Thursday, 4 February 2016

TPPA reversals

I think it's fair to say that Brian Easton sits to the left of the NZ economist punditsphere, and that Mike Reddell sits to the right of the same. I'm not using punditsphere in any derogatory sense here: they're both serious economists worth taking seriously; they also happen to put their views out there.

In the past couple days, they've both put out their views on the TPPA. Reddell winds up arguing generally against it, though without saying it shouldn't be signed, and Easton in favour, though not that enthusiastically. Both make nuanced arguments. Easton talks about the flow-on consequences of rejecting the deal at this point. Reddell talks about how the layers of bureaucracy to which we may well be signing up will do nothing to improve New Zealand's declining productivity, though he falls short of saying NZ should reject the thing from where we're at. He notes by email that he'd agree with Easton: from where we are, it should be signed. But he's not all that enthusiastic.

I'll remain a fence-sitter as it would take just too much work to come to a strong view on it. My confidence interval on whether the thing's worth signing spans low/mid positive and low negative figures, and it wouldn't be easy to tighten that up. If Congress decided not to pass it and the other partners could then clear out the worse parts on copyright, it wouldn't bother me that much - though the deal on copyright is far better than I'd thought it could have been.

Meanwhile, Stuff polls six celebrities for their views on the thing. Unsurprisingly, Lucy Lawless doesn't like it. News!

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