ARTICLES & POSTS

corona virus economics livilihoods sustainable goals wellbeing

A rational view of economics

Abstract

The coronavirus pandemic has had tremendous impact on the economies of the whole world, whether or not each country has had a health crisis. During this time our focus has been on the consequences for peoples’ livelihood and wellbeing – rather than the loss of profits of affected firms. This tells us something fundamental about the purpose of the economy, which is to support the wellbeing of citizens, both now and in the future. Enduring wellbeing is the essential goal of sustainability. In this article I unpack the economy to demonstrate how it functions, and how it could be better aligned to this central goal.

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behaviour corona virus epidemic model systems

Corona virus in Australia

Abstract

At the time of writing the Covid19 epidemic is rapidly spreading in Australia. What can systems models tell us about the potential of various policies to limit the scale and health impacts of the virus. In this article I apply a system dynamics model to the Australian data available to date. The results of the simulations underline the messages of the medical experts about the importance of behavioural measures in limiting the outbreak.

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Asia climate change Dynamics Migration

The dynamics of climate change migration

Abstract

The inevitably increasing impacts of climate change on the poorer countries of the world will lead to a large affected population over the coming centuries, with estimates ranging from 200 million to 1 billion. The countries of Asia are predicted to be particularly hard hit. Without urgent action in the coming decades by the rich world (who have created the climate crisis) to proactively plan for this mass migration, the likely outcome is that most displaced people will end up in camps either in their own countries or in other countries that struggle to accommodate their presence, but are not able for one reason or another to prevent their arrival. Many will undoubtedly perish.

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PREVIOUS ARTICLES

battery Bill Grace death spiral electricity energy large scale renewable network network death spiral rooftop solar solar storage wave William Grace wind

Beyond the Death Spiral

Abstract

Model based projections for the rapid uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaics in Western Australia indicate that private capacity will be so large that the centralised network based electricity system will become disrupted in the 2020s. By 2050 private systems may produce around 85- 90% of projected electricity demands. In the interim period it may be more economically viable to avoid introducing large scale renewable energy to the network while planning for a completely renewable system by 2050 when rooftop solar approaches saturation levels.

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baseload power generation Bill Grace coal Coal fired power renewables solar power South Australia blackout William Grace wind energy

Coal fired power – twin elephants in the room

Abstract
Ever since the South Australia blackout, debate has raged about the role of coal vs renewables in meeting Australia’s future electricity generation needs. The debate was ramped up significantly by the Prime Minister’s recent call for new generation coal to underpin future baseload power. The reaction to this suggestion by energy market experts has been swift – the cost of future coal will not stack up against the alternatives, and it would undermine our commitment to reduce emissions.
However there are two other practical realities that will prevent the Prime Minister’s wish from coming true: the impact of private solar PV on baseload power, and the dwindling global stocks of fossil fuels.

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Australia economy GDP limits to growth population

The holy grail of trend growth

Abstract

The core objective of Australia’s economic policy is growth. The world has seen unprecedented GDP growth over the last half century and Australia has been a beneficiary of this. But how realistic is it that GDP can grow year on year, apparently forever? In this article the question is addressed by examining recent and projected trends in population and GDP at the global scale, in Australia and in China. If population growth rates continue to decline, then global GDP growth rates must also continue to steadily fall over the long term as poorer countries become richer, and GDP per capita converges. Achieving a steady-state economy and improving how income is distributed is a more important and achievable objective than hoping and praying GDP goes up forever.

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