Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Uninhabitable Earth.


In a series of articles for the New York Magazine David Wallace-Wells describes the consequences of global warming. It's a nightmarish scenario, and Wallace-Wells throws everything at his readers, even the kitchen sink.

Beyond raising sea levels, Wallace-Wells reminds us of other possible effects of increasing temperature: large swathes of the planet, too hot for human life could become uninhabitable, mega-storms and mega-droughts, mass migrations, crops failings, ocean acidification, mass extinction on land and in the water, new diseases or return of old ones, military conflicts, CO2-induced stupidification of humanity.

Is that a realistic scenario?

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Australian Wages: Theory and Reality.


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture below -- courtesy of the ABC News' Andrew Probyn/Reserve Bank of Australia -- shows how wage growth forecasts made by the RBA (skinny colourful lines) compare to actual wage growth (fat black line):

(source)

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Fitzpatrick: What's Left?


Reading Sheila Fitzpatrick's "What's Left?" (a multi-review written for the London Review of Books) was an unexpectedly interesting -- indeed, almost gratifying -- experience, partly because she is a subtle writer, partly because of the books she discusses, and partly for what she says about them and their subject matter.

2017 is the centenary of the Russian Revolution and the books Fitzpatrick reviews are about it: as you might imagine, there is no dearth of writers intent on cashing in, while displaying their courage denouncing those once-again hated Russkies. To put it bluntly, I expected the wordier title "A non-Marxist Historian Reviews 5 anti-Marxist Books" would have fit her essay better.

I was wrong… kinda.