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Weekend reflections

June 7th, 2008

It’s time once again for weekend reflections.Feel free to write at greater length than for a standard comment thread. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. Dave
    June 7th, 2008 at 17:32 | #1

    I’d like to kick off by discussing how people are kidding themselves with Kevin Rudd.
    Progressives are going around with a warm feeling that things have changed greatly. Lets look at the actual facts.
    Climate Change – no change, in fact our emissions have likely gone up. Signed Kyoto but that was dead anyway. He’s even discussing about cutting petrol tax!. He made a big show of opposing nuclear power- which would never happen in a country as nimbified as Australia – and nuclear power is looking like the only real solution to avert disastrous climate change.

    Workplace Relations – no change. I find this one really puzzling as I do many workplace contracts. After the Howard backflip of 2006, we had a system of individual contracts backed with an award no disadvantage test- and now we have individual contracts backed with an award safety net, with vague talk of phasing them out.

    Indigenous Issues- an apology, which will not chnage the facts on the ground, and a continuation of the disastrous policy of seperate settlements.

    Foreign Affairs – alliance with the US exactly as before, token withdrawal of a relatively token force in iraq. A massive and unnecessary budget for ASIO and continuation of the ‘war on terror’.

    General Tone – the same rentaquote appearance on every populist issue as Howard did towards the end of his reign.

    I think we all just changed the wrapper on the same product back in 2007.

  2. June 7th, 2008 at 18:41 | #2

    Kevin Rudd = John Howard 2.0

  3. chrisl
    June 7th, 2008 at 19:15 | #3

    The question that dare not be answered:
    To Mr Garrett “Would higher petrol prices be good for the environment?”
    Mr Garrett:” In relation to the matters that any government would want to bring forward to deal with the question of petrol prices, this government has delivered”

  4. pablo
    June 7th, 2008 at 19:49 | #4

    To Dave & Chris. Swann is today reported saying that there will be no exclusion of private vehicle use from the Garnaut recommendations which we can safely say will mean a tax/emmissions cap ipso facto a price increase.

  5. Jill Rush
    June 7th, 2008 at 20:29 | #5

    Dave raises the question of the spending on ASIO. ASIO was a real growth industry under the previous government and the evidence of its success is quite limited if David Hicks and Habib are evidence. $2 billion for ASIO and the AFP.

    In the seventies it has emerged that feminists had records with ASIO and one can’t help but wonder how many people are under surveillance by ASIO today in Australia. There can’t be that many radical Moslems.

    What budget cuts has this agency faced?

    On the other hand the Working Women’s Centres have looked after the interests of the most marginalised for many years and now have had their funding cut. Workchoices is still alive and yet these centres are victims.

    Unions and legal centres will not have any additional capacity to deal with unfair dismissal and exploitation.

    What message does this give us? That we need to be controlled and those agencies in a position to put an alternative female view are to be punished far more under this government than under Howard’s mob. Women are still exploited especially those with limited English or education and there is still plenty of work for the Working Women’s Centre to do.

    The honey moon has ended with a battered bride.

  6. Mh
    June 7th, 2008 at 21:07 | #6

    Interesting straw poll on line in ‘The Land’. Those who think the Rudd Labour government is doing a good job less than 30%, those who think they are doing a crap job greater than 60%. Seems the opinion polls are reversed in the bush. I have a bad feeling they are going to go to squib it on the Garnaut Report, the Murray-Darling Basin and fossil fuels. At least Keating was prepared to stick to the big picture. The wage-break out genie is just about to pop and no workable accord type process but a a buggered up work place agreement system, grain harvests are set to be dismal again, the big dry continues and food and fuel are now on a ballistic trajectory. And the old internal v external balance argument via the CAD is about to ignite. Going to be a long three years to the next election for ‘New Labour’ they better get their act together soon.

  7. Mh
    June 7th, 2008 at 21:11 | #7

    I reckon it is now odds on for a Israelis inspired strike on Iran by September supported by the US.

  8. Ian Gould
    June 7th, 2008 at 21:26 | #8

    It’s so predictable.


    Being so much more enlightened and right-thinking that anyone else I for one am terribly, terribly ‘shocked that this new Labor government isn’t nearly as radical and right-on as I am.”

    Been hearing that one since 1972 guys. Find a new song.

    Personally I think the fact every coal mine and coal-powered generator in Australia hasn’t been dynamited, every coal mining executive executed for crimes against the environment and every single indigenous person n Australia hasn’t received a $5 million no make that $50 million compensation cheque proves this isn’t a REAL Labor government.

  9. Ikonoclast
    June 7th, 2008 at 22:48 | #9

    The system has its own momementum. Electing Tweedeldum or Tweedledee no longer makes much difference to the big picture, if it ever did.

    Rudd is more humane around the edges, I’ll give him that. And edges do matter if you were/are in one of the minority groups being pushed over an edge by Howard’s inhumanity.

    Rudd and indeed modern Labor stand for nothing else however but the same crass populism and short-termism as did Howard. Rudd’s first budget and first equivocal moves on climate change give us little reason to no reason for hope.

    But after all, are not we the people, in total, to blame if we do not want any politicians except those that tell us comforting lies, patronising myths and pander to our short term self-interest?

  10. June 8th, 2008 at 00:29 | #10

    People are worried about petrol prices.

    I thought that economics made no sense because I never understood the concept of supply and demand in isolation of the real world. This post explains all that:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4100#more

    Barp.

  11. Ikonoclast
    June 8th, 2008 at 07:26 | #11

    This is The End as The Doors said. The Triumph of Capitalism! Its Phyrric Victory! No more reality TV shows, no more advertising, no more MBAs, no SUVs, no streets lined with the grotesqueries of overeating. The end of civilization will be worth it for these things alone.

  12. observa
    June 8th, 2008 at 07:52 | #12

    Barp,
    The thought never occurred to you that all this ‘demand’ for commodities and commodity futures now is simply the result of the refexivity of central bankers in the past. It’s a thought that has not escaped Austrian economists for quite some time however and they’d readily concur that we must all be extremely careful about just such refexivity in seeking equilibrium outcomes, or more succinctly- It is the reflexifity stoopids!

    (whispering) Daaaaaave- shhhhhhh! Let nasty sleeping dogs lie.

  13. charles
    June 8th, 2008 at 08:54 | #13

    Poor Dave.

    The Rudd Government has been in power five months and the right wing commentators and the left are screaming Rudd has done nothing, it really is a bit tiresome.

    We haven’t had a Tampa, the pacific solution is dead, signing of Kyoto has signaled to the world that we are no longer following the neo-conservative path, the aboriginal question has moved from a confrontation style to , it’s messy but lets get the job done.

    Yes Kelty is still damaging the country, but as has been said the whole system has it’s own momentum.

  14. Salient Green
    June 8th, 2008 at 09:50 | #14

    I think it’s perfectly natural to be disappointed with Rudd after he initially raised expectations, with Kyoto and the Apology, that we just may have scored a good Government rather than merely the lesser of two evils.

    And really, we knew Rudd was just another servant of Supercapitalism but hope springs eternal. So now that our hopes for something really good have been dashed, it’s back to the reality of the lesser of two evils.

    Supercapitalism has perverted our democracy through both the major parties. The majority of Australians want more action on climate change, public transport, the Murray Darling, electic cars, executive salaries, pensions, big business rip-offs, less privatisation, etc, etc, but it just doesn’t happen.

    The Greens are the only party which would make these things happen, have stood for action on these issues for a long time and are the only credible party for a sustainable future. Big business knows this and fears the Greens, especially now that the Liberals stink so badly.

  15. pablo
    June 8th, 2008 at 16:49 | #15

    It was predictable that Rudd would call for OPEC to increase production of oil to ease pump prices.
    I hope the guy doesn’t believe it will happen as a result. After all GWB couldn’t get the Saudis to agree to it while in Rhiyad recently. Like Fuel Watch I suppose a call for more production makes the punters think he is actually doing something.

  16. P
    June 8th, 2008 at 17:21 | #16

    From the Daily Kos on conversion to digital TV. Is Australia any better prepared? http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/7/22727/59272/933/531977

    … the National Conference on Media Reform … FCC Commisioner Copp said: “I came here to talk to you about the looming disaster that it digital conversion. It is not only worse than you imagine, it is worse than you can imagine. When asked to describe it, it’s a train wreck …

  17. Paul
    June 8th, 2008 at 17:42 | #17

    SOLAR PANELS

    I wonder whether rebating solar panels comes even close to being the cheapest way to reduce green house emissions.

    As i understand it the 1kW can cost around $12,000. According to the Energy Australia website it produces up to 1400kWh a year. Presuming a life span of 25 years (and not taking into account maintenance costs) that means you are spending $12,000 to produce 35,000kWh. This amounts to you paying 34c per a kWh.

    Now, with most of the energy retailers you can opt-in for 100% renewable energy. They charge a premium of about 6c on normal electricity costs, which in NSW averages about 14c/kWh. Which means you can get 100% renewable energy for about 20c/kWh.

    Now, if I have got my sums right, why on earth should the Government chip in for solar panel rebates when it means paying 75% more for renewable energy than can be got from the power companies? If they want to help out the green battlers, why not partially subsidise the much cheaper renewable energy that you can get from the power companies?

  18. Ian Gould
    June 8th, 2008 at 17:46 | #18

    “From the Daily Kos on conversion to digital TV. Is Australia any better prepared?”

    The simple answer is “yes”.

    The longer answer is that the Australian industry uses the PAL system which broadcasts on different frequencies to the US NTSC system and consequently is less prone to interference and reflection problems.

  19. Ian Gould
    June 8th, 2008 at 17:50 | #19

    “Now, if I have got my sums right, why on earth should the Government chip in for solar panel rebates when it means paying 75% more for renewable energy than can be got from the power companies? If they want to help out the green battlers, why not partially subsidise the much cheaper renewable energy that you can get from the power companies?”

    The original rationale was to kick-start the local domestic solar panel industry.

    Of course, the feed-in tariffs provided by the States represent a much larger incentive for the same thing but mentioning that doesn’t give nearly as much scope for bashing Rudd.

    (Kinda like how now of the the people screaming about the rebate mention that funding for the scheme has been doubled. Much easier to to go with anecdotal we’ll-all-be-roon’d stories from industry participants.)

  20. Paul
    June 8th, 2008 at 18:01 | #20

    Well surely we have given this infant industry enough time? If it can’t supply renewable energy at a reasonable price then its not an industry we can afford to support (at a 66% subsidy no less!). Addressing global warming is going to be expensive as it is, we don’t need a protectionist industrial policy to add to the bill.

    I’m more disappointed in the Liberal party for wanting to re-extend it. They are the ones always on about not throwing away the economy to global warming.

  21. rog
    June 8th, 2008 at 18:47 | #21

    #18 In theory that may be so Ian but in practice the analogue mobile was a cheap robust effective system which subsequent technologies have yet to equal.

    I am confining myself to phone calls; downloading movies on yr cell phone seems just weird and will most likely wither on the vine as costs rise.

    Despite all the hype 3G is not servicing the areas shown on the TLS map and TLS wireless broadband is extremely expensive and for rural people there is no alternative and somehow the usage goes up. Telstra is a govt created monster that is beyond political control.

  22. observa
    June 8th, 2008 at 19:03 | #22

    “Now, if I have got my sums right, why on earth should the Government chip in for solar panel rebates when it means paying 75% more for renewable energy than can be got from the power companies? If they want to help out the green battlers, why not partially subsidise the much cheaper renewable energy that you can get from the power companies?”

    err..because they think bribing the Observa so hideously with taxpaying working families dough and struggletown’s power bills will get him to turn out and vote for them. Thanks but no thanks.

  23. observa
    June 8th, 2008 at 19:41 | #23

    And do I think the Libs getting them to backflip and up the means test (if I hadn’t been so quick off the mark to beat the bleeding obvious once Rann announced the solar feed-in rort) would have made me turn out and vote for them? Thanks but no thanks.

    You’ll recall that so far in the journey to my ideal CM, we may all be paying say $5 or $6/litre for petrol, among other things, like paying our similarly higher utility bills weekly or fortnightly, albeit with your gross income in your hand. Well even your under the counter, cash-in-hand stuff, as if that description wouldn’t be totally meaningless. Now wouldn’t that be interesting to imagine how we’d all be making economic decisions and living? No apparently it’s all to be legislative quantity measures, with much pomp and ceremony, determined by the divine whims of our elected kings, while they run around in ever diminishing circles imploring Saudi princes not to punish we poor peasants too hard. Can you please pump more oil for the slobs Sheiks, you know to get our carbon brownie points up or whatever. Meanwhile the freshly anointed O is turning all those that matter, positively green with envy with his shiny new robes. More like cast off emperor’s clothes if you ask me.

  24. Ian Gould
    June 8th, 2008 at 21:14 | #24

    “#18 In theory that may be so Ian but in practice the analogue mobile was a cheap robust effective system which subsequent technologies have yet to equal.

    I am confining myself to phone calls; downloading movies on yr cell phone seems just weird and will most likely wither on the vine as costs rise.”

    I think you misunderstood, the article is about phasing out analog television signals.

    That’s quite distinct from telephony.

  25. Ian Gould
    June 8th, 2008 at 21:21 | #25

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_switchover

    It’s worth noting that the Finns, the Swedes and the Dutch have all completely switched to digital TV seemingly without major problems and that Britain is well on its way to doing so.

    If the US does have problems, I suspect it will mostly be due to NTSC.

    NTSC was a compromise back in the 50′s which delivered color and the capacity to squeeze in more channels. The trade-off is that the color quality is poorer and more prone to distortion.

  26. Ernestine Gross
    June 8th, 2008 at 21:26 | #26

    Paul at #17,

    Your calculation is not convincing. You assume all prices are constant for 25 years into the future.

  27. Ian Gould
    June 8th, 2008 at 21:34 | #27

    A couple of quick points re the solar rebate:

    1. Many of the people getting it live in remote areas where there’s either no grid power or supply is erratic.

    2. Peter’s calculations are correct (assuming as Ernestine points out constant prices) from the point of view of the consumer. The numbers look slightly better from the point of view of the generator since the home-based panels avoid transmission losses.

    Oh and there’s also potential benefits in avoiding the capital cost to add additional conventional generating capacity and potential peak-levelling benefits since the maximum output from solar cells tends to coincide with the summer demand peak driven by airconditioning.

    IIRC, peak prices on the national electricity market can be more like $1 per kilowatt.

  28. SJ
    June 8th, 2008 at 21:36 | #28

    Ian Says:

    The longer answer is that the Australian industry uses the PAL system which broadcasts on different frequencies to the US NTSC system and consequently is less prone to interference and reflection problems.

    This isn’t right. PAL and NTSC are just different systems for encoding color, which is independent of the transmission frequency.

    In Oz, we transmit PAL signals on the very high frequency (VHF) band, about 40-250 MHz, and on the ultra high frequency (UHF) band, about 450-850 MHz. In the U.S., they transmit NTSC on VHF and UHF, just like we do.

    Note that you can get DVDs encoded in either PAL or NTSC, and if your DVD player can’t handle both, you won’t be able to play DVDs imported from the U.S. This is obviously unrelated to broadcast frequency, and it’s also unrelated to the DVD regional protection scheme.

    The basic problem with digital TV is this: with analog TV, you can be miles from the transmitter, or use crappy rabbit ear antennas, or have severe rain, and you’ll still get sound and at least some picture; with digital TV, you’ll get absolutely nothing.

    What’s been happening in Oz over the last 8 or more years is that UHF transmitters (repeaters) have been installed all over the place to try increase the signal strength for most of the TV users. For example, Sydney used to only have transmitters around Artarmon/Lane Cove on the north shore. Now there are low power repeaters at Kings Cross and Manly, which serve the city and eastern suburbs, and also high power transmitters at Robertson south of Wollongong which serve the south of Sydney, as well as the Illawarra.

    I don’t know whether a similar program has been in place in the U.S., but from the KOS story, it doesn’t look like it.

  29. SJ
    June 8th, 2008 at 21:44 | #29

    Note further that digital broadcasts aren’t done using either PAL or NTSC. The conversion to PAL or NTSC is done by the set-top-box, or if your TV has an integrated digital tuner, this step is omitted.

  30. observa
    June 8th, 2008 at 22:54 | #30

    “I thought that economics made no sense because I never understood the concept of supply and demand in isolation of the real world. This post explains all that:….”

    No it doesn’t according to Austrian economics Barp. They would argue that for some considerable time real supply and demand has been isolated from the real world by the depradations of central bankers. Here it is in a nutshell-
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JF07Dj04.html
    Basically there’s no such thing as a free ride and that’s now being reflected in the hunt for real value ie commodities and oil in particular. No doubt, fuelled by central banks’ profligacy, they will overshoot the mark at some stage, in the quest for the new bankers’ induced equilibrium. Now if they’re right, then that only leaves gold and silver to come and if you read the concluding few lines of Mogambo, he’s suggesting they’re on the launch pad right now-
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JF07Dj01.html
    Let’s all watch and see if the Austrians are right shall we?

  31. Hermit
    June 8th, 2008 at 22:57 | #31

    I think a new kind of financing model needs to be applied to green energy. With billed green power we blithely assume the company was able to throttle back on carbon in a way it wasn’t already obliged to by law. Means testing of the Federal solar rebate is clearly going to slow uptake by homeowners. We can also wonder if Adelaide’s feed-in solar tariff will repeat Germany’s claim of cost blowouts. Looking ahead there is a strong suspicion that the 2010 emissions trading scheme will be heavily watered down to suit sectional interests.

    I think much of the responsibility for energy conservation should rest with electricity distributors and not households. Increasingly households will lack both the financial capacity and knowledge to cut energy bills. Compel the companies to steadily increase the green power percentage and bill all customers equally under the risk of some customers switching to a cheaper provider. The companies should dip into their own pockets to install solar panels, hot water services and energy saving devices with the cost burden to be split. For example some kind of encumbrance like HECS or satellite dish leasing could apply to the home itself. However the power company gets the rebate perhaps sweetened with a special bonus or corporate tax deduction. Clearly very little will happen under the current approach yet it was only months ago we were promised decisive action.

  32. SJ
    June 8th, 2008 at 23:06 | #32

    Ernestine Says:

    Paul at #17,

    Your calculation is not convincing. You assume all prices are constant for 25 years into the future.

    This comment is pretty poor, Ernestine.

    He’s assumed a zero discount rate/zero cost of capital/zero time value of money, which is not the same thing at all as constant prices. Any time value of money greater than zero will only strengthen his argument.

    For example, with an 8% financing cost, it works out to be about $1110 pa, or 80c/kWh, which is much higher than the 34c/kWh that Paul based his comparison on.

    You teach this stuff and should know better.

  33. Joseph Clark
    June 8th, 2008 at 23:50 | #33

    observa,
    Why gold? Why not diamonds?

  34. Ernestine Gross
    June 9th, 2008 at 01:12 | #34

    SJ (Fred Taylor?), you are mistaken.

    Paul related the 25 year linear accounting depreciation of the solar unit to the current price of electricity in NSW. This is equivalent to assuming that the technology and the price of the asset (solar unit) remains constant for 25 years such that a series of dated solar units (t = 1, 25) corresponds to the annual depreciation rate. And he assumes that the current price of electricity remains constant for 25 years into the future (otherwise the comparison wouldn’t make any sense at all).

    May I suggest you think before you write. I thoroughly dislike having to expose your ignorance about relative prices in a multiperiod context. But you asked for it.

  35. observa
    June 9th, 2008 at 09:47 | #35

    “Why gold? Why not diamonds?”

    I would presume for the traditional reasons that it’s robust, equal in quality and assessability (that 99.9% pure guarantee)and infinitely divisible unlike diamonds in their raw state. Anyway Joseph, it’s largely a question you need to address to all those Asian savers now IMO. Arab oil sheiks too by all accounts since they’re the longest in oil and funny money too. Now while we don’t have an omniscient God judiciously issuing our ideal mannah from heaven, gold and perhaps silver are the next best thing, assuming God hasn’t left some mountains of it about, unbeknownst to us all. That’s the only fly in the ointment obviously, but it seems an unlikely one given our experience to date and given that Lasseter has been recalled by the Almighty. Hopefully God’s not a closet central banker wanting to share the last laugh with them after the lynching. In God we trust eh?

    Now I was going to introduce the next plank of ‘our’ ideal CM this week but sometimes the journey leads one to rest and reflect upon the immediately interesting in the odd clearing for a while. Time to pause and pull just some such interesting observational threads together.

    So far my CM has no incentive whatsoever, for our elected divine kings to roll out lots of pictures of themselves, rather than sell the need for the forgoing of real private consumption, in order to facilitate some perceived common good. That’s largely because it sweeps away the ever present temptation of progressive income tax and concomitant taxation by stealth. It’s important to remove not only that incentive, but the temptation of the printing press itself in all the king’s castles, largely the Reserve and the banks that operate under his divine imprimatur. The folly of not doing so is all about the realm right now in runaway monetary inflation. Not even the king and all the king’s men dare spend all that folly in their coffers now. It’s simply pictures of the king rather than real piles of iron ore, tanks full of oil or warehouses full of plasmas we’ve all so frugally forgone over the years. If it weren’t, how could releasing all that to struggling working families possibly be inflationary? Quite the contrary if you understand anything at all about supply and demand. Now you might say the kings meant well with their 2-3% inflation targetting all those years, but here’s the rub. They could mean well but still be fooled by an underlying shift in something as simple as demographics, not to mention the propensity of Asian savers to pour in IOUs from other kings. How would even a benign benevelont king ever know? The answer is he wouldn’t and never could unless it was something as fixed as gold passing in and out of his coffers. He couldn’t ignore the obvious over the years, not to mention his subject’s the need for the discipline of real savings and investment. That’s the message loud and clear now with commodities cf funny money derivatives, or at least when the catch up begins in earnest with gold and silver soon.

    That’s what we all need to get through our thick skulls, that true reflective price(in our ideal Rawlsian CM) is a better long term friend of the battler than the divine quantity interventions of well meaning kings. Nowhere do we see this “Law of well meaning consequences” more than we do about us all right now. Take the well intentioned pressure of left greens, that provided the pressure for King Howard to issue a decree that henceforth solar will be subsidised. have a left green lollipop subjects. That’ll keep em quiet for a while. Then King Rann increases the size of the lollipop and guess what? Too many Observas suddenly sucking on them all and exit King Howard and long line King Rudd who notices that too many lollipops are pouring out of Treasury. Restrict the lollipops and it’s party pooper king time, while the battlers are left to suck on the stick of all the adroit Observas’ subsidised power bills.

    What about that other law of well intentioned consequences kicking in right now? King Howard and his world’s greatest Treasurer have gone, after riding some unforseen lucky demographics and Asian propensity to save, while King Rudd and Swan are left to ponder the consequences. Where did all that real forgone consumption go they ask themselves forlornly now. Look for it in the hard drives of the Reserve’s computers your highnesses the Austrians would advise, although the keepers reckon they can’t now for some strange Keynesian reason. Welcome to the law of well meaning cosequences your highnesses. Nothing surer than the serfs will pay the real price in the long run. They always need a fair and real price to start with. As for handing that eternal pricing power and the printing to big corpora with emission permits, God help them all. That is the biggest lollipop of all and the bitterest stick for them to suck on in future, all at one king’s simple pleasure.

  36. observa
    June 9th, 2008 at 10:07 | #36

    Where are their knights in shining armour (their thinkers movers and shakers) you may well ask?

  37. Joseph Clark
    June 9th, 2008 at 11:20 | #37

    observa,
    The argument for gold seems to be mostly an argument against modern central banking. I’m down with that, but I don’t understand why gold is the best alternative. The strongest argument for gold seems to be that it comes with a built in stabilizer: people mine more gold when the price is high and less when the price is low. That’s great, but if supply and demand are so cool why not let people go the whole hog and issue money based on whatever they like? If someone wants to issue gold backed currency they should have to compete with someone else issuing diamond backed currency, or currency backed by an income stream, or pure fiat currency. People will be able to pick a currency which has the properties that are desirable to them. I don’t know what the ideal characteristics of a currency are, I don’t think anybody does. That’s why I think people should get a choice.

  38. Ian Gould
    June 9th, 2008 at 11:36 | #38

    SJ is completely right abou
    t the digital shut down and in retrospect my error is quite embarassing.

  39. observa
    June 9th, 2008 at 13:22 | #39

    “The argument for gold seems to be mostly an argument against modern central banking.”
    Not necessarily. It makes sense for us all to have a sound and readily accepted, unit of account, store of wealth and medium of exchange that is easily transferred and largely cannot be expanded(printed) by fractional reserve banking. There are valuable economies of scale via trust and security in our govt having the monopoly on that I would have thought.

  40. observa
    June 9th, 2008 at 13:30 | #40

    I’d certainly add the caveat that such a jurisdictional monopoly would need to be open and transparent to all players and jurisdictions to avoid the massive world problem now in its long absence.

  41. Joseph Clark
    June 9th, 2008 at 19:21 | #41

    observa,
    I don’t think money is a natural monopoly. Can you make that argument? I have a question: why is a commodity currency superior to a constant money growth rule? Is it just because government can’t be trusted?

  42. SJ
    June 9th, 2008 at 20:21 | #42

    It seems that I’ve hit upon a means of getting Ernestine to explain WTF she’s talking about.

  43. SJ
    June 9th, 2008 at 21:29 | #43

    Ernestine Says:

    Paul related the 25 year linear accounting depreciation of the solar unit to the current price of electricity in NSW.

    No, he did not. You’ve made the assumption that he did. You’ve assumed facts not in evidence.

    Ernestine Says:

    And he assumes that the current price of electricity remains constant for 25 years into the future (otherwise the comparison wouldn’t make any sense at all).

    Again, you are assuming facts not in evidence.

    Ernestine Says:

    (otherwise the comparison wouldn’t make any sense at all).

    Ernestine, sometimes you need to check the empirical facts before resorting to models. And by sometimes, I mean pretty much always.

    Was Paul’s calculation of costs correct? No, it wasn’t.

    But what was your criticism? That relative prices might change in future.

    And none of what you say addresses Paul’s original question.

    You are hand-waving.

  44. Dave
    June 9th, 2008 at 22:19 | #44

    Gidday Ian Gould.

    If you’d actually read my post I was criticizing the aboriginal complaint industry as the real cause of aboriginal disadvantage.

    RE: global warming: If a bunch of denialist *$&- want to pollute the place, I am kinda going to object, because I dont want to die. Yes, we need practical cost effective solutions, instead of attention getting solar panel stunts. Nuclear should also be a strong option here.

  45. observa
    June 10th, 2008 at 00:04 | #45

    Joseph,
    “I don’t think money is a natural monopoly”
    In your free market money world would you rather accept BHP Billiton’s money notes or Opes Primes, the WA Govts or Tasmanias or Zimbabwes or gold? Who do you trust to supply you only constant money growth for your needs? Presumably all the responsible Govts of the world this last decade? How’s their responsibility doing these days? Pick any currency you like now and I’ll choose gold and we’ll see who does best in a years time with purchasing power if you like.

  46. Joseph Clark
    June 10th, 2008 at 08:31 | #46

    observa,
    I’d have to see what the market offered up, but I’d probably go with money issued by a large company who was contractually bound to a certain level of money growth.

  47. Ian Gould
    June 10th, 2008 at 09:08 | #47

    Dave,

    I missed the line about “separate settlements”.

    It was buried in amongst the general dummy-spit and certainly didn’t seem to be the “main point” of your post.

    So essentially I assume that having forcibly relocated indigenous peoplw into those settlements a coupe of generations back the now forcibly relocate them again? Strictly for their own good, of course.

    Because as we all know, for the Aborigines living in major cities (the majority), life is pure paradise.

  48. Peter Gargan
    June 10th, 2008 at 10:45 | #48

    Give Kevin Rudd a bit of time. Rome was not built or demolished in a day. Kevin Rudd is NOT a lawyer and not handicapped by a legal education. Those who have pined for Rome,and rule from the top,have been ascendant for about fifty nine years. True democracy means rule from the bottom up, not from the top down. Kevin Rudd won me when he said, “Government is subject to the Constitution.” A philosophy sadly lacking in the previous government.Not being a lawyer, Kevin Rudd can look at our dysfunctional and unconstitutional High Court, without hero worship, and see that in reality that Emperor has no clothes, and has been out of order since 1984. An unelected cadre of seven,should not, in a Commonwealth have the last say. S 77 (i) Constitution has been violated. Kevin Rudd may fix it. John Howard would not. That is a major difference.

  49. Dave
    June 10th, 2008 at 12:12 | #49

    Ian, I’m saying the seperate settlements are a disaster, so we should slowly stop encouraging them. Only an idiot would suggest I’m saying forcibly relocate them out of there. They are artificially supported to begin with.

  50. Ernestine Gross
    June 10th, 2008 at 15:22 | #50

    SJ.

    You want empirical evidence. Lets start. Are you or are you not ‘Fred Taylor’?

  51. Ian Gould
    June 10th, 2008 at 18:19 | #51

    Ah, so you aren’t advocating actually burning people’s homes down (as happened for example at Weipa when Comalco wanted the locals out) just starving them out.

    So they can explore the exciting career opportunities in petrol-sniffing and homelessness offered by the typical town camp.

  52. SJ
    June 10th, 2008 at 21:29 | #52

    Ernestine Says:

    Are you or are you not ‘Fred Taylor’?

    No, I am not in fact some guy who’s been dead for nearly a hundred years. Surprise surprise. That was a taunt. I don’t suppose your real name is Thorsten by any chance?

    I wasn’t really asking you for any empirical evidence anyway. I was rather pointing out the utter ridiculousness of your post #34. You start out at #26 dismissing an argument because of a dodgy assumption you thought it contained. But to try to prove the existence of the (imagined) original dodgy assumption, you had resort to even dodgier assumptions.

  53. Ernestine Gross
    June 11th, 2008 at 00:25 | #53

    SJ gave ‘Fred Taylor’ as his name in an earlier post this year. Now he says it was a taunt.

    I take his posts #32, #42, #43, and #52 to be taunts, too.

  54. SJ
    June 11th, 2008 at 21:49 | #54

    Since there’s no substantive rebuttal of #43, I’ll take that as game, set and match.

  55. Ernestine Gross
    June 12th, 2008 at 00:19 | #55

    SJ, I see no need to to ‘rebut’ your silly statements in #43? You made them. You can refute them means of proof by contradiction. Have fun.

  56. Ernestine Gross
    June 12th, 2008 at 00:20 | #56

    Take out one “to’ in line one and insert ‘by’ between ‘them’ and ‘means’. Thank you

  57. SJ
    June 13th, 2008 at 00:03 | #57

    Since there’s no still no substantive rebuttal of #43, i.e., a justification of why your assumptions about Paul’s statement explain anything about Paul’s statement, and you still appear to want to change the subject, you ain’t lookin’ too good here.

  58. Ian Gould
    June 13th, 2008 at 00:58 | #58

    “you ain’t lookin’ too good here.”

    As someone who respects both you and Ernestine I have to say that as a result of this whole exchange neither of you are lookin’ too good here.

  59. Ernestine Gross
    June 13th, 2008 at 14:18 | #59

    Thanks, Ian, for reminding me of the proverb that if one enters a discussion with an idiot one ends like looking one. I should have written to JQ after SJ’s post #32.

  60. SJ
    June 13th, 2008 at 23:27 | #60

    Before this escalates any further, allow me to point out that:

    a) I’m just some anonymous dude on the internets. I have no reputation to protect, even though Ian says kind things about me.

    b) Ernestine, you aren’t anonymous, and should perhaps be more circumspect in what you say.

  61. TerjeP
    June 14th, 2008 at 01:32 | #61

    I’m down with that, but I don’t understand why gold is the best alternative. The strongest argument for gold seems to be that it comes with a built in stabilizer: people mine more gold when the price is high and less when the price is low. That’s great, but if supply and demand are so cool why not let people go the whole hog and issue money based on whatever they like?

    Technically under a gold standard the price of gold doesn’t change but I agree that within the context of a gold standard gold can be used to form a self stabilising monetary system.

    I agree with the notion that free people should be free to choose what unit of account and medium of exchange they like in terms of their own contracts and affairs. Except for the problem of government. Assuming you have a government that legislates for taxes and which sets fines and which borrows money then that government also exercises a choice. The issue then becomes what is the best choice (for all concerned) for the government to make. As far as I am concerned everybody should be free to choose the unit of account and the medium of exchange that they prefer but the government should decide carefully and wisely and for the greater good. It is at this point that I personally think the government should look to use gold rather than diamonds.

  62. TerjeP
    June 14th, 2008 at 01:33 | #62

    p.s. In short we should have both a gold standard and free banking.

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