Tag Archives: people

Black calls the kettle Rupert

It is dif­fi­cult to think of any­one less like­ly to offer an objec­tive assess­ment. Con­rad Black on why Rupert Mur­doch is a “great bad man”. “Although his per­son­al­i­ty is gen­er­al­ly quite agree­able, Mr Mur­doch has no loy­al­ty to any­one or any­thing except his com­pa­ny. He has dif­fi­cul­ty keep­ing friend­ships; rarely keeps his word for long; […]

An eminent economist

After a dis­tin­guished career that has seen sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to pub­lic pol­i­cy for­mu­la­tion through more than three decades, Gar­naut finds him­self, at 64, more piv­otal than ever. As he grap­ples with his respon­si­bil­i­ty it is worth observ­ing he lacks one qual­i­ty also miss­ing in every oth­er econ­o­mist: infal­li­bil­i­ty” Extract from “A bril­liant career, but cer­tain­ly […]

Twitterton (on the Potomac)

Or “Fuck­nutsville” accord­ing to the President’s Chief of Staff. An intrigu­ing sto­ry of dys­func­tion­al, triv­i­al­is­ing, momen­tary, par­ti­san­ship in Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. Bro­ken gov­ern­ment? Maybe… The point of this long Van­i­ty Fair essay seems to be that “no-dra­­ma” Oba­ma is the man for his times; angling to res­ur­rect endur­ing vic­to­ries for good gov­ern­ment from beneath the treach­er­ous […]

Monckton Lecture, Melbourne Feb 1, 2010

Christopher, Visount Monckton, Melbourne Public Lecture Details

A num­ber of peo­ple have asked for these details:

Mon­day, 1 Feb­ru­ary 2010, 5:30 pm
Ball­room, Sof­i­tel Hotel (25 Collins St Mel­bourne)

Entry by $20 ‘dona­tion’ at the door (no reser­va­tions).


p>Christopher, Vis­count Mon­ck­ton is a seri­ous ana­lyst and good fun: he has mas­tered the art of keep­ing it sim­ple and exag­ger­at­ing (a lit­tle bit). So I expect a big crowd, a great atmos­phere and some clever, con­vinc­ing, talk.

Carbon tariffs, permits and subsidies

Gary Hor­lick, Wash­ing­ton trade attor­ney, for­mer senior offi­cial of the Com­merce Depart­ment and a very fine ana­lyst of WTO law, sets out some of the impos­si­bly tricky tech­ni­cal ques­tions in plain lan­gu­gage

Per­haps the biggest inter­na­tion­al trade chal­lenge — and one on which a lot more work needs to be done — is how the mechan­ics of inter­na­tion­al trade will work if each of the hun­dred and nine­ty coun­tries (or even 10–15 region­al group­ings) has its own indi­vid­ual cli­mate change imple­men­ta­tion. What if some of them have bor­der tax­es, some require per­mits for imports, and oth­ers instead off­set the costs for their domes­tic indus­try. Or each coun­try has a cap- and-trade sys­tem with dif­fer­ent lim­i­ta­tions on the per­mits?” Extract from tes­ti­mo­ny to the U.S. Sen­ate Finance Com­mit­tee

A short paper that asks the right ques­tions (to which there are few, if any, sat­is­fac­to­ry answers). Thanks to Simon Lester for find­ing this.

The life of Robert McNamara

McNamara and Lyndon Johnson

Dead at 93 years of age. The last sur­vivor (? I’m pret­ty sure) of Kennedy’s clever, risk-tak­ing, tech­noc­ra­cy of the ear­ly 1960s.

A man who, like Lyn­don John­son, strug­gled with the ter­ri­ble con­se­quences of the wrong choic­es he helped to make in Viet­nam, but unlike John­son sur­vived them. His unlike­ly trans­la­tion to the World Bank from the U.S. Defense Depart­ment was (in con­trast to the recent Wol­fowitz deba­cle) a remark­able suc­cess, expand­ing the role and scope and intel­li­gence of the Bank dur­ing the clas­sic era of ‘indus­tri­al­iz­ing’ devel­op­ment while push­ing it strong­ly toward pref­er­en­tial sup­port for the poor.

Plimer’s Heaven + Earth


I have final­ly fin­ished read­ing and skim­ming Ian Plimer’s thick book Heav­en + Earth. I found it admirable for being a com­pre­hen­sive and intel­li­gent account of rel­e­vant evi­dence on cli­mate change. I did not like it so much for the writ­ing, or for the orga­ni­za­tion of ideas in some places, but that’s a quib­ble in light of the book’s strengths.

Prof. Plimer’s book looks like a text book (and weighs about as much), but in real­i­ty it is a piece of rhetoric. He has col­lat­ed a very strong argu­ment, based on the record of sci­en­tif­ic enquiry, for reject­ing the case—already flim­sy on the grounds of com­mon sense—for cli­mate alarm.