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Tuesday, 21 August

19:15

No Recovery For Crypto Markets as Altcoins Dump Again "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

FOMO Moments

Markets are receding again; EOS and Tezos falling, Iota and Lisk staying afloat.

In a pattern we have witnessed countless times this year the market rally could not be sustained and cryptos have dumped again. Red dominates the boards this morning as total market capitalization wipes out the last few days gains and drops back below $215 billion.

Bitcoin has remained stable and has not dropped with the rest of the altcoins. It is still trading at $6,470, the same level it has been at for the past couple of days. Consequently BTC market dominance has crept up again to 52.6% as its brethren suffers. Ethereum has been kicked again dropping 3.6% back to $285, its lowest level for almost a year.

The altcoins are all in the red with EOS taking the biggest hit in the top ten dropping 5% back to $4.90. Stellar and Cardano are also losing over 4% on the day and the rest between 2 and 3 percent. Further down the chart at the top twenty only Iota is in the green at the moment with a 1.7% gain to $0.528 which is still massively down over the year.

After its pump yesterday Tezos is dumping 13% today dropping the coin back to $1.35. Dash and Neo are also dropping back 4% as gains go out of the window once again. The rest of the top twenty is declining 1-3% at the time of writing. This pattern is repeated down to the top thirty coins with only Lisk showing a gain. LSK is up 2.5% to $3.92 which is also very low for this altcoin which topped $30 just seven months ago.

Newcomer to the top one hundred, Eternal Token, is pumping at the moment, up 28%. Power Ledger is also doing well climbing 6% on a listing on Australias BTC Markets exchange. On the red end of the scale is Veritaseum dumping 14% with Bitcoin Private and Kucoin Shares not far behind.

Total crypto market capitalization has fallen back after almost a week of gains from its 2018 low last Tuesday. With $212 billion markets have shed 1.8% over the past 24 hours, trade volume has remained low at $12 billion indicating that there is more of this to come.

Nothing seems to be able to give the markets the lift they need at the moment, there have be no hacks or negative news prompting the plunge. Any good news is having a negligible impact on the whole ecosystem, just the odd pump and dump for individual altcoins. The 2018 down trend...

19:06

Reclaiming our sense of collective and community Part 1 Bill Mitchell Modern Monetary Theory

My home town (where I was born and still spend a lot of time) is Melbourne, Victoria. It is a glorious place, at least the inner suburbs within about 3-4 kms of the city centre where I hang out mostly. It recently lost its top place in the Economist Intelligence Units Global Liveability Index (most pleasant place to live) to Vienna (Source). One wag thought it might have been because the Economist got confused between Australia and Austria. Economists are easily confused! But the reason I mentioned this is because it is symptomatic of how neoliberalism has reconstructed our realities and degraded our sense of community. The competitive narrative, even though firms go all out to use power and deception to fix and rig markets in their favour, now dominates our perception. While I identify with Melbourne and would think a significant part of my identity is linked to that identification, the neoliberal narrative with its distinctive language, aims to reconstruct the community and communities of Melbourne, not as social and cultural artifacts, but as products competing with other cities of the world for supremacy. I was thinking about this as I scope out the structure of the next book that Thomas Fazi and I will publish next year as a follow-up to our current book Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017). Thomas and I have advanced our ideas and we will, in part, be focusing on how communities and the nation state work together to advance progressive outcomes. In our first book together, we set out how nation states can operate from a technical perspective and what they should do to provide for a progressive future. In the next book, we will dig deeper into the ways people and their communities have to re-empower themselves. Language, construction, vocabulary, and framing are all significant in this regard.

When I was a post graduate student I was often thinking about the idea that technology is more than an engineering capacity. It also has an ideological dimension.

The debates in those days (and the great Austrian writer Andr Gorz was central to them) often were centred on whether a socialist state should use capitalist mass production technology and Taylorism, which alienated the worker from their product.

I disagreed with Gorz over his advocacy of a basic income guarantee. But he knew that these innovations were the key to the capacity of early capitalists to take control of production from skilled labour and increase the exploitation rate.

In turn, it spawned the push for mass consumption...

16:58

Turnbulls last chance for greatness John Quiggin

Since he first entered the Australian political scene as a leading proponent of republicanism, Malcolm Turnbulls career has been one long series of disappointments, which involved failing (more or less steadily) upwards.  Barring a miracle, his career is now effectively over. In the unlikely event that he survives as PM to the next election, he is assured of electoral defeat and subsequent oblivion.

But, he has one last chance for greatness. Its now clear that  many of his Liberal colleagues and, almost certainly, a majority of coalition MPs, want to hand the country over to an overt racist, bigot and climate denialist*. Yet it would only take 75 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives to stop this from happening.  A handful of genuine liberals in the Liberal party would be enough*.*

If Turnbull led such a group, he would be reviled by his own side, most of whom hate and/or despise him anyway, but he would finally justify the hopes of millions of Australians (including me) who actually believed he could change politics for the better.

Even if the requisite handful could not be found, Turnbull could resign his seat and recontest it as an independent, or support someone else pledged to oppose Dutton.  That would give at least some electors a chance to have their say.

Of course, this is all said in bitter jest.  Turnbull has never stood for anything and never will. He will hang on to the last possible moment, then capitulate meekly.

*  I mean Dutton, though his puppetmaster Abbott fits the bill also. In his inglorious run as PM, he at least paid lip service to racial equality and climate reality, but that has now gone out the window.

** Somewhere between one and five depending on how the independents and fringe parties went. I assume that any confidence agreements made with Turnbull would lapse.

14:44

Kiwis migrating to Oz again Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Choice

After a 3-year hiatus, it seems that more Kiwis are heading to West Island again (as opposed to the other way around). 


Australia is winning in the permanent and long term migration Bledisloe Cup, at least.

It's interesting to note that the unemployment rate has been lower in New Zealand than in Australia for quite some time.

And there were some one-off factors, such as the post-earthquake Christchurch rebuild. 

But maybe the tide is turning just a little now back in favour of Australia. 


Special visa class for rugby players, anyone?

14:00

Australian Dollar and Bitcoin "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

1.00 AUD = 0.00011 BTC
0.00010 BTC = 0.90 AUD
Converter

13:47

Now renting Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Starting to see just a bit more of this in Brisbane now.

Source: Harcourts

The coming infrastructure boost will help.

13:00

The Private Suppression of Public Expression Daily Reckoning Australia

Today we interrupt your regular market insight for something a little different.

Theres a sinister trend developing in the digital world.

Im starting to think that no one is safe.

At best, it threatens your freedom to obtain information.

At worst, it threatens your freedoms.

For years, The Daily Reckoning Australia has warned that governments around the world were out to limit your personal liberties.

But this growing threat is more powerful than any government could ever hope to be.

Thats because Western governments are elected. To get votes, they must pander to voters. So change is often slow. Freedom-suppressing legislation takes generations to become enshrined in law.

Thats why the real danger lies with private companies.

Im talking about the trillion-dollar tech sector.

The one controlled by a handful of powerful and unelected CEOs.

The internet to the 21st century is what the steam engine was to the industrial age.

It has revolutionised our ability to discover, consume and share information like never before.

A natural extension of the digital age is social media. As our lives moved online, so did our social habits.

Through this, the world had created a forum for people to express their thoughts and find like-minded individuals to interact with.

Yet in less than a decade, this social revolution has morphed into oppression of the masses.

We began to witness this a few years back. Companies like Facebook, Inc. [NYSE:FB] and Instagram became overzealous in policing the pictures of breastfeeding mothers.

Given the prevalence of lewd material on the internet, this policy reeked of double standards.

Facebook and Instagrams insistence of removing such photos and in many cases shutting down peoples profiles was the canary in the coal mine.

About a year ago, Facebook started issuing warnings to people who they felt werent using their real name in their profile. It threatened suspected accounts with closure.

This was seen as a sign that Facebook was pushing to remove anonymity online.

It was also the point at which the canary in the coal mine snuffed it. And yet few were paying attention.

The price we pay is that social media companies now control us.

Engineering public opinion

Two weeks ago, American radio host Alex Jones was cut off from all social media.

If you havent heard of Alex Jones, dont worry. Many Americans hadnt either until he was banned from social media.

However, Jones has a significant and loyal following. Some 2.2 million subscribers tune into his weekly podcast to get his views on global events.

But a fortnight ago, Jones discovered that Apple, Facebook and Spotify had worked together to ban his podcasts from their platforms.

Less than 24 ho...

11:08

NEGative thoughts John Quiggin

I was asked by Bloomberg to comment on what the future holds for Turnbull and the NEG. My comments:

Its an established convention in Australian politics that a narrow victory in a leadership challenge implies the need for a subsequent challenge in which the incumbent invariably loses. So, I think Turnbulls future is either on the backbench or early retirement from politics.  Even if he hangs on, the NEG is now finished.
 It remains to be seen whether the various ad hoc interventions announced or canvassed over the past few days take place. My guess is that most will require legislation and that getting this legislation through the Parliament will prove impossible.
  I think nothing much will happen until Turnbull is replaced, presumably by Dutton. I cant forecast what will happen after that.
This followed some comments I gave yesterday about rightwing opposition to the NEG (over the fold)

1.  This is primarily a culture war issue.  The immediate cause of the crisis is the refusal of the climate denialists in the government to accept any serious response to climate change.  As is evidenced by the case of the Trump Administration US, this refusal would be just the same even if power prices had not risen significantly.   Supposed concern about power prices is used as a political talking point, to support policies that may or not lead to lower prices.
2.  The increase in prices reflects the comprehensive failure of the market-oriented reforms introduced in the 1990s, including privatisation, the creation of the National Electricity Market and the introduction of retail competition.  The big cost increases have reflected the increased rate of return on monopoly transmission and distribution assets and the large retail margins that have emerged following the introduction of competition
3. Rather than undertake the necessary fundamental reforms the government has bolted on a series of emergency measures including the constantly evolving National Energy Guarantee, ad hoc intervention in the market for gas, and the current price cap proposal
4. The retail cap measure is desirable in itself but undermines the logic behind the National Electricity Market as a whole.
5. It would be preferable to renationalise the transmission, distribution and retail sectors, and use power purchase agreements in place of the spot market. Obviously, this would be a long road and is unlikely to happen. My expectation is that we will continue to see more and more fudges, at least for the foreseeable future.
6. At this point, Id be highly surprised if the policy was adopted, and even more so if Turnbull lasted l...

08:32

Wheels coming off out west Pete Wargent Daily Blog

One wheel off/axle broken

Sharper dwelling value falls now happening in a Western Sydney near you.

Chart art brought you via Cameron Kusher of CoreLogic.


Source: CoreLogic

Follow @cmkusher for top draw analysis.

I discussed the risks of Blacktown, Parramatta, the Hills District, and some Western Sydney suburbs in a bit more detail in this February 2017 podcast special with Business Insider. 

Prices are now down by more than 10 per cent in the Hills District SA4.

Median prices are also down by 8 per cent in Blacktown, and 7 per cent in Parramatta. 

More to follow...

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Monday, 20 August

22:30

22:30

New Partnership Enables Automatic Bill Payments Using Bitcoin in Australia "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

Australians wishing to pay their bills in cryptocurrencies do not have to be held back by the fact that their utility or service provider is stuck with traditional methods of payment. This follows the formation of a partnership between two financial technology firms, cryptocurrency exchange Cointree and automated billing platform Gobbill, allowing the payment of

The post New Partnership Enables Automatic Bill Payments Using Bitcoin in Australia appeared first on CCN

20:09

Regular email news John Quiggin

Over the fold, my latest regular email. If you would like to receive it, sign up at http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX

Hi everyone

 

As is common for academics of a certain age, Ive been writing lots of book chapters lately, and several of the books have come out recently.  They include:

Wrong Way: How Privatisation & Economic Reform Backfired, edited by Damien Cahill and Phillip Toner, which is going to be launched at Gleebooks in Sydney on Friday 21st September. I have contributed chapters on electricity reform and productivity.

The Coal Truth, by David Ritter  This isnt an edited volume but a great piece of writing by David, with additional contributions from lots of people including Tara Moss and Berndt Sellheim, Adrian Burragubba, Lesley Hughes ,Hilary Bambrick, Ruchira Talukdar, Geoffrey Cousins and me.

The SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism, edited by  Damien Cahill, Melinda Cooper, Martijn Konings and David Primrose. I have a chapter on Neoliberalism: Rise, Decline and Future Prospects. Given the pricing, this is a book for libraries and academic specialists only.

I hope to be back with more regular mailings once Ive finalised the manuscript of my new book, Economics in Two Lessons.

Best wishes
John

18:53

More bums on seats in FY2018 Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Australia is very popular

Permanent and long term arrivals increased 4 per cent in FY2018 to 808,480, up from 773,400 a year earlier.

That's a record high.


Tourism boom now slowing

2018 was also a record financial year for tourism and short-term visitors.

There was another solid 5.6 per cent in visitors to New South Wales, to 3.44 million.


Queensland also saw an apparently strong 6.2 per cent increase to 1.97 million.

Being up at Noosa today - and sharing luncheon with Queensland-born Mr. Michael Pascoe, no less - I'm duty bound to say that this is because the Sunshine State is beautiful one day and perfect the next.


In truth, though, this should be seen as a somewhat disappointing result for Queensland given that Gold Coast played host to Commonwealth Games XXI in 2018.

Report card: could do better. 

...

18:43

British labour market low unemployment hiding a deeper malaise Bill Mitchell Modern Monetary Theory

The British Office of National Statistics (ONS) published its latest labour market data last week (August 14, 2018) Labour market economic commentary: August 2018. The results are illuminating because they demonstrate how we must use broad concepts to appraise labour market health rather than just focusing on the official unemployment rate. A marked characteristic of the British labour market has been the near zero rate of growth in wages (and falling real wages) for some years, despite the claims that employment has reached record levels and the unemployment rate is now at levels unseen since the early 1970s. The research question is to dig deeper into the data to see what might be driving these relationships. The conclusion I reach is that the quality of employment has fallen somewhat over the last decade or so and the capacity of workers to successfully achieve wage settlements has fallen significantly as trade union membership has gone south. I am doing more formal research on this question to narrow down all the determinants and will report when I have more to say.

Employment at record levels

The heading reflects the sort of statements that politicians make. In this case it is true. Total employment in the June-quarter was 32,386 thousand and it has never been higher.

But then the total working age population (above 16 years) was 53,044 thousand and that has never been higher.

So the statement employment at record levels is somewhat vacuous no matter how good it sounds.

We are better off considering rates and the Employment to Population ratio shown in the next graph is at levels not witnessed since the June-quarter 1973, just before the OPEC oil crises hit.

Part-time, self-employed and temporary

The data also shows that the proportion of workers who are now in part-time positions has risen from 23.5 per cent in the June-quarter 1992 to 26.4 per cent in the June-quarter 2018 not a significant shift.

There has also not been much change in the proportion of workers work...

18:21

$23 Billion: Blockchain Pivot to Bring Big Savings for Australias Biggest Stock Exchange "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has disclosed that millions of dollars in savings could be generated by Australian firms once the exchange migrates from the existing Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) to a blockchain technology-based platform. Currently, it is estimated that the average fee that large investors are charged for clearing and settlement services

The post $23 Billion: Blockchain Pivot to Bring Big Savings for Australias Biggest Stock Exchange appeared first on CCN

14:00

316 Resources for agri-environmental schemes Pannell Discussions

Ive been asked to present a talk in Ireland in two weeks, on the topic The Design of Effective Agri-Environment Schemes. In putting the talk together, it struck me that I (with help from colleagues) have developed quite a few resources in this space, so Ive collected them on a new web site to make them easily accessible.

Agri-environmental schemes (or programs or policies) aim to reduce the adverse impacts of agriculture on the environment. There are many such schemes around the world, but often they are not very efficient or effective. We could often do a lot better if we did a smarter job of designing and implementing these schemes.

Not that its easy. There are so many aspects to consider: the effectiveness of different practices at reducing environmental damage, their attractiveness (or otherwise) to farmers, the mechanisms to be used to promote the best practices, the costs and risks of different approaches, which environmental issues are the priorities, and so on. In my view, most designers of agri-environmental schemes dont appreciate what a difficult task they are trying to do, and make do with relatively quick and dirty approaches to the design.

The resources Ive included on the web site address a wide range of relevant issues, including:

  • Lessons from past agri-environmental schemes
  • The selection of appropriate policy mechanisms
  • Measuring environmental values
  • Ranking projects, including the choice of an appropriate metric
  • Additionality
  • Understanding and predicting farmers adoption of new practices
  • Dealing with uncertainty and including systems for learning from experience
  • The need to pull off that together in a coherent framework

It includes journal articles, books, reports, frameworks, computer tools, web sites, and blog posts, plus links to my free online course on Agriculture, Economics and Nature.

Overall, if an organisation wanted to design and deliver an agri-environmental scheme that would really deliver outcomes, they could benefit greatly from the material on this site. The URL is www.resources4aes.net.

Further reading

Pannell, D.J. (2008). Public benefits, private benefits, and policy intervention for land-use change for environmental benefits, Land Economics 84(2): 225-240....

11:56

Monday Message Board John Quiggin

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link

11:20

How Crowns New Skyscraper Explains the Market Daily Reckoning Australia

Its a big week for Aussie stocks.

Im not much of a horse racing fan, but were basically coming around the bend and into the last straight for the earnings reporting season.

Things have gone smoothly until now. 48% of the companies that have reported earnings so far have beaten their estimates. Whats more, profits and dividends look strong.

One stock that caught my eye was Goodman Group [ASX:GMG]. The Age reported over the weekend that it plans to extend its warehouse to cater for booming logistics demand from e-commerce.

However, land values and rents are high in the areas they need to build. The solution? Go higher by building on top of the existing warehouse.

Ive reported previously on the same thing happening in New York. Its another example of how property values can keep rising where this type of development happens.

If you can draw more income from the same amount of land, that can only capitalise into the selling price.

In order to capitalise into the selling price, you need to be able to get financing for a development.

Thats not a problem for Goodman Group, but is proving somewhat harder for Crown Resorts Ltd [ASX:CWN].

It has plans in place to develop a luxury hotel and apartment complex in Melbourne. This is a major project it would be the tallest tower in Melbourne if built.

However, Crown says that it is struggling to find a development partner around the residential component of the project. Thats presumably because of the fear of apartment oversupply in the city.

Crown is supposed to have the project underway by February. If the project gets pulled, we can assume the property and credit cycle is finally weakening. Conversely, if it goes ahead, perhaps we can all keep dancing a little while longer.

Or maybe the finance team at Crown could give financial services company ING a call. The Australian reports ING has raised $1 billion via an Aussie dollar covered bond issue. The suggestion is that theyre going after the market share of the Big Four Aussie banks while they remain under pressure.

Thats a familiar theme if youve been reading The Daily Reckoning Australia for a while. But the suggestion of an Aussie property credit crunch, however much discussed, has yet to come to pass.

Much of what happens from here will of course depend on China. The Financial Times says Beijing continues to order its state-run banks to lend to infrastructure projects and exporters.

Well have to see how this shows up in the numbers. But theyre already looking good. New loans were up 75% in July from the same time last year.

One wonders how the market psychology will go if the China-US trade negotiations take a positive turn. We could have a firing US and resurging China on the cards.

However, we cant base an investment plan on wishful thinking. We...

04:34

Paraguay politics "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Lets consider Paraguay, a country that has traditionally been dominated by two parties, the Colorados and the Liberals.  Ill make up a hypothetical set of facts, and you tell me the most plausible way to interpret this imaginary scenario:

1.  Manuel Suarez of the Colorado Party is elected president.

2.  Almost all Liberals view Suarez as a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.

3.  The leading Colorado intellectuals and pundits view Suarez as a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.

4.  Roughly 80% of former leaders of the Colorado party (who are now retired from politics) view Suarez as a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.

5.  Roughly 10% of current Colorado politicians criticize Suarez as if he were a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.

6.  In private, most Colorado politicians view Suarez as a dishonest, vindictive demagogue, even while supporting him publicly in order to please their constituents.

7.  Most Colorado voters do not view Suarez as a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.  These voters support Suarez on virtually all issues, regardless of whether his views represent traditional Colorado positions.

Suppose you were a French, Australian or Egyptian political scientist, examining the political situation in Paraguay.  You have no emotional tie to either the Colorados or the Liberals.  You are examining the situation as dispassionately as one might study an ant farm.  Which hypothesis would you regard as most plausible:

A.  Suarez is a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.

B.  Suarez is not a dishonest, vindictive demagogue.  Rather hes very much misunderstood by the elites in Asuncion, of both parties, who follow him most closely.  Only his cult-like following among ordinary voters of one political party see him for what he is.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 12.44.58 PM

PS.  AP had a good piece on how GOP politicians view the Trump cult.  I almost broke out laughing when I read the concluding paragraph:

The Trump phenomenon is going to end at some point in time. That might be six years, that might be two years, that might be sooner. No one knows, the former Ohio GOP chairman said. When it does end, its the job of a lot of us to make sure that the party is still populated by goo...

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Sunday, 19 August

18:36

Debt Rattle August 19 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Pablo Picasso Portrait of Ambroise Vollard 1910   Anatomy of a Crisis: A Strong Dollar and Disappearing Liquidity (Palisade) Speculators Will Make Hay From Great Australian Economic Crash (Steve Keen) Judge Rules FBI Must Address Measures Taken To Verify Steele Dossier (ZH) White House Counsel Cooperating Extensively With Obstruction Probe (ZH)

The post Debt Rattle August 19 2018 appeared first on The Automatic Earth.

Monday, 23 July

11:31

Tell Federal MPs and Senators: vote NO to TPP-11 AFTINET

TPP-11 vote coming soon - tell Federal MPs and Senators to say no

The original TPP-12 trade deal between the US Australia and 10 other Pacific Rim countries could not proceed after the US withdrew in 2017.

Australia and Japan led the push for the TPP-11 without the US, which was signed in March 2018. Some clauses have been suspended, pending the US re-joining in future. But the deal still gives more rights to global corporations and reduces government rights to regulate in the public interest.

The TPP-11 implementing legislation is now being reviewed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee on which the government has a majority. Community campaigning has also resulted in a Senate Inquiry on which the government does not have a majority.

Parliament will vote on the implementing legislation after both Committees report in August-September 2018. It can be stopped if the majority in the Senate say no.

The TPP-11 is a bad deal that gives more rights to global corporations to sue governments, restricts government regulation of essential services and encourages privatisation, lacks enforceable protections for labour rights and vulnerable temporary migrant workers, and lacks enforceable environmental regulation.

Send a message to your local Federal MP and Senators to say no to the TPP-11

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