The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Climate Change Round XXXVII: Rory Robertson vs. Des Moore

This is a longer version of the letter published by the AFR this week, which Rory has kindly made available to me. Enjoy...

"Des Moore's poor track record"

Des Moore's history lesson on dire warnings in the 1970s by "experts" who turned out to be quite wrong (Letters, 2 June) might usefully be extended.

As a retired Treasury economist back in the late-1980s, Moore quickly became Australia's leading "Chicken Little" on the dangers of "foreign debt".

By the late 1990s, after it became even more obvious that Australia's "Boiling Frog" debt crisis was a silly false alarm, Moore manned-up and recanted, admitting that - having completely misread the extent to which the financial world had changed - he had been quite wrong on his chosen special subject. Sorry about that!

Happily, Moore's "out there" views back then generally were viewed by policymakers as erroneous but amusing, since he should have known better from the start. His flawed analysis on the big economic issue of the late-1980s sank with barely a trace.

These days, deep in his sunset years, Moore's loungeroom enjoys the glorious title of "The Institute for Private Enterprise" and he's reinvented himself as a world leader in writing letters to newspapers explaining that global warming is a giant hoax perpetrated in country after country by armies of eminent scientists who think they are so smart.

Already "eighty in the shade", he's not worried that that might ultimately become Sydney's June lunchtime temperature.

Let's hope that Moore's policy influence as a prolific post-nap letter writer remains as strong as it was decades ago in his retirement heyday as a know-it-all economist.

Rory Robertson
Strathburn Station
Somewhere in Far North Queensland