Home > Regular Features > Monday Message Board

Monday Message Board

November 9th, 2009

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

Categories: Regular Features Tags:
  1. Alice
    November 11th, 2009 at 19:46 | #1

    yep – no 50 = score a try!

  2. mitchell porter
    November 11th, 2009 at 19:48 | #2

    @Alice, what are you trying to say? I’m saying that the political emphasis on competition did originate on the right, but also persists on the pro-market left for reasons like those which Terje gave. Or at least, that this might be how it is, I haven’t looked into it.

    You bring up the rising grocery prices of the past few years. OK, it’s a street-level real-world thing, it might be a way to inject some reality into an airy-fairy discussion about the psychology of politicians – only I don’t know the lesson I’m supposed to draw from it. Spell it out for me.

  3. Alice
    November 11th, 2009 at 19:57 | #3

    @mitchell porter
    “Im saying that the political emphasis on competition did originate on the right”

    It didnt ? I thought I spent the last twenty years imagining the right was pushing everyone to be more competitive (people, firms, government departments, pet dogs, those on welfare…it was all about the shove, the push to “get more competitive” – pay less to labour – they need to be “competitive” – deregulate so firms can be “competitive” – have a smaller government so the economy can be “competitive” – deregulate the financial markets so banks can go global and be more “competitive” – pay more to Sol Truljillo because we need the best minds and talent so we have to pay a “competitive remuneration”)

    Gee whiz Mitchell. I must be listening to the denialist in you (go on admit it – how many more personalities are hiding in there)? Being more competitive is a “left view” now is it??You agree with Terje?? You people really take the cake when it comes to telling lies – outright lies – big porkies – huge whoppers… through your back teeth. Terje included.

    I didnt reall realise just how much these freedom fighters think they can create their own universe…but its true …they do.

    Im still ROFL !!

  4. R J Stove
    November 11th, 2009 at 20:07 | #4

    Alice writes: “Im sure conservative meant something entirely different when I was a little girl. It meant the public buses still ran on time but they were run carefully and dutifully. I’m sure labor meant something different when I was a little girl. It meant they helped the workers get a fair go and the public buses still ran on time.

    My parents, who could have been described as quintessential Menzies voters – and who loathed Communism with every fibre of their beings, as do I – nevertheless always spoke with respect of Chifley, Curtin, Calwell, Joe Cahill, Jack Renshaw, and suchlike old-fashioned ALP social-democrats. (They drew the line at Evatt.) That was the way most adult Australians operated then. You debated your opponents; you didn’t demonise them.

    By contrast, when the Colebatches and the Windschuttles of this world give tongue in 2009, I distinctly hear behind their actual words the spirit candidly avowed by V. I. Lenin:

    “[My words were] calculated to evoke hatred, aversion, contempt… not to correct the opponent’s mistake but to destroy him, to wipe his organization off the face of the earth.

    (That’s from Lenin’s Legacy, by R. G. Wesson, Hoover Institution Press, 1978, p. 37.)

  5. Alice
    November 11th, 2009 at 20:29 | #5

    @R J Stove
    On this we agree R J Stove, if not our politics. I once had the pleasure of seeing two elderly men, from opposites sides of the political divide, with great respect and friendship, debate the key issues (without any recourse to insults or signs of contempt).

    Perhaps I am lucky to still have my memories. There is not much else to inspire in modern day politics.

  6. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 11th, 2009 at 20:33 | #6

    If you’re browsing the web from Australia then on the following Amazon web page you should be able to see on the right hand side the green box that indicates that the Kindle book in question can’t be sold to you.

    http://www.amazon.com/Selfish-Gene-30th-Anniversary-ebook/dp/B000SEHIG2

    I really wanted to buy a kindle to save trees, cut down on all that transport but most of all because I wanted to save a bundle on book deliveries. However the Rudd government has decided to keep parallel import restrictions on books which mean that a Kindle will continue to be of limited use in Australia.

    Craig Emerson – this decision sucks and you know it.

  7. mitchell porter
    November 11th, 2009 at 20:35 | #7

    @Alice, maybe you missed the detail of what I said. I said that the promotion of competition DID originate on the right. Did, not didn’t. But the promotion of competition also exists on the left (in the center-left if you prefer; I mean Labor). And I think Terje has a point when he says that the idea of The Market that is promoted by the state is different from the market that develops where the state has not yet intervened; and that this government-promoted idea of The Market usually has the feature built in that the government will always be there keeping an eye on it, to make sure it’s a good, orderly, and socially beneficial market.

    If Terje took on board your criticism, maybe he’d adjust his wording and say that the promotion of competition is a “statist” view of what markets are about. The libertarian tendency is to say both left and right are statist, so that would be a line of retreat which would allow him to preserve the core of his claim while conceding that maybe the right promoted competition too.

    Right now I’m trying to figure out what you think. I’m guessing you think that this talk of statism is nonsense, and that both left and right for decades have been lackeys of big business?

  8. Alice
    November 11th, 2009 at 20:53 | #8

    You may be closest in your last sentence Mitchell. I do suspect there is far too many concessions granted to big business in Australia and a failure to acknowledge emerging problems in this area (Coles and Woolies and the petrol sitiation springs immediately to mind – but its other lesser apparent insidious agents as well -n CC Amatil and its creeping acquisition of the Australian beverage market ), yet I also see both parties and politicians as self interested in their roles for the advancement of their own careers. It disturbs me that politicians in general have advanced their remunerations to the extent it places them in the top decile of income earners. I do not think the majority benefit by having a situation where high public office should see that its salary is on par with private sector executive wages. It is not in the interests of the majority and perhaps promotes an unhealthy alliance between the interests pf politicians and big business (to the detriiment of small business and working individuals).

  9. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 11th, 2009 at 21:10 | #9

    You people really take the cake when it comes to telling lies – outright lies – big porkies – huge whoppers… through your back teeth. Terje included.

    Alice – I accept that many would find my statement provocative. And I’ll agree with Mitchell that I should have used the word “statist” instead of lefty. However the intent was not to deceive or mislead. Isn’t it enough to say that you disagree and you think I’m wrong without calling me a liar?

    I ran my own business for ten years (in partnership with others). About twice a year I’d review our pricing and at these times I’d give some thought to what the competition was up to. Other than that my entire time was preoccupied with keeping customers happy and employees productive. It was a collaborative exercise. A team effort in which any competitive excesses would have been unhelpful. On occasions when I did bump into our market competitors the conversation was generally about what common experiences we had and how we each solved certain types of problems. Issues such as how to retain good staff, what to do about difficult customers and how to handle certain technical challenges. The notion that businesses are filled with hyper competitive individuals does not jell with my own experience of the world.

    When discussing economics and markets it is my observation that those of a left wing persuasion (we can call them statists if it is less offensive) are usually the first to lament the lack of competition. A lack of competition seems to be their stock answer as to why everything must be nationalised or regulated. If prices are higher than they would prefer the reflexive answer is to blame it on a lack of competition (monopoly status) rather than cost factors such as regulation.

  10. jquiggin
    November 11th, 2009 at 21:49 | #10

    Things are getting heated, and I’m too busy to sort it out. Please cool down everyone and stop throwing accusations at each other.

  11. Savvas Tziwnhs
    November 12th, 2009 at 10:53 | #11

    Catallaxy is back?

  12. Jim Birch
    November 12th, 2009 at 12:26 | #12

    I always find the discussion of competition a bit funny when treated as an abstract. While businesses obviously compete, there’s real ambiguity about it: one of the overriding objectives of business is to minimise or eliminate competition, on the customer side at least. To make real money you want customers who have to buy your product. At the bottom end – like a lunch bar, lawn mowing business, etc, the options for lock-in aren’t great, you just have to do your best and make the transaction feel good. As you move up the scale, there are lots more strategies you can exploit to lock in your customers.

    As to who’s in favour of competition, doesn’t it depend on the types of lock in strategies you consider to be fair game? One man’s monopoly is another’s successful business.

    If you’re a libertarian you certainly wouldn’t want to get involved in anything like a case-by-case analysis of different business practices so you’d have to either deny that these strategies exist and/or say they’re all part of the rich tapestry of human interaction (or something similar). The issue of what is “competition” is solved, a priori, and it doesn’t really matter if and when it works, or even if it works at all, there’s more basic things at stake.

  13. Donald Oats
    November 12th, 2009 at 14:56 | #13

    Andrew Bolt has put an open letter on his web site, to be sent to the PM Kevin Rudd. He had 1145 responses about an hour ago, which is pretty damn quick. AB has well and truly crossed the line from opinion(-ated) writer and into the murky world of the agent provocateur, and is using Rupert Murdoch’s resources to do so.

  14. gerard
    November 12th, 2009 at 14:57 | #14

    The latest from America’s big business community – blocking restrictions on imports produced by slaves.

    Business groups are worried by the potential effects of provisions banning the import of all goods made with convict labor, forced labor, or forced or indentured child labor that were included in a customs bill sponsored by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA)…

    These groups are examining the ramifications of the bill’s provisions, especially in light of the bill’s requirements that a newly created office in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) annually report to Congress on the volume and value of goods made with child labor, forced labor or convict labor that have been stopped at the border.

    Business sources say this reporting requirement could cause DHS to more actively seek out imported products made with child labor, forced labor or convict labor…

    One source did expect a push from lobbyists closer to the Finance Committee markup of the bill, and speculated that U.S. industry groups and foreign governments could form ad hoc coalitions to help send a united message.

    http://www.openleft.com/diary/15912/business-aims-to-relax-bans-on-products-made-with-child-and-slave-labor

  15. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 12th, 2009 at 17:34 | #15

    To make real money you want customers who have to buy your product.

    Perhaps. However that isn’t how real people make “real money”. Real people make money by selling a good product that people want.

  16. Alice
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:11 | #16

    @Donald Oats
    Donald – dont worry, I have also received an email nicely drafted in support of climate change denialism based on Lindzens “new” piece where the earth is “cooling” and a circulated “petition” to Rudd. Its really quite pathetic and I let the sender know that I dont appreciate being sent this rubbish and its about our kids and our future and as far as I am concerned they (and he) are obstructionists to real advance and deliberate obstructionists to any decent environmental policies along with the liberal party or elements within the liberal party. It has all the hallmarks of a liberal organised email campaign.

  17. Alice
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:11 | #17

    @Donald Oats
    Donald – dont worry, I have also received an email nicely drafted in support of climate change denialism based on Lindzens “new” piece where the earth is “cooling” and a circulated “petition” to Rudd. Its really quite pathetic and I let the sender know that I dont appreciate being sent this rubbish and its about our kids and our future and as far as I am concerned they (and he) are obstructionists to real advance and deliberate obstructionists to any decent environmental policies along with the liberal party or elements within the liberal party. It has all the hallmarks of a liberal organised email campaign.

  18. Alice
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:16 | #18

    oops

  19. jquiggin
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:19 | #19

    @Savvas Tziwnhs
    Ken N seemed genuinely disappointed, and Samuel J seems to have gone fairly quiet, so I put them back on.

  20. Ken N
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:34 | #20

    @jquiggin
    I was.

  21. Alice
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:47 | #21

    Thats funny Ken! (Nice of you to say so too).

  22. Freelander
    November 13th, 2009 at 09:54 | #22

    Science has come up with a diagnosis for climate change deniers. Apparently, they suffer from Dysrationalia. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysrationalia and http://www.magazine.utoronto.ca/feature/why-people-are-irrational-kurt-kleiner/

  23. Donald Oats
    November 13th, 2009 at 11:11 | #23

    Richard Lindzen isn’t irrational, in the sense that he usually has a clear-enough motivation for his various public actions. However, somewhere very early on, he decided that AGW just couldn’t be right (in both senses of the word), and his scientific pursuits since have been all about finding that elusive negative feedback in the atmostphere which might cancel out a fraction of GHG induced global warming, and trying to minimise the sensitivity estimate given by the IPCC, etc. Nevertheless, at least in his scientific articles that I’ve seen, he does present testable hypotheses, the “Iris” hypothesis being one well known – and since dismissed on the weight of negative evidence from observations – example.

    As far as the politics go, he is affiliated and regularly used by the usual suspects in the astroturfing, anti-community, anti-AGW theory, carbon club. For a good faith but critical examination of Richard Lindzen by someone who has debated him (back in 1991), and who has argued with him at various IPCC workgroups and meetings, see Jeremy Leggett’s book “The Carbon War: Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era”, Penguin Books (2000).
    Richard Lindzen is a player, that is for sure.

  24. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 13th, 2009 at 11:12 | #24

    I thought socialist doctrine was build on the notion that humans are not rational.

  25. Ian Gould
    November 17th, 2009 at 00:58 | #25

    “I thought socialist doctrine was build on the notion that humans are not rational.”

    Not being a socialist, I can’t comment on socialist dogma – but the libertarian fiction of Homo Economicus has been well and truly demolished.

Comment pages
1 2 7332
Comments are closed.