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Monday Message Board

March 23rd, 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. March 24th, 2010 at 15:07 | #1

    Fran,
    I always find that if you focus on the system you end up being unable to see the wood for the trees – to me it is the individual that matters and societies that lose site of that end up with some of the horrors we have seen over the last century.
    .
    I am genuinely trying to understand your position, though, so I will need to work through some examples.
    .
    Let’s go back to looking at “equity in housing a tradeable commodity” as being a (not “the” as I presume you see there are more problems than simply that) “problem”. Why is this a problem? Let’s make it simpler – I do all of the work myself to renovate the home, building considerable value out of an almost unliveable shell partially through my own work but also (possibly) . Do you think that I should not be allowed to benefit from my own labour under those circumstances or have I missed something?

  2. Fran Barlow
    March 24th, 2010 at 15:13 | #2

    @Andrew Reynolds

    I do all of the work myself to renovate the home, building considerable value out of an almost unliveable shell partially through my own work but also (possibly) [unclear: FB]. Do you think that I should not be allowed to benefit from my own labour under those circumstances or have I missed something?

    Context: In this system, of course you should. Of course, one might conceive of system in which it would not be possible to have equitable title in housing. Housing might be part of the commons and the structural elements looked after through general social provision, in which case you would have no such labour from which to profit.

  3. March 24th, 2010 at 15:29 | #3

    I can conceive of many things. To be more specific – would that be a system you would support? If so, how would housing be allocated between the potential users of the general social provision of that housing? Once housing was allocated by this process how the the providers ensure that it was appropriately maintained and that it continued to be allocated reasonably efficiently?

  4. Fran Barlow
    March 24th, 2010 at 16:03 | #4

    @Andrew Reynolds

    be more specific – would that be a system you would support?

    Yes … I would

    how would housing be allocated between the potential users of the general social provision of that housing?

    An algorithm would be devised to select among housing applicants 9assuming they exceeded the available housing at the price required), weighting them on the basis of need, capacity to pay, waiting time and demographics in order to predispose a viable community within given housing complexes and estates.

    Once housing was allocated by this process how the the providers ensure that it was appropriately maintained and that it continued to be allocated reasonably efficiently?

    There would be something rather like a strata title body charged with ensuring those things needed to meet the state housing quality standards were undertaken. This would be drawn from within the pool of tenants and other stakeholders and would have ex-officio at least one qualified financial officer, a building engineer and would be audited for compliance by an independent person once every two years. Suitable permanent staff would be on site to carry out day-to-day maintenance. All of these would receive stipends for service commensurate with the time involved from the state. The people from the complex on the board would be drawn from the stakeholder community by sortition from those nominating. The state could intervene much as it can with local councils to sack dysfunctional boards or remove members guilty of malfeasance.

    The funds for this would be drawn from rental receipts and where necessary, this would be topped up on a formula by state funds — (for example, where the complex was charging lower rents due to having a substantial percentage of people on concessional rent due to them being on comparatively low income). Where the complexes accumulated surpluses, these could be repaid to tenants in dividends pro-rata.

    Vacancies would be filled as they arose on the same basis.

    The complexes themselves would arise from proposals produced by people who had formed themselves into housing coops and who had drawn up plans that met housing targets for each district and conformed to local environment plans. When a proposal was finally approved, the state would either put the proposal out to tender and fund construction, or the co-op itself would and receive a loan guarantee and go on to be the initial body corporate. The duty to do the debt service would fall upon each body corporate out of rental receipts.

  5. March 24th, 2010 at 16:44 | #5

    Fran,
    An interesting idea, but I can see a large number of practical (or at least I think practical) questions that arise form it.
    Would that not require a huge bureaucracy with all of the attendant waste?
    What would happen if someone was not happy with their allocation and wanted to do something else – say an individual wanted to express their own personality on their own dwelling? Would they be able to form a co-op of one?
    What scope would there be for individual expression in housing or would all of the houses be strictly regulated to conform to a given standard to reduce cost?
    If you are doing this on a community basis (as it seems you are) how are you going to avoid the ghetto issue, where the people who put together the co-op effectively exclude others?
    If someone was on a low income but wanted a comparatively expensive flat you seem to be indicating that the State would top up the payments. How would this be justified?
    .
    I have seen suggestions like this before, but AFAICS they would normally founder not on the point of ideals but on how it is practically implemented.

  6. Chris Warren
    March 24th, 2010 at 20:10 | #6

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Andrew Reynolds :
    Say I employ a team of builders to build a house for me to live in. Am I being a “capitalist” if I do this once?

    No (I assume you paid the workers with vouchers you earnt legitimately.)

    How about if I do this twice, selling the first house to pay for the second?

    No (I assume the house was sold on the open market)

    You can get wealthy by your own efforts or earnings. It is up to workers through their unions to ensure decent wages, in the knowledge of the real value of a completed house.

    If you deliberately avoid a union workforce, and employ oppressed workers on cheap wages – then you are a capitalist.

  7. Fran Barlow
    March 24th, 2010 at 22:28 | #7

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Would that not require a huge bureaucracy with all of the attendant waste?

    It’s hard to see why. Most of the compliance would be done locally by the stakeholders with the state merely auditing for compliance. If anything, there might be less bureaucracy than we have now.

    What would happen if someone was not happy with their allocation and wanted to do something else – say an individual wanted to express their own personality on their own dwelling?

    The same restrictions as apply in any body corporate would apply, within the overall LEP and other general provisions of course.

    What scope would there be for individual expression in housing or would all of the houses be strictly regulated to conform to a given standard to reduce cost?

    Proposals for complexes would take broad objectives into account but the diversity of the provision would be at the initiative of the proposers. Presumably they would bring a serious plan to the table that could be reconciled with the demographic mix the state was aiming to achieve. This would be evidence-based and probably rely on the experience of other comparable developments.

    If you are doing this on a community basis (as it seems you are) how are you going to avoid the ghetto issue, where the people who put together the co-op effectively exclude others?

    As I said above, the precise mix would be weighted to predispose the spread of results wanted in a random sort. Nobody could be rejected because they were poor or the wrong colour. The random sort would be run and would closely match the targets. Those passed over would automatically have their chances incremented on other applications, so the system wou,ld be self correcting.

    The mix would prevent ghetto-like conditions.

    If someone was on a low income but wanted a comparatively expensive flat you seem to be indicating that the State would top up the payments. How would this be justified?

    They would be able to apply for any place but they would only get marginal financial assistance for those meeting the acceptable quality standard in terms of space per person. Those getting assistance would not be allowed to get it at all if bidding more than 30% of household income, after recurrent obligations were deducted. Those not getting assistance could bid as much as they liked and this in turn could allow them to augment their chances of selection within their demographics.

  8. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 24th, 2010 at 22:32 | #8

    My father worked as a builder. He built homes for people and subcontracted out the electrical and plumbing work as well as some of the earth moving etc. However he did pretty much all the carpentry and similar such tasks himself. He made what I regards as a very modest income from doing this. He grew up in Denmark and his father was a union rep there and when he arrived in Australia he did join the carpenters union at first. However something must have changed his outlook along the way because growing up as a kid I recall he was always keen to avoid working on construction sites which required him to be in a union. I recall he did it once when work was scarce and he got a bit desparate but he didn’t like it. I think he felt somewhat intimidated by the conduct of the unions and regarded some of their behaviour to be unethical and thuggish. I don’t think he was oppressed by avoiding unions or by working for people who had no interest in employing unionised workers.

    I’ve had one job in my life that required me to be in a union. I quit after a short time because I hated it. I think there is a legitamate place in society for unions but I must admit that in practice I tend to have a quite visceral distaste for them. In my own life and in the life of those that I know I can’t see that they ever did much that was positive.

  9. Chris Warren
    March 25th, 2010 at 07:24 | #9

    So terjeP

    Maybe you hate Australian, being forced to pay taxes, and follow all these oppressive road rules.

    Maybe you feel intimidated by traffic lights.

    Do you feel intimidated by the thuggish behaviour of banks and employers.

    Maybe your dad should have migrated to Falkland Islands.

    As you spread your “visceral distaste” remember that people will see you in the same light.

    Explain to your Dad, that if unions had not maintained Australian wages, his attempts to make a modest income would have been jeopardised by being out-competed by Australian oppressed working conditions.

    He benefited by the standards set by others, as a lousy free-rider.

    He could have stayed in Denmark

  10. March 26th, 2010 at 11:03 | #10

    Save South East Queensland’s koalas from Bligh Government/developer greed

    The same selfish vested interests that want to turn our suburbs into sterile concrete jungles are also driving our iconic koala into extinction.

    If Queensland’s current runaway population growth continues, further encroachments upon the habitat of our endangered iconic koala are inevitable, practically guaranteeing their extinction from South East Queensland. Yet Premier Anna Bligh, by having renamed the ‘population summit’ to the ‘Growth Summit’, has told Queenslanders she is no longer interested in considering the one chance we have to save our koala, that is, population stability.

    I include below a letter from the Save Our Koalas rally organisers.

    Dear Koala Supporters,

    We asked what you wanted to do in response to the Queensland Government’s upcoming Growth Summit, and an overwhelming majority of you want to let Anna Bligh know that the Koala is more important than unlimited growth in Australia.

    We need to send a message loud and clear to Anna Bligh and Kevin Rudd, that rushed development will have a catastrophic effect on Koala populations in SEQ, our lifestyles and our biodiversity, and that it could cause the extinction of the koala.

    Rally outside the main entrance of Queensland <a href="State Library, Southbank, Brisbane at 11.00am Tuesday 30th March 2010.

    For further information: contact: saveourkoalas[AT]gmail.com

  11. smiths
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:46 | #11

    i wrote recently that i thought the current physics model of space and its formation was childish,
    this story is an example of the observations which are being made and will continue to be made that make the theories seem flawed

    In 2008 scientists reported the discovery of hundreds of galaxy clusters streaming in the same direction at more than 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) an hour.
    This mysterious motion can’t be explained by current models for distribution of mass in the universe. So the researchers made the controversial suggestion that the clusters are being tugged on by the gravity of matter outside the known universe.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100322-dark-flow-matter-outside-universe-multiverse

    i suppose we will get years of controversial patch theories before we get a thorough rethink

  12. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 26th, 2010 at 12:08 | #12

    Chris – I don’t hate Australia. Every country has it’s problems and a good patriot works to elliminate or mitigate those problems. I think labour market regulation in Australia is a problem. And I think our union movement has some cultural problems although they were worse in the past. I don’t accept your characterisation of trade unions as the source of workers prosperity.

  13. Chris Warren
    March 26th, 2010 at 20:17 | #13

    TerjeP

    You probably don’t know much about 18th century working conditions, 19th century campaigns for the 8hr day and old age pensions, and 20th century campaigns for annual leave, OHS standards and the rights of female workers.

    All these campaigns clearly ensured greater prosperity for Australian workers.

  14. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 27th, 2010 at 06:43 | #14

    Chris – I’m not convinced that the old age pension was a positive thing as it shut down the alternate aged income systems that were being developed through civil society, including by trade unions in fact. However I never said that unions had never done anything positive. I said that the union movement has some cultural problems, and I was actually thinking of the last 50 years not the last 200 years when I said it.

    In terms of prosperity I don’t dismiss the fact that unions have helped frame that propserity (ie safer workplaces etc) however I don’t accept that they have advanced wage rates beyond what would occur naturally in a growing economy.

  15. Chris Warren
    March 27th, 2010 at 12:18 | #15

    TerjeP

    But of course the public old age pension is positive compared to alternative systems, and trade unions in the last few years have done a wonderful job fighting off a very right-wing “liberal” government.

    The real cultural problem in Australia has come from rightwing capitalists such as Pauline Hanson, rightwing wars such as the first Gulf War, plus the fraudulent invasion of Iraq, and of course the rancid rightwing persecution of Haneef.

    But of course there is also the cultural problem of sex-molesting priests (of all types).

    But I suppose you might have concerns for the cultural problems that led to the stolen generation in the past 50 years, plus the more recent Windschuttle denial of crimes against humanity at the base of Australia.

    Finally there is a cultural problem between workers wages (dictated by laws and awards), and consumer prices with freedom to reach any height the market will bear. Under capitalism the natural tendency is for wages to fall and profits to rise, even in the last 50 years.

    So it seems that capitalism breeds its own culture. This can mislead people.

  16. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:56 | #16

    Pauline was an odd sort of capitalist if she was one at all. I’ve disagreed with the Iraq war but I don’t see how it is relevant to trade unions and whether they are the source of worker prosperity. Likewise I don’t see the relevance of child sex abuse or child abduction. You seem to be suggesting that multiple wrongs make a right but to be honest I can’t really tell.

  17. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 14:09 | #17

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    I’ve disagreed with the Iraq war but I don’t see how it is relevant to trade unions and whether they are the source of worker prosperity. Likewise I don’t see the relevance of child sex abuse or child abduction.

    Interesting train of thought there Terje P. I not sure I see the link myself between collective bargaining by way of unions and well…the latter point you make…..
    Im certainly not sure than unions can be classed as “a wrong” Terje. There are lots of useful things about union activity Terje…its never was all beefy tatooed blokes and strikes and self interested politicians climbing from out of unions into the ranks of political leaders.
    They also act to protect employees rights from exploitation by employers. The demise of union and union activity (under joint assault from both sides of politics since the 1980s) has seen inequality climb and has resulted in inequitable workplace abuses. Union busting and hobbling has been part of the neoliberal extremism that needs to be partially unwound (as it has been with the widespread rejection of workchoices legislation which gave unprecedneted individual bargaining rights on the assumption that the employee has the same or similar power base from which to argue their case, as the employer. They dont Terje. What has been passing for individual workplace bargaining in this country has resulted in the “youth abuse” in this country. In one sense I guess I can see a link between child abuse and lack of regulation in the labour market…..

  18. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 27th, 2010 at 14:22 | #18

    Alice – if you have been following the debate you would know that I never said unions were wrong. I said:-

    1. Unions have a legitamate role to play in society.
    2. Unions have had some cultural problems.
    3. In practice I have not liked the unions I have encountered.

    Nowhere did I say the existance of union was wrong.

  19. Chris Warren
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:03 | #19

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    If you cannot see the relevance of these examples of capitalist “culture” why did you evoke some trade union “culture”.

    If you want to get onto one track at #14, why jump off at #16 just because it does not lead where you want.

    The issue is not Hansen, Iraq war, molesting priests, etc; but the need for those who want to pick on unions for “cultural problems”, to be consistent and include all the other cultural problems in society.

    But when faced with this – they jump track, quick smart.

    So if you are going to carry on about unions supposedly having some “cultural problems”, why not compare these to the cultural problems of Hansonism, Churches, Iraq war, racist culture behind Haneef’s mistreatment, and the Reithite culture behind Chris Corrigan?

  20. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:52 | #20

    Chris – I don’t need to list all problems in society every time I wish to discuss one of them.

    For what it is worth I’m not interested in defending the views of Hansen the Iraq war, child molestation or abduction. I accept that these entail lousy values but that does not mean I can’t talk about trade unions. And just because lots of areas of society have faults that does not mean my points about the trade union movement are invalid. It seems to me that you are merely trying to create some form of diversion.

  21. Chris Warren
    March 27th, 2010 at 16:08 | #21

    Not diversion, but relevancy.

    If cops just arrest aboriginals for crossing double lines, their false behavior becomes apparent to those who see many others crossing double lines.

    It is no defence for the cops to say: “I am not interested in discussing line crossing by whites, or asians. We accept that these also cross double lines but this does not mean I can’t take action against aborigines.”

    “Just because everyone crosses double lines does not mean my action against aboriginals is invalid.”

    I suppose in this situation, of a false, biassed perspective, the cops would certainly try to claim that their accusers are “merely trying to create diversion”.

    But the rest of us will see straight through this pretence.

  22. iain
    March 27th, 2010 at 17:18 | #22

    Fran Barlow :@Andrew Reynolds

    Would you say that they are contributing to “not only … social inequality, but [also] the persistent and recurrent crises within the system as a whole which in turn lead to stagnating and declining social production and the stalling of human progress”?

    In that case I wouldn’t.

    I would.

    For capitalist apologists, Andrew’s housing development appears as normal and legitimate. It is surely “direct social relations between individuals at work” creating value for themselves and providing housing for others (potentially). A win for everyone, no doubt.

    For others, obviously, this is just another sad case of “material relations between persons and social relations between things”.

    Where are the materials coming from? At what environmental cost? Material relations between persons mask this cost.

    What is the social benefit of Australia’s housing pyramid scheme? Why does the so-called value of property renovation justify indentured slavery for many under 25 wanting to enter the property market? Social relations between things mask this cost.

  23. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 18:17 | #23

    @iain
    Iaian – I might just add that the housing price rises to the extremes of unaffordability co-incide rather niceley with tax breaks given to “investment property owners” – now this goes back to sometime mid nineties – someone correct me if I am wrong.

    Call me a cyncical old biddy – but I suspect the constant tinkering with superannuation and the lack of access to that form of savings in terms of liquidity, suspician re governments uses and abuses of large pools of quarantined super (and for that matter abuses by super fund managers and back room investment advisers) made a lot of people suspicious…including the already wealthy who are not slow to see what gives the best return and what doesnt.

    Net result….there are a whole lot of spare funds that piled…not into super but into real estate in this country. Dont trust the sharemarket? Dont trust financial sector? Dont trust government?

    Why the hell wouldnt people pile it into bricks? They did en masse in Australia. Its another way of saying “I want control over my savings…not you (financial firm/government etc)

    Distortions all round by people other than savers getting a $$$$$$ kickback from individual personal hard earned savings. Real estate was the last of the relatively safe refuges and even that isnt safe now because every man and his family piled into that market. No-one asks why.

  24. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 18:21 | #24

    @iain
    Iain

    You are better off asking Andy – who works in the financial markets in some sort of banking role – why is he so enamoured with doing up real estate to sell…

    Maybe because it (real estate tart ups) has been working better for Andy than the banks and financial firms he so loyally supports in many of his previous posts.

  25. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 18:41 | #25

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    I just found it interesting that you co-joined the idea of unions and childmolesting Terje – and then said two wrongs dont make a right…

    You werent attempting to introduce the idea that unions are a horror were you Terje?

    No you wouldnt have been trying to do that…surreptiously…at all.

    You must think we came down in the last shower Terje.

  26. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 28th, 2010 at 05:01 | #26

    Alice – I did not raise the issue of child molestation. Chris did in comment #15 paragraph 3. Specifically he said:-

    But of course there is also the cultural problem of sex-molesting priests (of all types).

    I made no reference to the issue before that. And my references to it subsequently were to point out that it has nothing to do with whether there are cultural issues in the trade unions movement. Chris was trying to co-join these issues not me.

  27. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 28th, 2010 at 11:20 | #27

    Alice – I suppose there is no chance of an apology.

  28. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 29th, 2010 at 14:02 | #28

    I’m still open to an apology.

  29. wilful
  30. March 30th, 2010 at 16:07 | #30

    Chris,
    I would agree that those who “…deliberately avoid a union workforce, and employ oppressed workers on cheap wages” deserve some censure. The idea of employing anyone on an “oppressive” basis I find repugnant. That said, on whom should the burden of proof be? If I advertise for someone to come and do same (say) bricklaying for me and offer to pay (say) $1 per brick laid then is it part of my responsibility to enquire about that person’s circumstance to see if they are a union member or that the terms could be considered “oppressive”?
    If it is not the employer’s role to do that then there is little philosophical difference between us on this.
    .
    Alice,
    Was that the previous comment where I said that bankers and others should be prosecuted for any criminal activity on the same basis as the rest of us – or some other comments?
    .
    Fran,
    On your first response: I would think that the development and maintenance of any such algorithm would be an enormous and complicated task. Given the algorithm would also be responsible for making one of the most important decisions for each and every one of us (where we get to live) I would think there would inevitably be a large amount of appeals against it output. I am not convinced that this would be as simple as putting some numbers into a system and then having the residence decisions for millions of people spat out the other end.
    On your second: Again, I would think that this would cause some real disputes. Trying to come to a simple decision on this I simply cannot see that it would be an easy, cut and dried case.
    On your third: As with the others this then involves what would need to be a long and complex argument, with appeals against decisions happening almost almost as a matter of course. While the current system sometimes ends up with appeals through the court system I cannot see this system as reducing complexity. Having been on the receiving end of these disputes in the past All I can see here is people arguing the point ad nauseum.
    The other major problem I could see in there is simple – corruption. The system you have proposed seems to rely heavily on the output of an algorithm, a fairly “black box” approach once you have millions of small inputs and millions of important outputs. Those writing the system would have a strong incentive to build things into it that favour either themselves or those close to them – or those that pay them. This then means that there would need to be a large supervisory body (a small one would just mean that they become easily open to corruption themselves), meaning more cost.
    Sorry, but I cannot see how this would be any of simple, efficient or cheap. While in theory this may make some sense all I can see is a bloated, expensive monster making seemingly arbitrary decisions not on behalf of the general welfare, but on behalf of those who run the system.

  31. Fran Barlow
    March 30th, 2010 at 16:17 | #31

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Andrew, I think you are massively overstating the problem. The current system has its own “algorithm” based largely on stuff that is far harder to get at and specify and what it spits our is inequity and inefficiency.

    There’s no problem at all auditing these things and aside from purely technical appeals — where the onus should be on the plaintiff to show error — I see no scope. To qualify you’d have to waive most of your rights to litigate.

    Since people have no rights at all in housing allocation now, I don’t think many would be bothered.

  32. March 30th, 2010 at 16:55 | #32

    Fran,
    The “algorithm” at the moment is one that operates largely without any central authority telling us where we can, or cannot, live – this is down to our individual needs, wants and abilities (including financial capacity). Most people can see the logic that if they cannot afford something, even with debt, then they cannot have it. If there was a system that allowed them to afford something but still not to have it because of some mathematical equation then I would think that they would be much more likely to dispute it – even if they may appreciate that it gave good answers for everyone else.
    What would happen if a person did not waive their rights to litigate? Would they simply be excluded from the system?

  33. Alice
    March 30th, 2010 at 17:40 | #33

    @Andrew Reynolds
    Andy – it totally escapes me where I have addressed a single comment to you in this thread…yet I have two responses from you, one where you accuse me of not living in the real world and some other response.

    I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  34. Alice
    March 30th, 2010 at 17:42 | #34

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    No apology Terje – see your post at 16 where you cojoined the idea that unions and child molestation were two forms of wrong. Dont deny it Terje and dont be flippant with your responses. The suggestion is there. You are clearly suggesting unions are some form of moral wrong.

  35. Alicia
    March 30th, 2010 at 18:03 | #35

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    Personal whinging anecdote.

    Study some labour history and come back to us and then a sensible discussion about trade unions may be possible.

    Otherwise you just insult everyone’s intelligence.

    Something “libertarians” do habitually. Funny about that.

  36. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 30th, 2010 at 18:56 | #36

    Alice – if you take my comment in the context of the discussion it ought to be more than clear that the wrong refered to corrupt cultural practices within some unions and not unions as a concept. Comprehension isn’t one of your strong points is it?

  37. Alice
    March 30th, 2010 at 19:05 | #37

    @Alicia
    I agree with Alicia Terje – get over it. Subtle suggestions that unions are a moral evil is your strong point. Im not short on comprehension Terje – your anti union innuendos dont wash with me.
    Did you know Terje that one of the reasons that inequality has been on the rise for three decades has been researched and found to be the product of union bashing and dismantling by both sides of the political spectrum (including Hawke who made his way up through the unions and admits to instilling the priorities of the rich – what a cop out Hawke was). If you want to support and live in a world where elites, class and birthrights rule – move to Europe Terje. No loss to me, here in Australia, at all.

  38. Alicia
    March 30th, 2010 at 19:13 | #38

    “Libertarians” all – prove me wrong – are people (overwhelmingly male) who “once” were a member of – or had some vague but never to be forgotten dealings with – trade unions, but whose entire adult employment experience consists of being isolated small business or sole trader types typically working in IT/sales/finance.

    Not a very culturally representative or insightful segment of humanity. And invariably boring and ignorant as batshit.

  39. Fran Barlow
    March 30th, 2010 at 21:02 | #39

    @Andrew Reynolds

    The “algorithm” at the moment is one that operates largely without any central authority telling us where we can, or cannot, live – this is down to our individual needs, wants and abilities (including financial capacity).

    Or, put another way, the algorithm you like operates to ensure access to quality housing is determined exclusively by wealth and social privilege. Mine makes these much less significant. Since the vast majority of the populace are on the wrong end of this algorithm, the class of potential beneficiaries is huge.

    I’ve never heard of anyone litigating the Lotto result, and if this lotto ensured that everyone got a fair chance at winning, I can’t imagine anyone litigating. The algorithm would be much like any other piece of public policy, and the implementation could be transparent — like the lotto draw.

    What would happen if a person did not waive their rights to litigate? Would they simply be excluded from the system?

    Of course. Participation would involved accepting that no correspondence would be entered into, save the claim of clear malfeasance, corruption or error, and then the only relief would be another draw. Since even the losers get an incremented chance at the next draw, they have an incentive to accept the result.

  40. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 30th, 2010 at 21:10 | #40

    Did you know Terje that one of the reasons that inequality has been on the rise for three decades has been researched and found to be the product of union bashing and dismantling by both sides of the political spectrum

    No I didn’t know that. Do you care to cite the research? Has it been peer reviewed?

    If you want to support and live in a world where elites, class and birthrights rule – move to Europe Terje.

    No I don’t and no I won’t. It’s too cold in Europe.

  41. Alice
    March 30th, 2010 at 21:19 | #41

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Terje –

    Im not here tro be your research assistant when you cant be bothered to do your own reading…Ill start you off (now go read on teh link between loss of unions and unons activity and rising inequality).

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w6520

    Buy yourself a warm coat and move to Europe.

  42. March 31st, 2010 at 13:29 | #42

    Fran,
    It is not only wealth and social privilege. I am not from a wealthy background, nor from one that would be counted as socially privileged, yet I have access to quality housing. To be honest, compared to what housing was like a century ago then just about everyone has access to quality housing now.
    As for the “waiving” of rights, you are essentially saying that either you give up your rights to protest or you do not get a home. That, if I may suggest, is not a recipe for freedom, it is highly oppressive. If you attempted to allocate employment on the same basis then I think you would see the issue there.
    .
    Alice,
    Terje is right – comprehension does seem to be a weak point. Try the one you addressed to Iain above that was pointed at me.

  43. wilful
    March 31st, 2010 at 14:15 | #43

    Actually Alice, it’s a reasonable request, when challenged on a fact, to provide your own linked evidence. You can’t wave that away by saying “I’m not your research assistant”, that’s very poor netiquette, it infers you really can’t prove what you were saying.

  44. Alice
    April 2nd, 2010 at 07:49 | #44

    @wilful
    says “Actually Alice, it’s a reasonable request, when challenged on a fact, to provide your own linked evidence.”

    Wilful – you obviously didnt notice the link in my post at 40. Would you like more linked evidence on the link between loss of union power and rising inequality over the past three or four decades?

  45. Freelander
    April 2nd, 2010 at 08:25 | #45

    ” I can conceive of many things. ”
    Talk about self parody.

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