Archive

Author Archive

Debating NBN and the price mechanism

June 22, 2016 Comments off

I just finished up at a breakfast forum hosted by the Brisbane Inner West Chamber of Commerce, which included nine candidates standing in the seats of Brisbane and Ryan. It was good to catch up with Jane Prentice (MP for Ryan), though Sly Gryphon – Liberal Democrats candidate for Ryan did an excellent job arguing why he should have Jane’s job.

As a short event, not much could be said, but at one stage I did lock horns with Pat O’Neill (Labor candidate for Brisbane) about the NBN and more broadly about the price mechanism.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

My mini biography

June 22, 2016 Comments off

The Australian election is coming up on the 2nd of July 2016, and I’m standing as the Liberal Democrats candidate for the division of Brisbane, which is (unsurprisingly) in the middle of Brisbane.

Realistically, our goal is to get people elected to the Senate, and minor party candidates (such as myself) have very little chance of winning in the lower house… but we are able to raise issues, raise awareness, and help to pressure the major parties to pay attention to libertarian arguments. Most of my political commentary has been on my facebook page instead of this much-neglected website, but for those who are curious, below is a brief summary of my life…  Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Nanny state & class warfare

April 14, 2016 1 comment
The nanny state is alive and well in Australia… not just with the recent government crackdown on drinking, and the ongoing attack on smokers, but also with the long-standing war on drugs, and a hundred and one smaller things like compulsory bicycle helmets.
 
Many people complain that these restrictions take away individual freedom and give too much power to politicians… and they are right, but these arguments are unconvincing for the paternalists, because they don’t think most people should have too much freedom anyway, and they trust political power. But even if we ignore the “freedom argument” and “public choice argument” there is another problem with paternalism that should not be ignored… the behavioural argument. The nanny state leads to worse decisions.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

The end of Chapter Six

December 22, 2015 Comments off

I started this website about six years ago when I switched from being a full-time traveller (which I called “Chapter Five”) to living in Australia and concentrating on economic research (my “Chapter Six”)… but by the end of 2015 it is fair to say that both the blog and Chapter Six are coming to an end.

The age of life-blogging is over. To the degree that I have ideas worth sharing these days, they are more likely to show up on my facebook page, and realistically this blog isn’t going to come back to life any time soon. C’est la vie.

But more consequential is that my life is changing. Perhaps the defining feature of Chapter Six (2009-2015) has been my PhD on education and personal equity finance in Cambodia, which is now drawing to a close. For the last few years I…

  • lived between Australia & Cambodia;
  • researched, wrote & spoke about a range of economic, social & political topics;
  • re-engaged with politics through the Friedman Dinners, Friedman Conference, Australian Institute for Progress, and the Australian Taxpayers Alliance;
  • built the Human Capital Project into a proper organisation;
  • had the chance to re-live some university lifestyle; and
  • did some occasional part-time work and paid off my house.

Time for something new, thought I’m not really sure what’s in store for Chapter Seven. My original plan was to move to Melbourne, return to proper work for the first time since 2004, and live a more settled & healthy life. That didn’t work out. My problem now is that I have too many options and no strong preference. But whatever happens next, it’s time to draw a line under the last chapter of my life. So goodbye Chapter Six and thanks for all the fish.🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

The long race to the white house

April 26, 2015 Comments off

We are nearly two years away from the US having a new President, but the race for the white house is already heating up with several announced candidates and plenty of people positioning themselves for a run. The Democratic nomination doesn’t look very interesting at the moment with Hillary Clinton having a large lead, but even if the Democratic race heats up my main interest is the Republican Party and specifically the campaign of semi-libertarian Rand Paul.

The list of candidates for the Grand Old Party (GOP) is absurdly long… even after several people withdrawing from the race (including Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rob Portman, John Thune, Mitch Daniels) and ignoring some of the no-hopers, it is still fairly easy to come up with a list of over 20 serious candidates. Damn. Here is my list of 20 players (+1), split into different categories, with the brackets indicating where I put them in the race to the nomination.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Political anarchy & moral anarchy

February 28, 2015 1 comment

There is an important difference between political philosophy and moral philosophy. The former field of study looks at the question of “what is the role of government” while the latter field looks at the question “what is the best way to live”.

These questions are often muddled together, especially by conservatives and socialists who conclude that if something is good (moral philosophy) then it should be mandated by the government (political philosophy). For libertarians and anarchists the distinction between political philosophy and moral philosophy is sharp. The most famous example of the distinction comes from the pity quote often attributed to Voltaire that “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”. The “agreeing” part is about moral philosophy while the “defend … your right” is about political philosophy. Both issues are important, but before you can answer either question it is helpful to at least recognise that they are different questions.  Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Guide to saving the Liberal Party

February 28, 2015 1 comment

As a prelude, it’s worth saying that I don’t really care whether the Liberal Party is saved or not. From an outside perspective it may be better (or more interesting) for the party to implode. But the rest of this post assumes that the goal is to help the Liberal Party succeed. This was first published on my facebook page.

  • First, Tony Abbott approaches Malcolm Turnbull and arranges an agreement between the two of them that ensures the party leader (whoever it is) has party unity and a fighting chance of winning the next election.
  • This should involve bringing Turnbull into the inner circle of decision making: higher profile; more events with Abbot, Bishop and Turnbull together; more public support from conservative parliamentarians; and maybe a nominal increase in Turnbull’s ministerial responsibilities if possible.
  • Turnbull should beg and plead with his supporters to stop their leaks and backbench sniping for the rest of this year. He should also agree to never again support an ETS or carbon tax.
  • Abbott should make a private promise to Turnbull that if he has not recovered in the polls and pointed the party in the right direction by the end of the year (as measured by clear and pre-agreed criteria), then he will step down and support Turnbull as the new leader.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 432 other followers