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Welcome to the party: a time for giving. Frank Tasche

Priceless: the inefficient, but merry economics of Christmas

Fingers crossed, we are soon to be inundated with Christmas joy disguised as presents from our family and friends. I received my first card more than a week ago and a present – now sitting under the tree…
Are we really in charge of our own destiny? Flickr/Michael Shane

The perils of the last human: flaws in modern economics

Nietzsche’s much quoted line “God is dead” was not, as it is often presented, a statement of triumphant atheism but was a warning and a call to action. We had killed God with rationalism and science. With…
Is it economics that’s the issue with ABC cuts – and if so, what kind of economics? ABC Publicity

The economics of politics is what’s firing anger over the ABC cuts

Sometimes things that are pretty simple for most people can seriously confuse an economist. The heat over the ABC cuts is a good example of the blurry line between economics – and the economics of politics…
When it comes to housing, perspective is crucial. San Francisco. Andrew Halliday

Deconstructing our hopes for self-regulating house prices

There is a nice weather map cartoon by Matt featuring the UK characterised by the varied intensity of dinner table house price conversation. And it is not just that we are obsessed with property values…
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and slugger Giancarlo Stanton are all smiles as Stanton signs his $325 million deal. USA Today Sports/Reuters

Breaking down Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million deal: could the first billion dollar contract happen sooner than we think?

In baseball history, nine players have signed guaranteed contracts worth over $200 million. Five of those contracts have been for ten years. Two of the five belong to Alex Rodriguez; the others include…
The risks facing the planet call for a new approach to economics. Red Cross/AAP

G20 climate challenge calls for a rethink of economics

Focusing on growth, the Brisbane G20 leaders' summit has not grappled with three key issues. How much more growth can the planet survive? How can poorer nations raise their living standards to parity with…
The economic cost of Ebola is estimated at around 3% of GDP for Liberia, and this does not take into account human costs. Ahmed Jallanzo/ AAP

The economics of Ebola

Economists are being called upon to estimate the costs of the Ebola epidemic to West Africa and elsewhere. However, economists should also play a part in estimating the likelihood of the disease spreading…
Trading floors like this one – at the old American Stock Exchange in the 1980s – are at the heart of capitalism and financial speculation. David Foster/Flickr via CC BY-ND

Financial speculation: the good, the bad and the parasitic

The word “speculation” carries a connotation of negativity. And it’s probably fair to say that pretty much every financial crisis since the tulip mania of the 1630s can be attributed to some sort of mass…
Don’t confuse happy individuals with happy societies. Minerva Studio

Beyond GDP: happiness is about more than just individuals

Many readers of this piece will be aware that economists are rethinking the role of happiness and GDP. They question facile assumptions about economic growth alone being good for us. What’s the good of…
Who’s afraid of a little economic history? johnwilliamsphd/Flickr

Economics hijackers could do with a history lesson

Behind every economic policy initiative lies a narrative justifying that course of action: immigration increases unemployment; public debt is unsustainable; manufacturing is interminably declining; city…
From Adam Smith to the Australian classroom: a leap too far? angus mcdiarmid/Flickr

How economics lost its identity in Australia, and how to get it back

I will never forget the late summer day on which Johnny Smith (not his real name) came to my office at UNSW full of excitement about his incipient undergraduate career. “I want to work as an investment…
Janet Yellen will make waves next year. International Monetary Fund

What will happen when the US Fed starts hiking rates?

As the US economy emerges from recession, the prospect of the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates grabs the attention of the financial markets more and more. US rates have been close to zero for…
Wanted: a new kind of economics. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Building a new economics for the #Occupy generation

After the global financial crisis in 2008, economics was in disarray. Even the Queen was moved to chide economists for failing to warn about the build-up of debt in households and banks in the major economies…

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