800 Characters or More

by adam_mcgovern on May 31, 2011

In thoughts on the diminishment of the aura of the artifact at a time which tends toward mass-distribution and miniaturization of the image, the sound, the movie and the text to the dimensions of personalized entertainment devices, not as much consideration, even now, is given to the artist in the age of mechanical reproduction. The countrywide apparition of Chaplin at the start of Sunnyside is a spontaneous projection showing that at this early stage in the progression of both his career and the mass-media canon there already were as many “Chaplin”s as there were perceptions of and perspectives on him.
“Image control” is a buzzword of modern PR, but any image by its nature is ephemeral, and disperses and refracts in the way Chaplin’s personality does at the beginning of the book. Not only does the work “have a life of its own,” but the maker himself is out of his own hands. [click to continue…]

Unfair exchange?

by John Quiggin on May 31, 2011

Ten years or so ago, the Australian dollar was worth about 50 US cents on foreign exchange markets. I bet a small amount with a colleague that within five years, $A would have achieved parity. My reasoning was simple, elegant and wrong. By most estimates, the Purchasing Power Parity exchange rate[1] is around $A1.00 = $US0.70, so the Australian dollar was undervalued by around 40 per cent. It seemed to me that, within five years or so, the deviation should have not only been corrected but overshot in the other direction, giving a rate near parity.

I should have considered more carefully the saying, apocryphally attributed to Keynes, that the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. If deviations from PPP corrected within five years, speculators would bet on this happening, and the deviation would not be sustained at all. So, if PPP is false, it must stay false for long periods.

And that’s what’s happened. The Australian dollar has been above parity for some months now, and shows no sign of falling.

That raises some interesting questions. I’ll put up a few over the fold, and maybe update them as I go

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