I’ve just returned from Melbourne where I presented a paper at The 9th International Conference on Knowledge-Based Intelligent Information & Engineering Systems (KES 2005) and visited some relatives. The trip served to reinforce how much I like Melbourne. The conference venue was quite spiffy (Hilton on the Park), though there was lots of audio interference Read more about Melbourne[…]

Staying with cable for now

Mum and Dad have returned from Fiji after being over there for four months. As a birthday/Fathers’ Day/anniversary/welcome home present for Dad, Nigel and I decided to buy a wireless ADSL modem/router. Essentially we wanted to allow Dad to use his laptop from anywhere in the house and possibly across the road in the park, Read more about Staying with cable for now[…]

Rhys writes a nice critique of my essay

Rhys has written a long response to my essay about the free market economy, presumably from his room at the Sheraton Imperial in Kuala Lumpur. I think it’s a really great read. He even reveals the names of the "intelligent people" at university I used to have debates with. It seems that Rhys and I Read more about Rhys writes a nice critique of my essay[…]

Dr. Friedman or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Market Economy

Upon entering university, I was a staunch economic rationalist. I was as firm in my beliefs about the virtues of the free market as any wet-behind-the-ears eighteen year old could be. I attribute this largely to my year 11 and 12 economics teacher (Mr. Hutchinson). By degrees, partly because of the left-leaning environment I found myself in at university and due to the highly intelligent people who were telling me that my position was the wrong one – you all know who you are ;-) – I was persuaded to see that free markets were not the solution to the world’s problems. I was, and still am to some degree, impressionable, though hopefully I’m a bit more capable of thinking for myself these days. My friends began to refer to me as a "bleeding heart lefty". However, during the course of my postgraduate studies, which introduced me to complex systems theory, I was once again forced to re-evaluate my position, and at this point in time, I’m not sure where I stand. The idea of small government and the free market economy has once again become appealing to me. So much of my reading highlighted the ideas of structure emerging from the bottom up, of the resilience and robustness of systems in which there is no top down or central point of control. Furthermore, I now begin to understand why staunch free market economists such as Milton Friedman argue that the free market is morally unassailable (this is something I hadn’t thought about in my first incarnation as an economic rationalist).