fuel and nuclear subsidies dwarf those for renewable energy, notes California Energy Commission. "There is no such thing as an unsubsidised unit of energy".


South Australia now the lightning rod for renewable energy myths Renew Economy

South Australia’s energy system has become an unfair target for myths and alarmist claims about renewables.


Coalition digs deeper into fossil fuels with new “growth centre” Renew Economy

Coalition pours $15.4m into fossil fuel “growth centre”, which aims to position Australia’s oil, gas, coal and uranium sectors for "the next wave of investment".


Energy markets: the planet’s unlikely new ally in the emissions effort Renew Economy

The Paris climate agreement has sent important market signals, promoting increased investment in renewables and driving down the profitability of fossil fuels.


SA must adapt energy infrastructure for changing times Renew Economy

South Australia on the front line of a transformation that will by necessity flow much deeper through the energy networks of the entire nation.


Rooftop solar net metering under attack across the United States Renew Economy

Changes to policies which affect rooftop solar are being considered in most U.S. states.


German electricity exports once again more valuable than imports in 2015 Renew Economy

The value of the average kilowatt-hour that Germany exported last year was greater than the price of the average imported kilowatt-hour.


Robb promises US longer TPP monopolies on biologic drugs AFTINET

Media Release February 25, 2016

The US Politico publication reported this week that trade envoy Andrew Robb has reassured US pharmaceutical companies that the TPP will provide “at least eight years of market protection” for expensive biologic drugs, and “potentially as long as 12 to 17 years in Australia’s case”.

Mr Robb is in the US to try to persuade a reluctant U.S. Congress of the benefits of the TPP.

All presidential candidates are opposing the TPP, and Congress will not vote on it until after the November presidential election.

Biologic drugs are used to treat cancer and other serious diseases, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. The government subsidises the price through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The price falls dramatically when monopoly protection ends and cheaper versions of the drugs become available. Studies have shown that each year of extended monopoly costs the PBS hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

“Mr Robb is telling one story in the US and another story in Australia,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

Dr Ranald said that Mr Robb’s reassurance in the US contradict his claims in Australia that the TPP will not result...


Registration is now open: Beyond Coal and Gas gathering at Myuna Bay, 8-11 April Sustainable Living Armidale

[ Friday, 8 Apr to Monday, 11 Apr. ] Beyond Coal and Gas is the national gathering of communities from across Australia working to move beyond coal and gas. Bringing together people from one end of Australia to the other, it is a rare and important opportunity for communities to come together, share experiences and to learn from one another. Registration is now open! The program for [...] full article »


Climate change and vegetation — letter to Armidale Dumaresq Council Sustainable Living Armidale

This is a recent letter to council: Greg Meyers Director, Planning and Environmental Services 25/2/16 Dear Greg, I would like to acknowledge the many excellent projects the Armidale Dumaresq Council has initiated in previous years to move towards environmental sustainability. However, I would like express extreme concern at some recent developments, which have seen numerous large native trees felled. The [...] full article »

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Wednesday, 24 February


UNE Seminar — Population and consumption: the death of nature and the failure of science Sustainable Living Armidale

[ Wednesday, 2 Mar; 12:00 pm; ] This is a seminar about people; their environment, their future, and whether they will have either. Some in the audience will find my words confronting. I make no apologies. There is no time for apologies. Nor do we have choices. We act now, decisively, and with pain or we will be hated by our children's [...] full article »


Real wages falling in Australia Bill Mitchell – billy blog

The Australian Bureau of Statistics published the latest – Wage Price Index, Australia – for the December-quarter yesterday and annual private sector wages growth fell to 2.0 per cent (0.5 per cent for the quarter). This is the fourth consecutive month that the annual growth in wages has recorded its lowest level since the data series began in the September-quarter 1997. Real wages in the private sector are now in decline. In the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook published in December, the Government assumed wages growth for 2014-15 would be 2.5 per cent rising to 2.75 over 2016-17. They also assumed real wages (the difference between growth in the nominal Wage Price Index and the Consumer Price Index would be positive (0.5 per cent in 2016-17). On current trends, neither assumption will be realised, means the forward estimates for taxation revenue are already falling short and the fiscal deficit will be larger than assumed. There will be then the typical hysteria about the size of the fiscal deficit and the need to cut it which will be missing the point entirely. The rising deficit is just responding to a generalised decline in economic activity, falling employment and suppressed wages growth. Depending on how we measure inflation, the annual wages growth translates into a small real wage rise or fall. Either way, real wages are growing well below trend productivity growth and Real Unit Labour Costs (RULC) continue to fall. This means that the gap between real wages growth and productivity growth continues to widen as the wage share in national income falls (and the profit share rises). The flat wages trend is intensifying the pre-crisis dynamics, which saw private sector credit rather than real wages drive growth in consumption spending. The lessons have not been learned.


Friday, 19 February


Armidale Farmers’ Market Sustainable Living Armidale

[ Sunday, 21 Feb; 8:00 am; Sunday, 6 Mar; 8:00 am; Sunday, 20 Mar; 8:00 am; Sunday, 3 Apr; 8:00 am; Sunday, 17 Apr; 8:00 am; Sunday, 1 May; 8:00 am; Sunday, 15 May; 8:00 am; Sunday, 5 Jun; 8:00 am; Sunday, 19 Jun; 8:00 am; Sunday, 3 Jul; 8:00 am; Sunday, 17 Jul; 8:00 am; Sunday, 7 Aug; 8:00 am; Sunday, 21 Aug; 8:00 am; Sunday, 4 Sep; 8:00 am; Sunday, 18 Sep; 8:00 am; Sunday, 2 Oct; 8:00 am; Sunday, 16 Oct; 8:00 am; Sunday, 6 Nov; 8:00 am; Sunday, 20 Nov; 8:00 am; Sunday, 4 Dec; 8:00 am; Sunday, 18 Dec; 8:00 am; ] The Armidale Farmers' Market is on first and third Sundays of the month at Curtis Park kicking off at around 8am and going through to lunch. If you are a paid up member of Sustainable Living Armidale you are welcome to sell produce at the Armidale Local Food stall with a slice of profits going [...] full article »

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