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Podcast episode

EP115 – The Opioid Crisis and the War on Drugs

100,000 Americans have died of drug overdoses in a 12 month period, mostly with opioids. Economics Explored EP115 features a conversation on the US Opioid crisis and the failed War on Drugs, and why a Harm Reduction approach is preferable, with Dr Jeff Singer MD from the Cato Institute. 

About this episode’s guest – Dr Jeffrey Singer MD

Jeffrey A. Singer is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and works in the Department of Health Policy Studies. He is principal and founder of Valley Surgical Clinics Ltd., the largest and oldest group private surgical practice in Arizona, and has been in private practice as a general surgeon for more than 35 years.

He is also a visiting fellow at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix. Singer is a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the American Council on Science and Health. From 1994 to 2016, he was a regular contributor to Arizona Medicine, the journal of the Arizona Medical Association. He served on the Advisory Board Council of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University from 2014 to 2018 and is an adjunct instructor in the Program on Political History and Leadership at ASU. He writes and speaks extensively on regional and national public policy, with a specific focus on the areas of health care policy and the harmful effects of drug prohibition.

He received his BA from Brooklyn College (City University of New York) and his MD from New York Medical College. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Jeff is @dr4liberty on Twitter. 

The North Carolina study:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26333030/

 The Harvard/Johns Hopkins study on misuse rates in opioid naive post-surgical patients:

https://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.j5790

 The Cicero study on the rise of heroin as the “gateway” drug:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28582659/

Jeff’s report in the Journal of Pain Research:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6369835/

Jeff’s Quadrant article on e-cigarettes:

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/public-health/2021/10/whose-lungs-are-they-anyway/

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. 

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com or sending a voice message via https://www.speakpipe.com/economicsexplored. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP114 – Tax rules benefiting tech titans and hedge fund managers

Controversial US tax rules mean that tech titans and hedge fund managers can pay arguably a relatively low amount of tax, as Steve Rosenthal, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, explains to show host Gene Tunny in Economics Explored episode 114. Steve also talks with Gene about former President Trump’s tax affairs in this episode.

About this episode’s guest – Steven M. Rosenthal

Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, researches, speaks, and writes on a range of federal income tax issues, with a particular focus on business taxes. In 2013, he was the staff director of the DC Tax Revision Commission.

Before joining Urban, Rosenthal practiced tax law in Washington, DC, for over 25 years, most recently as a partner at Ropes and Gray. He was a legislation counsel with the Joint Committee on Taxation, where he helped draft tax rules for financial institutions, financial products, capital gains, and related areas. He is the former chair of the Taxation Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Rosenthal holds an AB and JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MPP from Harvard University.

Tax Fairness: President Donald Trump, a Case Study (Steve’s testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee)

Buy, borrow, die: How rich Americans live off their paper wealth (WSJ article)

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. 

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com or sending a voice message via https://www.speakpipe.com/economicsexplored. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP113 – Lithium and the new energy revolution with Lukasz Bednarski

Lithium, the third element on the periodic table, is contained in the batteries which power laptops and electric vehicles. It is essential to what the author of a new book calls a “global energy revolution”.

In Economics Explored episode 113, Lukasz Bendarski talks about his new book Lithium: The Global Race for Battery Dominance and the New Energy Revolution with show host Gene Tunny. The blurb for Lukasz’s book reads:

“A global energy revolution is unfolding before our eyes: ever-growing numbers of electric vehicles on our roads, laptops that last all day on a single charge and solar panels on our roofs, all reliant on lithium-ion batteries. This revolution is happening at breath-taking speed, with the potential to completely transform key industries and the way we live. For the first time in history, we can now actually store this green energy we talk so much about. Often referred to as ‘the new oil’, lithium allows large amounts of energy to be squeezed into a very small space.”

About this episode’s guest – Lukasz Bednarski

Lukasz Bednarski is a battery materials analyst, founder of the lithium industry portal Lithium Today and a former commodity trader.

Lithium: The Global Race for Battery Dominance and the New Energy Revolution by Lukasz Bednarski

Amazon page for Lukasz’s book

How Tesla’s Battery Mastermind Is Tackling EV’s Biggest Problem

Are aviation biofuels ready for take off?

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. 

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Alternatively, please send a voice message via Speakpipe. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP112 – Taxing the rich: Billionaire and inheritance taxes

There are growing calls to increase taxes on the wealthy in advanced economies such as the United States and Australia. For instance, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez controversially wore a white evening dress with the words “Tax the Rich” written in red across it to the 2021 Met Gala. In Economics Explored episode 112, Australian tax expert Professor Miranda Stewart speaks with show host Gene Tunny about taxes on wealth, including inheritance taxes and the proposed billionaire tax in the United States. What is driving calls to “Tax the Rich” from politicians such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and various commentators? Would it be sensible to do so? 

About this episode’s guest – Professor Miranda Stewart

Miranda Stewart is Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne Law School where she is Director of the Tax Group and is a Fellow at the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University. Miranda was the inaugural Director of the Institute from 2014 to 2017. Miranda has more than 25 years research, practical and leadership experience in tax law and policy in academia, government and the private sector.

Death duties: Why experts think this tax should be re-introduced (Australian media article quoting Prof. Stewart on inheritance tax)

The coming boom in inherited wealth by John Quiggin

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP111 – Australian Senator Matt Canavan – COP26 Dissenting Voices Part 2

In Episode 111, Australian Senator Matt Canavan, Australia’s most prominent critic of the Net Zero by 2050 policy to address climate change, speaks with Economics Explored host Gene Tunny about the 2021 UN climate change summit, COP26 (i.e. the 26th Conference of the Parities) and policies to address climate change. 

About this episode’s guest – Senator Matt Canavan

Matt Canavan is a Liberal National Party Senator for the state of Queensland, Australia. Matt was first elected at the 2013 Australian federal election for the term beginning 1 July 2014. He was the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia between February 2016 and February 2020. Matt holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Economics (Hons.) from the University of Queensland. He has professional experience working as an economist in Australia’s Productivity Commission, and he has also worked as a consultant at KPMG. Matt’s main office is in Rockhampton, in Central Queensland.

Matt spoke with Gene over Zoom while located in his Parliament House office in Canberra, Australia. The conversation was recorded on Friday 22 October 2021. 

Links relevant to the conversation

FLASHBACK: Queensland’s hydrogen-powered car | 7NEWS

Global Coal Plant Tracker

EP110 – COP26 Dissenting Voices Part 1 – Dr Alan Moran

EP108 – COP26 climate change summit with Tony Wood, Grattan Institute

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. Check out his Upwork profile.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP109 – Philosophy and Truth

In Economics Explored EP109, Dr John Atkins, philosopher and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, provides great insights into the nature of truth, highlighting the importance of trust, probabilistic thinking (i.e. thinking not necessarily about truth but our level of certainty in a fact), and the Socratic method. Show host Gene Tunny shares his own views on the nature of truth, including his commitment to being “radically open-minded”, a stance promoted by legendary investor Ray Dalio (see Principles).  

About this episode’s guest – Dr John Atkins

Dr John Atkins is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, at the University of Queensland. His research interests include Wittgenstein, Quietism, and Institutional Integrity. He has a PhD from the University of Queensland.

Links relevant to the conversation

EP101 – How do we know what’s true or why trust science?

Ray Dalio says going broke in 1982 was the ‘best thing that ever happened’ to him

Helgoland by Carlo Rovelli (book on Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Quantum Physics mentioned by Gene)

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. You can check out his Upwork profile here.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Economics Explored Live

US inflation and Aussie jobs data – 15 October 21 livestream

Economics Explored Live for 15 October 2021, the first edition of what I’m planning to be a weekly livestream, covered:

  • the growing concern internationally about accelerating inflation, prompted by the latest US CPI figures (see chart below;
  • the September ABS Labour Force data revealing big drops in hours worked and workforce participation in the locked-down economies of NSW and Victoria; and
  • my state of Queensland’s relatively low vaccination rate (72% for 1st dose vs 84% nationally) and what it could mean for the state’s reopening and the economy – it’s pretty obvious the Queensland Premier should set a date for re-opening ASAP to encourage people to get vaccinated promptly, as suggested by the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association.

Here’s the video of the livestream, which was streamed to YouTube and LinkedIn Live:

Regarding inflationary pressures in advanced economies, I quoted leading market economist Stephen Roach from his recent Financial Times op-ed The sequencing trap that risks stagflation 2.0:

As brilliant and lucky as they have been, today’s generation of central bankers is afflicted with the same sense of denial that proved problematic in the 1970s. Due to a lack of experience and institutional memory of that tough period, the risk of another monetary policy blunder cannot be taken lightly.

Certainly, central banks have been running a massive monetary policy experiment with ultra-low interest rates and Quantitative Easing, which have been associated with double-digit growth rates in money stocks. I agree with Roach regarding the potential for a “monetary policy blunder”.

Other links relevant to the livestream include:

Pete Faulkner’s post Labour Force; national data hit by lockdowns while QLD powers ahead

QEW post featuring my The Other Side interview on Australia’s economic suicide

Vaccination numbers and statistics

ABS: New data shows lockdown impacts on business turnover

Cross-posted at http://www.queenslandeconomywatch.com. Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP108 – COP26 climate change summit with Tony Wood, Grattan Institute

In Economics Explored Episode 108, energy and climate change policy expert Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute explains what COP26, the 2021 climate change conference in Glasgow, is all about and why it’s important. Tony discusses what Net Zero emissions means exactly, the prospects for nuclear energy, and implications for fossil fuel (e.g. coal) dependent economies. 

About this episode’s guest – Tony Wood AM

Tony Wood is Program Director for Energy and Climate Change at the Grattan Institute, a leading Australian public policy think tank. Tony has been a Program Director at Grattan since 2011 after 14 years working at Origin Energy in senior executive roles.

From 2009 to 2014 he was also Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies. In 2008, he was seconded to provide an industry perspective to the first Garnaut climate change review.

In January 2018, Tony was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his significant service to conservation and the environment, particularly in the areas of energy policy, climate change and sustainability. In October 2019, Tony was elected as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Links relevant to the conversation

Australia’s emissions strategy should be a countdown to zero

EP99 – Carbon border taxes

EP92 – Nuclear energy and decarbonizing economies

EP86 – Decarbonizing the Economy

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP106 – COVID lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and vaping with Dr Gilbert Berdine

A Texas physician, university lecturer in medicine, and affiliate of a free market think tank Gilbert Berdine MD explains why he thinks COVID lockdowns have been “a disaster” and why he does not support vaccine mandates.

At a time when the COVID pandemic continues, and cities such as Sydney and Melbourne remain locked down, Gilbert Berdine MD from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center shares his views on lockdowns and vaccine mandates with show host Gene Tunny. The conversation also explores Dr Berdine’s views on regulations regarding vaping or e-cigarettes.

About this episode’s guest – Gilbert G. Berdine MD

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX

Faculty Affiliate, Free Market Institute, Lubbock, TX

Dr. Berdine earned his B.S. degrees in chemistry and life sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA and his M.D. degree from Harvard University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. He completed residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now called Brigham and Women’s Hospital) in Boston, MA.

Dr. Berdine was a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio from 1983-1989. He was in the private practice of medicine from 1989-2009 when he returned to academia as a faculty member of TTUHSC.

Dr. Berdine’s current teaching activities include lecturer for the respiratory blocks in the 1st year Major Organ Systems course and the 2nd year Systems Disorders 1 course. His clinical duties include staff attending physician for the inpatient Pulmonary Consult Service, inpatient Internal Medicine Floor Service, and the outpatient Pulmonary Fellow Clinic. He also sees patients in the Pulmonary Clinic for Texas Tech Physicians.

Dr. Berdine’s research interests include the application of Austrian Economics to health care delivery and consumption. Dr. Berdine has published articles on these topics in peer reviewed journals and is a contributor to the Mises Daily Wire and the American Institute of Economic Research.

Contact: gilbert.berdine@ttuhsc.edu

Links relevant to the conversation

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Delta Variant – AIER article by Gilbert Berdine MD

Lockdowns of Young People Lead to More Deaths from Covid-19 – AIER article by Gilbert Berdine MD

Covid Misclassification: What Do the Data Suggest? – AIER article by Gilbert Berdine MD

Sometimes hesitancy is justified by Gilbert Berdine MD

Vaping Laws and the Treachery of Good Intentions by Gilbert Berdine MD

EP100 – Incentivizing Vaccinations or Cash for Jabs

Correspondence from Dr Berdine on COVID mortality rates

…the mortality rate has a range of over 1000:1 depending on your age. The average mortality is heavily determined by the number of people over age 80 in the population. 

Based on latest census data and current CDC figures for COVID deaths

https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2019/demo/age-and-sex/2019-age-sex-composition.html

https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Sex-and-Age/9bhg-hcku

Mortality expressed as 1/mortality : 

Age: Mortality

Under 5: 124,126

5 to 14: 283,027

15 to 24: 32,461

25 to 34: 7,850

35 to 44: 2,845

45 to 54: 1,087

55 to 64: 475

65 to 74: 213

75 to 84: 87

85 +: 31

Cumulative Age

Under 5: 124,126

Under 15: 199,917

Under 25: 64,258

Under 35: 20,120

Under 45: 8,681

Under 55: 3,880

So, for 35 and younger, the cumulative mortality including the overcounting is less than 1/10,000. If one looks at annual mortality, the figure  for Under 45 including overcounting is likely less than 1/10,000. If one adjusts modestly for overcounting, the  figure for Under 55 is likely less than 1/10,000.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP105 – Why bad social norms such as FGM persist with Dr David Smerdon

Economics Explored EP105 considers the persistence of bad social norms such as female genital mutilation (FGM). Show host Gene Tunny speaks with University of Queensland Lecturer (i.e. Assistant Professor) Dr David Smerdon about his experimental research on social norms, including fieldwork in Africa relating to FGM.  

About this episode’s guest – Dr David Smerdon

Dr David Smerdon is a Lecturer in the University of Queensland School of Economics. He primarily works in behavioral and development economics. His research involves theory and modelling, experiments in the lab and field, and microeconometric analysis in order to investigate topics at the intersection of these fields.

David earned his PhD from the Tinbergen Institute and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) as a General Sir John Monash scholar, and afterwards worked as a PODER fellow at Bocconi University in Milan. Prior to his academic career, David spent three years working for the Australian Department of Treasury as a policy analyst. Aside from economics, David is also a chess Grandmaster and has represented Australia at seven chess Olympiads.

Links relevant to the conversation

‘Everybody’s doing it’: On the persistence of bad social norms (journal article co-authored by Dr David Smerdon, which contains details of the experiment he ran)

The economic impact of female genital mutilation (an article by David on his FGM research project)

The Institutional Revolution: Measurement and the Economic Emergence of the Modern World by Douglas W. Allen

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.