Will sustainability make us better off?

An important question raised by the writers in NewScientist’s feature is whether we will be less happy living sustainably. This is the part of the series I felt was weakest. The general consensus amongst them is that we will actually be happier if we live sustainably because we will live healthier lifestyles. David Suzuki claims that ‘we would go out and walk around because there would be shops, musicians and people out on the street that we’d want to meet’. Kate Soper thinks we’d ‘…enjoy healthier modes of transport such as walking, cycling and boating’.

The authors appear to be projecting their own lifestyle preferences onto others here. It is this element of the environmental rhetoric that bothers me most: the idea that we would all be happier people if only we were more like them because they know what’s best for us better than we do. Read more

RBA cuts 100

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut 100 basis points last night taking the cash rate to 4.25% – well into easing territory.

A feeling that global commodity prices were in for a sustained lower period was a driving force behind this stimulus.  Surprisingly the Reserve Bank of Australia did not mention to enormous decline in fuel prices – however, there suggestion that the terms of trade would fall markedly implicitly suggests that the decline in petrol prices will be dominated by other factors.

What does this mean for New Zealand – a rule of thumb stemming from cuts so far (Aussie cut + 25) would suggest 125bp.  100 is still conceivable, as is 150.  My pick of 75 now seems incredibly unlikely.  Note, further discussion of the decision occurs in the comments of this post :)

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National chooses not to rule ‘by decree’

It looks like National has decided not to continue with the previous government’s plans to introduce a standard for lightbulb efficiency. They say

We want to encourage people to [switch], we think there may be benefits for them to do it, but it should be a choice they make as consumers.

It’s a good point: efficient CFL bulbs are tough to dim, take time to reach full brightness and don’t bring out the sparkle in chandeliers, apparently. So why would we want to force everyone to use them when they’re clearly not suited to some applications? Of course, if people did use them in their homes and offices, where they are suitable, it would be great for reducing our national power consumption. Read more

Is our economy killing the planet?

I’ve recently been browsing old magazines and my attention was grabbed by a feature in the October 18 edition of NewScientist. In it they collate a series of articles under the heading ‘Why the economy is killing the planet and what we can do about it’. At first I was disappointed that a publication puporting to be scientific in nature was resorting to scare journalism and economics bashing; however, there are a number of interesting ideas in the articles that bear discussion. Read more

No need for fiscal stimulus – monetary policy is coming

Or so says John Key. Very interesting.

Ok, as Prime Minister, John Key needs to stop talking about monetary policy!!! Luckily Kiwiblog has already covered this – so you won’t get another rant from me ;)

I am not sure whether he is speculating, or whether he’s been briefed and then wandered off and spilled the beans. All I know is that he pushed up the price of the “over 100” contract on iPredict.

All I know is that my pick of 75 is looking increasingly unlikely – Australia’s decision tonight will make everything a lot clearer ;) . However, I am glad to see that he agrees with the idea that we don’t need to be introducing a fiscal stimulus.

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