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Monday Message Board

January 25th, 2010

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

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  1. Chris Warren
    January 25th, 2010 at 18:46 | #1

    For those in Sydney – this is an interesting event:

    *********************************

    You are invited to the launch of Overloading Australia: How governments and media dither and deny on population (2nd edition), by Mark O‚Connor and William Lines.

    Venue: Dymocks City Store, 424 George Street, Sydney.
    Time: 11.00am Monday 1 February 2010.

    This is the revised 2nd edition of a book that has helped spark a huge debate on Australia’s population. Much has changed since the first edition (now sold out) emerged less than a year ago — hence this revised edition. The new edition also refers readers to a web-pagehttp://www.population.org.au/index.php/media/overloading-australia where statistics and news of the population debate will be continuously updated.

    The book has been endorsed by Robert Birrell, Director of the Monash University Population Centre, as “the most informed and accessible analysis of the implications of Australia’s high rate of population growth available.”

    In just 12 months, Australia‚s annual population growth has jumped from 1.6% to 2.1%, a rate at which we would pass 100 million Australians before the end of this century if thirst and famine did not intervene. The public debate has also changed. The absurdity of hoping to restrain Australia’s emissions “footprint” while adding ever more “feet” has become evident; and MP Kelvin Thomson has begun to speak out. Treasury Secretary Ken Henry has remarked that he personally is profoundly pessimistic about our ability to sustain even 35 million without major environmental damage; yet the PM has branded himself a “big Australia” man. Letters-to-the-editor columns are awash with protests at Australia‚s population growth and the resulting deterioration of our cities.

    When Business and Property Councils demand immigration and baby bonuses, many assume that they speak for all business folk. Dick Smith begs to differ. In launching this book he will speak about how he came to realise he had been misled about our need for ever higher populations, and why he believes Overloading Australia shows the path to a more liveable Australia for our children and grandchildren.

    Co-author Mark O‚Connor will also be present.

    The book, published by EnviroBook, Sydney is available for $19.95. For responses to it, see http://www.australianpoet.com/overloading.html

    *******************************************

    I have a copy of the book and it is not particularly well written. But the argument is sound.

  2. Tristan Ewins
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:24 | #2

    Dear friends; I have just today posted an article on the theme of Australia Day. The post considers issues such as indigenous justice, Australian indentity and history, and multicultural. The post can be found via the URL below:

    http://leftfocus.blogspot.com/2010/01/australia-day-2010-celebration-and.html

    I would really appreciate your comments.

    sincerely,

    Tristan

  3. Tristan Ewins
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:24 | #3

    nb: sorry about the typos. :) )

  4. Chris Warren
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:43 | #4

    Typical white misconception; namely

    Many indigenous Australians were to die through exposure to exotic disease – brought by the settlers.

    The first disease was smallpox that was apparently used as a biological weapon in line with British military tactics in North America.

    So it was not coyly “brought by the settlers” but, according to some authors and Aboriginal oral history, it was smallpox deliberately spread by First Fleeters.

    “Australia Day” should be a funeral day for indigenous peoples. Maybe it should be boycotted?

  5. Philomena
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:46 | #5

    That’s crap.

  6. Salient Green
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:52 | #6

    Great to see Dick Smith weighing in on the side of sanity.

    I have recently had some written discussion with Paul Holloway SA MLC on the SA Labor Govt’s population growth plans. He is a real gentleman and I believe an honest person, an honest politician even, but he has a blinkered view, a disconnect with the evidence I sent, a refusal to see the world as finite that is frustratingly difficult to change.

    He took the trouble to reply to me by snail mail twice but the Growth mentality seems to be in his genes.

  7. Philomena
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:53 | #7

    Small pox death was not and could not have been deliberately used by the First or Second Fleet officers against Aboriginal people in Sydney. It was just a biological, chemical, genetic effect of devastating proportion attendant on contact between two vastly different hitherto non-interacting evolved peoples with qualitatively different levels of immunity to such a disease.

  8. Alice
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:58 | #8

    @Salient Green
    Then all that means is he taking advice from hsi treasury, who are in turn taking their advice from uni secondment academics, who are in turn taking their advice from neo liberal market economist heads of schools who have not employed a lefty or even a centrist, if they could help it for years, and it ios they who support secondments …but dont worry they are all grey a retiring soon.

    If you want to correct Treasury departments, and cleanse them of the false market ideals, first you have to sack all the heads of all economics departments in most universities.

    I dunno how JQ survives…he writes a lot!

  9. Alice
    January 25th, 2010 at 19:59 | #9

    @Philomena
    Philo – there is some evidence of a spilled vaccine…I recall reading it

  10. Philomena
    January 25th, 2010 at 20:13 | #10

    Alice, the majority of Aborigines in the Sydney-Cumberland Plain region who died of small pox in the 2-5 years post 1788 had no physical contact whatsoever with white people.

  11. January 25th, 2010 at 20:24 | #11

    Chris

    If the worlds present population was living in an urban area the density of Singapore, it would only cover a land area the size of South Australias. or about 0.67% of The total land area of the world (148,940,000 km2.) Considering total land area of the world is only about 29.1% of the Earth’s surface area, 067% of 29.1% is definitly sweet FA.

    Chris, Australia alone could theoretically support 6 Billion people if it needed to and at present all humanity is only using very small fraction of the world’s resources.

    Over population is a myth, what people should be concerned about is that the world’s human birth rate has for the first time in its history, fallen below the replacement rate. i.e. humanity is no longer expanding; it is contracting and has started its long slow march towards extinction.

  12. Alice
    January 25th, 2010 at 20:25 | #12

    @Philomena
    But they had contact with their own people and one them had contact with a white Philo…..they found aboriginal bodies strewn up the tracks from Sydney Cove to Palm Beach tribal areas…the walkways… shortly after white settlement. There is evidence of a large decline in Sydbney metro poulations (as best they can measure them) within twenty thirty years of white arrival. Spilled on purpose or accidentally – guess we may never know.

  13. Alicia
    January 25th, 2010 at 20:26 | #13

    “Chris, Australia alone could theoretically support 6 Billion people”

    What an ignorant tool.

  14. January 25th, 2010 at 20:34 | #14

    Alicia,
    How come your IP address is the same as Alices?

    “What an ignorant tool.” But blunt and effective.

  15. Philomena
    January 25th, 2010 at 20:35 | #15

    Alice, there’s no indication the intent was ever to wipe out or decimate the Aboriginal population. Rather there was genuine if limited anthropological interest in them as the records of the officers of the first fleets attest.

    All over the world the meeting of European people with those of less developed continents and regions recorded similar if not identical negative impacts on an epidemiological level.

  16. Salient Green
    January 25th, 2010 at 20:35 | #16

    Alice, so that’s how it works! (Using the term ‘works’ loosely.) Shows even more the importance of heavyweights like Kelvin Thomson, Dick Smith and Ken henry trying to inject some sense into their colleagues.The fact that none of them have been villified by the press for their anti-population growth views is a very positive sign.

  17. Chris Warren
    January 25th, 2010 at 21:08 | #17

    TonyG

    Australia could also be better with less and more capable of adapting to climate change.

    In theory if we built skyscrapers, and served up Soylent Greens and recycled waste water, we may support 100 billion or more. Its hard to find any objective maximum.

    But humans are not like this.

    The fact that Australia can support any number does not mean that we should head in this direction.

    The Club of Rome theory of matching population to resources is more important than as implied by such arguments as “it exists in Singapore therefore it will work everywhere”.

    Australia’s population is constrained by, water, energy, arable land, pollution, infrastructure and human nature.

    An efficient population is not a maximum population.

  18. Chris Warren
    January 25th, 2010 at 21:25 | #18

    Alice

    I do not think the reference to spilled vaccine exists at least in the context of the First Fleet smallpox outbreak. I think I know most of the literature but if you can find an exact reference please post it.

    Vaccine only became available after 1804 and probably was not liquid (due to the risk of spoilation through mould). Vaccine scabs were specifically recommended for sending vaccine to Australia from British India.

    The First Fleet probably carried smallpox scabs as these carried the virus used for innoculation. The evidence is that this material was in bottles.

    Later, in the 19th century, vaccine was used for vaccination.

    First Fleeters had many many contacts with local tribes, some recorded – some not.

    Quadrant writers have been particularly strident with the racist theory of different susceptibility to disease. This is a right wing canard designed to hide the huge slaughter of local tribes for most of the 200 years as Australian wealth was built on massacre and dispossession. We are now expected to celebrate this achievement, on this so-called Australia Day.

    I think not.

  19. January 25th, 2010 at 22:13 | #19

    Chris, I have been to Singapore, they live pretty well. 3/4s of the world’s population would be 10 times better off if they had a living standard on par with that of the Singaporeans. Mankind would only be occupying about 0.27% of the Earth’s surface area, if they all had the same living standards as the Singaporeans. (Humanity is only using a small fraction of the world’s total resources)

    Chris, do you want to keep the Third World permanently mired in poverty, disease and death. By restricting immigration so Australia ‘can adapt to climate change’ you are condemning people to poverty, disease and death.. Australia per capita has more resources and land than nearly any other country.

    Chris, Environmental activists like the ones on this blog, who’ve never known starvation, never had to live without electricity, never had to watch their children die of malaria or dysentery, must no longer be allowed to put their anxieties, priorities and agendas ahead of the desperate pleas, the most basic needs, of destitute people who wish only to improve their lives and save their children’s lives. It is sickening how demented Eco-Imperialists value other things like “Australia’s emissions “footprint” over that of human lives.

  20. Chris Warren
    January 25th, 2010 at 22:19 | #20

    TonyG

    You can have immigration and zero population growth.

    I do not think the immigration issue is the key.

    I prefer to see public policy to encourage Australian permanent residents to have smaller families. It does not matter whether they were born here or immigrated.

    However I think public policy could be the opposite for indigenous families as they have suffer specific demographic damage through European crimes against humanity.

  21. nanks
    January 26th, 2010 at 03:25 | #21

    @Chris Warren
    Are you saying the immune system is the same for all people – or at least that variation is smoothly distributed. Seems unlikely. I would have expected different populations to have developed local responses. Any links? thanks.

  22. Salient Green
    January 26th, 2010 at 08:37 | #22

    Tony G continues to ignore, despite being informed on several occasions, that a city’s ecological footprint, that is, it’s drain on the world’s resources, is far larger than it’s geological footprint.

    Cities, and towns, exist only because enormous resources are brought in from well outside their physical boundaries. Very often, the real cost of all these imports to support huge, concentrated populations is being stolen from future generations in the form of depleted resources, pollution and extinguished species.

    The Murray Darling basin has been over-exploited to provide food and textiles to not only Australia but other overpopulated countries who can’t provide for themselves. Rainforests around the world are being destroyed at a frightening rate to feed and provide energy to an overpopulated world.

    All of Australia’s fisheries are either FULLY or OVER exploited. Same goes for the rest of the world with many fisheries collapsed recently. This has a disasterous effect on all the other species which depend on those fisheries. The Tony G’s, the cornucopians of this world choose to blinker themselves to the starvation and death we humans are inflicting on other species, to the equation – more humans = less other species.

  23. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 09:00 | #23

    @Chris Warren
    Chris – I dont have the exact reference for spilled vaccine – I read this some years ago and short of digging through my history papers I did find also a suggestion here that the initial smallpox outbreak in 1789 may have been caused aby a spilled bottle of variolus from England (deliberately or accidentally) or possibly introduced by the French causing the outbreak of smallpox in Aboriginal people. Obviously either, we cannot be completely certain about.

    http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/epidemics

    scroll down to “smallpox in 1789″

  24. nanks
    January 26th, 2010 at 09:14 | #24

    @Alice
    I’d want some pretty good evidence that a smallpox outbreak was deliberately started. Put yourself in the position of someone in the 18th century and living far from home – would you start a smallpox epidemic ?
    Of course I am not saying someone couldn’t be that stupid and nasty, but I’d want good evidence. Deliberately poisoning people is much easier to believe.

  25. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 09:32 | #25

    nanks

    Medical researchers have found that for some diseases, there is variation due to different genes, but there is also similar variation within populations as well. AIDS has been mentioned. Particular genetic mutations can impact on disease susceptibility.

    The New Scientist covered the issue, maybe 18 months ago.

    However for smallpox, all the world’s populations were susceptible, as demonstrated by global spread in the 16th and 17th century as population densities and travel increased.

    If there was any relevant different response during the British invasion – as we still have the same or similar diseases, and the same population groups – it would still be observable today at least for measles, chicken pox, VD, TB and etc. Any relevant variation in disease predisposition would also be observable in the records of well scrutinised global diseases such as smallpox.

    However medical science is still in its infancy, and future developments may indicate different responses due to new understandings of antibodies, interferon, antigens and new findings.

    Nature, 12 February, 2004 had a brief communication on a gene mutation possibly protecting against plague [Mecsas, J., Franklin, Kuziel W. A, Brubaker R. R., et al]

    In general the distribution of disease depends on lifestyle, climate, presence of vectors, or what Stephen Webb calls “infections environment” [Palaopathology of Aboriginal Australians: health and Disease across a hunter-gather continent]. This was also covered in a conference in Canberra in 1982, and the paper by Francis Black “Geographic and Sociologic Factors in the Epidemiology of Virus Diseases” is significant.

    However the Quadrant claim is a political claim propogated to artificially exonerate settlers from complicity in the mass deaths of aborigines. It is also a traditional claim in old Australian History for example “Australian Discovery and Colonisation” [Bennett S (1865) v1 p143]

    We now have enough information about smallpox to be confident that its occurrence around Port Jackson in 1789 was due to its import by the First Fleet.

    The only remaining question is whether it was deliberate and by who. This is still contentious but a concensus is emerging that it was deliberate.

  26. nanks
    January 26th, 2010 at 09:47 | #26

    thanks for the info Chris

  27. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 09:54 | #27

    @Alice

    The 2008 reference is consistent with my earlier post. It notes

    Modern evidence suggests that the smallpox epidemic was caused by the misuse of a bottle or bottles of ‘variolus’ matter which had been brought out from England for inoculation purposes. This material, accidentally or deliberately, infected some Aboriginal people and unleashed the epidemic.

    In 2009 the Bull of Hist Med. v83, 1, pp37-62, published “Smallpox and Cowpox under the Southern Cross: The Smallpox Epidemic of 1789 ….” Bennett, M. J. This paper is badly written but;

    He notes (p48) “….the likelihood is, given the age and condition of the virus, that it was communicated deliberately.” [Bennett, with little basis, chooses to blame the convicts]

    So this is where the issue lies as at 2009. I know of no more recent paper.

  28. Jim Birch
    January 26th, 2010 at 12:03 | #28

    Historian Craig Mear from Coledale in New South Wales discussed the appearance of smallpox in the Indigenous population living around Sydney Harbour in 1789 on Ockham’s Razor (audio and transcript). This is well researched piece.

    He discusses the question of accidental and intentional release and the interestingly weird (white armband) theory that smallpox was bought by to north Australia by Asian visitors and traveled overland to arrive at Sydney Cove just when the English happened to roll in.

    Personally, I find a lot of this discussion of disease release fairly odd or at least the two standard positions, either that we’re such good guys that we couldn’t have done it, or, that even if only one individual did it we’re all culpable (or something). We might possibly argue the ethics of the invasion/colonisation of Australia, but given that, mass deaths are a certainty the immunological differences between populations. Biological warfare is a basic evolutionary strategy which didn’t start with European colonisation. It occurs without intention.

  29. January 26th, 2010 at 12:39 | #29

    Salient, re 22
    Like it or not we are top of the food chain and as such some species might get displaced in our wake. Your statement, “the equation – more humans = less other species”, is BS, just like Chris’ overpopulation myth above. Species become extinct and new ones evolve, that is all part of natural selection process of which humanity is a part of.

    Putting the agendas of other species ahead of our own and ignoring the desperate pleas of people like this should be outlawed.

  30. Rationalist
  31. Charlie Bell
    January 26th, 2010 at 13:27 | #31

    Tony G.

    The wealth of most developed nations has been built in large part by the “imports” of the empires (British, French,Spanish, American, etc) from the less developed nations. Similarly, large cities survive by importing resources from large areas outside the cities.

    There are not enough resources for the current world population to have a developed nation standard of living for any length of time. It is population growth that will lead to most of the world having non-developed-nation standards of living in the long run.

  32. wilful
    January 26th, 2010 at 13:46 | #32

    Tony G, you are a nutter, what is known as a cornucopian.

    I too have spent some lovely time in Singapore, pretty much been all over the island. Remarkably, you dont find any agriculture, any forests, much heavy industry or factories, any mines, any oil fields or coal pits. What you do find is a very large and industrious port, bringing in the natural wealth of the world to allow people to live like that.

    Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees created the écological footprint’concept. While specific figures may be rubbery, overall it’s a robust analysis of the sort of area needed to sustain a lifestyle. Basically, we are unsustainable, we are drawing down the planets natural capital.

    Some simple evidence of that fact.

  33. Peter T
    January 26th, 2010 at 13:55 | #33

    Just re-read some of Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms. One interesting graph shows that the average English labourer was able to buy no more calories in 1800 than in 1200 – over six centuries Malthusian checks kept the bulk of the population at the same basic level (plagues and similar disasters did make survivors better off). Haiti suggests the basic level for humans is pretty low – I imagine we could sustain some tens of billions across the world on a dollar a day each.

  34. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 14:06 | #34

    Re Jim Birch

    Mear’s ABC transcript was a summary of his earlier submission in J Roy Aust Hist Soc (June 2008).

    This paper is excellent but (probably wisely) does not canvas whether the release was deliberate.

    Mear’s paper is available online via Informit (accessible in most libraries).

    However Jim Birch oversteps the mark if he is implying that First Fleet biological warfare occurred “without intention” @28. This is still in question and the position that it was deliberate is pretty much the concensus now. Consequently the onus is on dissenters to present more rigorous arguments, not weak disruptive side comments.

    There is nothing “odd” about the discussion.

    Culpability is a separate issue mired in political considerations. It is quite possible to review all aspects of the 1789 outbreak without interference from present day political concerns about modern culpability. Once the facts of 1789 are known, then culpability can be explored.

    As some have produced a denial of the outbreak as “crap” and so on, the issue points to the quality of Australian historical discourse and likely political interference or Bowderlisation.

    In fact much of the earlier work by Judy Campbell, Alan Frost, and Quadrant stableboy Charles Wilson, can be shown to have been fabricated and based on misuse of evidence – particularly Frost’s use of Hunter’s Journal “An historical journal of the transactions at Port Jackson, and Norfolk Island : including ….”.

    The underlying issue is that traditional Australian historians have not produced a legitimate history, and that it was time that the Stanner’s “Great Australian Silence” was smashed.

    Unfortunately there appear to be some dying embers that need to be finally dowsed.

  35. Freelander
    January 26th, 2010 at 14:15 | #35

    @Peter T

    As long as they were willing to eat something other than food.

  36. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 14:46 | #36

    @Tony G
    Then Tony G – I suggest we just keep increasing the population of humans everywhere so that some people end up at the bottom of the food chain…when everything else is extinct. I wont say who I had in mind to fill that vacancy…

  37. Philomena
    January 26th, 2010 at 15:13 | #37

    “In Europe and Asia, mortality rates from smallpox were approximately 30%. In the Americas, mortality rates were higher due to the virgin soil phenomenon, in which indigenous populations were at a higher risk of being affected by epidemics because there had been no previous contact with the disease, preventing them from gaining some form of immunity. Estimates of mortality rates resulting from smallpox epidemics range between 38.5% for the Aztecs, 50% for the Piegan, Huron, Catawba, Cherokee, and Iroquois, 66% for the Omaha and Blackfeet, 90% for the Mandan, and 100% for the Taino. Smallpox epidemics affected the demography of the stricken populations for 100 to 150 years after the initial first infection. ”

    http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/2007_summer_fall/native-americans-smallpox.html

  38. wilful
    January 26th, 2010 at 15:14 | #38

    Of course Peter T, reportedly the diet of the average working class scot is now worse than it was in the C.14th. Thanks to deep-fried mars bars.

  39. Stephen L
    January 26th, 2010 at 15:28 | #39

    It’s very hard to have a sensible population debate when the mathematically or scientifically illiterate extremes dominate the debate.

    As has been noted above, the idea we can support a hundred billion of people is mad unless you have an offplanet source of food.

    OTOH, Dick Smith’s talk about a population of 100 million is unnecessary fear-mongering. Part of the population rise is immigration, but part is demographic bulge. Given that our birthrate is (slightly) below replacement, in a few decades the homegrown component of the growth will disappear, at which point even with current rates of immigration the growth rate will be around 1%.

    You can argue that this is too high. But scaremongering about 100 million this century doesn’t help the debate.

  40. Charlie Bell
    January 26th, 2010 at 16:12 | #40

    Dick Smith’s numbers are a simple extrapolation. We have about 22 million now and a growth rate of 1.7% – that gives about 100 million at 2100. The ABS gives three predictions for 2101; high, medium and low growth resulting in 62.2, 44.7, 33.7 million.

    What we really need is a government policy with a target and a strategy for achieving the target. There already is a lot of research about how many people Australia can support. You can start with the CSIRO.

  41. Rationalist
    January 26th, 2010 at 16:19 | #41

    want to reduce population? cut immigration.

  42. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 16:39 | #42

    @Rationalist

    Birth rate is easier and spreads the benefits wider.

    If we cut immigration just to reduce population – we are cutting immigration for the wrong reasons.

    Some mix of options is needed.

  43. January 26th, 2010 at 17:16 | #43

    RE; 32
    Wilful, the only people who are “nutters” are the ones who put the lives of animals above people.
    Other “nutters” include people who believe the world is anywhere near over populated.

    You said “I too have spent some ‘LOVELY’ time in Singapore, pretty much been all over the island.” So we can agree it is not a bad environment for its inhabitants (first world standard).

    Well you could house the total world population to that ‘LOVELY’ standard and only use 0.20% or 1m km² of the planets total surface area. That would leave 99.8% the planets surface area or about 509,072,000 km² to be used to sustain them.
    Wilful the écological footprint’ is a wacko concept as it has no bearing on reality. Humanity has not even been to (or explored) a large part of that 509,072,000 km², let alone started exploiting it. (which being top of the food chain is our prerogative)

    The only reason we don’t have everybody living at that ‘LOVELY’ Singapore standard, and instead have ¾s of humanity mired in poverty, disease and death, is because spiritually bankrupt, middleclass urbanised environmentalist, “nutters” belittle the value of human life. They place the lives of trees and animals over that of humans; it is disgusting.

  44. ken n
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:18 | #44

    Three ways to reduce population growth
    1. Reduce the birthrate. It’s currently below replacement level but could go lower – cut child minding services, reduce parental leave or impose penalties for producing more than one child.-
    2. Increase the deathrate. Would also cut medicare costs, as much of a person’s medical care is in the last 5 years of life.
    3. Reduce or stop immigration.

    How would you mix these options CW?

  45. Rationalist
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:28 | #45

    Well I want a big Australia :) .

  46. Philomena
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:32 | #46

    Ken N is a sociopath obviously. And a “libertarian”. Funny about that. The two seem to go together with extreme socially autistic, callous simpletons such as he.

  47. ken n
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:44 | #47

    Huh?

  48. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:46 | #48

    @ken n
    Right Ken – you say one iof three ways to reduce population growth

    cut child minding services, reduce parental leave or impose penalties for producing more than one child.-

    What would I expect from a libertarian but blatantly sexist solutions that would impact females work participation drastically….as if it isnt impaired already – not to mention the mostly single women trying to raise the children of 25% of all families who happen to be mostly headed by females.

    Go hang Ken.

  49. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:48 | #49

    @ken n
    Huh is right – what Philo said. Dumb solutions Ken. Just plain dumb and sexist to boot.

  50. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:51 | #50

    @ken n

    It’s all very simple;

    1) Government education program with changes to Family tax benefits. Benefits have to be available to encourage people to choose socially desirable options.

    2) Only increase the deathrate for people whose first name starts with ken.

    3) Immigration will always be needed to replace emmigration. Australia may gain additional obligation to absorb migrants as climate change or natural disasters generate refugees.

    The mixing is done through visa grants and can be based on any number of point systems that can reflect many varying social criteria. Skills shortages in key occupations is one such criteria.

    All very easy.

  51. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:53 | #51

    @Chris Warren
    Ken – I dont think solution two will be acceptable to Ken! LOL

  52. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:54 | #52

    @Jim Birch
    Jim Birch oversteps the mark if he is implying that First Fleet biological warfare occurred “without intention” @28. This is still in question and the position that it was deliberate is pretty much the concensus now. Consequently the onus is on dissenters to present more rigorous arguments, not weak disruptive side comments.

    There is nothing “odd” about the discussion.

    Culpability is a separate issue mired in political considerations. It is quite possible to review all aspects of the 1789 outbreak without interference from present day political concerns about modern culpability. Once the facts of 1789 are known, then culpability can be explored.

    As some have produced a denial of the outbreak they point to the quality of Australian historical discourse and likely political interference or Bowderlisation.

    In fact much of the earlier work by Judy Campbell, Alan Frost, and Quadrant stableboy Charles Wilson, can be shown to have been fabricated and based on misuse of evidence – particularly Frost’s use of Hunter’s Journal “An historical journal of the transactions at Port Jackson, and Norfolk Island : including ….”.

    The underlying issue is that traditional Australian historians have not produced a legitimate history, and that it was time that the Stanner’s “Great Australian Silence” was smashed.

    Unfortunately there appear to be some dying embers that need to be finally dowsed.

  53. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:55 | #53

    @wilful
    eww wilfil – never could get my head around all the nasty things the yanks like to deep fry – and now the brits – deep fried mars bars are just the tip of the deep fryer!

  54. Philomena
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:57 | #54

    Ken is not the sharpest blade in the Catallax draw, Alice. His posts are invariably illiterate, ungrammatical and logic-free – apart from their risible politics. Even some of the regulars have told him to lift his game and for heaven’s sake get someone literate and compos mentis to sub-edit them before hitting the sent button.

  55. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 17:59 | #55

    @Jim Birch
    Well – I might think, given the near starvation of the white colonists from the first and second fleets…and competition from natives for available food sources…then a spilled bottle of variolus is one solution (ie intentional)

  56. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:00 | #56

    But Chris – I think you misinterpreted Jim Birch’s comment

  57. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:01 | #57

    @Philomena
    Philo – you are a braver woman than I frequenting Catallyx…

  58. Philomena
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:03 | #58

    I have warrior genes Alice. Much like you do I’d wager.

  59. Salient Green
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:04 | #59

    Tony G, you really are a nutter. Perhaps Philomena would describe you in similar terms to ken n or worse. How can you determine which species to extinguish? What if bees were to go extinct due to the Human plague? Ah, you’re not worth the effort. Get some counselling mate. No way are you at the apex of evolution because if you were, you would realise the importance of the natural world for our survival and our happiness.

  60. ken n
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:09 | #60

    Yes, Chris, but
    1 penalises people who have kids or more kids than society thinks they should have. Lots of ways you can do that. Which do you prefer?
    2 I will ignore
    3 Fine, but are you saying immigation should match emigration? If so, asylum seekers will pretty well fill the quota.

    I am not arguing for any of these options, I am just trying to clarify which levers you think we should pull.
    It’s all arithmetic after all…

  61. Philomena
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:17 | #61

    @Salient Green

    If bees were to become extinct? If we cannot sing their song then we too shall surely die or cease to live as before.

    A taste a liquor never brewed—
    From Tankards scooped in Pearl—
    Not all the Vats on the Rhine
    Yield such an Alcohol!

    Inebriate of Air—am I—
    And Debauchee of Dew—
    Reeling—thro endless summer days—
    From inns of Molten Blue—

    When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
    Out the Foxglove’s door—
    When Butterflies—renounce their “drams”—
    I shall but drink the more!

    Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats—
    And Saints—to windows run—
    To see the little Tippler
    Leaning against the—Sun—

    Emily Dickinson

  62. wilful
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:24 | #62

    Tony G :
    RE; 32The only reason we don’t have everybody living at that ‘LOVELY’ Singapore standard, and instead have ¾s of humanity mired in poverty, disease and death, is because spiritually bankrupt, middleclass urbanised environmentalist, “nutters” belittle the value of human life. They place the lives of trees and animals over that of humans; it is disgusting.

    You, mate, live in an alternate reality where you get to make up your own facts.

  63. Salient Green
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:26 | #63

    Thanks Philomena, it got a little blurry towards the end and I’ve only had one bourbon and a marguerita.

  64. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:29 | #64

    @ken n

    I would put asylum seekers, under UN programs or well defined refugee streams, into a separate category and not counted for other purposes and not subjected to skills tests.

    If Australia’s population increases because huge volcanos destroy Papua or New Zealand, or climate changes floods Pacific islands, then so be it – we just have to live with the consequences.

  65. Donald Oats
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:36 | #65

    Anyone checked out “the projects”? Or walked near high-density housing in some of the big cities? Also first-world standards, just happens to be for poor people. It shows that the manner in which housing is managed has serious consequences of a long-term nature – certainly a huge contrast to Singapore. The fact that it is theoretically possible to pack humans into a relatively small area doesn’t mean that it is either possible in practice or is even desirable. If that is what beholds future humanity then count me out, so to speak.

    More objectively for those who want to continue the argument (I mean discussion), some information on population etc, taken from 2009 World Population Data Sheet, from the Population Reference Bureau:

    World Population expected to be 7 billion by 2011, compared to 6 billion in 1999 which was 12 years earlier. Natural rate of increase (ie births – deaths as rate) is globally 1.2%. Australia’s NRI is 0.7%.
    World fertility rate is 2.6 kiddies per woman, while the lowest fertility rate is Taiwan at 1.0.
    Population per sq km: World is 50, More developed nations is 27, Less developed (inc China) is 67 and excl China is 58, and Least developed is 40. Australia is 3 and Singapore is 7,486 people per sq km!

    Amazing, and I mean that sincerely!

  66. Ken N
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:52 | #66

    OK Chris, then if we want no net increase from migration (and ignoring climate change victims for the moment) that pretty well means not much voluntary immigration. Asylum seekers, particularly if we become more liberal which I think you and I believe we should, will just about match departures. Dunno what we do about the kiwis who are a steady flow but not subject to any quota. What would you do?

    Assuming that we will not do anything to increase the death rate (and many demographers believe life expectancy is increasing faster than the ABS forecasts) then we have to do something to reduce the birthrate. That must be a penalty (or withholding of a bonus) to those who have “too many” kids. I do not believe in incentives to have more kids but am not happy with penalties to those who go over the limit.

    Social engineering is all very difficult in a free-ish society. Which is why the immigration lever is the one most people reach for.

    Personally, I am glad that so many people want to come to this country. Voluntary movement has been one of the most powerful forces for good over the past few hundred years. But I know many disagree, for all sorts of reasons.

  67. nanks
    January 26th, 2010 at 18:55 | #67

    @Chris Warren
    i’ve argued for immigration primarily on humanitarian grounds for maybe 30 odd years. If there’s a shortfal then live with it or take in some mega skills – although I am heavily baised to actually training and educating people here and am wary of stealing skills from thems that can’t afford it. And as you point out if at times needs must a greater than desirable intake then she’ll be right, let’s do it.

  68. Peter T
    January 26th, 2010 at 19:22 | #68

    On the smallpox issue – remember that many diseases cause lesions (hence “pox), and that diagnosis at the time was rudimentary. Isolated populations were vulnerable to lots of Eurasian diseases, including those which to Eurasians were fairly mild. The diseases rapidly mutated to more lethal forms when presented with a population with no immunity (this happened to Europeans with cholera in the 1840s and may have happened to humans recently with HIV). Death rates ran as high as 90%. William McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples gives a good overview. So whether or not there was a deliberate release, aborigines were vulnerable to every First Fleeter with a cough.

    On the other theme – not sure what Haitians eat (other than not a lot). But they have multiplied from 3m to 9m in 30 years, presumably getting worse off with each additional mouth.

  69. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 19:25 | #69

    @Ken N

    Its a balancing act – if we want to build a Snowy Mtns Scheme, or a rail network or similar and assist refugee from war torn Europe then we will have one population policy.

    But if our manufacturing has been moved offshore and we are switching the economy into high-value services and if we have insufficient water, and a need to address climate change – then we’ll have a different population policy.

    As capital increases it replaces labour. As unemplyment has been ratcheting up since the 1960′s, and the so-called natural level has supposedly risen compared to the 1950′s – then we need a different population policy to reflect this.

    Once we have free trade, and we then obtain labour intensive products offshore, and export capital intensive products, then this also factors into consequential population policy.

    I am quite happy foregoing future Australian economic growth if this assists the environment and buys time to look at water and carbon issues.

  70. ken n
    January 26th, 2010 at 19:34 | #70

    Chris
    I agree with much of that.
    But you still must say which levers you are going to pull to implement the resulting population policy.
    And you’ve only got three variables: births, death, migratiion.

    If we want to act quickly we must choke off immigation, except for those coming for humanitarian reasons.
    I am not arguing for this – just saying it is the only lever.
    Trying to influence the birthrate runs up against too many civil rights issues.
    (And I mean tto influence it in either direction. Pace Costello)

  71. Alicia
    January 26th, 2010 at 20:18 | #71

    Translation services for Ken N:

    Keywords: levers, pull off, implement, birth-death, choke off, lever.

    Says it all really.

  72. Chris Warren
    January 26th, 2010 at 20:49 | #72

    @Peter T

    Diagnosis of smallpox was not rudimentary in 1789. The First Fleet included sophisticated surgeons, and smallpox was a well understood disease for the times. However germ theory and the role of viruses was unknown but this does not impact on diagnosis of overt, observable, clinical disease.

    The record appears conclusive that the 1789 outbreak was smallpox. No other disease could cause the events of 1789. Frank Fenner’s Letter in reply to Richard G Hingston [The Medical J. of Australia; v142, 18 February 1985, p278] is relevant.

    Of course other diseases infected aborigines subsequently and other populations through history, as depicted by McNeill. Coughing could have been a mode of transmission, within tribes, but not the cause of the first case.

    But the 1789 Port Jackson and the 1830 outbreak near Bathurst were definitely smallpox.

  73. jquiggin
    January 26th, 2010 at 21:16 | #73

    Alice, Alicia, Philomena

    Please dial down the frequency of posting to one per day until further notice, and absolutely cease attacks on other commenters.

  74. wilful
    January 26th, 2010 at 21:19 | #74

    phew.

    Tony G, by your rights, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ50PYMXDCQ"this is not nearly as important as a few more people on the planet.

  75. wilful
    January 26th, 2010 at 21:23 | #75

    Gah! THIS.

  76. Alice
    January 26th, 2010 at 21:57 | #76

    sorry JQ….Jarrah will love this! Im in the sin bin.

  77. January 26th, 2010 at 23:32 | #77

    Wilful

    You can draw an analogy between the dolphins actions and mankind’s from that clip.

    At the end of your clip;

    “This sort of advantage may mean the difference between life and death in the survival of the fittest.”

    You should be furthering the cause of your own species and not worrying about the 100 billion + fish. Or the billion + cows; or the billion + sheep; or the billion + pigs; or the 15billion + chickens; or the 12.1 billion bushels of corn; or the 2.17 billion bushels of wheat; or the etc etc etc…… Like the other 509,m km² of earth not needed to stand on, we have more than we will ever need. (even if the population did hit 9 billion, which it wont because of the falling fertility rate)..

  78. Rationalist
    January 27th, 2010 at 05:18 | #78

    I was pondering something. I wonder if anyone has considered privatisation of each state education department? Government schools could be privatised into the hands of local private school boards who are large enough and powerful enough to open, buy, close, move schools within their portfolio but also small enough to compete with other local school boards. There would need to be some regulation of these entities, nothing too onerous however.

    The cost of running the schools is returned to taxpayers by tax cuts, wealthy individuals do not get this tax cut which is used to fund vouchers for the extreme poor. The sale price of the schools are placed in a federal sovereign wealth fund.

    Schools would be given greater autonomy and the market of ideas would ensure successful schools come out trumps. Schools could pay their teachers more, or focus on equipment or sport. Industry could invest in school boards, say the coal, uranium or other mining industries invests in a school board and through this a greater emphasis is placed on concepts like geology, engineering, technology and industrial processes rather than history or literature.

    Imagine the fantastic job prospects of pupils at such an industry sponsored school! Rather than learning about abstract, obscure and largely irrelevant concepts the students are steered towards real world concepts and essentially have a foot in the door of industry before they complete University.

  79. Ernestine Gross
    January 27th, 2010 at 06:40 | #79

    I assume you forgot to include an irony alert, ‘Rationalist’.

  80. Freelander
    January 27th, 2010 at 07:24 | #80

    @Rationalist

    University education has already been quazi-privatised following the ‘Dawkins Revolution’ with the institutions ‘competiting’ for funding and for students. As I predicted this has resulted in the ‘entertainment’ component of education starting to prevail. At many of the new institutions the real job of the ‘lecturers’ (who in many cases don’t have any knowledge to impart and have set up joke courses) is to entertain and babysit, with registries insisting that everyone who pays gets their degree and grade inflation and ignoring plagiarism and cheating has become the norm because “the customer is always right”. The problem for employers is to be landed with these ‘graduates’ who think they know everything and are far to important to do anything but immediately but take the reins from the CEO.

    The real thing that I object to with this free market model is that we are paying mightily for it through our taxes. The way it is going it should be completely privatized and no government subsidies. Then ‘universities’ can entertain and babysit as the market demands.

  81. nanks
    January 27th, 2010 at 08:22 | #81

    @Rationalist
    i just think people should be assigned to industry sectors at birth – or perhaps better still babies are put into a market and business can compete to own them. Of course not as slaves – people would have the right to shop where they want.

  82. Chris Warren
    January 27th, 2010 at 11:00 | #82

    So ir-rationalist

    If your successful school comes up trumps, but is 1,000 miles away, how does this benefit children?

    A democratic school system provides decent education for everyone.

    Yours provides different education for different people.

    Yours is an abomination.

  83. wilful
    January 27th, 2010 at 11:25 | #83

    Tony G :
    You should be furthering the cause of your own species and not worrying about the 100 billion + fish.

    Humans FTW!!

  84. January 27th, 2010 at 11:50 | #84

    Rationalist,
    Personally I think a good way forward for the school system would be for the State governments to gift the schools to the co-operative ownership of the parents (on certain conditions, including not allowing the school to refuse students on other than disciplinary grounds) and then arrange funding through a voucher system.
    The only roles then remaining to the government would be advisory on curriculum and standards (including providing information to the parents on these) and in running the voucher system.
    To me, this would allow freedom of choice, proper democratic accountability and for the exploration of alternatives that are currently not possible or prohibitively expensive for most.

  85. Freelander
    January 27th, 2010 at 13:10 | #85

    @Rationalist

    Maybe education could be improved by having a yearly cull. Rather than ‘incentivise’ the teachers, a more direct approach of incentivising the students would be so much better. Now, the most important aspect: “What to call the reform?” Would it be “No child left behind” or would it be better described as “Tough, love” or “Guess who’s no longer coming to dinner?”

  86. Freelander
    January 27th, 2010 at 13:16 | #86

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Oh yes, lets rely on the natural ability of the average parent to make these decisions. If we go down this route, why stop? Why not simply get out of the education business all together and let the parents suffer less taxation and with there freedom be completely free to chose whether or not, and how much education their offspring gets? If we did that then Australia could truly be called “The Clever Country”.

    How about instead of posting here you go away and do something useful, like losing all of your client’s money?

  87. Chris Warren
    January 27th, 2010 at 13:21 | #87

    @Andrew Reynolds

    This proposal has problems. If schools are controlled by parents, those in rich middle-class areas will be hyperactive in fundraisings and seeking sponsorships through Lions Clubs, Rotary, churches and charitable Foundations.

    Parent controlled schools in deprived areas will be less motivated and less able to do this.

    Also parents are only involved at a school while they have a child enrolled. Proper education planning, development, assessment and provision needs a much longer, dispasionate approach.

  88. Freelander
    January 27th, 2010 at 13:30 | #88

    @nanks

    They’re not slaves as long as the corporation gives them an allowance. After all “Who ever heard of a ‘slave’ getting an allowance?” And, nice touch, they could use that allowance to shop anywhere!

  89. wilful
    January 27th, 2010 at 14:26 | #89

    The problem with these sorts of proposals is that they can float, pure and untouched, completely unmoved by reality. Lovely thoughts, completely irrelevant and impractical.

    What would happen if something liek you proposed was implemented is that the children of well-off parents would all group together, their kids would be as well educated as currently, possibly even maybe slightly better educated (oh and they could taste the frredom), but many kids without as educated or perhaps motivted parents, or ones that simply lived in the wrong place, would get a significantly worse education, and would then be unemployable. I guess some could be employed ase security guards, because that would be a growth industry. but about teh only one, since we’d all be worse off in teh long run.

    I know you and your ilk don’t get this, but looking after poor people is not just good for the soul of the community, it’s actually good for the economy in the long run. Making peopel employable makes us all better off.

  90. January 27th, 2010 at 15:01 | #90

    “would get a significantly worse education, and would then be unemployable.”

    That sounds like two big assumptions.

    What if the vouchers were graduated?

  91. wilful
    January 27th, 2010 at 15:15 | #91

    if we had to unpack all of our assumptions in the school voucher debate, we’d be here forever. (Oh as an aside, my second ‘assumption’ is that uneducated = unemployable. I don’t think that’s such a big assumption)

    But there would be a flight to quality, just like happened in the US (more for racial reasons) and some schools would become even bigger ghettoes than they currently are.

    Permanent underclass is the result. Not good for any economy, despite superficial short-term gains (oh the freedom).

    What do you mean by graduated? Povvo kids get more $$? Wouldn’t happen, the middle class wouldn’t like it.

  92. Fran Barlow
    January 27th, 2010 at 15:15 | #92

    @Rationalist

    That would be a recipe for radically ineffective and inequitable education. Ironically, it wouldn’t even produce what the industry wonks want.

    What the industry people say they want are people who are able to problem solve, collaborate and have a strong sense of the connectedness of variopus areas of knowledge. Schools that lacked a coherent syllabus, a strong pedagogy and a lack of accountability for teaching programs across the sweep of the whole jurisdictions would rapidly degenerate into educational marketing exercises in which least advantaged students were excluded. There would be no problem at all “losing” high maintenance kids under one excuse or another. It’s already quite hard to keep students who are educationally disadvantaged from running afoul of discipline measures. Under your system you could set them up to fail, and then shrug your shoulders as they were rejected.

    In the end you would have one set of schools that were well funded catering to middle income and high income earners and holding pens for all the others. And hardly any of them would deliver most of what industry wants. It’s worth noting that kids who go to kindergarten in 2010 and are successful at school will get to early mid-career in 2035. If you can specify precisely what the industry of the time will want, you’re a lot smarter than you have shown above. It’s likely that 20-30% of the jobs of that day don’t even exist now.

    Turning the school system into some sort of designer fashion statement for the wealthy and low level security for the poor would be utterly reckless.

  93. January 27th, 2010 at 15:32 | #93

    @wilful
    “if we had to unpack all of our assumptions in the school voucher debate, we’d be here forever.”

    Well, that makes for a simple discussion then – you make assumptions, I’ll make assumptions, and we’ll each have nice happy conclusions that might contradict each other but we can’t evaluate them because we can’t examine our conclusions. Sounds just great.

    “(Oh as an aside, my second ‘assumption’ is that uneducated = unemployable. I don’t think that’s such a big assumption)”

    You’re changing your tune. You went from the heroic assumption that an inferior education means they’re unemployable (which I think is obviously wrong – schools and universities vary in their quality, but people get jobs regardless) to a new assumption which is less objectionable. It’s also irrelevant – we’re talking education here, not uneducation (if you’ll forgive the neologism).

    I detect further, unexamined, assumptions – that more money gives a better education, and that schools can’t improve once on a downward trend. The first is wrong, and the second debatable.

    “What do you mean by graduated? Povvo kids get more $$?”

    Yes. And I can’t see the “middle class” genuinely objecting – reams of welfare is targeted, means-tested, and the like.

  94. Jim Birch
    January 27th, 2010 at 15:37 | #94

    @Chris Warren
    Chris, I’m certainly not qualified to say whether smallpox was spread intentionally. I’d guess that it would be hard to find some unequivocal evidence but I could be wrong and I’ll leave that to others who know what they’re talking about.

    I was more commenting on immune biology: the immune system appears to be designed to often knock diseases down to a “carrier” level that has limited impact to the individual without eliminating them totally but can still allow them to infect competitors. So, it’s more a case of when than if smallpox would hit indigenous populations that have minimal resistance.

    If this is the case, real problem for the locals is colonisation itself (which is obviously not acceptable these days, irrespective of epidemiological impacts.) I think I’ve read some reports of American colonisation that indicate that the wave of infection and death preceded the European movement into areas so that the invaders found empty dwellings and met little resistance from sick and decimated local people.

  95. wilful
    January 27th, 2010 at 15:54 | #95

    you make assumptions, I’ll make assumptions, and we’ll each have nice happy conclusions that might contradict each other but we can’t evaluate them because we can’t examine our conclusions. Sounds just great.

    That’s how it works on the internet, don’t you know?

    You’re changing your tune. You went from the heroic assumption that an inferior education means they’re unemployable (which I think is obviously wrong – schools and universities vary in their quality, but people get jobs regardless) to a new assumption which is less objectionable. It’s also irrelevant – we’re talking education here, not uneducation (if you’ll forgive the neologism).

    No I’m not, not unless you want to be a pointless pedant. Getting ten years of education from east bumcrack high isn’t going to get you very far at all, and you (or your compatriots) will be vastly overrepresented in the unemployment statistics.

    I detect further, unexamined, assumptions – that more money gives a better education, and that schools can’t improve once on a downward trend. The first is wrong, and the second debatable.

    So my assumptions (assertions really) are bad, yours are good? Please…

    Yes. And I can’t see the “middle class” genuinely objecting – reams of welfare is targeted, means-tested, and the like.

    That’s right. How much money does the Australian government give to private versus public schools?

  96. January 27th, 2010 at 16:19 | #96

    “That’s how it works on the internet, don’t you know?”

    Good point ;-)

    “So my assumptions (assertions really) are bad, yours are good? Please…”

    I’m happy to defend them. But apparently you think this will take too long.

    “How much money does the Australian government give to private versus public schools?”

    In 2005, private got about $6.6 billion, public schools about $24.2 billion. Source – http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/PolicyBriefs_Dowling07.pdf

  97. January 27th, 2010 at 16:50 | #97

    To deal with those attempting to be useful in the discussion:
    .
    Chris Warren,
    On the funding issue – Yes, some parents are more likely to get involved than others and, as a result, some schools are more likely to be better than others. This already happens. I do not see that decentralising control to the actual parents concerned is going to make this worse. On the contrary – IMHO parents are more likely to get involved when they have a real sense on control, something sadly absent today.
    On the issue of long-term control I do not see the 3 to 4 year election cycle and the occasional education “revolution” as being a longer period than the norm that parents have children in a school. For example, I know that several parents in my local school have been involved for more than 10 years as they have had several children go through. In any case, a real amount of the power in a school will be in the person of the head, deputy head and the teachers – all of whom (IMHO) are more likely to stay (and be appropriately paid) if they are able to be properly involved in the running of the school.
    .
    wilful and a few others,
    I remain staggered that those who profess to have the interests of the “poor” at heart are the ones that seem to be the most committed to bossing them around and taking their children off them.
    IMHO the “poor” are capable of working out what is a good education for themselves and then putting their children in there. At the moment, they are effectively prohibited from doing so. The system I have proposed above allows allows (IMHO) them to make that decision and then to change it, at no financial cost to themselves.
    Can you please actually discuss it rather than showing your own prejudices that the “poor” are stupid and incapable parents.

  98. Freelander
    January 27th, 2010 at 17:28 | #98

    Jarrah :
    What if the vouchers were graduated?

    If you graduated the vouchers, who would employ them? And if anyone was silly enough to employ the vouchers, how would they get any work out of them?

    Vouchers are, for the most part, equivalent to cash, unless you have onerous and very expensive regulatory oversight. In which case, you might as well do away with the vouchers and have government directly organise the provision as that is considerably cheaper.

    Have some pity for the poor taxpayer. They have enough to pay with providing schooling to those who would be better off doing something else than to provide the schooling through an incredibly expensive voucher libertarian looney toons scheme.

    Most people don’t like paying tax, even if they recognise that governments need to raise revenue to provide certain services and that they and society are better off with these services provided. But paying tax just to have the money wasted on some fantasy Milton Friedman wet dream is not something that non-libertarians are terribly keen on.

    There is a wealth of material indicating how dopey the ‘voucher’ idea, in its various guises, is.

    Many are disappointed that Friedman and Hayek did not live long enough to find themselves shipwrecked on some God forsaken island, and upon opening their emergency provisions chest finding a stack of vouchers entitling the bear to one emergency first class rescue by the provider of their choice. They could them wave them about and wait for ‘the market’ to provide their triple A class rescue. They, of course, would be so much happier with that, than having someone mess with their freedom of choice and have provided them instead with things in a provision chest like food, a radio, flares and so on…

    These libertarian posts as well as not being at all original, and are so risible that it is very difficult to take them seriously.

    Please continue to ‘contribute’.

  99. January 27th, 2010 at 17:45 | #99

    Freelander,
    Care to point to any of this “material”? As there is a “wealth” of it you should be able to show where it has been experimented with and it has failed.
    Sweden perhaps?

  100. January 27th, 2010 at 17:48 | #100

    “If you graduated the vouchers, who would employ them?”

    Heh, I see what you did there.

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