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Monday message board

March 12th, 2007

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. stephen L
    March 12th, 2007 at 16:01 | #1

    Do you, or any other economists here, have any comments on the proposals put forward by the five unions.

    The only response I have seen was Kenneth Davidson’s http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/unions-vision-offers-alternative-way-forward/2007/03/11/1173548021522.html

  2. March 12th, 2007 at 21:15 | #2

    Charles Kenny has a note (http://charleskenny.blogs.com/weblog/files/ethicsternReview.pdf) in which he argues that using the ethical standard of the Stern Report consistently would imply massive worldwide income redistribution. His conclusion:

    “Acceptance of the Stern Review implies acceptance of a moral system that suggests we should be maximizing global utility and that suggests utility is closely related to income but with a declining marginal return. Once this system is accepted, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that considerable global redistribution of income is a moral imperative. That the Stern Review has been so widely accepted suggests that belief in such a moral imperative may be spreading.”

  3. melanie
    March 12th, 2007 at 21:16 | #3

    Definitely time for some different arguments.

    A friend, an environmental lawyer, who was in town on the weekend spent considerable time rubbishing the idea that water markets could be a solution to drought conditions in the MDB (and by extension carbon markets for GGEs). While he became a bit angry and garbled, I gathered his main point was that our politicians are unwilling/incapable/unable of setting up the market properly in the first place. He was particularly upset about the trade in water entitlements north of Adelaide which has resulted in huge profits for some and massive depletion of the resource at the same time.

  4. March 13th, 2007 at 14:02 | #4

    Interesting article in the Economist this week on ethanol – look here – it is not behind the paywall.

  5. gordon
    March 15th, 2007 at 09:40 | #5

    The “Back on Track” report reminded me of the 1987 report “Australia Reconstructed”, produced by unions with Govt. support. There is a discussion of that report here(.pdf), but I can’t find the report itself anywhere on the Web, and I gave my copy away years ago, to somebody who never gave it back.

    Of course, “Australia Reconstructed” was written at the time of the Accord, of the Hawke Govt. strategy of “tripartism”, of the Economic Policy Advisory Council (EPAC), and overall of a time when the Fed. Govt. was seriously trying to develop Australia as a manufacturing nation. This was all very confusing and essentially repugnant to a Right which was quite happy to make money as compradors for foreigners. And this is exactly the situation which the Right has now reimposed on Howard’s Australia.

    By comparison with “Australia Reconstructed”, the “Back on Track” report is very, very tame.

  6. 2 tanners
    March 15th, 2007 at 09:41 | #6

    On the topic of ethanol, I’m trying to find the latest scientific state of play with ethanol and global warming. leaving aside ecological disasters like shale oil, ABARE studies from a while ago indicated that ethanol was worse for GW and air pollution, not better, as a consequence of the higher number and degree of volatiles in the fuel.

    It would be tragic if we went down this path on the basis that ethanol is renewable, without looking into its long term consequences (to the best of scientific ability, which is all anyone can ask).

  7. gordon
    March 15th, 2007 at 16:24 | #7

    And for US-watchers who think that the Democratic majority in Congress will exert a moderating influence on US Middle-Eastern policy, this report of Nancy Pelosi’s apparently abject performance before an AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference:

    “I have to tell you that I literally shuddered as I heard Pelosi speak. Except for one or two sentences about Iraq, which I’ll mention in a moment, her address was a militant, pro-war, absolutely uncritical endorsement of Israel’s current most hawkish policies as well as of its historic rationalizations for those policies. No NeoCon could have said it better, nor more emphatically. We have not done enough yet to confront Iran, said Pelosi. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about the occupation, she said. And quoting more or less exactly, “When Israel has had to make decisions, it has always made courageous decisions for peace.” So on and so forth and resolutely onward with our “unshakeable” backing of Israel, its government and its policies. Period.”

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