Friday, 16 May 2014

An index of anti-semitism and other news and views for Friday 16 May

  • An Index of anti-semitism – A Survey of Attitudes Toward Jews in Over 100 Countries Around the World
  • 14-05-2014 adlsterepotypes14-05-2014 adl114-05-2014 holocaust14-05-2014 oceania
    • Climate Change Debate: A Famous Scientist Becomes a Skeptic - “I have full respect for the scientific work behind the IPCC reports but I do not appreciate the need for consensus. It is important, and I will say essential, that society and the political community is also made aware of areas where consensus does not exist. To aim for a simplistic course of action in an area that is as complex and as incompletely understood as the climate system does not make sense at all in my opinion.”
    • Inflation Targets Reconsidered by Paul Krugman - Over the course of the 1990s many of the world’s central banks converged on an inflation target of 2 percent. Why 2 percent, rather than 1 or 3? The target wasn’t arrived at via a particularly scientific process, but for a time 2 percent seemed to make both economic and political sense. On one side, it seemed high enough to render concerns about hitting the zero lower bound mostly moot; on the other, it was low enough to satisfy most of those worried about the distortionary effects of inflation. It was also low enough that those who wanted true price stability — zero inflation — could be deflected with the argument that official price statistics understated quality change, and that true inflation was in fact close to zero. And as it was widely adopted, the 2 percent target also, of course, acquired the great advantage of conventionality: central bankers couldn’t easily be accused of acting irresponsibly when they had the same inflation target as everyone else. More recently, however, the 2 percent target has come under much more scrutiny. The main reason is the experience of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, which strongly suggests that advanced economies are far more likely to hit the zero lower bound than previously believed, and that the economic costs of that constraint on conventional monetary policy are much larger than the pre-crisis conventional wisdom. In response, a number of respected macroeconomists, notably Blanchard (2010) and, much more forcefully, Ball (2013), have argued for a sharply higher target, say 4 percent. But do even these critics go far enough? In this paper I will argue that they don’t — that the case for a higher inflation target is in fact even stronger than the critics have argued.”
    • Hockey’s ‘Honest John’ budget routine – “In the past week, Treasurer Joe Hockey has been fondly quoting Howard’s first budget as treasurer in 1978 as a precedent for governments abandoning election promises and increasing taxes in the national interest. … If he had a closer look, he might be a little more reluctant to quote it as a precedent.”
    • Absurdities of Copyright Protection – “As a starting point, the fundamental purpose of copyright is not to help authors gain a reward in the market. The fundamental purpose is to advance science and the arts, which means encouraging others to build on pre-existing work. For this purpose, copyright protection must strike a balance between protecting the ability of authors to earn a reward, on one side, but also assuring that what they have created enters into the public domain so that it can be used by others, on the other side.”
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