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Weekend reflections

December 22nd, 2006

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

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  1. December 22nd, 2006 at 14:53 | #1

    Why I am contemptuous of the Wets.

    They spend all day telling us that we should respect other ethnic groups and integrate public institutions. Yet they move heaven and to segregate their private lives from such groups.

    Black–white racial segregation has been on the rise in primary and secondary schools over the past decade. While whites, especially those who are highly educated, may express an interest in having their children attend integrated schools, in reality, they seek out schools that are racially segregated. In the study, researchers found, on average, that the greater the education of white parents, the more likely they will remove their children from public schools as the percentage of black students increases.

    “We believed from prior studies that education has a significantly positive impact on racial attitudes,� says Emerson, the Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology. “We found when studying behaviors, however, that acquiring more education is not a means of combating segregation. Education may broaden an individual’s world, but it also leads to greater negative sensitivity toward blacks’ presence in public schools.�

    Like all Wets I would like to see as much individual liberty and social equity as a national community will allow. But I refuse to take seriously the claims of people who advocate these ideologies in principle and negate them in practice.

    It has always struck me is that most Dries whilst more overt in expressing prejudice and even xenophobia they tend to be more relaxed around diverse ethnics. This tendency seems to be quite strong amongst so-called “rednecks”, including those in the Deep North.

    Yet this study shows that the better-educated Wets fall over themselves in the a panic-stricken white flight. And the Wets are notorious for their “funny vibe” around people of colour.

    We should promote social equity and race-neutrality. But we should not smear over the differences between ethnic communities with a blizzard of political correctness. Truth hurts but it will set you free.

    Howard’s record on honesty, compared to a Wet impaled on the horns of a self-impaled politically correct dilemma, is as pure as driven snow.

  2. Katz
    December 22nd, 2006 at 15:16 | #2

    Jack:

    ‘educated’ ≠ ‘imbued with or adhering to “Wet” social values.’

    For this research to prove what you claim it proves it must demonstrate a sufficient correlation between political attitudes and specified behaviour, i.e., segregating children.

  3. Steve
    December 22nd, 2006 at 15:35 | #3

    Is academia too left? Is environmental science too biased? Is it in need of an overhaul to increase the application of evidence rather than bias to problem solving? Has JQ biased the University of QLD too far to the left and now they are looking to recalibrate?

    http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/001805.html
    “A new partnership between the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and the University of Queensland has resulted in the creation of a new ‘Science and Environment Research Group’ and 3 PhD Scholarships in Environmental Science and 1 in Environmental Law…”

  4. December 22nd, 2006 at 15:38 | #4

    A similar result in Britain! Lefties less willing to insulate their homes.
    http://timblair.net/ee/index.php/weblog/divergence_shown/

    Pauline Hanson brought out the full extent of the double standards on the left when people who are supposed to be educated, intelligent, cosmopolitan, cultured etc behaved like schoolyard thugs in attacking and denigrating her (even physically in the case of people trying to attend her talks). And don’t say it was just her ideas because in that case you should have given her credit for her economic policies.

  5. Steve
    December 22nd, 2006 at 15:54 | #5

    Its not necessarily a double standard Rafe. Just because you are a guardian reader doesn’t mean you are educated about the environment, or interested in that particular issue.

    Maybe guardian readers are more likely to rent and less likely to own a home, with no option to install insulation.
    Maybe guardian readers have a lower need for pampering and comfort and don’t need as much insulation to get by?
    Maybe tabloid readers are more obsessed with their house and property and devote more time and attention to getting all the latest do-dads for their home and following all the latest trends (including the move towards better insulation) than guardian readers, who are not so materialistic.

    MAybe guardian readers are more likely to live in quaint old fashioned existing (and less well insulated) homes, while tabloid readers go for newly built or renovated homes and mcmansions, that have mandatory insulation these days?

    MAybe educated people make decisions on where to send their kids to school based on the educational performance of that school, and the colour of the students is completely irrelevant to their decision – but because black people are generally poorer, there are more black people in the poorly serviced and managed schools, and less of them in the selective schools with a reputation for excellence and/or a high price tag for entry?

    Maybe we should all stop drawing ridiculous conclusions based on limited data?

  6. MichaelH
    December 22nd, 2006 at 17:15 | #6

    Thankyou Jack and Rafe for those generalisations of such breath taking sweep.

    “They” are always the problem. We need a world with fewer.

  7. Nabakov
    December 22nd, 2006 at 17:16 | #7

    “It has always struck me is that most Dries whilst more overt in expressing prejudice and even xenophobia they tend to be more relaxed around diverse ethnics. ”

    Wonder if the “diverse ethnics” are as relaxed around people more overt in expressing prejudice and even xenophobia.

    “And the Wets are notorious for their “funny vibeâ€? around people of colour.”

    Bet you can’t link to any empirical proof for that statement. It’s just the “vibe” right man?

    I’d also point out that grand unified theories and sweeping generalisations about race, culture and socio-economic status have not had a very good track record over the centuries, especially the last one.

    “because in that case you should have given her credit for her economic policies.”

    Are you suggesting Rafe you found some favour with her ill-thought out populist anti-free market “little Australia” economic policies, you old closet socialist you?

  8. December 22nd, 2006 at 22:05 | #8

    No Nabs, I mean that the lefties who agreed with her economic policies should have given her some credit in that area.

  9. December 22nd, 2006 at 22:29 | #9

    Did anyone notice that the government has just released two export licenses for wheat?

    AWB was a government controlled export monopoly, which was then privatised and everyone knows the rest. It would be interesting to find out where the shares ended up? And whether wheat farmers got the bulk?

    ps. ‘Limiting Democracy: The Erosion of Electoral Rights in Australia’ by Profs Colin Hughes and Brian Costar, is a good summer read for anyone interested in the state of our “democracy”.

  10. wbb
    December 22nd, 2006 at 22:32 | #10

    Yeah, Rafe you’re right. And learning that lesson, I will now admit my deep admiration for the smooth execution of the German train time-table in 1938. Not enough has been made of that success in the noisy distraction over other less succesful policies.

    (But I do agree that the unruly protests against Our Pauline in the late 1990s were stupidly counter-productive.)

  11. Seeker
    December 23rd, 2006 at 00:00 | #11

    It has always struck me is that most Dries whilst more overt in expressing prejudice and even xenophobia they tend to be more relaxed around diverse ethnics. This tendency seems to be quite strong amongst so-called “rednecks�, including those in the Deep North. JS

    As someone who has spent an awful lot of his life in the “Deep North”, I say your claim is laughable clichéd nonsense. Overt and covert prejudice and xenophobia, at both the ideological and practical level, are still relatively common in the Deep North, though slowly diminishing over time. I see substantial real world examples of it every day up here.

  12. December 23rd, 2006 at 09:17 | #12

    Alan Ramsey today highlights, perhaps unintentionally, the ludicrousness of our odd financial year – half in one calendar year and half in the next.

    Isn’t time that we adopted the practice of most OECD countries and made the financial year coincidental with the calendar year. There would be a slight disruption in financial reporting as a consequence but this would be for one year only and as the UK and Ireland demonstrated a few years back it wouldn’t be a huge problem. In any event established companies and institutions could maintain whatever reporting period they wanted – as some do now.

    But overall it would have, I believe, a beneficial effect on our economy. Where currently we have this huge excuse for businesses and organisations to wind down for most of December and do not much at all in January. Instead businesses would want to hit the ground running turnoverwise in the new financial year instead of resting on their laurels and piously hoping that the 5 month work period to 1st July interrupted as it is by several national holidays will make up for the near two month summer hiatus. Politicians and bureaucrats would not have the excuse to bugger off for the same 6 weeks leaving the ship of state with only the cabin boy at the wheel. TV, radio and press media would keep operating more or less normally instead of hibernating (in the case of the ABC literally) for weeks.

    I concede that there would still be a quiet period around Christmas but it would only be for 3 to 3.5 weeks of dog days.

    One real benefit might be that with a 11.25 month working year Australian might be less stressed overall.

  13. December 23rd, 2006 at 12:03 | #13

    Black/White
    Left/Right
    Wet/Dry

    All forms of discrimination and nothing more.

  14. observa
    December 23rd, 2006 at 12:32 | #14

    Of course one of the most delicious ironies of the Beacon of Light project in Iraq was watching the leftist phonies dance about the ‘monkey country’ view of Iraqis. The BOL was so obviously and always going to be a ‘pathetic fanatasy’ as Surfdom leftists put it so delicately and succinctly put it so often. Watching them take the pessimistic, sanguine view of Iraqis chances, while Bush and Blair took the more magnanimous and Christian- ‘they’re just like us’ view of the world, was almost worth the admission price. For exposing their true nature, these leftist phonies will never forgive Bush the Great Satan. Maintain that rage!

  15. December 23rd, 2006 at 12:34 | #15

    Katz Says:

    Jack: ‘educated’ ≠ ‘imbued with or adhering to “Wet� social values.’

    For this research to prove what you claim it proves it must demonstrate a sufficient correlation between political attitudes and specified behaviour, i.e., segregating children.

    I stand corrected. Higher education is ususally correlated with “liberal views” on culture and conservative views on class. Teasing out the relative strengths of these motivations is not always easy.

    There are plenty of conservatives who are ethnicly prejudiced and put their kids through the old Alma Mater to reinforce class domination. Conversely, there are plenty of “liberals” who favour racial diversity but who prefer private schools for aspirational reasons.

    I just wish the latter group would occasionally come clean about the grim reality of state schools that have to deal with unruly ethnics. Having travelled extensively in the US I know of what I speak.

  16. Nabakov
    December 23rd, 2006 at 13:10 | #16

    Obby on 23/12/06 at 10.14am.

    Obby on 23/12/06 at 12.32 pm.

    What a difference 2 hours and 18 minutes makes.

  17. December 23rd, 2006 at 14:17 | #17

    Nabakov Says: December 22nd, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    Wonder if the “diverse ethnics� are as relaxed around people more overt in expressing prejudice and even xenophobia.

    Howard’s mildly xenophobic populism has probably knocked some sense into ethnic rat-bags and their apologists and forced people to settle down peaceably. This has allayed some of the fears of the populus about ethnic settlement, going by the more relaxed and comfortable attitudes towards NESB immigration.

    THere is some US evidence to show that race realism, at the cost of some crudely expressed stereotypes, may tend to reduce racial hysteria all-round and probably makes for a more relaxed society. The coloured arrest rate in the notoriously open-predjudiced Red State South is somewhat lower than the coloured arrest rate in the ostentatiously open-minded coastal Blue States. Which would imply that “diverse ethnics” are in some ways more relaxed around “people more overt in expressing prejudice and even xenophobia”. La Griffe has crunched some of the numbers:

    We all know that African Americans are imprisoned disproportionately to their numbers in the general population. According to the last decennial census a black man was 7.4 times as likely to be found behind bars as was his white counterpart. …

    State-by-state, the figures varied widely from 3.1 to 29.3. But contrary to expectation, the highest disparity ratios turned up mostly in politically progressive states, while the smallest ratios were mostly found in conservative states.

    Many here today have devoted their professional lives to eliminating racial disparities in prison and elsewhere. And most of the rest of us are philosophical allies sympathetic to this ideal. It must be disconcerting, therefore, to find the greatest black-to-white imprisonment ratios in your own ideological backyards. But be assured this is not the result of your unconscious, repressed racism, but is rather the innocent product of your goodwill — an accidental consequence of liberal philosophy applied to criminal justice.

    If you want a race riot you are more likely to get it in NY or LA than in Dixie. But the Wets would rather polish their expensively acquired ideological hood ornaments than get under the bonnet to make things work.

    Nabakov says:

    Bet you can’t link to any empirical proof for that statement. It’s just the “vibe� right man?

    Anecdotal evidence is still evidence, although not as valid as the statistical kind. The evidence of one’s own lyin’ eyes has to be taken into account now and again owing to the conspiracy of silence amongst “liberal” apparatchiks and academics.

    I have knocked around a bit and actually got my hands dirty working for a living in some unusual places, unlike some others who might be gallivanting about the world on tax-funded jaunts. (No names, no pack-drill.) Up North I have found that white farmers will use racist terminology that would make a Wet blush. But they seem to get on well enough with Aboriginal workers, so long as the parties remain sober.

    In the South Eastern seaboard, where people mind their politically correcy p’s and q’s, one sees a head long rush to buy into leafy suburbs which are serviced by noticeably un-diverse selective and private schools. This is prima facie evidence that white progressives are uneasy (“funny vibe”) around some ethnic groups.

    Tom Wolfe is by far and away the best sociologist working on ethnic relations. I reccommend Nabakov take time out from cultivating his cultural fantasies to check out Wolfe’s classic depiction of the “funny vibe”, in Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

    Nabakov says:

    I’d also point out that grand unified theories and sweeping generalisations about race, culture and socio-economic status have not had a very good track record over the centuries, especially the last one.

    This is quite true, but is a dangerous line for a cultural constructivist to take. It looks more like an argument for cultural conservatism ie dont try to make the world over.

    It is cute for Nabakov, a proponent of multiculturalism which is a “grand [dis-]unifying theory about race, culture and socio-economic status” if ever there was one, to take this line. This theory implies that any and all ethnic groups, irrespective of their level of development, should be able to live together in peace and harmony in the same civil jurisdiction. And further, that the more these ethnic groups practice identity politics (ie “diversity”) the more beneficial (“equity” situation will be.

    And we can see that multiculturalism, unlike all other grand theories, has an unblemished track record of community improvement. Look at the splendid record of multiculturalists all over the world, starting with Nazi ethnic seperatists in the Sudetenland, moving onto the fun and games played by Quebec seperatists and now the Londonstani fundamentalists. Oh, and did I forget to mention Beirut?

    So if Australia lets Nabakov’s crew manage cultural policy we should never have any more ethnic problems ever again. Nothing bad to see here folks, just keep moving…

  18. observa
    December 23rd, 2006 at 14:22 | #18

    Nabakov,
    The larger question I am alluding to overall is- Has Bush, Blair and the COW in Iraq (and ultimately other BOL interventions from Afghanistan to ET, Solomons and the like) categorically proved that some cultures/races are so fundamentally different, that they are like oil and water and wont be successfully mixed. In other words one of the great egalitarian shibboleths is now dead once and for all. Consigned to the intellectual dustbin. Now that is not necessarily a view the Bushes and Blairs of this world wanted to believe, but it’s now what their electorates firmly believe and what they themselves must resignedly admit to themselves as well. A pyrhhic victory for their most vehement detractors I would suggest. I am also suggesting that’s why their electorates don’t castigate them politically as much as the left critics do, particularly as Default Plan B in Iraq aint so bad. Oh and the thought of going into places like Sudan and Somalia to create the right environment for decent civil societies, is now a no-brainer. Ditto for bringing their cultures into our backyards. But as JS points out the last bit our educated elites alraedy practised.

  19. Nabakov
    December 23rd, 2006 at 15:26 | #19

    Y’know, I had little bet with m’self that Jack couldn’t resist responding without some self-aggrandising mention of how he’s really seen and done things beyond the ken of his critics.

    “I have knocked around a bit and actually got my hands dirty working for a living in some unusual places…”

    Gosh! Golly! You too? Say, anyone else here caught a jet plane to foreign climes, “rapped” with the locals and done odd jobs in unsual places?

    And funny how someone who prides himself on rational analysis of empirical facts comes over all woolly and vague (and wet?), talking about “vibes” and “I’ve seen it myself so it must be true generally” when trying to prop up his cultural constructivist theories.

    And that’s another fine multiheaded strawman you’ve erected as well. Firstly you assume I’m a proponent of some kind of official or stated multiculturalism policy (a link or two here would be nice). Nope, I just do like mocking those who propose grand theories aimed at slicing the human condition up into small and easily digested black and white chunks.

    “Nazi ethnic seperatists in the Sudetenland, moving onto the fun and games played by Quebec seperatists and now the Londonstani fundamentalists. Oh, and did I forget to mention Beirut?”

    Well aside from Canada IIRC, none of those places has or had any kind of stated multiculturalism policy. And using your own logic, I’d point out the worst ethnic and sectarian violence has and is happening in places where there are no stated multiculturalism policies.

    Jack, your grand “wet/dry” theory is to real life what an airline dinner is to a good lovo on Bau.

  20. Nabakov
    December 23rd, 2006 at 15:32 | #20

    “A pyrhhic victory for their most vehement detractors I would suggest.”

    I would suggest that at this point, that having tied yourself into completely selfcontradicting knots, you’d suggest anything that made it seem you really knew whatever the hell it was you were trying to cry “gotcha!” over.

  21. wbb
    December 23rd, 2006 at 23:28 | #21

    Even accepting your premise that Bush was only trying to bring light to a dark place, Observa, your claim that the left is in the wrong on Iraq because it was proved right, is emblematic of the type of mental quagmire the decimated war-party is trapped within. Time to move on and let it all go, mate.

  22. sdfc
    December 24th, 2006 at 00:02 | #22

    “Howard’s mildly xenophobic populism has probably knocked some sense into ethnic rat-bags and their apologists and forced people to settle down peaceably.”

    Jack, is there any basis for this comment?

    Observa

    Comment 14 is so silly it’s absolutely priceless while history says comment 18 is wrong.

  23. December 24th, 2006 at 01:30 | #23

    Nabakov Says: December 23rd, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Y’know, I had little bet with m’self that Jack couldn’t resist responding without some self-aggrandising mention of how he’s really seen and done things beyond the ken of his critics.

    That sort of self-regulated bet sounds suspiciously like insider-trading. It is also a monumental bit of kettle-calling coming from a thoroughly blackened pot. Nabakov, for one, is not above some self-aggrandising “seen and done-ing” when he name-drops his “many contacts amongst the lumber-jacks who get [him] facts when someone attacks [his] imagination”.

    Nabakov Says:

    And funny how someone who prides himself on rational analysis of empirical facts comes over all woolly and vague (and wet?), talking about “vibes� and “I’ve seen it myself so it must be true generally� when trying to prop up his cultural constructivist theories.

    If you are going to ask for evidence you could spare us all the faux-outrage when the witness has the gall to speak from first hand. THis may be the moment to introduce a revolutionary new principle in epistemology: a proposition may be true, despite the fact that I feel it to be true.

    It is no methodological crime to voice a subjective feeling, even in the absence of a data base of objective facts. In social science jargon this is called “participant observation“. Otherwise known as evidence of one’s own ‘lyin eyes. The anecdotal and statistical both need to be deployed because of the veil of woolly ignorance drawn over the people’s eyes by politically correct apparatchiks and academics.

    I suspect that the neuro-toxins found in the politically correct virus cause victims to develop a cultural tin ear that is deaf to “funny vibes”. For a cure I reccommend Nabakov take a steady course of cultural conservative antibiotics starting with the works of Barry Humphries. But, as Humphries says, “if you have to explain satire to someone then you might as well give up”.

    Nabakov Says:

    And that’s another fine multiheaded strawman you’ve erected as well. Firstly you assume I’m a proponent of some kind of official or stated multiculturalism policy (a link or two here would be nice).

    A while back Nabakov was reccomending multicultural Marseilles as a worthy model for civil policy makers emulate. Perhaps he has forgotten, perhaps he has changed his mind or perhaps his social philosophy is just an elaborate practical joke. In any case, if this example is the best he could do then it probably would not go down to well amongst some of the more grounded constituents in his party’s marginal electorates. So best not go there any more.

    Nabakov Says:

    I just do like mocking those who propose grand theories aimed at slicing the human condition up into small and easily digested black and white chunks.

    This may not be a terminal case of intellectual nhilism, but it will do as a case study in the absence of the fully-blown disease. Do you want to end up like Fyodor, a pathetic “directionless quibbler” just mocking for the sake of it?

    Perhaps one day there may be a way of explaining human behaviour that does not rise above gossip-mongering, bait-switching and nit-picking. And if that day comes then Nabakov will be the first man I will turn to. Until that day I will fall back on the tried and true methods of logical positivism in order to support my sweeping generalisations: inductive observation and deductive implication.

    I dont propose any of my own grand theories of history.* I do lean on someone elses Big Idea, namely Darwin’s evolutionary theory applied to society. This intellectual eccentricity is not peculiar to me. There is a yawning gap in the tool kit of standard social science modellers – who refuse to acknowledge the conservation of human natural diversity – just begs to be filled. And there is a growing body of hard scientific theory and evidence that is plugging that gap.

    Most public intellectuals celebrate diversity in human culture but hush it up in human nature. This intellectual position is now pretty much untenable, but it shows remarkable ideological staying power. I am a little ashamed to say that I cannot resist the temptation to mock those, like Nabakov, who seem happy to be a party to such an obvious fraud.

    Nabakov Says:

    Well aside from Canada IIRC, none of those places has or had any kind of stated multiculturalism policy.

    Wrong on both counts. Konrad Heinlein, the leader of the Sudeten Nazis, was the first to articulate the multicultural policy on the grounds that an ethnic minority had the right to cultivate its identity in spite of the state. Well he got his wish in spades, didnt he?

    And the UK does have an official multicultural policy stated in the Race Relations Act. You can read the tortured debate about for yourself here, if you have the stomach for that kind of thing. But British polemicists, policy makers and politicians are back-pedalling from this slow-ticking social time bomb as fast as possible now that its home-roosting chickens are visible on the cultural horizon.

    The Anglophone nations have indulged in a little multicultural anarchy, for the entertainment of frivolous intellectuals and enrichment of corrupt politicals. Must we wait until diverse ethnic groups are waging artillery duels up and down Bourke St before the Wets admit to having second thoughts on the policy which Nabakov cannot bring himself to renounce?

    Nabakov Says:

    And using your own logic, I’d point out the worst ethnic and sectarian violence has and is happening in places where there are no stated multiculturalism policies.

    That proposition would have been completely risible on the face of it had Nabakov not slyly inserted the weasel word “stated” right there at the end. Lots of multi-ethnic nations have multiculturalism as historical legacy rather than political policy. I might be tempted to characterise these “actual and existing” multicultural systems as ruled by “unwritten laws” that more or less institutionalise ethnic diversity. But that would likely turn Nabakov into an Irving-Winschuttle literalist sending us off on a futile paper chase.

    Population numbers and demographic classifications are here “of the essence”. These real world multicultural jurisdictions have more “ethnic and sectarian violence” than you can shake a stick at. The explosive mixture of class domination and cultural segregation has been behind most of the 20th C worst cases of genocide. The only know ideological antidote to this is to institutionalise Enlightenment principles: develop an integrated national community guaranteeing individual liberty and social equality for all citizens. Not to smuggle in caste society by another name.

    You would think that the glaring example of failing multicultural states which have tried to combine the politics of ethnic identity with populist democracy (Lebanon, Algeria, Sri Lanka and now Iraq) would generate a twinge of uneasiness in the Pollyanna world view of our cultural big-wigs. No such luck.

    It was not always thus. You will search in vain for 19th c social theorist mad enough to suggest that nation statists should encourage a resurgence in tribal communalism. That Rousseau-ian “noble savage” nonsense was supposed to be long ago consigned to the dustbin of history by Burke and the like. Mill, C-in-C of the Whigs, thought he was stating the obvious when he calmly intoned that “free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities”, organised as such. But he was only the smartest social theorist who ever lived, so what would he know? Just goes to show that the Whig theory of History does not apply to intellectual ideas.

    *I will admit that the “Decline of the Wets” thesis does sound fairly portentious in theory. But it in fact a straightforward positivist summary of psephological trends in the Australian polity since the Hansonite earthquake hit around the mid-nineties. It stands or falls by its predictive power which has so far been better than its alternatives. The whole political system – LN/P, ALP and DEMs – has moved to a more conservative part of the spectrum on cultural policy.

    It will continue to stay there until the brazen lunacy of the Wets philosophy has been properly Dried out. I see now that the Larva Prodders are grumbling about Rudd’s conservative slide. I told them so.

  24. December 24th, 2006 at 14:03 | #24

    Here is part of the story of one homeless Aboriginal
    man in Brisbane

    http://paradigmoz.wordpress.com/2006/12/24/give-the-man-a-life/

    He has considerable assetts held by the Public Trustee
    and is eligible for the disability pension

    Yet he is given an allowance of only $150 pw from his
    own assetts – $100 pw less than the disability pension
    with no discounts and entitlements that pensioners
    have

    He has spent the last six weeks living on the streets
    with no access to money at all except what he can beg

    He can afford to own his own home and be on the
    pension and live a comfortable life

    Yet he is not allowed to do this and has been kept in
    a state of empoverishment by those agencies who are
    supposedly protecting his interests

    Please read the link and send a message of concern to
    the email contacts on that link

    thank you

  25. December 24th, 2006 at 19:22 | #25

    JS, you are repeating a mistake which effectively cost the young Robert A. Heinlein his entry into US politics by rousing hostility against his name.

    The leader of the Sudeten Germans was surnamed Haenlein (or use an A umlaut), not Heinlein (which may in some dialects mean “small corpse”, a bit like saying Lichling in English – it wouldn’t necessarily spring to a German’s mind if he heard it).

    It is at least arguable that a sort of multiculturalism was in fact in force in Czechoslovakia (between Czechs and Slovaks) and in the Lebanon (between Maroniotes and Sunnis), arrangements which worked to exclude and marginalise other minorities in order to reinforce the edgy balance between the main groups.

  26. December 26th, 2006 at 09:46 | #26

    Greetings

    This is a courtesy note to advise that the LiberalVoter blog has:

    1) Liked one of the comments on your blog so much, we re-published it.
    2) Linked to your blog in acknowledgement of the use of the comment.

    Sorry we didn’t contact you prior to republishing the comment. Since LiberalVoter is an attempt to inject some much-needed humour into the Australian political blogosphere, we hope you’ll forgive our impudence.

    Sincerely

    LiberalVoter.net

  27. Will De Vere
    December 26th, 2006 at 16:03 | #27

    Ah, Boxing Day and the 15th anniversary of the dissolution of the USSR : what a long & wild trip it’s been. For all the other Kold War Kids out there, I’ve only one question, okay, two: A) Is the world better off without the USSR and B) Are the Russian people & the people of the former Republics better off?

    The last 15 years, of course, has seen many distinct ‘phases’, but better or worse? What might have happened if Gorbachev had been more dictatorial?

  28. Jimmythespiv
    December 27th, 2006 at 17:07 | #28

    Will

    How can you even ask if the world is better off without the USSR ?

    Is the world better off without smallpox or (almopst) polio ?

  29. December 29th, 2006 at 06:23 | #29

    Child Slavery Threat To Justice

    This was a very interesting article I found on The Conservative Voice. Do you think slave labor should be a moral issue in trade deals?

    TCV-In the US, slavery was outlawed at the national level in 1865. “Oppressive child labor� was outlawed at the US national level in 1938. Yet child labor persists around the world as national and multinational companies seek lower labor costs and greater profits. Adult consumers around the world benefit with cheap goods made with child labor.

    Will worldwide morality over this issue become so great that all countries will banish child labor forever as they did the once prevalent black slavery? Or will the benefits that accrue to consumers and corporations by child labor prevail? Will economics trump morality or not? Stanly asked

  30. garhane
    December 29th, 2006 at 09:15 | #30

    I have a beef with respect to comparative advantage. I read the account of Ricardo and he sets up an imaginary example which has England producing a measure of cloth at 100 labour X and the Portugese doing it at 90 labour X. No way. We all read about how the development of machinery sharply reduced the labour time in England and they went out offering deals on reduced tariffs for raw materials, including agricultural goods which were the main thing in those days, provided they could get access to markets to move their manufactured products. For Portugal they had a treaty about 1703 which allowed the Portugese wine to come into England at a big reduction on the tariff, in trade for English cloth coming in at a big reduction on the Portugese tariff. The result was a shower of English manufactures, that surpressed development in Portugal, and cheap wine for England. That is what happened. That is consistent with the economic history we know. That is not consistent with this comparative advantage thing.
    Then there is Ricardo who believed that capital is only happy at home and it did not readily move to foreign parts, which was necessary if the advantage he spoke of would work since he believed that value was the total of labour hours put into a product, while if capital was mobile any big profit in one area wojud lead to capital pouring into that branch of an economy till it leveled out to whatever was the national governing rate of return. But the fact is that English (or, really, Scottish) money did move into Portugal in wines, first to set up docks, wharehouses, and transport then to buy vineyards and wine making facilities, so that by about 1700 English money had control of 70% of wine coming out of Oporto (port) to England.

    So the imaginary example could not have worked as stated, it is based on a false idea of relative labour times (contrary to the history of the two nations); and it is based on a wrong idea about capital mobility. And I wonder how he could write it since he certainly read Adam Smith and there is plenty in Smith about the relative histories of these countries, the foolishness of the Portugese in what they did with the commodities (gold, silver) they robbed from Brazil, and the resulting economic disaster to both Spain and Portugal.

    And this idea , comparative advantage,does not seem to have ever been tested from 1815 to 1954 when McDougal tried it on USA and Britian and found it did not work. This is mentioned in Krugman and somedody…a new text on International Economics. Later I think it was Leontieff who studied it and found it did not work and his effort has since been called “the Leontieff paradox”, so I guess the economists have just walked around it. But I mean what kind of science, what kind of scientists do we have here.

    I think any layman dipping into an economic question and seeking understanding by reading histroy can come away not thinking very much of these guys who have the gall to present ideology as science when the last thing they want to do is to make the slightest effort to falsify their notions. I mean what would Popper say?

  31. gordon
    December 30th, 2006 at 08:01 | #31

    Good for Garhane! The real reason for universal respect for comparative advantage among professional economists has more to do with memories (or nowadays more likely textbook accounts) of the collapse of world trade at the time of the Great Depression than with any real theoretical commitment. Economists fear the unknown consequences of a revulsion against the “race to the bottom” of wages and conditions caused by the advent of mechanised production in previously colonial States, combined with revulsion against the low labour standards existing there. Nobody knows the consequences of a higher tariff regime between developed States (say, the OECD) and these new States which might reduce OECD imports from them. What is presented by economists as a theoretically-based argument for free trade is in most cases little more than old-fashioned fear of the unknown.

  32. gordon
    December 31st, 2006 at 08:27 | #32

    It is good to see a well-known US economics blog like Brad deLong’s devoting some time to the Stern review and the rate of discount we should adopt towards the future. Prof. Nordhaus has been at it again, and deLong has some interesting critique.

  33. December 31st, 2006 at 09:36 | #33

    Observa,
    I’d like to hold the magnanimous and Christian hope that you will concede complete victory to Nabakov. However, I am resigned to being pessimistic and sanguine towards that likelyhood instead.

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