Food: Getting lost in social constructivism

After reading both the Stuff article and the initial article on Gareth Morgan’s blog and the follow up, I am convinced both Gareth and Geoff Simmons (GG) have inadvertently become extreme social constructivists – but may not realise it yet.

Now I hate it when people just whip out rhetoric like “social constructivist” and don’t explain it – so what do I mean, how have they gone this way, and what do we know about this type of framework so we can analyse it?

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Caution advised before using Tourism Industry Association numbers

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) has recently released an array of regionally-tailored media releases in conjunction with its Tourism 2014 Election Manifesto. Although we welcome healthy debate on economic issues in regional New Zealand, we are dubious of the methodology used to estimate regional tourism employment and advise extreme caution beforeutilising any of the TIA’s regional data.

The TIA’s report generates extremely unusual results. For example, the Association claims that 15%of Upper Hutt residents’ jobs depend on the tourism industry, while only 9% of residents’ jobs in Queenstown-Lakes District depend on tourism. This result defies logic and an assessment of the TIA’s methodology suggests that it should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Epsom Property Rights

I had been thinking a bit about the apparent inconsistency between David Seymour arguing against intensification in Epsom whilst simultaneously being part of the ACT party, which wants to repeal the RMA is generally against regulations.  I first read about it in Russell Brown’s post The Ides of Epsom.

Apparently, Seymour reconciles these things through appealing to an argument about “property rights”

What I’m arguing is that the people of Epsom have bought into certain property rights and the character of their community …

Now, most economists would agree that it is important to have a good system of property rights,so I was intrigued by this argument. I was going to examine this issue myself, but Eric Crampton has put this to bed quite succinctly in the tweet below. As Eric points out, unless there is a covenant in place, there is no “deal” that is being broken, which is what economists would be worried by.

Update: Eric has a much fuller discussion on his blog here

Discussion Tuesday

Given I’m currently heavily heavily busy I’ll have to pull another comment from this Top 10 at 10

Economists don’t have universal truths, which is why I can’t understand how it is called a science.  Without those universal truths all you can expect is opinions.

Questions:

  1. Does science have universal truths?
  2. Is it true that without universal truths all we have are opinions?
  3. If 2 is true, then is it a lost cause – or perhaps is there a mechanism that makes some “opinions” relatively more valid/persuasive/closer to “truth”

Note:  I hope one of the other bloggers will cover off the National and Labour policy announcements – as I haven’t had any time to look at them at all – *wink wink*.  If it doesn’t happen during the week, I’ll see if I can manage something in the future.