It’s not easy being green

As Kermit the Frog famously sang "It's not easy being green". Well, it certainly isn't if you're a politician. Green policies may be popular and they may even win you votes. But the flipside is that such policies usually come at a price to the consumer and the taxpayer. So the temptation for politicians is to find a way that will make them look green without actually hurting anyone.The Australian government's policy towards the car industry is a good example. [...]

Taxpayers pay billions for Govt’s car trip

The Commonwealth's car plan was built around three policy objectives: to strengthen Australia's industrial base, help the environment, and support jobs. None of these arguments hold up to closer scrutiny. In fact, all that the Rudd Government's car plan amounts to is an old-fashioned, protectionist industrial policy, neatly hidden behind a giant green smokescreen. [...]

Goodbye GM, hello Rudd Car

Committing $100,000 of taxpayer money to saving each job in the car industry was already a prodigious waste of money but this will look cheap compared with the cost of nationalising Holden. In time, Australians will come to rue the day Rudd decided to treat the car industry as an issue of systemic significance. [...]

An end to all lists

There is something irresistible about measuring things, especially when it comes to country comparisons and international rankings. Yet not all measurement is scientific, and not all statistics really broaden our understanding. [...]

Time to stand up to Detroit

It is time our politicians stand up to the highway robbers of General Motors and protect Australian taxpayers. And it would be far better to help Holden's workers directly rather than handing out money to an American company on the brink of bankruptcy. [...]

An end to all lists

What a miserable place Australia must be if it finds itself behind a bankrupt economy and a country left ungovernable by the financial crisis. However, we may feel a bit better because Australia did not need to be bailed out by the IMF, nor did our capital cities see rallies of angry citizens which recently brought Dublin to a standstill. [...]

Still no life on Mars

In Germany, but not only there, the economic ideas of the 1970s are celebrating a revival. But why would anyone want to retry the old recipes for more regulation and fiscal stimulus when they so spectacularly failed back then? It may well turn out that watching Life on Mars is a better way to indulge in 1970s nostalgia. [...]

Rational thieves to go out of business

Stealing a car is perhaps not the most obvious activity that economists would pay attention to. But it turns out that car theft is the perfect example to show how people react to incentives. [...]

Spurensuche in der Asche

Die schweren Buschbrände, die letzte Woche im australischen Bundesstaat Victoria wüteten, haben nicht nur 181 Menschenleben gekostet, 1800 Häuser zerstört und 7500 Menschen zu Obdachlosen gemacht. Sie haben auch bei nicht unmittelbar betroffenen Australiern große Verunsicherung ausgelöst. Während die letzten Brände immer noch nicht gelöscht sind, beginnt die Aufarbeitung einer der schlimmsten Naturkatastrophen in der Geschichte des Fünften Kontinents. [...]