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Showing posts from January, 2005

The "Prosperity Gap"

A term PM Martin uses referring to the GDP per capita differential between the US and Canada. Apparently, in 1981 the per capita GDP of Canada and the US was roughly equal at $30,000 per person. The gap is now around $7,200. Each American citizen has a "share" of the annual GDP of the country that is $7,200 more than that of each Canadian.

If you read the papers you would get the impression that the decisive issues for the future of Canadians are gay marriage, foreign aid, waiting times for MRI's or non-functioning helicopters and submarines. Those are not the decisive issues for the future well being of Canadians.

You cannot spend that which you do not have. The US gets to spend significantly more because it makes significantly more. The first order of business of the politicians and topic No. 1 of the national public discourse should be how to achieve maximum possible economic performance in Canada. First priority should be given to debate over policy and measures whic…

The "Twin Deficits"

Which would you rather have - a positive balance of trade and 1% or less GDP growth like Germany and Japan or a growth rate closer to 4% while running a large trade deficit?

The misconceptions repeated without thought in the press are repeated so often that people start assuming that somehow they are true. For example the notion how the rest of the world is buying US financial assets out of the goodness of their heart and might change their mind about it sometime soon.

The simple fact of the matter is that if China wants to sell dolls to Wal-Mart, it will receive dollars in return. It has only two things it can do with those dollars - it can buy goods in the US or it can buy USD denominated financial assets. That is it, period, end of story. (If they sell their dollars for Euro or Yen that only passes the "problem" one step to the next holder.)

So unless they want to keep their cash under the mattress the foreign central banks will continue to buy US Treasuries as long as fo…

"Hockey stick" debunking

The research which looked at the now infamous "hockey stick" graph showing world temperature data over the last 1000 years is finally getting published in a peer reviewed journal (Geophysical Research Letters). The arguments were around for a while but were pushed aside by the politically correct crowd which accepted as orthodoxy that of course, the Earth is getting warmer and, of course, it is caused by human activity.

The problem with the hockey stick graph appears to be that whatever set of data ("red noise") one feeds into the model used, in 99% of cases it produces a "hockey stick" graph. You could feed in the milk consumption data in 50 countries and out would come the hockey stick graph.

That I knew for a while. What I did not pay attention to was the fact that the initial data series for the entire study was the tree-ring data of only one particular species of trees - the high altitude bristlecone pine. How this part was not questioned before is b…

Missile shield

It must be hard to be a politician in Canada. The missile shield debate is around again this time over a report that Bush asked Martin about it during his visit although the agreement was not to talk about that topic.

Apparently, Bush did not understand how Canada can be against something that will protect it from bad-aiming North Korean missile operators who could drop one short of New York or Chicago, if that protection was going to cost Canada nothing.

And now the Canadian government has to somehow get to the point where it does the right thing, which is protect its citizens but not appear to be assisting or even acquiescing to "weaponisation of space".

Weaponization of space is going to happen and there is absolutely nothing Canada can do about it. The same way Canada itself could not weaponize space. It just does not have the resources and whatever is going to happen will happen because the U.S., China, Russia and a few others so choose.

So here we go!

My first post will be about a letter to the Editor in the National Post the other day. It was from Dr. Chris Landsea and it was his resignation from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Essentially, he resigned because another scientist on IPCC spoke at a Harvard conference and said "experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity". This after Dr. Landsea was asked to analyse recent hurricane activity in the Atlantic, which he did, and where his conclusion was that "no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones" can be extrapolated from the data.

IPCC's own previous assesments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.

So he is resigning because the political corectness requires that one "believes" in global warming existing and causing all sorts of havoc in weather patterns. Even if …