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Monday message board

August 15th, 2005

As usual on Monday, you are invited to post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language. Also, please, nothing about football this week.

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  1. Homer Paxton
    August 15th, 2005 at 09:37 | #1

    I have been ‘strocchied’ from tim blair’s blog.
    I forgot that part of the registration for Timbo’s blog is:
    ‘By registering at this site you agree not to post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, or that violate any laws. We will permanently ban all users who do so. ‘
    Can I merely say to anyone if you read Timbo’s blog this is obviously not policed.
    This is not surprising given that the Administrator Madame Andrea Harris possess one foul mouth which is not uncommon on the blog.
    Perhaps Timbo can pick up some tips by looking at the Currency Lad’s blog and adopting his standards.

    On a more pleasant note we are seeing the gradual decline of a great cricket team.
    Australia is now struggling with pace bowling. Compare that to how it performed against Pakistan in 1999.

    We have problems in that a lot of players are over thirty and given that both Freddy and Harmison will be faster and more dangerous in Australia either the wickets will become spinning wickets ( not unknown) or England will clean up.

    England on the other hand merely has to replace Hoggard with a fast bowler and decide whether they continue with jones as wicket-keeper alah Rodney Marsh or replace him.
    I actually forgot the weekend saw the start of the EPL!
    When was the last time cricket shared the headlines with the EPL in the Uk press?

  2. Bill Posters
    August 15th, 2005 at 09:55 | #2

    Andrea reckons the stocks should be brought back, with “Raggedy Mom Doll Cindy Sheehan” first candidate.

    A charming creature.

  3. wilful
    August 15th, 2005 at 10:10 | #3

    If it is a social good or a matter of social equity that rural Australians have access to a reasonable approximation of the information services that urban dwellers have, what is the best, most efficient and equitable way of providing this service?

    Clearly we have a market failure and a need for government intervention (assuming the social good argument). Making a fully private company pick up the tab through some clumsy legislation is unsustainable. What’s the market solution?

  4. Paul Norton
    August 15th, 2005 at 10:40 | #4

    “Also, please, nothing about football this week.”

    Does this exhortation have anything to do with a sporting event which was televised on Channel 9 between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday?

  5. August 15th, 2005 at 11:28 | #5

    I hope you are feeling appropriately shamed JQ. ;)

  6. Homer Paxton
    August 15th, 2005 at 11:47 | #6

    He won’t take that Lion down

  7. Razor
    August 15th, 2005 at 12:04 | #7

    “Clearly we have a market failure and a need for government intervention”

    Bollocks. It is not a market failure. The country folk just have a belief that they shouldn’t pay market rates to get what everyone else pays market rates to get. The agrarian socialists strike again.

    It would be market failure if they were unable to have a service delivered for a price. Whether that price is higher the more remote one gets doesn’t determine a market failure.

  8. wilful
    August 15th, 2005 at 12:58 | #8

    yes let me rephrase that: clearly the market has failed. In working perfectly, it has once more failed to deliver a social good. One doesn’t have to be a socialist to believe in social goods. Now, carry on…

  9. Katz
    August 15th, 2005 at 13:03 | #9

    Correct, Razor.

  10. Tom Davies
    August 15th, 2005 at 13:55 | #10

    And what’s the government going to do about the price of houses in the city relative to the country? Clearly affordable housing is a social good, and it’s less affordable in the city, therefore the market has failed, and the government must do something!

  11. August 15th, 2005 at 14:05 | #11

    Talking about Blair’s blog is about as interesting and predictable as watching paint dry. Defend the establishment, slam opponents, get Xmas cards from Downer. Ho hum.
    Iraq, on the other hand, is descending further and yet our media prefer to ignore the realities. A number of important reports emerged over the weekend… When will Howard be forced to answer the true questions about the occupation?

    http://antonyloewenstein.blogspot.com/2005/08/talking-sense.html

  12. August 15th, 2005 at 15:02 | #12

    The big question is

    Will Lefty Unionist Tim win big Brother 2005.

    Imagine $835,000 being donated to the Union coffers to fund a well justified attack on draconian IR legislation that wants to make us competitive with China by stripping our entitlments instead of real productivity improvements born out of education and technology and good old aussie ingenuity.

  13. Ian Gould
    August 15th, 2005 at 17:30 | #13

    >What’s the market solution?

    Force Telstra to provide third party access ot its infrastructure at marginal cost and let companies compete to provide services.

    If government does need to intervene, offer competitive tenders to the private companies for the provision of the required services.

    Razor, you’re assuming that Telstra is operating on competitive market principles currently.

    As an entrenched monopolist. the rational way for Telstra to maximise profits, at least in the short term, is to minimise investment in capacity and charge a premium price.

  14. Razor
    August 15th, 2005 at 17:58 | #14

    Ian, I understand what a monoply, oligarchy, etc is. I just don’t agree that this is a market failure. I live 4 km from Perth GPO, but sitting in my family room I can’t get a good signal on my Optus mobile phone and have to stand near the bleeding window. It’s not a market failure, it’s just that I, and the other Optus customers aren’t prepared to pay more for better coverage. And I don’t go ringing up Optus and complaining about it. And I’ve been to remote communties in the Pilbara that have better broadband access than I do! Now that sucks!

    I have never been of the view that those that choose to live in remote areas should receive services to the same level or at the same cost as city dwellers. If they choose to live out there then they should be able to make enough to pay the costs. If not, don’t go. The market is the best allocator of resources.

  15. August 15th, 2005 at 18:19 | #15

    Razor, I couldn’t agree more. I totally agree that users should pay. If someone wants something, then they should pay for it.

    University fees are currently subsudised by those who are not (& many who have never) attended university. If people choose to study at university, they should pay their own way, at market price.

    You have hit the nail right on the head Razor!!

  16. jquiggin
    August 15th, 2005 at 18:50 | #16

    “University fees are currently subsudised by those who are not (& many who have never) attended university. ”

    Actually, this is far from clear for large groups of students, including most of those who can expect substantial earning power as a result of their studies. The HECS fees for law and business/economics students is about the same as the amount spent on undergraduate teaching in these faculties, even after allowing for overhead costs.

    The teaching of science is heavily subsidised, on the other hand. Do you think it’s a good idea for us to cut this subsidy?

  17. August 15th, 2005 at 19:20 | #17

    On the user pays basis suggested by Razor, all outside subsidising of universities would stop, & only income would be fees collected from students.

  18. August 15th, 2005 at 19:49 | #18

    Razor et al, your reasoning about country people would be sound if it were applied across the board. However, as things are, there are structural imperfections built in that penalise people in the country (I won’t go into detail; for reasons of space I’ll just stipulate it).

    Anyhow, the result is that the point of principle, user pays, has already been breached. Merely insisting on it in respect of telecommunications would not restore the balance in other respects that come up in country living.

    Steve at the pub, restricting university income to that from student fees is not the right way to fund universities; if anything it forces universities to prostitute their main function of learning to their incidental effect of teaching.

    Universities traditionally covered their bread and butter from income from revenue yielding endowments, which they acquired over time by persuading people freely of the worth of their main purpose. Student fees merely covered marginal costs of providing new dons harvested from a crop sown broadcast.

  19. Gary
    August 15th, 2005 at 20:20 | #19

    You also forgot Homer.

    “We reserve the right to remove, edit, or move any messages for any reason.”

    breaching the agreement.

    On a more pleasant note it would be amusing to everyone for Homer to explain his none foul mouth meaning for “rocks off”.

  20. August 15th, 2005 at 21:37 | #20

    PM Lawrence: Universities seeking funding from endowments, philanthropists et al, in addition to fees from students, would seem to be compatible with Razor’s suggestion of user pays? (or to be more accurate: “non-user doesn’t have to pay”)

  21. Terje
    August 15th, 2005 at 21:55 | #21

    I think Razor is pretty spot on. I still remember the D9 catapilla they used to put in our phone line on our farm when I was a kid. Crazy that they dug all that dirt for free.

    Houses in the city cost more than in the country. Maybe we need a subsidy to bring us up to par with out country cousins. The Telstra sale could be used to pay a little off all the city folks morgages.

  22. August 16th, 2005 at 00:40 | #22

    Terje: I remember the farm when I was a kid. The entire phone line had to be built ourselves. Finding, cutting, transporting the poles was our job. The PMG stood them. Purchasing, running, & insulating the wire had to be done ourselves. This was all the way from the exchange to the house.

    Two things I remember. 2 farm boys cutting, barking & transporting phone poles 40 miles faster than the PMG crew of 7 could sink holes & stand them, & that after paying for everything but standing the poles (including paying for & running the copper wire) everyone with a phone connection had to pay “line rental” annually.

    Maintenance was the responsibility of the householder, if the line went out for any reason, you had to fix it yourself.

    I have always wondered what the “rent” was actually for?

    I have often wondered if the “line rental” debt from the PMG to the bush will ever be repaid?

  23. August 16th, 2005 at 09:57 | #23

    One of the questions regarding the sale of Telsta that hasn’t been properly addressed (at least, IMHO), is whether or not it is actually efficient for rural/remote users to have access to high speed broadband and mobile coverage. Do farmers need broadband? Does broadband help farmers breed sheep/grow wheat/make vine more efficiently? The market solution would respond with an emphatic (yet hypothetical) “no!”, as it’s obvious that members of rural/regional areas want Telstra to remain as it is, and to provide low cost services. Since Telstra isn’t privatised (at least for the moment), we don’t know whether members of rural/regional areas would be willing to pay extra or not for the services they currently receive.

    But the market is a two way street: even if consumers are willing to pay a fair price for services, it’s up to the firm whether it provides them or not. Even at a fair price, is it likely that telcos will provide high-quality services to the bush? If not, we ARE in a market failure state, and the government on its white charger should come and save the day.

  24. Razor
    August 16th, 2005 at 18:44 | #24

    The fact is that we live in a democracy. The democratic process has decided that rural and remote areas receive certain things subsidised and that taxes are spent on things seen as being worthwhile by those in power (including Tertiary Education). I think that the pendulum swung to far in the past and now we have the opportunity to pull it back. I believe that in general the market is the best allocator of resources and recognise there are Public Goods and market failures that government needs to deal with. In Education and Health I think that a mix of private and government funding is required. What the balance is depends on which interets group can make the best case. With regards to telecommunications, I think that the market has evolved enough to move to market solutions for the majority of services. I find the big spending-big taxing – middle class welfare – agrarian socialist Coalition Government economically distateful, but it is a country mile better than letting the ALP get their greasy paws on the levers of power.

  25. August 16th, 2005 at 19:49 | #25

    “Even at a fair price, is it likely that telcos will provide high-quality services to the bush?”

    They already provide these services in the bush. It’s just more expensive than in the city.

  26. marklatham
    August 16th, 2005 at 20:32 | #26

    Iraq sure is going well,again.
    A tiny piece in the murdoch press-was it seven americans killed yesterday?
    Ho,hum.
    Unless they are your son’s or brothers or husbands or friends.
    Shame USA shame.

  27. August 16th, 2005 at 20:49 | #27

    If Telstra provides good service now, why sell it? If Telstra doesn’t provide good service, how does selling it s a monopoly make it do so?

    Personally I think Telstra has been allowed to run amuck for at least the last fifteen years by governments which didn’t want to manage it but to sell it off.

    In the meantime, its senior managers have run it to maximise its sales potential, rather than providing a decent service, on the grounds that they will make a huge amount of money in the process. The only way to get them to improve performance has been to make the selloff conditional.

    Does anyone here want to argue that Telstra are the good guys? They look to me like a bunch of monopolists who have beaten every strategy to make them compete, and are going to do it again with even less restraint.

    Unless you think we are about to construct an effective regulator – something we seem to be incapable of doing across the communications sector. After all, we the people can’t even control the ABC.

  28. Homer Paxton
    August 17th, 2005 at 12:33 | #28

    Gary,
    the terms getting your rocks off is similar to the line in that old song get your kicks on route 66.

    in my youth the most popular way of getting your rocks off was attending a concert at the Hordern.

    by the way given timbo’s registration agreement few of the people who comment should be allowed to!

  29. August 17th, 2005 at 13:26 | #29

    Let me demonstrate the origin of “rocks off”

    “in my youth the most popular way of ejaculating was attending a concert at the Hordern.”

    Ha! norty norty Homer.

  30. Homer Paxton
    August 17th, 2005 at 13:33 | #30

    Gary, I was told by David blair at Macquarie Univewrsity that words change in meaning over time.

    given that no concert ever did that to me not even Lou Reed I would suggest that is what has happened.

  31. August 17th, 2005 at 14:20 | #31

    You and Phillip Addams a so alike,Homer.

    Anyway enough about you ‘scoring’ (or lack of) at concerts. It may end up you describing the lady? as “skanky whore” (another Homer approved ‘none’ foul mouth words) that was with you.

    And thats just creepy.

  32. Homer Paxton
    August 17th, 2005 at 14:34 | #32

    Gary, you do not appear to have understood what I said.

    getting your rocks off was another way of saying you got a lot of enjoyment out of something lie getting your kicks on route 66.

    I never approved of Mark Latham using that term. I merely pointed out He didn’t like ra[ music so obviously wouldn’t have known that interpretation ( given Timbo’s boast that he knew him very well and for a long time It is surprising he didn’t know this) and there was another interpratation for it within the NSW right some time ago.

    Actually gary Timbo and Phil have a lot in common.

  33. August 17th, 2005 at 15:17 | #33

    “getting your rocks off was another way of saying you got a lot of enjoyment out of something lie getting your kicks on route 66.”

    Sure Homer.

    You didn’t voice your disapproval as per your useual practice for others. So it is a reasonable asumption the you did.

    “I merely pointed out He didn’t like ra[ music so obviously wouldn’t have known that interpretation”

    Not liking Rap doesn’t prove he didn’t know the meaning. Besides the origin of “Ho!” is “whore”.

    “Timbo’s boast that he knew him very well and for a long time”

    When?

    “I remember back when Howard was Oppo leader the first time trying to get him to understand there was an inherent contradiction between being an economic liberal and a social conservative but it never hit home.
    Sometimes you have to choose which idea is better of the two you support.”–Homer Paxton

    http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2005/08/08/converts/#comment-30943

    Really! where did this lesson from you take place?.

  34. Homer Paxton
    August 17th, 2005 at 16:24 | #34

    Gary,
    sorry mate but I am not going to give you an englissh lesson but I don’t know anyone who thinks getting your kicks on route 66 refers to sex at all.

    There are various definitions of the term skanky ho. It is only in the Rap definition where it is defined as a prostitute.

    Timbo boasted to John Stanley on 2UE when Mark Latham became Oppo Leader.
    That ‘knowledge’ mysteriously vanished after that.
    I had only met him twice as a backbencher in Canberra and once at a party when Hewson was oppo leader andat the party as well.

    for your information I have been walking the corridors of both the old and new parliament house for some time.
    I haven’t walked there in the immediate past I must add however.

  35. August 17th, 2005 at 17:05 | #35

    “I don’t know anyone who thinks getting your kicks on route 66 refers to sex at all.”

    route 66 has has noting to to with getting your rocks off.

    “It is only in the Rap definition where it is defined as a prostitute.”

    But you didn’t provide an Oz definition at the time.

    “I had only met him twice as a backbencher in Canberra and once at a party when Hewson was oppo leader andat the party as well.”

    So is that when you gave him this lesson Homer?

    “I have been walking the corridors of both the old and new parliament house for some time.”

    Gee Phill Homer, you me and thousand of others.

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