Jesus or Lesus?


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(reposting this due to problem with title)

(originally published to Bubblews writing site in 2013, now gone)

What was that guy’s name again? It seems that folk at the Vatican weren’t too sure. It minted 6000 coins to commemorate the first anniversary of Francis as pope and somehow misspelled Jesus’ name.

When the mold was being prepared, it seems that someone got J and L mixed up. The letter L is similar to a back-to-front J, and perhaps someone was looking at that part of the mold from upside down or sideways and got it mixed up.

Anyway, the mint kind of blamed the molders, but you’d think it would have checked the mold before minting. On the other hand, it probably thought it didn’t need to check as this seems to be the first mistake in 600 years of making papal medals.

The coins were recalled before many were sold but apparently four of them remain out there. They could soon be worth a lot of money.


Foods to eat to reduce the chances of cancer


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(originally published to Bubblews writing site, now gone)

There are of course no guarantees when it comes to something like avoiding cancer. But research has shown that you can reduce the risk of cancer by regularly eating fruit and vegetables. The best ones are those that are bright in color and to eat a good mixture of colors, including green, red, orange, yellow, purple and white. The less processed the food, the better. Whole grains, beans and nuts are good too. Also, go for lean meat or fish.

Less good are things like sugar, salt, certain fats, processed meat and large amounts of red meat. I remember reading a long time ago that the meat should only be a quarter of the meal. In some restaurants and households, it’s probably more like three-quarters or more.

Eating well can also reduce the likelihood of other illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, and conditions that can lead to illness, such as obesity and high blood pressure. Tobacco and large amounts of alcohol don’t do wonders either. An overall moderate lifestyle helps too.

Genes obviously play a role too. But if you are in a high risk category due to family history, you can still reduce the risk of cancer through good eating and lifestyle choices.

Reviews on Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway


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Thomas Pamphlett book cover

Here are some reviews on my nonfiction book (now an ebook by Australian eBook Publisher) on the early 19th century Australian convict, Thomas Pamphlett, Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway.  Details of where the ebook can be obtained (Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Google) follow the reviews. (Is line spacing at WordPress always just hit and miss?)

Reviews at Goodreads

or individual reviews …
By Valery · ★★★★★ · June 14, 2017 –
Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway by Chris Pearce tells an engaging story of history as well as crime and punishment in the not too distant past. Pamphlett began life in horrific conditions in Manchester, and worked as a brickmaker at a young age. The way in which Pearce… …more
By Maranda · ★★★☆☆ · June 14, 2017 –
To be totally honest, I had never actually heard of Thomas Pamphlett before reading this biography. “Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway”, written by Chris Pierce, is an interesting look at the life of a man that held plenty of adventure, danger, crime, and drama. This hist… …more

By Kimberly · ★★★★☆ · June 18, 2017 –
This is a well written non-fiction historical by Chris Pearce. The author does a wonderful job with providing details and really painting the locations and time frame for the reader. It wasn’t hard to really feel that you were part of the story as you read along. I found that I really further und… …more

By Grady · ★★★★★ · May 18, 2015 –
`Whether Pamphlett learnt much at school, other than fighting, swearing and thieving, is doubtful.’
As British-born Australian author Chris Pearce states in his book’s preface, `After 25 years in federal and state public service and 12.5 years in two stints in the real world, I am now writing eBoo… …more

By Kay · ★★★★★ · August 30, 2015 –
Excellent Historical Fiction
Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett is a historical/non fiction novel about Thomas Pamphlett. Author Chris Pearce does an excellent job describing his life and journey through his 25 days as a castaway. It’s truly a fascinating story, and you can tell that Pearce did… …more

By Veronica · ★★★★★ · July 09, 2015 –
Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett is a historical/non fiction novel about Thomas Pamphlett. Author Chris Pearce does an excellent job describing his life and journey through his 25 days as a castaway. It’s truly a fascinating story, and you can tell that Pearce did a lot of research for this b… …more

By Karen · ★★★★★ · August 31, 2015 –
Thomas Pamphlett was an Australian convict on a 25 day castaway journey. I have known a bit about him and his life, but was interested to learn more because I find his story fascinating. When I found this book by Chris Pearce, I just knew I had to read it. I am impressed by the author’s writing s… …more

By Marisa · ★★★★★ · May 19, 2015 –
Awesome story. I mean seriously? It is non-fiction and the man, Thomas Pamplette, gets 14 years in prison for stealing a horse. With laws now adays you can commit murder and get less. Very interesting read about our not so distant past!! …more


Reviews and letters relating to the print version (which is virtually the same as the ebook, including 100+ illustrations)

‘… he has done a mighty job.’ ‘I … found myself glued to the pages.’ Review by Terry O’Connor, The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 4 December 1993, p.W7.

‘Pearce’s book is much more than a history of Pamphlett’s life. [There are] whole chapters on the life of the convicts, the background and the general history.’ ‘The book comes with an excellent index, is well produced and well illustrated.’ Review by National Trust magazine, Queensland, April 1994, p.23.

‘This is more than the story or family history of one convict.’ ‘The photographs are wonderful …’ ‘… this work provides a guide to what family historians can achieve. I thoroughly recommend it to any one with an interest in any aspect of the convict system of colonial Australia.’ Review in Descent, the journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney, vol.24, no.2, June 1994, p.78.

‘Mr Pearce is to be congratulated on his work on Thomas Pamphlett. He has written a detailed book on an important figure in the establishment of Brisbane, made that information easily accessible and placed it in the wider context.’ Review by Dr Michael White, QC, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, vol.XV, no.9, November 1994, pp.455-456.

‘This book is not just good, it is outstanding …’ ‘Not only is it well written, it is easy to read, entertaining and above all accurate.’ ‘… it should find its place alongside other classics … such as … Robert Hughes’ [international best seller] The Fatal Shore.’ Letter from Mr John Sands, Wynnum Manly & Districts Historical Society, Brisbane, 25 March 1994.

‘What a magnificent book!’ ‘Congratulations! You’ve written one of the most fascinating, enlightening books I’ve read for such a long time …’ ‘[The book] was close to ‘can’t put down’ category for me – as it was for our daughter, who’s not a regular bookworm!!’ Letters from Mr Frank Warrick, newsreader, Seven Nightly News, TV Channel 7, Brisbane, 4 March and 5 May 1994.

‘… a beautiful production.’ ‘… you write very clearly and logically …’ ‘It would make a great TV series …’ Letter from best-selling author Mr Hugh Lunn, 21 March 1994.

‘[The book] is one of the most accurate accounts of our early history.’ ‘Chris Pearce skilfully contrasts the life of the Moreton Bay Aborigines with that of the white society of the day.’ ‘I take pleasure in recommending this book to anyone interested in Australian history and things Australian.’ Letter from Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley, 15 November 1993, who launched the book at City Hall.

‘Congratulations on a fine production.’ ‘I enjoyed the whole story very much, particularly the Moreton Bay section …’ ‘… the choice of illustrations was excellent.’ Letter from Ms Kathleen Hamey, the Balmain Association, Sydney, 14 January 1994.

Where to obtain a copy of the ebook






NZ: as per US

Kobo Books






Apple iTunes






Google Play

Two excerpts

Summary of the book

New DST book


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The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy is the encyclopedia or bible of DST. It includes the origins of daylight saving time and the history of the scheme in every country that has ever used it, plus each state of the United States, Australia and Brazil and each Canadian province. Read about the battles between supporters and opponents, the efforts of daylight saving time champions, the chaotic situations that emerged particularly in the US and Canada, and all the pros and cons of the measure.

Here’s where to obtain a copy of the book:




NZ: as per US



Kobo Books






Apple iTunes







Australia: and click on Angus & Robertson

Or check out these articles:

DST book cover

How daylight saving time beat terrorism


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Here’s an excerpt from my ebook on daylight saving time, The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy. The excerpt shows how a potential terrorist incident was thwarted due to daylight saving time. It’s looking at DST in Israel, in the chapter on Asia. The book can be obtained from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Google.

“Daylight saving in Israel has been surrounded by controversy. The area known as the British Mandate for Palestine had continuous daylight saving from 1940 to 1942 and then each year from 1943 to 1946. Part of that region became Israel on 14 May 1948 and nine days later it put its clocks on two hours to conserve energy as it fought with Arab armies from the second day of its existence. Neighbours Jordan, which took the West Bank, and Egypt, which occupied Gaza, didn’t use daylight saving. Israel finished daylight saving after 1957 but used it again in 1974 and 1975 following the global energy crisis caused by the Yom Kippur War.

Israel has had summer time each year since 1985, but in the following year the interior minister, Yitzhak Peretz, who was opposed to daylight saving, wouldn’t sign the annual order. Ultra-Orthodox rabbis such as Peretz feared that daylight saving would mean poor attendance at morning prayers and that shops and other establishments would open before sundown on Saturday, desecrating the Sabbath. There was public uproar over his non-signing that included a demonstration outside his house and a legal battle that nearly got to the High Court. The communications minister, Amnon Rubenstein, said his department would use daylight saving in any case. Energy minister Moshe Shahal stated that the scheme saved Israel up to US$6 million a year in energy and reduced traffic fatalities. In a fiery Cabinet meeting on 20 April 1986, Peretz yelled at Shahal, a supporter of daylight saving: “You have been shedding my blood! You have been organizing a public lynch campaign against me! I would not be surprised if what you have done will lead to attempts on my life!”[1] Cabinet voted 11 to 6 to continue with daylight saving.

The start and end dates of the summer time period were the subject of much contention over many years. Most of the secular population preferred daylight saving to extend as long as possible, whereas most religious people didn’t want it to start until after Passover and wanted it finished before Yom Kippur. Dates for each of these events can vary by a month or so, which means the daylight saving span could be quite different from year to year. This made it difficult for trade, computer systems, and society in general. Economists estimated that Israel would save US$80 million a year by standardising its calendar.

In 2013, after plenty of haggling, disagreements and compromises over the decades, Israel set its daylight saving period as the Friday before the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October to align closely with Europe. The move hasn’t stopped the opponents of daylight saving, with member Yifat Kariv introducing a bill in October 2014 to cancel the measure. The interior ministry estimated in 2015 that summer time saved the Israeli economy NIS 300 million or US$75 million a year. The ministry also believed that people’s physical and mental health was improved and road safety was better.

Confusion still reigns over daylight saving times in the region as the Palestinian National Authority, formed in 1994, has set different start and finish dates to Israel. On one occasion, the disparity was a blessing. In September 1999, four young Israeli Arabs received two packages of explosives set by Palestinian bomb makers to blow up on 5 September at 6:30 p.m. Two of the men drove a car with one of the devices to Haifa and the other pair with the second package in another car to Tiberias. One man from each team was to board a bus from each city to Jerusalem with the bomb package to go off during the trip, but to disembark part way and rejoin their accomplice in the car, leaving the bag on the bus. The first pair had parked their car, and one man had got out, while the other two were still driving to their initial destination when the bombs exploded, at 5:30 p.m., killing three of the terrorists. They had been operating on Israeli time, which had gone back an hour after daylight saving finished on 3 September, but the bomb makers had used Palestinian time, which was still an hour ahead until 15 October. The lives of perhaps several dozen innocent passengers on two buses were spared.”

[1] Michael Ross, “Daylight time provokes Israel’s religious right”, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, United States, 18 May 1986, at

DST book cover

Daylight saving time: origins and history


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I posted the following article on daylight saving time on LinkedIn a few days ago …

Nearly everyone has a view on daylight saving time. They either hate it or they’re okay with it. The views of those who hate it are usually stronger than those who like it. But how did it all start? The idea for daylight saving first came from Benjamin Franklin in 1784 when he recommended that Parisians go to bed earlier and get up earlier, thereby using more natural light and saving on candles. He didn’t suggest changing the clock. Nor did he use the term ‘daylight saving’. Standard time was still best part of a century away, let alone daylight saving time. 

It was the railways that forced the introduction of standard time in the 19th century. Trains had to run to a set timetable rather than local time which differed slightly from one town to the next. Railway companies in the UK decided to use Greenwich time which had been used for navigation and astronomy since 1675. Then the US came up with uniform time zones for its railroads. Nearly everyone in both countries and many other nations soon followed railway time. Governments caught up later, eventually legislating for standard time. 

Before long, there were proposals to shift the clock forward to take advantage of extra daylight late in the day for gardening, cricket and other activities, and to save on artificial light. The first person to suggest this was New Zealand postal clerk George Hudson in 1895. He advocated a two hour clock change in the warmer months and called the scheme seasonal time. But there wasn’t much interest and he didn’t pursue it.  

Ten years later, English builder William Willett began developing a plan to shift some of the early morning daylight to later in the day to allow people more exercise and recreation and to save power. He was relentless in his efforts to promote his plan and get it accepted, writing to all politicians and hundreds of businesses and councils. He produced 19 editions of his booklet, The Waste of Daylight, and toured the land promoting his scheme, all at his own expense. He got a lot of support but also plenty of opposition from farmers, international traders, some other businesses, media, railways and scientists. 

The term daylight saving was probably coined by Robert Pearce, member for Leek, Staffordshire, who had the first bill for the scheme, the Daylight Saving Bill, in 1908. After eight years of parliamentary bills, daylight saving finally became a reality in 1916 in the middle of World War I, not first in the UK but in Germany. The primary reason countries adopted the measure was to save fuel for the war effort and by 1918, 27 countries on both sides of the war were using it although Australia had already abandoned it in 1917. Many discarded the scheme after the war. Only 14 countries still had daylight saving in 1922. 

In the interwar period, daylight saving time in the US and Canada was up to the states/provinces, counties, and cities and towns, starting one of the most chaotic periods of daylight saving ever. In many areas, a state might legislate for either standard or daylight time while counties and cities often did the opposite. Businesses and individuals would end up choosing for themselves. Many court cases were fought over trying to decide the time. In some places, most factories, shops and local transport might be on daylight saving time and most churches, schools, banks and long distance trains on standard time. People in the same building were often on different times as were people in the same household with the father’s employer using daylight saving, the children’s school on standard time and the mother on both times.  

World War II saw many countries take up daylight saving time again to save energy. Sixty-two nations had it in 1942, including Australia. The number fell away to 13 in 1950, 14 in 1960 and 16 in 1970. Clock chaos returned in postwar US until daylight saving went national in 1967. The oil crises of the 1970s meant 48 countries had daylight saving by 1980, increasing to 75 in 1990. The main reason for daylight saving changed from conserving fuel to lifestyle with many people enjoying lighter evenings for shopping, recreation and sport. A total of 63 countries put clocks forward in 2016, down from 67 in 2000 and 2010. A number of Asian, African and South American countries have dropped out in recent decades. 

Controversies continue with the measure. In broad terms, city people like daylight saving and rural people don’t. In the US, all states except Hawaii and most of Arizona have the scheme although about half the states had bills in their legislatures in 2015 or 2016 seeking exemption from daylight saving. None has been passed so far. In recent years, most Britons have wanted single double summer time although no bill has got through both houses with Scotland being a sticking point. Australia seems very unlikely to ever have national daylight saving time again as Queensland and Western Australia are opposed to the scheme although the issue keeps coming up in both states. 

My new book on daylight saving time, The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy, is now available at Amazon (, Kobo, Apple and Google.

DST book cover

Five star review on The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy


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An excellent five star review on my ebook, The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy, has been posted at Amazon. Grady Harp says: “Finally, in this learned book, Chris Pearce enlightens us, presents both sides of the fence of those who find it beneficial and those who wish it would go away!” The reviewer describes the book as a “navigable treatise on the history of and the value and frustrations of daylight saving time.”

He calls it a “comprehensive book” and states that: “Through the use of extensive research (all backed by source references throughout), tables, illustrations, and some fine journalistic quips Chris walks us through the enigma of this controversial manipulation of mind and time.”

This is the reviewer’s concluding comment: “Informative and even entertaining, this is the ‘bible’ for the topic of Daylight saving time.”

See Grady’s full review at Amazon US ( and UK (

DST book cover

The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy


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My latest ebook, The Great Daylight Saving Time Controversy, has just been published by Australian eBook Publisher. It’s available at the various Amazon sites, Kobo, Apple and Google. See links below (Amazon links come up as images; the first one is the Australian site and the second one is the US site).

The book examines the origins of daylight saving, including the historical development of calendars, clocks, standard time, and the idea of changing the clock to give more daylight late in the day. It looks at the history of daylight saving in every country that has ever used the measure. It also analyses daylight saving in each state of the US, Australia and Brazil, and each Canadian province.

It features many intriguing and often prolonged battles between advocates and critics of daylight saving in countries around the world, as well as lighter moments. It highlights the determination of daylight saving time champions such as the UK’s William Willett, the US’s Robert Garland and Harley Staggers, New Zealand’s Thomas Sidey and Tasmania’s John Steer. It delves into the chaotic daylight saving situations that emerged, notably in the US and Canada, but also elsewhere. Every country and sometimes each state has a different and usually controversial story to tell.

See the contents page of the ebook below. Length is about 400 pages in Word/pdf format.

DST book cover



Part I: Origins of daylight saving time

1   Calendar chaos

2   Counting the hours

3   Benjamin Franklin’s humour

4   Railways impose their time

5   William Willett’s dream

Part II: Daylight saving in UK and Europe

6   Wartime imperatives

7   United Kingdom sticks with daylight saving

8   UK’s single double summer time saga

9   Western Europe well ahead of the sun

10  Mixed feelings in rest of Europe

Part III: Daylight saving in North America

11  United States adopts measure late

12  Daylight saving mayhem

13  What’s the time? You choose

14  National daylight saving again

15  Canadian clock chaos

16  Saving daylight in deserts and on tropical islands

Part IV: Daylight saving in Australia and NZ

17  Apple Isle leads the way

18  Southern states in and out of sync

19  Contentious in the Sunshine State

20  Daylight saving sets in the west

21  The long road to daylight saving across the ditch

Part V: Daylight saving in the rest of the world

22  Asian countries opting out

23  No longer popular in South America

24  Never favoured in Africa

25  Antarctica: Daylight saving without daylight

Future of daylight saving time


Appendix: Daylight saving by country and state by year




Excerpt from Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway – Lost in an unfamiliar world


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Here’s another excerpt from my nonfiction book on Australian convict Thomas Pamphlett, Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway. The three cedar fetchers, ex-convicts Richard Parsons and Pamphlett and convict John Finnegan, are trying to head north to get back to Sydney not realising that Sydney is over 500 miles to the south. They must get around Moreton Bay, the site of today’s city of Brisbane, before resuming their journey to the north. They are at the southern end of Moreton Island looking across to Stradbroke Island …

Thomas Pamphlett book cover

Early next morning the castaways built a large fire on the sand directly opposite the spot where they had seen fires the previous evening. They hoped the sight of smoke would attract the attention of someone. It did. Very soon they saw an Aborigine in a large canoe making his way through the fast-moving water towards them. As he drew closer the cedar fetchers decided to watch from behind the hill so as not to scare their potential benefactor. He dragged his canoe up from the waterline and headed straight for their fire. When the three whites came out of hiding he took one look at the dokkai [ghostly figures; white men] and, fearing for his life, scampered back to his boat, leapt in and paddled furiously away, shouting and screaming at the top of his voice. His reaction was the same as the family who fled into the bush near Cape Moreton.

Meanwhile they noticed another canoe being launched from the opposite shore by two men. The pair in this boat met with the frightened man in the middle of the channel. Both canoes then ventured in the direction of the ghosts. Pamphlett, Finnegan and Parsons remained by their fire, lest they should startle them further. Beaching their canoes they gazed up at the strangers from a safe distance, possibly looking for characteristics of dead relatives. Returning to their boats they semaphored with pieces of bark, which doubled as paddles, across the South Passage. The whites saw in the distance other members of the group pushing off from the beach in two more canoes, five or six men in each. Would one of these men recognise the three bloodless souls by the fire?

The convoy landed. The entire party of about 14 timid, unarmed men from Stradbroke’s Nunukul clan crept towards the castaways around the fire. They stopped short, huddling in a group. Finally, one man overcame his trepidation, venturing slowly up to the fire. Perhaps he saw a resemblance to a brother or other relative in one of the three. The cedar cutters beckoned the others to join them. The Aborigines responded by encircling the visitors, who were no doubt praying this multitude of local inhabitants would recognise them as deceased tribal members. A dokkai not recognised as one of the clan could be denounced as bad and subsequently killed. A quick-thinking Richard Parsons produced the scissors and commenced to snip the long beards of the Stradbroke Islanders. This appeared to amuse them immensely, each lining up for a trim.

An hour or so later the now short-bearded Nunukul suddenly got up and prepared to leave. Sensing an immediate departure the three hoisted their flourbags onto their shoulders and gathered up their few possessions, automatically assuming the Aborigines would take them across the channel. However, it seems the three ghosts had not proved to be relatives and, when the novelty of barber had worn off, they were most anxious to return to their home on the opposite shore. But the castaways were desperate to get to Illawarra and then back to their homes on the Hawkesbury. They raced the Nunukul down to the water hoping to secure one of the canoes. Laden with their flour and other items they were beaten by the nimble Aborigines who clambered into their boats and retreated hastily into the channel, leaving them behind.

Standing on the beach watching the Aborigines paddle madly over the water, they began to wonder whether they would ever get off the island. With their food supply rapidly diminishing, the forlorn trio shuffled back along the western side of the island a mile or two to some unoccupied huts they had seen on their way to its southern tip.

They spent a dismal night in these quarters before returning to Reeders Point the following morning, hoping to entice the Nunukul to take them across the passage. On reaching the point they saw an abandoned canoe lying on the sand. It was the same one which had been used by the first man to cross the channel the previous day. Next they sighted two Aborigines strolling up the beach on the ocean side of the island in the direction of the place they were shipwrecked 10 days beforehand. The pair may have been planning to visit friends and relatives in the Ngugi clan, although it is quite likely they were seeking the three white strangers, whose characteristics they may finally have remembered.

As the two Aboriginal men did not seem to notice them they hurried to the canoe, throwing their gear into it. They were about to push off when they realised the flimsy craft might not support the weight of three large men and their luggage. After some consultation Pamphlett agreed to stay behind, to be collected in a few hours either by Parsons or Finnegan. Pamphlett climbed the sandhill to watch as his colleagues struggled with crude bark paddles to keep the boat on course in the strong current. He could still see them as they approached land on the other side, numerous Aborigines wading out through the shallows towards them. He thought they might prove hostile and spear his friends to death. A great number of them surrounded the canoe. The whole party, Finnegan and Parsons somewhere in its midst, proceeded up the beach and soon disappeared into the bush behind the foreshore.

Pamphlett sat alone on the sand dune at Reeders Point, waiting, constantly expecting one or the other to return in a canoe to fetch him. He waited till dark, but could see no sign of life on the opposite bank. Dejectedly, he plodded back to the well they had found on their first day at the point and spent a restless night there, wondering the fate of his friends.

In the morning he set about restoking the fire on the beach in the hope someone would come for him. He was again disappointed at not seeing a single person on the opposite beach. By mid afternoon he resigned himself to the worst – that he might never see his companions again or find a way off the island he was stranded on. He had no flour, which had been his only supply of food. Soon he would die. He would perish in this lonely land. He possessed neither the skills nor the equipment to catch any of the wide variety of fish which swarmed in the subtropical sea. Nor did he know where to find the abundance of small animals and edible plant life on the island itself. He would starve in a land of plenty, unless the Aborigines killed him first.

(end of excerpt)

Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway is available at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iTunes and Kobo Books:

Was the GFC the fault of economists?


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(originally published to Bubblews writing site, now gone)

An article appeared earlier today (2 Oct 2014) in The Conversation and in Business Spectator here in Australia, “Building a new economics for the #Occupy generation” that talked about blaming economists for not predicting and preventing the global financial crisis in 2008 and how economics needs to reinvent itself, etc, etc. In response, I posted the following to Business Spectator …

The causes of the GFC are complex and can hardly be blamed on economists. Quite a few did predict it, but were often criticised by the banking, insurance and business sectors who were making a heap of money with easy credit and relaxed rules and who carried more weight with the regulators than any economists did. But predicting the future can be little more than guesswork. You can base forecasts on the best available data at the time and they can turn out to be wrong.

The article talks about economic or rational man. But people, businesses and governments don’t always behave rationally and perhaps increasingly so in an ever-more complex world. This throws out any forecasts for the future and makes predicting turning points in the economy very hard. A good example is the federal government with its talk of a “budget emergency” and then they go on a spending spree pushing the deficit up from $19 billion in 2012-13 to $48 billion in 2013-14 and it will probably get larger with various extravagant pet programs yet to kick in, little being done on the revenue side, and some overly-optimistic forecasts that look to be politically influenced.

Economics can keep adding new theories and models but it will probably never be able to keep up with irrational behaviour by people, business and government. The last few lines of the article mention the “financial crisis, growing inequality, and looming environmental catastrophe” but these sorts of things have been included in economics for ages. I studied environmental economics in the 1970s before the right even realised there was an environment. There was a survey of 35 economists in November 2013 with 30 opting for carbon pricing, two for direct action and three for something else. But the federal government abolished carbon pricing. This will now cost the budget $18 billion over four years and who knows how many billions as emissions and temperatures keep going up, causing untold damage, including to our coastal cities with an increase in extreme weather and rising sea levels.

Economists can produce all sort of theories and models and suggest things, but it’s hard if governments, business and people behave irrationally, and then who knows what will happen. Added to this are other issues that spring up and we often have no idea of the impact on the wider economy until it happens, e.g. Ukraine, ISIL, Ebola and now Hong Kong. How these things will play out and what effect they will have on the world and Australian economies over the next 12 months is anyone’s guess.