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Collapsing case for privatisation

April 22nd, 2010

The Bligh government’s case for asset sales rests in part on a supposed fiscal emergency arising from the global financial crisis and in part from the general ideological claim that putting infrastructure assets into the hands of the private sector will promote economic efficiency. Both parts of the case have taken a knock in the last couple of days. A study by Access Economics confirms the findings of the union-commissioned study by Bob Walker and Betty Con Walker (derided by the government and state Treasury at the time) that the budget position is much stronger than has been admitted so far.

On the second point, Liberal Lord Mayor of Brisbane Campbell Newman has conceded that the days of private toll roads are probably over. As I’ve been saying for years (getting on for decades now) these projects always involve a social loss. In the 1990s, it was almost always the public that took the loss while private operators made out like bandits. In the easy money environment of the 2000s, private investors made silly investments, and often lost the lot. Now that everyone has wised up, there will be no more deals like this.

By far the best solution would be for the state government to buy back all the toll roads, and replace ad hoc tolls with a coherent system of congestion pricing. The Bligh government instead, plans to sell off its own toll roads. As for congestion pricing, Anna Bligh has made her view pretty clear “not while this government is in office”. In reply to which I can only quote Men in Black – “Your offer is acceptable”.

H/Ts Darren Godwell, Tom Miller, Nancy Wallace

Categories: Economic policy Tags:
  1. jack horner
    April 26th, 2010 at 12:32 | #1

    In reponse to the criticism that congestion charging is ‘rich people pricing poor people off the roads’ (eg #6, 7):

    1. Argument of principle: we live in a world where richer people can outbid poorer people for most of life’s goodies. In a some cases we regard equality as more important than efficiency and distribute by rationing or queuing instead (eg water restrictions). There are interesting morally ambiguous situations in the middle, where public attitudes are more a matter of custom than rationality. Perhaps I don’t mind richer people buying their way to the front of the queue at the airport terminal by going first class, but I do mind it when they jump the queue at a concert by paying a premium to a scalper.

    So is ‘access to roads’ more like ‘access to water’ or ‘access to air travel’? Clearly many people think the first. Personally I wish they wouldn’t, considering that the unpriced access creates the congestion which is so detrimental to the environment and urban amenity, including to the many working class souls who are sitting in the congestion.

    Remember that the purpose of congestion charges is to internalise the externality. When you enter a congested road you are increasing the delay suffered by everyone already on it (and this cost can be quite significant when the road is near capacity). Why should you not have to pay for the cost you impose on others?

    2. Pragmatic answer: the only likely congestion charging in Australia (short of going to GPS based everywhere tolling, which no-one has seriously suggested**) would be a cordon charge to enter central business districts. This would almost certainly be a progressive tax. It’s the executives driving to their employer provided parking spots who foul up the city environment for the majority of commoners who have come in by train or bus. Eg 75% of journey to works in Sydney CBD are by public transport. The remaining 25% whose cars monopolise the space and befoul the city environment do not deserve any sympathy (you could have exemptions for disabled people).

    It would be interesting to do a study of ‘who suffers more from traffic congestion, by socio-economic profile?’ I would not be surprised if outer suburban blue collar types suffer more than inner suburban white collar catch-the-train-to-the-office types, simply because the first group drive more.

    ** eg a system where every car has a gadget which detects the number of other cars nearby (as a proxy for congestion) and charges accordingly.

  2. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 12:58 | #2

    BilB,

    if state owned enterprises have fewer problems with separation of ownership and control, which is what you may be suggesting, what explains their poor performance?

    In New Zealand in 1984 the aggregate rate of return to the Crown from its porfolio of SOEs was zero per cent per annum.

    this return to the Crown from SOEs has increased to be slightly below the long-term bond rate two years ago – last time I saw data.

    BTW, what constrains political patronage in state owned enterprise appointments? Is it a more effective process than that which is currently contraining asset sales in Queenland?

  3. April 26th, 2010 at 13:01 | #3

    @jack horner

    Pragmatic answer: the only likely congestion charging in Australia (short of going to GPS based everywhere tolling, which no-one has seriously suggested**

    Well I have seriously suggested it and there’s an economist at Monash (whose name escapes me at the moment) who has proposed something similar. It may even be in the Henry Review, though not the transponders of course.

    Other than that, your reasoning is fair enough.

  4. BilB
    April 26th, 2010 at 13:10 | #4

    The flaw is in the assumption that “hunted heads” perform any better over all than any other form of executive appointee. State owned enterprises are nominally neutral profit organisations. An example would be Christchurch Airport owned and operated by the CHCH City Council which was run efficiently for the benefit of all and had accumulated a $35 million surplus. The then Labour government demanded that the council distribute the surplus or the airport would be confiscated by the central government and sold. To this day I still cannot understand that logic, but the fact remains that the airport was well planned, efficient, and affordable for all. Good management.

  5. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 14:18 | #5

    BilB

    are you suggesting that there are no costs to appointing party hacks to the Christchurch airport board? Performance would not be diluted?

    If the airport’s board does not matter to success, who is doing the good work down there, and who is making sure that their successors are just as good at doing a good job? This continuity of good performance requires insight by the board into why the airport was successful and what will keep it successful. If not, changes of CEOs or other key personnel who show up as drops and rises in performance as their positive influence comes and goes.

    A large literature notes that a common solution to the separation of ownership and control is to give decision ratification rights to a board of directors and decision management rights to hired executives.

    This form of corporate organisation is common across most areas of the economy and evn the non-profit area suggesting that it can survive against competing solutions to the organisation challenges facing each firm.

    I presume the airport board still has decision ratification rights and directors’ duties?

    BTW 1: it would be disappointing that a monopoly such as an airport could not make a profit, but many state owned monopolies failed to even manage this.

    BTW 2: if state owned airports were so efficient why was it that for many decades they did not price landing slots efficiently?

  6. Alice
    April 26th, 2010 at 15:14 | #6

    @Jim Rose
    Jim comments

    “BTW 1: it would be disappointing that a monopoly such as an airport could not make a profit, but many state owned monopolies failed to even manage this.”

    As if the profit motive is, or should be the be the objective of every state owned monopoly (or even State Govt, library, train station, bus route)…the flaw in your reasoning there for all to see…lets make each and every tiddling govt service produce “profit” (a meaningless term in itself and easily manipulated).

    You forget the concept of breakeven Jim Rose and probably dont understand that it was once the core objective of the state providing affordable services at nominal cost or none, whilst covering their costs with taxes and other income generating assets…in order to lower costs for other users, large and small, in the private sector.

    Case in point – most firms use trucks and road transport (or rail and ports) to deliver their goods. If the government provides these services from our collective taxes or by managing assets which generate income and covers the cost of delivering solid transport services as “commercial aids”, I fail to see why each and every state owned monopoly should generate a profit, rather than breakeven.

    I dont suppose you have ever stopped to consider that governments seeking profits from their activities, in fact competes with and may reduce private sector profit generating abilities. Making profits also gives public departments a reason to grow as any normal firm in the private sector would want to do (growth objective). Yet many who claim the state “fails to make profits” or “should have a profit objective” also tend to support the “smaller government is better” chatter.

    If State owned enterprises “should” have the profit objective then why not the growth objective?

    Do you want the state to have one business objective but not the other?

    Profit making objectives should lie with the private sector and state activities should be to provide services that assist those private sector profit making objectives – not to set up shop alongside..

    Your outlook fails also to take into account the gross failures of private sector profit seeking firms, who have been left with insufficient regulation to curb their inefficient excesses, which we have all recently witnessed with extreme distaste under completely false notions that “regulation is bad for all markets”. Do you also presume that cronyism doesnt exist in private sector organisations, managements and boards or that it exists in greater amounts in the public sector? I would consider that a remarkable leap of faith that people in organisations could be so different depending on a simple line drawn in the sand “public V private.”

  7. boconnor
    April 26th, 2010 at 15:26 | #7

    Re: @Alice post number 30 (page 2), @Ernestine post numbers 28 and 34 (page 2) – personal comments about others

    I’m just curious, whatever we think about the issues, is this the way we want to be interacting together on this site?

  8. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 15:37 | #8

    If governments are so good at running assets such as roads why do they reject congestion pricing for roads and for a long tinme, for airports too?

    Rather than live in perpetual hope of better motivation among political players of all shades, what constitutional reforms would give the same politicians reason to act more in the public interest rather than short-term political gain?

    The other party is in power half the time so saying vote for the party you favour is pointless. Those wreckers on the opposition benches will come to power one day soon either directly or through the governing party co-opting most of their policies to cling to power for another term. Design political structures instead on the basis of the loser’s principle. Given that you are just as likely to be out of power as in office, what powers would you vest in your opponents?

    Ken Livingston got congestion pricing into London because as an independent, he had to promise something simple and really big such as fix London’s transport problems to justify a vote for him.

  9. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 15:44 | #9

    @boconnor

    No, I would not want to use your personalised sampling method.

  10. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 15:44 | #10

    boconnor

    you make a good point about the need for good manners and to not get personal. I ignore all comments made now and forever in the future by those who do not show good manners.

  11. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 16:04 | #11

    @Jim Rose

    “If governments are so good at running assets such as roads why do they reject congestion pricing for roads and for a long tinme, for airports too?”

    What is your premise?

  12. Alice
    April 26th, 2010 at 16:18 | #12

    @Jim Rose

    Ernestine is far more credible than many in here and has a right to object when blatant theoretical falsehoods and false or erroneous statistics are posted here specifically for the purpose of pushing a particular agenda, lobbying, or misleading the public who may read this site. I note Bilb has raised this matter as well and I also note bOconnor has used a personalised sampling method in his comment above – Ernestine is quite right – BOconnor has ignored many other personal comments in this thread. I also note Ernestine has already called out this tactic in a prior post. Call on the “comments policy”, apply it selectively to those who’s views you dont agree with, ignore the personal comments of those you do politically agree with, without regard to the facts or substance of the argument. Its a form of censorship.

    I did ask at 6#, seeing you seem to place importance on state owned monopolies “making profits” whether…

    “If State owned enterprises “should” have the profit objective then why not the growth objective?

    Do you want the state to have one business objective but not the other?”

    Some questions can also be strategically avoided with a “distraction” because there may exist no logic in the preferred response eg “yes I do expect the government to have the profit motive like the private sector but Id prefer no growth objective” (unlike the private sector). Form over substance perhaps?

  13. Alice
    April 26th, 2010 at 16:38 | #13

    It would seem far more logical to simply curtail further development of the CBD and to encourage the growth of satellite CBD developments, industrial / commercial and mixed strip zonings for shops at locations in locations in our great expanse of suburbs away from the CBD, for the simple reason that more would not have to travel so far to get to work. Traffic down, congestion down and no need for user pays pricing impositions like congestion taxes (although for the Sydney CBD – I am not against this ). It may also promote small business eg rather than only those who can afford the rent at a Lowy owned site. I now have a job 5 minutes (sheer bliss) from my home and my emmission contributions are obviously less than before and my road use less.

  14. boconnor
    April 26th, 2010 at 17:02 | #14

    @ernestine and @alice

    I noticed your posts as being an attack on Fran as a person, not merely a debate of ideas. This forum is an oasis of reasoned discussion compared with most of what passes for debate on the ‘net.

    It would be a pity if personal attacks about someone’s background occurred again on this forum. And a particular pity if such behaviour did not attract adverse comment from others.

  15. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 17:06 | #15

    I forgot to mention, all comparisons between government and private ownership such as for Christchurch airport must be to before 1984, not to it now.

    The horrors of Rogernomics made everything worse in the eyes of some and disturbed a satisfactory pre-1984 status quo. Those of this view should be happy to compare with the good old days. The pre-1984 airport would have seen the airport at its best before commercialisation, corporatisation and the threat of privatisation subverted everything. Only by comparing before 1984 can fair comparisons be made.

  16. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 17:15 | #16

    Ernestine Gross,

    I was responding to Professor Quiggin’s post that “By far the best solution would be for the state government to buy back all the toll roads, and replace ad hoc tolls with a coherent system of congestion pricing.”

    If governments are good at owning assets, congestion pricing would be much more wide-spread. It is not. This is either a massive co-incidence repeated again and again through time or there is an institutional failing in governments as an owner.

  17. April 26th, 2010 at 17:27 | #17

    @boconnor

    Thanks for the support, but I’m personally untroubled by Alice and Ernestine’s posting style. As a HS teacher, one gets used to the fact that not everything one hears from people is significantly about anything one has said or done.

    Alice and Ernestine mean well. They emotionally solidarise with the disadvantaged, which is commendable, but are confused about how to turn this sentiment into something workable. Lacking any coherent vision, they adjudge ideas by referring back to seemingly communitarian ideas — and user pays and large centralised power systems clearly don’t fit that vision. Hence, they lash out personally when others like me propose ideas that seem to offend their communitarian vision in circumstances where there is no clear intellectual refutation.

    I am disappointed that they don’t seem able to move beyond their simplistic sloganeering and that I seem to upset them. As I said, they are very probably well intended and generous people in their personal lives, who really believe they are fighting the good fight against people like me. It’s a pity that instead of getting upset, they don’t make an effort to think through their ideas.

  18. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 17:39 | #18

    @Fran Barlow

    Fran Barlow, you are again making up a story about me. My PhD is in mathematical economics. I shall not be silenced on correcting your mis-representations and confusions of well defined economic concepts.

    boconner, you are not the host of this blog-site.

  19. April 26th, 2010 at 17:47 | #19

    @Ernestine Gross

    My PhD is in mathematical economics.

    What a pity then that so little of the expertise you surely acquired doing that is in evidence here. Can you briefly describe your PhD project so that its relevance to these matters is clear?

    Your rather fatuous strawman and snide remark earlier didn’t recommend your powers of analysis

  20. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 17:57 | #20

    @Jim Rose

    Thank you for your reply. I understand Professor Quiggin’s statement, which you quote, is written in the context of Queensland. I do not know the circumstances in Brisbane, but I do know that conditions are not the same everywhere. Hence I cannot accept your inference that:”If governments are good at owning assets, congestion pricing would be much more wide-spread.”

    Further, in a democracy the state owns assets on behalf of the public. Therefore, the informed opinion of the public is relevant too in one way or another.

  21. Alice
    April 26th, 2010 at 18:43 | #21

    @Fran Barlow
    Dare I say so much Fran but you have come perilously close to violating the comments policy with this post …and your previous comments on this thread, which apparently BOconnor chose to ignore.
    So lets get back to the discussion at hand …shall we? Im in agreement that Ernestine has every right to call your bluff.

  22. Alice
    April 26th, 2010 at 18:59 | #22

    Yet still no-one has advanced even a response that can answer this question..

    “If State owned enterprises “should” have the profit objective then why not the growth objective?

    Do you want the state to have one business objective but not the other?”

    If you want small government and state enterprises in the hands of the private sector, run by the private sector…I put to you Jim Rose…that what you really seek is not state intervention that is profitable at all, because insisting on the profit objective, without permitting the growth objective is a sure fire way to hobble an entity before it can gain any economies of scale (and thus produce higher profit).

    You cant have it both ways. You either take the reigns off government to the same extent of the private sector or you dont…but it seems niggardly to complain about state enterprises “not making a profit” whilst at the seem time seeking to curtail all that they do.

    One could mistake such attitudes as being hypocritical in the the extreme in the same way some use slogans all over their posts and latterly accuse others of “simplistic sloganeering”…but I guess there are always “polite” personal insults that can be used, whilst at the same time being …..well a personal insult.

  23. Alice
    April 26th, 2010 at 19:05 | #23

    @boconnor
    BOconnoer says = “It would be a pity if personal attacks about someone’s background occurred again on this forum. And a particular pity if such behaviour did not attract adverse comment from others.”

    I refer you directly to comment 19.

  24. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 19:49 | #24

    @Alice

    Yes, one ought to check for biased sampling. However, IMO, comment 17 is worse. 19 contains a fatuous comment, which many might take as a personal insult, but 17 contains false information – a published fabrication and no apology. The publication of fabrications is, IMO, much worse then a personal insult.

    I object to misinformtion involving well established economic concepts because economists are often blamed for all sorts of malfunctionings. At times it may be justified, but at other times it is not. In this context, it is relevant to talk about the personal backgrounds of people who sprook stuff which, to the uninitiated may easily be taken as coming from an economist.

  25. Jim Rose
    April 26th, 2010 at 19:56 | #25

    Ernestine Gross

    You mention democracy and that “… the informed opinion of the public is relevant too in one way or another.”

    I do not qualify the will of the people in the way you may do. I might be mistaken in interpreting your post.

    Votes in elections count equally. We all have one vote each. That is the essence of political equality.

    Each vote counts no matter how informed or ill-informed the voter might be, or how beside the point their fellow voters might think another voter’s motives and reasons might be. One purpose of the secret ballot is to protect the right of voters to choose as they please as it pleases them. Education and literacy tests on who can vote and which votes count in an election in a democracy went out of favour decades ago.

    Who was it who said that democracy is the idea that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    Congestion pricing is not popular, which is why few politicians risk supporting it. Unpopular policies are not always bad policies. Popular policies can be mistaken.

    In a democracy, you are even allowed to maintain and try and persuade others that the majority got it wrong again and again in electing and re-electing governments in the 1980s and onwards that cut taxes, deregulated and privatised.

  26. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 20:23 | #26

    Alice :It would seem far more logical to simply curtail further development of the CBD and to encourage the growth of satellite CBD developments, industrial / commercial and mixed strip zonings for shops at locations in locations in our great expanse of suburbs away from the CBD, for the simple reason that more would not have to travel so far to get to work. Traffic down, congestion down and no need for user pays pricing impositions like congestion taxes (although for the Sydney CBD – I am not against this ). It may also promote small business eg rather than only those who can afford the rent at a Lowy owned site. I now have a job 5 minutes (sheer bliss) from my home and my emmission contributions are obviously less than before and my road use less.

    Back on topic.

    You mention concentration of workplaces in the city. This raises an interesting question, namely to what extent does a congestion tax encourage decision makers, who tend to have subsidised car parking facilities in the city and tax subsidised if not totally corporation paid for congestion tax, to build further work place concentration (and wind-tunnels). This is an empirical question, one of many, including that raised by Jack horner 1 p3.

  27. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 20:35 | #27

    @Jim Rose

    Quite right, the adjective ‘informed’ is open to alternative interpretations; apologies. I concur with you that votes have equal value and this is a good thing. So by ‘informed’ I mean both, published expert opinion, honest public discussions, and private information. The latter refers to personal circumstances such as location of residency in relation to location of work and available public transport, to name a few. There are public consultation processes but there are also complaints about these processes. I would not venture to offer an opinion on what ought to be.

  28. Freelander
    April 26th, 2010 at 20:52 | #28

    “Government owned enterprises face far greater problems from the separation of ownership and control than do private corporations. one example is the turnover of CEOs of government owned businesses is half that of private businesses.”

    Large business face the same sorts of problems whether in government or the private sector. Both are run by bureaucracies. Both face leadership problems. CEOs are not really answerable to shareholders to a great extent. Politicians are similarly incompetent when compare to board chairman. Government tends to own monopolies, or at least it did when it owned, and monopolies are not under pressure by competitors. At least with government ownership there is more chance that wider concerns are taken account of in the entities performance. If you were an economist you would know that profit is hardly the metric of efficient performance. Monopolies often have choice over the level of profit they enjoy. Government entities often didn’t choose to make a profit. The privatisation of airports is a great example of a disaster. Airports, which are monopolies in private hands are now choosing to clawi profit left right and centre. True there is a jobs for the boys system for ex-MPs of dubious merit amongst state owned enterprises but this is similiar to the old boys network in the private sector where members of the club of dubious merit get their noses in the public sector trough. To big to fail is often just a failure to understand that some issues are too big to ignore and if an issue is to big to ignore it is actually a benefit if the issue is housed in a single entity. Also, too big to fail, the privatised entities typically remain too big to fail but the difference is that when they are bailed out, by taxpayers, those who benefit are people in the private sector. Look at the recent financial crisis.
    Incentives are a problem regardless of whether it is government or the private sector.

    It is all very easy to read for the hymn sheet and repeat the mantra of “Government bad, Private sector good” but rather than reading from the ideological text, even if it is a fine piece of literature, sometimes a little thinking and analysis comes in handy.

    You would seem to fit in well with some of the clowns employed by the Australian Federal Government in its premier advisory body “The Productivity Commission”. Their choir does many a tune from the hymn book. Though again maybe the government is doing everyone a favour by employing them. Otherwise, they might be ought mugging little old ladies or even worse, be in the financial sector losing thousands their life savings and their houses with the consequence that thousands of families end up on the street. The problem in the private and public sector is that organisations are run by people and as we frequently see on this blog, some of them are nuts.

  29. Freelander
    April 26th, 2010 at 21:08 | #29

    I really like the way libertarians rapidly disown their own whenever someone is silly enough to give a libertarian the chance of actually running things. Roger Douglas disowned. Greenspan disowned. The solution to avoid this is never to let them run things, which they are universally appalling at. Better to let them give advice from the sidelines. They certainly are great at that, and at rewriting history. If you put libertarians in charge disaster is bound to follow. The greatest most recent examples – Greenspan and Iceland. New Zealand is simply an old example floating off shore as a good warning to Australia. Looks like they still haven’t learnt anything.

  30. Ernestine Gross
    April 26th, 2010 at 22:31 | #30

    @Freelander

    “Large business face the same sorts of problems whether in government or the private sector. Both are run by bureaucracies.”

    The bureaucracy aspect is one. There is another one, namely that the decision problem of a corporate enterprise when markets are incomplete is analytically equivalent to a public choice problem. This result is by Professor Frank Milne, an Australian economist, now in Canada, previously at the ANU.

  31. Freelander
    April 26th, 2010 at 22:42 | #31

    Yes. The real problem is not so much ownership as organisation. With a large organisation there are large problems to solve. Organisations can be large because of scale economies being greater than the problems entailed by a large bureaucracy. The really important issues are how to make large organisations perform well. If a large organisation is lucky enough to be being run by good management, the most efficient structure can be quite different to the structure that might be best with less competent management. Problem is that the way people tend to get jobs in bureaucracies where performance is not clear cut and is a matter of opinion is more explained by sociology and social psychology, than the market efficiently allocating the best resources, in terms of value in terms of price, to the job. There is no market for labour the way there is a market for gold, even for low level jobs in the labour market.

  32. Alice
    April 27th, 2010 at 07:00 | #32

    @Ernestine Gross
    Agree Ernestine.

  33. Stephen
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:16 | #33

    For some people – including politicians – spending is addictive. As with any addiction, the addict will seek to rationalise his or her destructive behaviour. Such rationalisations will change with circumstances and are not to be taken seriously. Any attempt at reasoned argument is futile.

    The real purpose of selling off private monopolies in Queensland is to find more cash to feed the Bligh Government’s habit. Unfortunately, in this case it is the people of Queensland who will suffer for the addiction.

  34. Ernestine Gross
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:34 | #34

    @Freelander

    Returning to ‘large’ infrastructure, characterised as a network of physical assets that are potetially used by all members of a society. I am not convinced that ownership does not matter in this case.

    There is a related problem, namely what belongs to the infrastructure. I have in mind the aviation industry. Clearly there is a network of physical assets involved, namely airports (one needs at least 2). But, except for the special case of Herriet jump jets which can take of and land vertically, there are flight path. These flight path involve the physical environment (air space), which is a non-marketable (not tradeable because it is not divisible) but essential commodity for humans ‘consumption’.

  35. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:55 | #35

    @Ernestine Gross

    I tend to agree. Ownership would be better in public hands. But I imagine that would fall out from proper analysis, scientific research and developed theory on appropriate orgnisational structure and the incentives they embody, fit for particular purposes. In the case of infrastructure, I imagine that for a variety of reasons, public ownership would be part of the equation to eliminate some of the perverse incentives the chance to appropriate the gains and use the market power one has with an infrastructure service to enrich one’s self. The opportunity to enrich oneself from a publicly owned enterprise is smaller, doing so more difficult, and easier to detect. What’s more enriching yourself from a publicly owned enterprise is more clearly illegal.

  36. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:56 | #36

    this is in addition to the aspects you note.

  37. Ernestine Gross
    April 28th, 2010 at 09:03 | #37

    @Freelander

    “But I imagine that would fall out from proper analysis, scientific research and developed theory on appropriate orgnisational structure and the incentives they embody, fit for particular purposes.”. Yes, this is what people who were brought up in an environment where ‘spin’ was not in just about everybody’s vocabulary would imagine. In the case of Syndey airport, the EIS glossed over, via the by now well known spin methods of communication experts, that the science based analysis examined only the area up to Drommoyne, ie about 20 km of residential area were left out. This spin stuff is a public nuisance.

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