Suburban Accounting

Intellectual and philosophical consistency.  It’s nice to have but not essential.  There is no obligation on people to be consistent, but when they are not, they should at least acknowledge it.  For example, consider the following two statements from the same person:

From 20 May 2018:

The future is unknowable. We can’t forecast the economy even a year ahead with any accuracy, but what we can be most sure of is that, even with pure motivations, a mechanical projection out 10 years is highly likely to be way off-beam.

From 20 November 2013:

Did I ever doubt that climate change represented by far the greatest threat to Australia’s future economic prosperity? Never. Should I have said this more often, rather than chasing a thousand economic will-o’-the-wisps? Yes.

When it comes to Treasury’s budget forecasts and projections, they are nonsense.  When it comes to climate forecasts and projections, they must be taken as irrefutable; as if published on stone tablets.

And who made those statements?  I think Judith Sloan describes him as the suburban accountant.

Here is the 2018 articleHere is the 2013 article.

In the 2018 article, the accountant also wrote this:

Even without the ever-present temptation to fudge, projections are a device for deluding ourselves.

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9 Responses to Suburban Accounting

  1. Dr Fred Lenin

    Have the elite got Chrystal balls ? Chrystal breaks easily ,yersatility of principles , a must for a leftie . The old saying “I have principles. If you don’t agree with them, I have plenty more in my bag”.

  2. mh

    I think I can reasonably accurately forecast the economy a year ahead.

    RBA cash rate – 1.5 percent (continuation of emergency low)
    Wages growth – flat
    Debt – tens of billions more
    Government Spending – record highs
    GDP – continued growth, the immigration ponzi scheme will make certain of that

  3. stevem

    in saying “climate change represented by far the greatest threat to Australia’s future economic prosperity” Gittins was, for once, 100% correct. Unfortunately his reasons were wrong. The economic threat lies not in the effects of climate change, but in the green subsidies and regulations applied in the mistaken attempt at appeasement of the vocal left.

  4. duncanm

    Gittens doesn’t even have the sense to understand that he’s being more emphatic about the subject of which he knows less.

  5. Tim Neilson

    I’ve got a lot of time for Judith, but if she thinks that saying Gittins is “more suburban accountant than economist” is a criticism she’s departed from reality.

  6. Jannie

    Gittins was, for once, 100% correct.

    True. It applies to all of Western Civilisation as well.

  7. JohnA

    stevem #2717219, posted on May 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm


  8. The BigBlueCat

    #2717219, posted on May 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day …. but I think calling Gittins a “suburban accountant” is an insult to suburban accountants, many of whom know far more than Gittins does. The problem with any forecast (even financial and climate change) is that they are based on some fact, but lots of assumption about what drives change (either financial or climate). Certainly the history of climate change projections indicates their forecasts are way off from reality, and while atmospheric CO2 may have gone up (maybe from volcanoes, who knows) there is insufficient reason to think the projections tell us anything really meaningful.

    Ross Gittins seems to have drunk too much of the climate change “kool aid” and believes 1) it’s all anthropogenic (that may or may not be correct – the science certainly isn’t settled on that one), 2) forced changes to the atmospheric chemistry by reducing greenhouse gasses by spending trillions of bucks on technology will have a signifiant impact on global temperatures, and 3) despite Australia contributing less than 4% of the global CO2 output, somehow our meagre attempts will be significant in “saving the planet”.

    While it may or may not be warmer at any place on the Earth at the moment, that is a feature of weather for that area. It may be a result of climate change, or it may not. Anyone remember the Climategate emails???

    I’m all for renewables as long as there is an economic case with rapid payback, and it isn’t relied upon for base load (we can all imagine nights where the wind ain’t blowing and the sun ain’t shining). For all the wind and solar technology available, one would think that the economies of scale and the effect of competition in a free market would be in full effect by now. But seemingly that’s not the case ….

  9. Rococo Liberal

    I must point out that the ”tins” in ”Gittins” is silent.

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