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New sandpit

December 16th, 2010

Another sandpit thread

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  1. Chris Warren
    December 16th, 2010 at 11:28 | #1

    So here is the real reason, some want population growth.

    Capitalists Candour?

    I remember in the 1970′s captains of industry baying for the same (eg Brian Loton then head of BHP).

    So why can’t capitalists make profits without destroying both the money system, and the population?

  2. paul walter
    December 16th, 2010 at 12:04 | #2

    Thats been my thought lately as well. I can live with the foibles, petty graft and so forth, but the attack on the base is lunatic.
    We see this in the crude attempts to actually celebrate the sinking of the boat off Xmass Island. A world where ignorance is the price for corporate survival and where that might lead..

  3. BilB
    December 16th, 2010 at 16:03 | #3

    For starters there are a range of types of capitalists. Corporations, these are businesses that are generally no longer under the guidence of the original imagineers that created the business from nothing, are margins operators who need to have labour competing for the opportunity to work for them. This competition keeps wages lower. US corporations should be in 7nth heaven at the moment, only problem is that large chunks of their population has no money, and the US does not need labour so much since they have shifted the bulk of their consumer product manufacturing to China. So the unemployment level there is only dragging down their business through weak turnover rather than building it up with cheap labour.

    Back home here corporations are having to compete amoungst themselves for the skilled labour that they need to maintain the “rip the heart out of the place” mining extraction level which maximises their profits. Boat loads of unskilled mislingual illiterates are not very useful to an economy requiring a relatively high level of educated performance. Even worse such people generally become a higher drain on social welfare and administrative resources than do regular selected migrants, and this is something that the Murdochs of the world do not like at all.

    It is not so much about capitalists on whole as it is about agressive corporations and other greedies.

  4. Alice
    December 16th, 2010 at 16:19 | #4

    @paul walter
    Paul – what we are living with now is not petty graft – its major graft. Note KK dirty midnight sell off of electricity but wait for more…the tip is also now sold to a consortium of France and Singapore – just wait until french radioactive waste starts arriving at your local tip (WSN).

    Must read Griftopia by Matt Tabibi. I posted this link elsewhere but it explains the irrational and unexplainable privatisations (lik QR rail and the rest) and the steady stream of them.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/exclusive-excerpt-america-on-sale-from-matt-taibbis-griftopia-20101018

  5. paul walter
    December 16th, 2010 at 16:45 | #5

    Precisely Alice. Am not worried about someone pinching a few tea bags from the office caddy because its the wrong side of pay day.
    The KK is classic new labor- surreptitious, arrogant, devious, irrational: absolute lack of underlying “consciousness” . not just interested in alittle honey on the spoon, but the emptying of the whole jar.
    What happens when the things stolen or destroyed now are needed later?
    I know.
    Aboriginal history since colonisation.

  6. Alice
    December 16th, 2010 at 17:23 | #6

    @paul walter
    The worst thing is Paul – the things stolen and in the process of being destroyed (to wit – the very infrastructure from under our noses) are needed now but neither party of government has any big ideas. Worse – they do not even have any maintenance ideas such is their indecent haste to do the next deal. There is no forward planning going on here. No one can have any confidence in either party of government. No one can have any confidence that there are forward plans in either. There are none. The banks and funds and their push has gotten too big for all of us.

  7. Chris Warren
    December 16th, 2010 at 18:52 | #7

    @BilB

    I cannot see the point. All capitalists want rates of returns based on what they can scrape off other people. Large capitalists (cartels) have a lot of market and political power but, even if these particular aggressive corporations did not exist, we would still have mountains of per capita debt and begging cries for more population, more exports and more subsidies.

    The economic downturn since 2000, is a structural artefact of capitalism – small, medium, or large.

    Presumably a market socialist society could still have aggressive corporations, but they will not threaten economic stability.

  8. Alice
    December 16th, 2010 at 19:38 | #8

    @Chris Warren
    Actually Chris who says “Large capitalists (cartels) have a lot of market and political power but, even if these particular aggressive corporations did not exist, we would still have mountains of per capita debt and begging cries for more population, more exports and more subsidies.”

    I disagree. Part if the reason we are begging for more poopulation, more exports and more subsidies is in fact because its the large capitalists (Cartel) organisations doing the begging. This is because they are increasingly extracting the surplus from households rather close to the bone and are disappointed no more growth is forthcoming while those they extract from are feeling the pinch. Its a natural response (these days) for large capitalists to call for new markets when their old markets have been, in a sense, sucked dry and they face no growth.

    They have not yet got used, post GFC, to the idea of normal profits.

  9. paul walter
    December 16th, 2010 at 21:20 | #9

    Yes Alice, because its an obsessive compulsive thing with them, like gambling. Systemically warped individuation involving elite schools and the like, gender: heaps of stuff plays into it
    The overachiever head space must be a fraught place to be, I think.

  10. December 17th, 2010 at 01:50 | #10

    Bob Brown has responded to Andrew Bolt’s disgusting column about the Christmas Island shipwreck. Brown suggested Bolt should resign.

    This comment bears repeating:

    Why on earth should Bolt resign?

    He is doing PRECISELY what he is paid huge bucks to do.

    News Ltd. is NOT doing damage control. Apart from the fact that they are carrying out exactly the kind of revisionism Orwell described in 1984 (ie: the “memory hole”) in-house, they have very determinedly been doing that as company policy for years.

    News Ltd.’s brand is so dangerously damaged worldwide that they have to revert to the only power they still have, if we give it to them, which is to “own the debate”.

    Bolt shouldn’t resign. Mitchell shouldn’t resign. Hartigan shouldn’t resign.

    Gillard had a golden opportunity tonight on national television to nail this cancer on our society but she was never going to take it because the menless faces running our political class are willingly complicit in News Ltd’s setting of policy for this country.

    Instead of saying “I saw those columns in the paper”, if she was worthy of being our PM she could have said something like:

    “What News Ltd chooses to publish is, of course Heather, up to them. But, as a decent society there comes a time when people have to ask themselves what low level of bastardry and rednecked racism or bigotry they are willing to subscribe to and to ask what we, as a government, can possibly do to ensure that no single media organisation or man can have such a corrosive, divisive and frankly un-Australian power over our media.

    Today I am announcing a thorough review of our media ownership laws to remove what many have referred to as the “Murdoch Clause” which essentially restricts any foreign ownership of Australian newspapers to anyone other than Mr Rupert Murdoch.

    In a truly ‘free market’, so beloved of Mr Murdoch the IPA the Lowy Institute and those on the political ‘right’, another foreign media owner such as Global Intertrade would have been able to invest in bringing not just genuine competition but much lacking diversity to the Australian media landscape.

    Hopefully these measures will go some way to bringing fairness and balance back into the reporting and commentary in our media so that this shameful episode can be put behind us and we can say that we, as a country, have learned something from it and it has not been just another black mark left unattended.

    Oh, I’m also announcing reforms that will make it impossible for anyone to draw a wage from both the ABC and any other media outlet. I hope that all Australians will embrace this new ‘Murdoch Clause’ as a step toward bringing rationality back into the public discourse that shapes any country.”

    “…fraudulent look of regret…” indeed.

    StopMurdoch!

  11. BilB
    December 17th, 2010 at 03:13 | #11

    Go Megan.

    Chris Warren,

    I think that you have a sugar coated view of socialism.

    Socialism just does not work for any great period of time in a society where the Alpa male can have the opportunity to rise to positions of dominance. I think that you would be well served to study the reseach of Robert Sopalsky and his work on stress with baboons. Particularly the episode of the Alpa male accident.

    That aside I would suggest that the small business end of our economy (50%) works very much with a socialist level of harmony and equity, though obviously not absolute equity.

    I think that one could write a book about

    “The economic downturn since 2000, is a structural artefact of capitalism – small, medium, or large”

    my flick reaction is that any downturn is more likely to be to do with overpopulation and competition for resources complicated by this planets peculiar brand of globalism and its historical place in the population progression process.

  12. BilB
  13. Chris O’Neill
    December 17th, 2010 at 05:03 | #13

    Megan:

    Bob Brown has responded to Andrew Bolt’s disgusting column about the Christmas Island shipwreck.

    Bear in mind that:

    According to one cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to The Age, an unnamed “key Liberal Party strategist” told US diplomats in November 2009 that the issue of asylum seekers was “fantastic” for the Coalition and “the more boats that come the better”.

    The Liberal party just love this. What they really want to say is “they drove their boat onto the rocks with children onboard”.

  14. Alice
    December 17th, 2010 at 06:15 | #14

    @Megan
    Yes – go Megan. Hear hear. I am sickened by the racist bigotry and ugliness of our media and the disgusting political cashing in on the refugee issue. Both the media and our politicians make me feel ill having to deal with my own billious contempt for them.

  15. Chris Warren
    December 17th, 2010 at 06:37 | #15

    @Alice

    Yes, but still…

    If large corporations did not exist, small capitalists would still cry for more population, more subsidies, more exports, and lower taxation, lower wages and lower regulation etc.

    So I see no problem.

  16. Chris Warren
    December 17th, 2010 at 09:55 | #16

    @BilB

    Huh? Where is the sugar coating?

    I was not talking about “socialism” but “market socialism”.

    Obviously at the small business end of the economy, where shopkeepers and self-employed contractors make their own wages and profit from their own labour – there is no problem. But then there is no capitalism here either.

    What do people want – market socialism with sugar, or capitalism with credit-cancer?

  17. Alice
    December 17th, 2010 at 10:59 | #17

    @Chris Warren
    There is no problem if you have an accountable separate government that operates entirely in the realm of public provision of services, is subject to scrutiny and controls, and doesnt get around doing deals with every private Sir Dudly Duddeal in town (whether its for donations, whether its for kickbacks, whether its to secure their post political career path, whether its for the returns of their own publicly funded superannuation).

    In short a government that can say no to calls for lower taxes, lower worker wages, lower regulation, and more subsidies. Or a government that can say no to its own calls for more perks in political office. A government that can say no to more “reviews, spin doctoring, media stunts like the big O and fireworks because Oprah is in town, more reviews, another V8 race, and another canned transport plan. A government that doesnt just spin its way through 4 years”.

    This mixing it with the private sector in filthy PPS and dirty deals over donations is part and parcel of the cancerous greedy unchecked failing capitalism we now see. They want their credit ratings high – what for? They never use the credit – not even when its needed, as in the mess of public transport.

    I note Linfox in the news today has finally admitted it gets more productivity from permanently employed workers and those who earn a decent salary. It has agreed with the transport workers union to raise superannuation rates to 15% over the next few years at one percent a year – give all employees who have been employed longer than 6 months the offer of a permanent position and is raising wage rates a certain percentage over the next few years.

    At least there is one company out there doing the right thing by its employees even if it took a strong union to get that level of respect for employees.

    Maybe the CEO of Linfox needs to get into town and speak to a few of our Vice Chancellors about where they are heading with their attitudes to academic staff (nowhere). Then after that Mr Linfox should go and beat some sense into the heads of those stores who think young school leaving kids are nothing more than disposable tissues – Hoyts, Rebel, JB hi Fi etc

    Maybe we need more Mr Linfoxs and maybe we need more unions, clearly.

  18. Alice
  19. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 07:33 | #19

    Link to Charlie’s post

    So, you regard the current wealth arrangements as equitable or perhaps even a liottle unfair to the wealthy?

    Little wonder then that you support uncharged tertiary education. It’s a way of clawing some back.

  20. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 07:39 | #20

    @Alice

    It doesnt help your arguments to bat with insults Fran – of the sort in your post at 46 addressed to Charles (“?receptive literacy problems).

    It’s not an insult if the shoe fits. Charles (and subsequently Hal) made clear that they couldn’t understand a fairly simple claim, though perhaps they were simply trolling.

  21. Charlie
    December 20th, 2010 at 09:40 | #21

    Fran: what nonsense when you say “Little wonder then that you support uncharged tertiary education. It’s a way of clawing some back”. The rich can well afford to pay the full cost of of their childrens’ HE from their petty cash account, and they do, saving their offspring the chore of HECS and its repayments.

    Little Johnny Rich and Little Poor John both join BHP/Rio after graduating doing same job for same salary, but come end of month pay day, Johnny Rich takes home more than Poor John because he does not have any HECS deductions. Is that intra-generation equity?

  22. Hal9000
    December 20th, 2010 at 09:56 | #22

    they couldn’t understand a fairly simple claim

    Yes, the claim was that, because taxation is imperfectly progressive, we should make it more regressive. Quite simple, as you say Fran. You may have difficulty winning converts among the rational, however.

  23. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 11:05 | #23

    @Charlie

    The rich can well afford to pay the full cost of of their childrens’ HE from their petty cash account, and they do, saving their offspring the chore of HECS and its repayments.

    In that case they are contributing more than if tertiary education were an uncharged benefit from the common pool of funds. I’d encourage them to do that, because early access to the funds removes uncertainty borne by the state.

    Whether a properly structured HECS scheme subverts or augments equity is simple to work out. If no non-substantially privileged person is ever rquired to pay HECS contributions then in practice, their position is exactly that of a person getting what you call “free tertiary education”. Their contribution is conditional on joining the class of privileged persons.

    The only persons who become worse off relative to where they would have been are comparatively privileged persons who now have to contribute a modest amount based on their income.

    The conclusion is forced — that under this arrangement, the substantially privileged make a greater contribution to the common pool than before and thus the measure improves equity.

    Little Johnny Rich and Little Poor John both join BHP/Rio after graduating doing same job for same salary, but come end of month pay day, Johnny Rich takes home more than Poor John because he does not have any HECS deductions. Is that intra-generational equity?

    Since both are on the same gross salary both are social twins. The former had the benefit of a more privileged background, and HECS does not of course disturb that, though of course the cact that LJR’s parent paid of LJRs HECS debt is really no different from his pOV them handing him the money in cash to pay the debt. Of course, the fact that they have paid this early means that the state can now use this money to provide educational and services to people who don’t have the income enjoyed by LJR and LJP.

    If you want to propose measures to break down inherited wealth I’m listening.

    @Hal9000

    Yes, the claim was that, because taxation is imperfectly progressive, we should make it more regressive.

    Adding more support for my claim that you can’t understand a fairly simple claim won’t help you garner more support amongst the rational. A properly strucrtured HECS makes total transfers more equitable not less.

    You need to show how HECS necessarily transfers income or valuable assets from less privileged to more privileged people.

  24. Hal9000
    December 20th, 2010 at 12:19 | #24

    No, Fran, you need to show how progressive taxation is more regressive than a fee for study structure that gives discounts to the rich. Prof Q’s post made a case for universal tertiary education, along the same lines as primary and secondary education. He also posited a range of options for mitigating any regressive impact, which is where you’re stuck with the wheels spinning.

    Other posters, as well as I, have responded to your idee fixe with a number of arguments about how the HECS scheme is bad for education and benefits the wealthy more than those of more modest means. Your responses have been a John Howardesque parade of evasions. The one above is an exemplar of the genre. Faced with the fact that the system favours the wealthy through systematic discounting where payment is made up front, you redefine all students and graduates as ‘privileged’ , such that any distinctions between them are of no account.

    Like arguing with the climate change deniers, it’s impossible to make any headway where any objection can be argued away by a quick change of definitions. Also like climate change deniers, your technique is to demand that others produce evidence contradicting your talking points. The rhetorical posture then becomes ‘if you can’t adduce reams of statistics to refute my unsourced assertions, I’ve won.’ I have pointed out that your basic argument would, if consistently applied, demand that fees be introduced for school education. Your response was the magical knowledge response – I, Fran Barlow, know which participants in the education system are deserving and which ones are not, end of story.

    To return to Prof Q’s post again, it is primarily an argument for universal tertiary education. You know, universal as in the expectation that every young person gets to go to uni and not just the children of the well off. You have made no attempt to engage with this central point.

    If your contribution wasn’t designed to derail what could have been an interesting thread, you really need to take more care, since that was its chief effect. You say you are a teacher. I do hope your charges aren’t treated to the argumentation you seem routinely to bring to your blogging, where you seem to range across the whole spectrum from inflexible to doctrinaire. Were you ever a disciple of Leon Trotsky, I wonder?

  25. Chris O’Neill
    December 20th, 2010 at 14:06 | #25

    @Charlie

    Johnny Rich takes home more than Poor John because he does not have any HECS deductions. Is that intra-generation equity?

    Obviously there’s a lot more inter-generational equity going on than intra-generational equity. But bear in mind that there is a limit to the equity that can be achieved through education. It’s never going to be worth spending much on educating shop assistants.

  26. Charlie
    December 20th, 2010 at 16:12 | #26

    Chris O’Neill: Thanks for that speaking as a sometime shop assistant but now a post-grad. Typical arrogance of the intellectual left who always when scratched prove to be dyed in the wool elitists under their skins. What’s wrong with shop assistants, all the ones I have known have been great people, unlike most public “servants” and politicians with their innate superiority complexes lording it over the rest of us, and gloating over HECS cash inflows which none of them over the age of 40 (eg Swann, Rudd, Gilliard) incurred. Those three are not even fit to be shop assistants, as they manifestly (v. their mining tax case) cannot do percentages.

    Chris do read Hal9000 and JQ for eloquently making the case for free education at all levels even for shopkeepers who meet entry requirements (including TAFE with its present grotesque fees, up to $1528 p.a. in NSW). JS Mill 1848 saw the social case for free schooling at a time when there was only private provision at all levels in the UK. He campaigned tirelessly for that as an MP in the later years of his life, unlike his venal successors in UK and here, and saw the beginnings of universal compulsory and free state schooling. Were he alive now he would be appalled by our HECS and its imitation in England.

    Fran, why don’t you relocate to PNG where even primary schooling requires up-front fees nearly equal to per capita GDP, thanks to the World Bank and lick spittle AusAid. That is your spiritual home, enjoy!

  27. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 16:52 | #27

    @Charlie

    Fran, why don’t you relocate to PNG where even primary schooling requires up-front fees nearly equal to per capita GDP, thanks to the World Bank and lick spittle AusAid. That is your spiritual home, enjoy!

    Are you saying that in an attempt to discourage the view that you can’t read in favour of the view that you are simply trolling?

    @Hal9000

    you need to show how progressive taxation is more regressive than a fee for study structure that gives discounts to the rich.

    I need do no such thing. Firstly, I favour progressive taxation, something you seem to have missed. Secondly, some fee, even a significantly discounted one, paid by the rich is better than no fee at all. Thirdly, as long as people stay not very privileged, their “fee” is discounted by 100%.

    One may argue that discounts for early payment are inequitable, and that they should be limited to the longterm government bond rate.

    I have pointed out {asserted} that your basic argument would, if consistently applied, demand that fees be introduced for school education.

    Yes but the reasoning was flawed. Children are not adults. The care of children is the ultimate responsibility of the whole adult community. Basic literacy, numeracy, general knowledge and social competence are fundamental to citizenship. That is why it is compulsory and must be supported directly. It would also be utterly impracticable to impose equivalent debts on parents of under 18s and collect them as the transaction costs would be huge.

    You thought this was so clever, that you didn’t bother arguing it. Like Alice, when you think you are right, arguments are no better than assertions.

    To return to Prof Q’s post again, it is primarily an argument for universal tertiary education. You know, universal as in the expectation that every young person gets to go to uni and not just the children of the well off.

    PrQ said post-secondary, not university, but in any event nothing I’ve said subverts this general principle, and indeed, it tends to support it.

    I do hope your charges aren’t treated to the argumentation you seem routinely to bring to your blogging, where you seem to range across the whole spectrum from inflexible to doctrinaire.

    Oh dear … you fancy your karma ran over my dogma … amusing.

    Were you ever a disciple of Leon Trotsky, I wonder?

    You’ve been here long enough to answer that question without asking it in order to look insightful.

  28. sdfc
    December 20th, 2010 at 20:59 | #28

    Fran

    Your comment to me from the other thread.

    “I disagree strongly with this. I very much doubt that there would be much of a difference between the proportions of those from business/vocational streams and those in the more esoteric arts in reaching the income threshholds for HECS repayments and in any event trying to decide which constituted general interest and which did not would be arbitrary. There is a general community interest in having a vibrant cultural life and there can be little doubt that strong humanities and arts teaching and research capacity underpins this, however it contributes to economic activity more generally”.

    Considering your above comment was in opposition to my contention that “cultural” students should have the same Hecs obligation as “vocational” students suggests you are in favour of subsidies for the upper middle class after all.

    Charles

    Hate to break it to you but university is not provided by the sun and running costs aren’t generated out of fresh air.

  29. Alice
    December 20th, 2010 at 21:28 | #29

    @sdfc
    says “Hate to break it to you but university is not provided by the sun and running costs aren’t generated out of fresh air.”

    No the profits of universities are being generated by increasingly casualising the academic workforce and slapping fees, hecs, parking charges, photocopying, library, computer, gym, sportsclub fees on students, cramming as many as can fit into class rooms, not replacing academic support staff and giving the average lecturer in charge three jobs in one (admin, teaching, and research).

    Oh and add mass sackings now in one Sydney uni and non payment to academics for two months in another Sydney uni.

    No the profits of universities are being gained from the blood, sweat and tears of our youth and our academics, while our unis lose the plot big time munching Maccas and fries and swilling US approved Coke from Coke vending machines in the corporate towers.

  30. Alice
    December 20th, 2010 at 21:41 | #30

    @Fran Barlow
    Another question for Fran, – if you are so not in favour of “the poor subsidising the wealthy” as is your strange response (one completely discredited because far more poor and middle could actually get to go to uni) to the idea of making tertiary education free and publicly provided and your advoacting user pays – a regressive tax if ever there was one.

    Tell you what Fran – I have a deal for you. We stop subsidising elite private schools with our taxes and we use that money to fund tertiary education based on merit. Those who can afford to pay can pay for their right to enter uni by attending private schools and getting private tutors and giving the rest of our youth a fair go to get in by working hard and using their brains.

    After that, its free for all and its a ball and chain taken off the majority of our youth and its may the best students win.

    Hecs and the other rubbish charges Id like to removed from all our youth. There isnt enough jobs out there to employ many of them full time. Why are they paying for the right to stay out of the unemployment figures to prop up politicians images, when governments are not doing a thing to redress the endemic casualisation and underemployment that is rife in their age group. They are flogging for a pittance any once public employers any chance they get. That is not helping either.

    Surely Fran, you must also object to the subsidies given to private schools before uni then?

    How about we take those elite private school subsidies back?. They are rich users who dont pay.

  31. Alice
    December 20th, 2010 at 21:45 | #31

    “from from inflexible to doctrinaire” – sums it beautifully. Fran -now be a good user and pay Prof your blog fees.

  32. SJ
    December 20th, 2010 at 21:48 | #32

    Fran’s either a rightist troll, or a very confused person. Best to ignore.

  33. Alice
    December 20th, 2010 at 21:50 | #33

    @Charlie
    Charlie – re yr comment “Typical arrogance of the intellectual left who always when scratched prove to be dyed in the wool elitists under their skins”

    You have it very wrong re Chris ONeill – he is just a plain arrogant elitist.

  34. Alice
    December 20th, 2010 at 21:55 | #34

    Either that or Chris ONeill retracts this comment

    “But bear in mind that there is a limit to the equity that can be achieved through education. It’s never going to be worth spending much on educating shop assistants.”

    Now he would he know?

  35. Charlie
    December 20th, 2010 at 22:00 | #35

    1. Fran said early on that the “claim that HECS amounts to a “price-based education system” is simply silly as the fees lent are but a small fraction of the actual cost of providing the service”. As usual, Fran never checks her factoids. The HECS fee is at least 50% of the average per student all-in cost of HE tuition, and many times higher than the marginal cost, which is what would determine the level of the fee in a competitive HE system.
    2. Fran also said “If tertiary education is uncharged, this means in practice that the sons and daughters of the upper middle class are subsidised by the parents of kids who are unlikely to ever get there. HECS can partially undermine that inequity”. Nonsense. As I explained in full in one of my previous posts, the upper 22% of income taxpayers contributes over 70% of total net income tax receipts (which are what fund HE inter alia). It follows, to all except those of limited arithmetic ability (no names!), that the top 22% subsidise the bottom 78%.
    3. Alice rightly said: “First past the academic post Fran –no matter what their background. It’s all a benefit to society and class doesn’t matter. Merit and intelligence do. From this, we as a society advance and it’s for this, we collectively should all pay.” Fran’s fatuous reply was”are you [Alice], as a general rule, in favour of relatively lower community contributions from wealthy people? That is the implication of your policy”. Given that the top quintile of income earners pays more than 70% of all taxes, (ATO, Taxation Statistics, annual), the introduction of tertiary fees merely raised the proportion of total revenue paid by that quintile, as HECS gradually reduced (cet.par.) the HE participation rate of lower income groups.
    4. Finally, as I implied in my first post on this topic, it is only cretinously stupid Labor governments that worldwide introduce HE fees (Oz, England) on the basis of their ill-informed grasp of public financing. Intelligent governments recognise that HE is capital formation, = investment, and that the return from that investment in the form of higher tax receipts from the higher earnings of those with HE vis a vis those without far exceeds the trfling cost per undergraduate (and post-graduate). Compared with the NBN and its putative returns, HE costs next to nothing and yields hugely via those incremental tax receipts that are attributable ONLY to HE (given that graduates as a class enjoy no more public services than non-graduates other than their HE, or TAFE, as the case may be). And I again repeat myself, TAFE fees are an outrage, and a blot on this society, or does Fran think it is only the children of the rich who do TAFE?

    Fran, this is supposed to be a progressive Blog. It is time you absented yourself.

  36. Alice
    December 20th, 2010 at 22:13 | #36

    @Charlie
    says
    “Intelligent governments recognise that HE is capital formation, = investment, and that the return from that investment in the form of higher tax receipts from the higher earnings of those with HE vis a vis those without far exceeds the trfling cost per undergraduate (and post-graduate).”

    Hallelujah. Breath of fresh air. Except that we havent had an intelligent government of either persuasion in charge of decent HE policy in this place for years.

  37. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 22:26 | #37

    @sdfc

    Considering your above comment was in opposition to my contention that “cultural” students should have the same Hecs obligation as “vocational” students suggests you are in favour of subsidies for the upper middle class after all.

    Actually I was disagreeing with this:

    If you do a course which does not give you an increased income but is rather one of personal development then that is a private matter and you should foot at least some of the bill.

    which seems to be the opposite. I’m saying that HECS ought to apply all round — to TAFE, to other approved courses that meet AQF or are in properly credentialled universities and similar.

    If you want to do some purely private course with some opther provider then of course that is a matter for you.

  38. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 22:31 | #38

    @Alice

    Alice. I have you an extensive answer about 15 minutes ago but it seems to have vanished. If it doesn’t appear in 24 hours perhaps I’ll recompose it.

    Briefly:

    1. Yes to withdrawing state support of private schools
    2. Resources need to be applied where they can make the most difference to equitable outcomes — start with systemic support for the pregnant mother and make sure all the ducks line up as the child is born and develops.
    3. I reject the idea of winners and losers in education which you seem to embrace. I’m for everyone winning by being supported in defining and reaching their own possibility and helping humanity in the process.

  39. Fran Barlow
    December 20th, 2010 at 23:07 | #39

    @Charlie

    The HECS fee is at least 50% of the average per student all-in cost of HE tuition, and many times higher than the marginal cost, which is what would determine the level of the fee in a competitive HE system.

    It’s actually a lot more complex than this. I should say that just as supporting cap and trade in emisisons does not imply supporting every cap and trade scheme, so too supporting HECS does not entail endorsing every set of HECS arrangements. That noted, the above link shows that the proportion paid in each course reflects the overall earning potential of courses rather than the cost of delivery. Thus some high cost course have students only paying about 34% of the course cost, whereas some modest cost courses have students paying 90% of the cost. Interestingly, these tend to be courses that attract people at the top end of the privileges scale. In short, the HECS system as currently configured does tend to impose greater burdens on privileged cohorts.

    Personally, I find this rather anomalous, even if it is relatively equitable in its effects. I’d prefer a system in which a fixed and fairly modest proportion of course costs was paid by all students on a deferred loan basis, rather as it was under Dawkins. I’d also set the payment bar higher than at present — at AFTWE and ramp up payments from zero to about 5% of income as the person reached 20% above AFTWE.

    As I said above though, tertiary fees are not a good place to start trying to do equity, either by removing charges or imposing them. The resources need to start flowing more than 18 years earlier.

    the upper 22% of income taxpayers contributes over 70% of total net income tax receipts (which are what fund HE inter alia). It follows, to all except those of limited arithmetic ability (no names!), that the top 22% subsidise the bottom 78%.

    Yes and no, even assuming your figures. Yes, the top earners pay relatively more tax, but despite this fact they are still a lot more wealthy than the people in the bottom 25% and even the bottom 50% of the population. Anything that relieves them of contributions they could be making to the common pool is regressive. They need to pay more not less. It’s amusing that you think arithmetic alone can found your conclusion.

    Fran, this is supposed to be a progressive Blog. It is time you absented yourself.

    How ironic, given that you and Alice are the ones defending the privileges of the wealthy while pretending to stand for the common person. What a pathetic and conservative troll you are!

  40. Alice
    December 21st, 2010 at 05:49 | #40

    @Fran Barlow
    says “How ironic, given that you and Alice are the ones defending the privileges of the wealthy while pretending to stand for the common person. What a pathetic and conservative troll you are!”

    Fran – you forgot to mention all the others here that dont sign up to your user pays tertiary education. You also now sink to splitting hairs and have nothing to say at all about the subsidies granted to private elite high schools while hecs has done nothing but rise, year after year. It is yourself trolling and defending the privileges of the rich.
    Charles is right and you are wrong. At no stage here have we been “defending the privileges of the wealthy” in advocating free public higher education. That is downright misrepresentation of all we and others here have been saying.

    It is you trolling and happily handing out troll labels and other creations of your own fertile imagination to genuine commenters like Charles (as in Ernestine and I were supposed to be sockpuppets for each other according to you). Seen it all before Fran. When backed into a corner of your own creation intellectually you start handing out the labels and insults. What you cannot acheive with reasoble argument you attempt to achieve by ill thought out volume.

    Tafe fees and uni fees are nothing more than an ugly blot on our society. People like yourself who push for “user pays” in these areas are really imposing more inequality and more unnecessary hardship on our youth at a time when youth unemployment is high enough not to offer them an alternative.

    But even that neglects the benefits of public education to us all as a society.

  41. Fran Barlow
    December 21st, 2010 at 07:54 | #41

    @Alice

    Alice:

    and have nothing to say at all about the subsidies granted to private elite high schools

    Me:

    Briefly:

    1. Yes to withdrawing state support of private schools

    You are trolling.

    You see education as a game in which there must be winners and thus losers. You and your “fellow travellers” are the trolls.

    When backed into a corner of your own creation intellectually you start handing out the labels and insults.

    What hypocrisy coming from somone who has regularly been given a break here for doing just that. It is not I who starts the labelling and insults. Even here in this thread it was you who began getting personal.

    People like yourself who push for “user pays”

    It’s not user pays but user makes a partial contribution if they can afford it in the longer run. I agree that the threshholds are too low and should be higher, but the basic principle is fair enough. And as to TAFE fees, again, these ought not to be upfront. As someone with a son attending TAFE, I’d be happy with a HECS-style scheme in preference to upfront full fees.

  42. Charlie
    December 21st, 2010 at 08:59 | #42

    One of the many weird features of Australian taxation since HECS came in is that while all other forms of investment are fully tax deductible over time, HECS is not. HE is investment in human capital so all costs thereof including basic living expenses should also be tax deductible. If not, why not?

  43. Hal9000
    December 21st, 2010 at 10:27 | #43

    , I favour progressive taxation, something you seem to have missed.

    So why are you supporting regressive taxation? See below…

    Secondly, some fee, even a significantly discounted one, paid by the rich is better than no fee at all.

    The same argument was used to support GST. Translation: yes, it’s regressive, but at least the rich pay something. HECS repayments cut in at $44K when full-time average earnings are $68K. There is no sliding scale for repayments, so the full repayment is payable the moment income hits the threshold, which of course means that the lower the income, the higher the marginal rate. The rich, by paying up front, get a further discount. To restate my point, you are the one arguing that this is more progressive than the progressive income tax. Given that HECS is clearly highly regressive, you are the one who needs to provide evidence to back up what seems on the face of it a claim lacking factual foundation. There have to be better ways of making the rich pay than slugging workers on modest incomes.

    Children are not adults….Basic literacy, numeracy, general knowledge and social competence are fundamental to citizenship.

    No, children are not adults. And neither are 16-17 year olds ‘children’ at law or in fact. They can and do have legal s*xual relationships, get pregnant, drive motor vehicles, enter into contracts. Nothing magical happens on the 18th birthday that suddenly makes them mature adults. At any event, the ‘fundamentals’ you mention are all surely taught in grades 1-10. Grades 11 and 12 are about more than the basics. That’s the point. Your argument about parents having to bear the cost is a straw man. I never suggested that parents should bear the cost, only that, on your reasoning, grades 11 and 12 students should also incur HECS debt, which they have to pay off when their wages get above the princely sum of $800 a week.

    Oh dear … you fancy your karma ran over my dogma … amusing.

    It would be better if your dogma was supported by fact and argument rather than fallacy and bombast.

  44. Alice
    December 21st, 2010 at 20:02 | #44

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran – you are not worth a response.

  45. Charlie
    December 21st, 2010 at 20:35 | #45

    Alice: I agree with you re Fran. Here she is again claiming you “have nothing to say at all about the subsidies granted to private elite high schools”. Typically, Fran ignores that parents who send their children to private schools thereby save state governments the costs of providing places for now c.35% of all school age children. The Commonwealth’s grants recognise that and try to level the playing field by recognising that contribution by parents of private school children. Moreover there is no doubt that private school pupils always outscore state school peers, so ideally all children should be educated at private schools with appropriate state support, via a voucher system.

    That used to be the HE funding system in England until Labour got at it. I know, I taught at a Pom university long ago, when all who had adequate entry qualifications were perforce accepted by some university or other and then had free tuition, as under a voucher system. Living costs were covered by a flat grant then of c£2,000 subject to means testing of parents (when the time came I was means tested out so I had to pay my childrens’ living costs, but they still had free tuition until Labour’s Blair got rid of that).

    Why is it always Labour governments that introduce User Pays?

  46. Chris O’Neill
    December 22nd, 2010 at 01:58 | #46

    @Charlie

    Chris O’Neill: Thanks for that speaking as a sometime shop assistant but now a post-grad. Typical arrogance of the intellectual left who always when scratched prove to be dyed in the wool elitists under their skins. What’s wrong with shop assistants, all the ones I have known have been great people,

    Where did I say they weren’t? I was trying to make the point that education on its own is simply not sufficient to achieve equity. It might achieve equity between people who are equally capable but even if you manage to achieve that, there will still be enormous inequity even if you achieve equity in education. Johnny Rich takes home more than Poor John because his parents directly or indirectly gave it to him. A HECS scheme is only a relatively small part of the issue, although it is part of the issue.

  47. Fran Barlow
    December 22nd, 2010 at 09:45 | #47

    @Alice

    Fran – you are not worth a response.

    Passing over the blatant irony here, I stipulate that I’m perfectly OK with you not responding to me. As this thread has shown, you flame, lie about and verbal people who offend your incoherent set of cultural precepts. I don’t recall you once bringing some new idea or you new take on any matter in public discourse.

    The full extent of your contribution seems to amount to being a cheerleader for vaguely liberal communitarian/populist public policy and trolling attack dog for anyone who winks at deviance. Your modus operandi overlays a stream of consciousness style of venting about the ills of contemporary society with consensual pollyanna-style maudlin maundering about the past, punctuated by trolling abuse of those you deem insufficiently enamoured with your past golden age.

    It is not the least of all ironies that this method, its ostensibly liberal communitarian populist predisposition notwithstanding, is fundamentally conservative in its appeal to the virtues of the way things once were.

    I tell you what Alice. Let’s do a deal. You don’t respond or refer explicitly to me and I will reciprocate. Let’s see if you can at least honour a deal.

  48. Fran Barlow
    December 22nd, 2010 at 10:20 | #48

    @Charlie

    You see Charlie, it is comments such as this that get me wondering about either your ability to read or your intellectual integrity:

    Here she is again claiming you “have nothing to say at all about the subsidies granted to private elite high schools”.

    This was a charge made by Alice against me. These were her words @40 {You also now sink to splitting hairs and have nothing to say at all about the subsidies granted to private elite high schools}. I actually quoted them @41 immediately following. How can you get this wrong, unless you can’t read or are reckless in making claims so that you can troll?

    If you are not a troll, then you ought to unconditionally rescind the above and apologise.

    Fran ignores that parents who send their children to private schools thereby save state governments the costs of providing places for now c.35% of all school age children.

    The private school system ignores the fact that approximately 100% of teachers working for them have been trained at state expense and that the entire infrastructure for external assessment was authored and developed and is maintained at state expense. This defence of private school funding privilege is peculiar to the neoliberals and conservatives that some here claim to hate so much, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to this.

    What private school operation “saves” the community from is equity in education. It is conceived as an intellectual and cultural hothouse from which allows those with aspirations to avoid rubbing shoulders with hoi polloi and have their kids learn the pathways to privilege can succeed. That is a net public loss — an externality imposed on the community as a whole, and certainly not one we ought to subsidise. People who want their kids to join the class of masters ought not to get their leg up from their putative servants.

    Of course public schools cost more to run per capita. Unlike private schools, we don’t get to throw out those who are high maintenance or embarrassing or needy. We have to take anyone who applies and lives in the area, including those whose histories suggest they are going to be seriously demanding. That’s never going to be cheap.

    I’m glad we’ve argued this out because it underlines my point. Your agenda has nothing to do with equity and everything to do with protecting privilege in educational access. Your appeal to a voucher-based system is stock in trade for the neoliberal right. To think, you were trying to remind me this was a progressive blog and that I should absent myself. Why? So you could push vouchers in education unchallenged on a progressive blog?

    Irony abounds.

  49. Alice
    December 22nd, 2010 at 18:24 | #49

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran – you dont get it…on so many things. The argument is about the benfits of publicly provided tertairy education. You need to do more reading…all you want to do is tinker at the edges of user pays. User pays is the problem Fran.

    I have to say it again – user pays is a regressive tax by any other name. Volume of words simply doesnt make up for your astonishing ignorance on the benefits of public education.

  50. Fran Barlow
    December 22nd, 2010 at 19:21 | #50

    Assange features in NewsRap video. It’s amusing.

  51. Fran Barlow
    December 22nd, 2010 at 19:24 | #51

    @Alice

    You say I’m not worth responding to and then you keep responding. You can’t even last 24 hours. Nobody who takes themself seriously can believe a word you say.

  52. Alice
    December 22nd, 2010 at 19:30 | #52

    Fran – drop the pretense. I dont know what local political party you belong to but there is just too much “pat nonsense” in what you say, for me to ever think you actually considered the argument yourself.
    Rightist cliches.

  53. Jarrah
    December 28th, 2010 at 00:34 | #53

    Hello all, hope you had a nice Xmas. Recalling a pre-break discussion about Peak Oil and Peak Everything, I would just like to note that Krugman agrees with me:

    The driving force behind rising prices isn’t demand from the US. It’s demand from China and emerging economies. As more and more people are entering the global middle class, they’re beginning to drive cars and eat meat, placing pressure on world oil and food supplies.

    And those supplies aren’t keeping pace. Conventional oil production has been flat for four years. Alternative sources, like oil from Canada’s tar sands, have continued to grow. But these come at high cost.

    Also, extreme weather has played an important role in driving up food prices. And there’s every reason to believe climate change is making such weather more common.

    So what are the implications of the recent rise in commodity prices? It is, as I said, a sign that we’re living in a finite world, one in which resource constraints are becoming increasingly binding. This won’t bring an end to economic growth, let alone a descent into Mad Max-style collapse. It will require that we gradually change the way we live, adapting our economy and our lifestyles to the reality of more expensive resources.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/rising-commodity-prices-will-mean-changing-our-lifestyles-20101227-198io.html

  54. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 00:42 | #54

    Fran is a member of the Greens, Alice. She says.

  55. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 06:35 | #55

    @BilB
    Oh no …they must have been infiltrated…

  56. jakerman
    December 28th, 2010 at 09:13 | #56

    (From other thread) :

    peak oil can interrupt these nominally non-oil based energy sources, which was the point I made.

    Chris writes:

    That’s only if you assume that peak oil is going increase the cost of transporting coal etc. so much that it makes the cost of the electricity produced rise to a moderately similar degree. That’s just not true because the cost of transport fuel for transporting power-station coal is a fairly small fraction of the total cost of electricity.

    Transport isn’t the only aspect affected by peak oil. There is the mining, the infrastructure that dependents on fuel taxes. But there is also the integrated economy that provides a living wage for families and which in turn provides labour and skills that can be used to transition to a new economy.

    If the shock to the current economy is too great, we risk getting less transition and more collapse. How great does the shock have to be before people in the suburbs start going hungry? That is uncertain, but we do know that millions of Australians, and 100′s of millions around the world have invested their life earnings in property that requires oil produced food continually conveyed to their shopping district. And our system of organisation requires each family travelling some 100km per week to get to a job and may or many not be relevant in a world with $x00/barrel oil.

    Even if the shock is not great enough for collapse do we get a situation where coal survives longer where most lower carbon alternatives are further suppressed? Why might that happen: because cost are sky rocketing (impeding externaliztion of coals costs) and lower carbon alternatives tend to produce electricity rather than oil substitute and hence compete with coal. Thanks to the Germans in WWII we also have established industrial scale process for turning coal into oil (at high energy cost)

    We certainly get a situation where tar sand gets extracted, boiled and great energy costs, and then burnt.

  57. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 09:22 | #57

    And is the US doing anything about this situation? Begrudginly adding some ethanol to their fuel. The Chinese are limiting the registration of new vehicles. How well would that one go down here or in the US?

  58. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 10:38 | #58

    @Alice [from <in the name of god, go

    It’s clear Alice that you set very little store by the claims you make. You say that I’m not worth responding to, and then when I challenge you to stick by that you repeatedly respond. You can’t manage it for even a single whole day. You call me a rightist but as it turns out your fellow traveller on uncharged fees, who had the temerity to invite me to absent myself from this progressive blog turns out to be an actual rightist who thinks the wealthy pay enough tax and should get something back from the poor and a climate change mitigation opponent as well. It is clear that you are far friednlier to rightists than I am. QED!

    As usual, you do a lot of handwaving on “user pays” and how perncious this is on the poor. I’m not that interested in your posturing, so let’s just get down to your central claim:

    You impose user charges on roads, then you are excluding the poor, and possibly the lower middle now (increasingly poorer) but worse you are excluding the entrepreneurial poor, for the middle class conservatives who can afford to pay tolls for a comfort drive to work – where the real action happens.

    This is wrong all over the place. It is a basic piece of equity that the burdens and the benefits of every community asset be shared about more or less evenly. If a small section of the community benefits privately while “socialising” costs, equity is subverted. This can be called a collective action problem. Every insured individual has an interest in defrauding the insurance company, but if even a significant number of individuals did that the entire remaining pool would stand to lose. So we have a paradox. What is in the interest of every individual is not in the global interest of every individual. Every individual in the insurance pool has an interest in restraining every other individual from doing what he or she personally would like to do. This is because the renegade imposes an externalises to others the cost of his or her actions while privatising the benefit.

    Road usage is like that. It is in the interest of every individual to get into his/her car and try to get to work with greater convenience than is possible with public transport. This is especially so because the infrastructure that makes this possible is substantially paid for out of a common pool of funds which maintains the roads regardless of how often any individual uses them or the damage they cause. This is an incentive scheme for individual to use roads. It’s a kind of road usage loyalty scheme. Of course, if every individual, or even a signficant number) take up the cheap access to the roads, then the marginal utility falls for all of them. There’s only so much road space to go around. Since the marginal cost of using cars is so amll, and the most visible parts of the cost are modest people use them wastefully, from the point of view of the commons. Vehicles sitting in tailbacks use enormous amounts of fuel, polluting the air and burning a scarce resource. They suffer elevated engine wear and tear, consuming another resource. Having cars and roads facilitates urban sprawl and saps people’s discretionary time, commuting rathern than having recreation. Because we are so dependent on oil, vast expensive armies occupy the middle east and the subcontinent in order to ensure price stability. And of course, the resort to private vehicle transpoirt massively ramps up road trauma. As I write these lines, the Christmas toll in road morbidity stands at 10 with no details on those seriously injured.

    This is a policy mess. I don’t so much want to get the poor off the road as to get as many people as is rational, regardless of wealth) into safe, clean, efficient public transport, abating pollution, resource depletion, urban sprawl and road trauma.

    As I’ve said a number of times, I’d gladly abolish CTP, all but nominal registration fees, fuel excises, stamp duties on motor products and the like in exchange for a rigorous, ubiquitous set of externality-driven road usage charges. And if non-road users (e.g. agricultural and mining for example) were using petroleum products, let them pay the externalities specific to them.

    Then let the money raised be applied to:

    a) maintaining the quality of the existing roads,
    b) improving the quality and extent of existing public housing stock focusing on urban consolidation and abating urban sprawl
    c) improving the efficiency and quality of public transport
    d) taking care of people injured on roads

  59. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 10:47 | #59

    @BilB From in the name of god go

    That is an appalling comment in a progressive blog. Your prefatory “I don’t want to believe this but …” is not unlike “Some of my best friends are …” in terms of it disingenuity.

    Are our women just not confident enough within themselves, does power really change people, are there lobbyists of immense persuasion, or is there really a conspiracy? The real question is can I afford to risk voting for another female politician?

    Breathtaking in its misogynist condescension. You overlooked the possibility that a woman might just possibly make up her own mind rather than being the victims of sex-based psychological suggestibility/weakness, malice or stupidity. Dare a woman disagree with you? Not in your view. If she does, she is simply showing her female side.

    Perhaps women should leave politics to the men, rather than enter and put good public policy at risk?

  60. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 10:50 | #60

    I should add that while the term ad hominem is often abused, your post is an excellent example of an ad hominem argument, as you assert that propensity to error is an attribute of women, and thus that the claims of women ought to be deprecated.

  61. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 10:53 | #61

    @Alice

    It was very sneaky. I applied online, paid the fees, began attending meetings and helping out with party projects. This included staffing polling booths and putting leaflets in boxes. It was a stunning piece of infiltration.

  62. Chris O’Neill
    December 28th, 2010 at 13:00 | #62

    @jakerman

    peak oil can interrupt these nominally non-oil based energy sources, which was the point I made.

    Chris writes:

    That’s only if you assume that peak oil is going increase the cost of transporting coal etc. so much that it makes the cost of the electricity produced rise to a moderately similar degree. That’s just not true because the cost of transport fuel for transporting power-station coal is a fairly small fraction of the total cost of electricity.

    Transport isn’t the only aspect affected by peak oil. There is the mining,

    By transport I meant transport/mining. Coal mining/transport for a power station can be done without using fueled vehicles.

    the infrastructure that dependents on fuel taxes. But there is also the integrated economy that provides a living wage for families and which in turn provides labour and skills that can be used to transition to a new economy.

    If the shock to the current economy is too great, we risk getting less transition and more collapse. How great does the shock have to be before people in the suburbs start going hungry?

    These things are affected much more directly by peak oil than the indirect effect that comes through in the form of higher electricity prices. So your argument is turning into a strawman. None of the problems you mention are any more soluble with PVs than without, and if you’re implying that EVs will solve the problem with PVs then there is no reason why EVs can’t be used in exactly the same way without PVs but with coal etc as an energy source.

  63. jakerman
    December 28th, 2010 at 13:37 | #63

    These things are affected much more directly by peak oil than the indirect effect that comes through in the form of higher electricity prices. So your argument is turning into a strawman.

    Chris, I’m not sure what you are arguing. I was arguing that waiting for peak oil to provide a carbon price was bad policy as it increases the risk of collapse and reduce the capacity we have to build transition.

    Where as, bringing forward clean energy price parity via subsidy (in this case the specific was the learning curve given in the Nemet PV study) increase our capacity for transition and reduces the risk of collapse.

    How you claim this is a strawman is beyond me. I’ve not be clear on how your argument intersects with mine. Perhaps we are talking past each other, or perhaps you could make what ever case you are wanting to make in a different way?

  64. Chris O’Neill
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:03 | #64

    Bilb:

    Nemet’s. He recognises reality as I said then continues to expand a fallacy

    Thanks for your unsupported opinion. Not really interested.

  65. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:12 | #65

    @jakerman

    Chris, I’m not sure what you are arguing. I was arguing that waiting for peak oil to provide a carbon price was bad policy as it increases the risk of collapse and reduce the capacity we have to build transition.

    I suspect that Chris was questioning the magnitude of the ripples from surging oil prices. While oil is used in recovering coal and uranium for example, it is peripheral, and potentially replaceable.

    Like me, he is wondering, even if you are right, how PV could stop this or even slow it down appreciably.

  66. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:20 | #66

    Ditto Chris Oneill

  67. Chris O’Neill
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:20 | #67

    I was arguing that waiting for peak oil to provide a carbon price was bad policy as it increases the risk of collapse and reduce the capacity we have to build transition.

    A carbon price would make very little difference to peak oil because a carbon price would affect other, much bigger sources of carbon than oil long before it affected the demand for oil.

    Where as, bringing forward clean energy price parity via subsidy (in this case the specific was the learning curve given in the Nemet PV study) increase our capacity for transition and reduces the risk of collapse.

    PVs, even if they were as cheap as coal-fired electricity, make absolutely no difference to the demand for oil. Even if electricity was free, EVs would still have trouble competing with oil-based transportation. You are conflating two nearly independent issues.

  68. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:29 | #68

    Feeling a need to lash out are you, Fran, a bit of name calling to sooth the bruised ego? Do you feel better now?

  69. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:33 | #69

    @BilB

    Not at all. I was merely calling you on your misogyny. I’d be genuinely stunned if any Green spoke as you did above. What you said was right out of the toolkit of Tony Abbott. GetUp! did an ad on it during the election.

  70. jakerman
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:36 | #70

    Chris I see we are speaking at cross purposes. I am not arguing that clean energy like PV will stop peak oil, I am arguing that we need clean energy like PV to be broadly available before peak oil bites and risks leaving us stranded and unable to transition.

  71. jakerman
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:41 | #71

    Note, while clean energy like PV will not stop peak oil, its availability before a deep oil shock will improve opportunties for other than the frenzied conversion of coal. And widely deployed clean energy will work to lessen the shock, and increase our capacity for transition rather then collapse.

  72. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 16:51 | #72

    @jakerman

    I am arguing that we need clean energy like PV to be broadly available before peak oil bites and risks leaving us stranded and unable to transition.

    Perhaps it would be helpful if you could outline how PV can stop us being “unable to transition”. What would be the mechanism we’d have that “peak oil” would deny us if we hadn’t by then acquired sufficient PV capacity? If PV were so useful, how would “peak oil” prevent us from acquiring it?

    If the real boon is PEVs then would it not make more sense to focus on how to get more PEV capacity out there? (I’m not saying it would be. I’m just trying to follow your argument). We don’t need PV for that as we could run these on the grid.

  73. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 17:20 | #73

    Well, Fran Barlow, to call me a mysogenist you would need to prove that I hate women. What I have written can in no way be interpreted as mysogeny. Pointing out peoples failures including yours is not a mysogenist act. It is more a nurturing kindness I would have thought.

  74. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 17:31 | #74

    @BilB

    Your rant was directed at women in general rather than me in particular. I figured as merely a further instantiation of your maxim that women are of doubtful value in public policy.

    As this is a text-based medium, none need take my word for that. They need merely to review what you wrote. No reasonable person will reckon it as “nurturing kindness”.

  75. Salient Green
    December 28th, 2010 at 17:59 | #75

    I would like to say that I felt BilB’s comment on some of our prominent female politicians was neither a rant, nor directed at women in general, nor in any way mysogynistic.

    I see his comment as coming from some one like me who has had great hope for more women in politics raising the standard of our politicians in many ways but being especially disappointed with the ones he mentioned.

  76. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 18:05 | #76

    Thanks, SG.

  77. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 18:11 | #77

    @Salient Green

    This is what you are saying is not directed at women in general nor in any way misogynistic:

    Are our women just not confident enough within themselves, does power really change people, are there lobbyists of immense persuasion, or is there really a conspiracy? The real question is can I afford to risk voting for another female politician?

    It is telling what the desire to act as self-appointed lawyer for a particular position can do to one’s ability to perceive the world. What would you have said if some rightwinger had directed such comments at Christine Milne, for favouring renewables or Tony Abbott at Julia Gillard following the Rudd dumping? Something rather different I’m guessing.

    Your comment reflects very poorly on you and does nothing for your broader cultural claims about nuclear power.

  78. paul walter
    December 28th, 2010 at 18:14 | #78

    Fran, sorry this time.
    It is legitimate to wonder-at a progressive blogsite most of all- as Bilb says, in the light of Anna Bligh, Kenneally, Palin, Gillard and co, who we were told would “make a difference”, unencumbered by the “mysogony”which feminists assured us was the original problem with politics, whether feminist claims as to “mysogony” and politics were correct, in light of the nauseatingly gormless failed performances of these women, when given the chance. What is “mysogony”in this case, in his scepticism of duplicitous and perhaps quite arguably fascist in some cases, politicans?
    I do realise that at other sites I’d be excised for even presenting the above post, but hopefully, at a balanced site I can ask, because to dismiss queries as to the politicans mentioned above, as merely “mysoginistic”, is so lazy and dishonest as to defy comment.
    We need to know, same as we did about Howard and Bush and where applicable, question outcomes.

  79. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 18:35 | #79

    @paul walter

    I see. So by way of comparison, if we clook at decolonisation in Africa and noting that some of the replacements of the old imperial rulers were/are corrupt or brutal, locate this failure in their ethnic patrimony, we could merely respond to charges of ethnic bigotry with BilB’s defence of “nurturing kindness”?

    Don’t apologise Paul. It’s all very instructive. The vast majority of the world’s rulers have been men and have thus been the authors of almost everything we see in public policy, for good or ill, and yet the perceived failures of women are located by some here as being in their chromosomes. That seems very plain to me.

    BilB is bothered by whether he can support another woman politician, presumably because in his view men have done a measurably better job. Is he right? Is having the right chromosomes dispositive of political virtue?

  80. paul walter
    December 28th, 2010 at 18:47 | #80

    Apologise?
    For what?
    Plese go back and re read my post, except this time not standing on your head.
    We already knew the male polis were deadwood, we were promised these”new” folk would do a job ignored by the old guard, not being burden by this vague (mix’n match, according to situation))”mysogony” that is supposedly at the bottom of all political failure.
    What have we seen, apart from more of the same and perhaps worse, involving Bligh and Kenneally at least?
    If its ok to bring males to book for their failings why so wrong the same process when it applies to females?
    If I despise people like Tripodi or Kevin Andrews, say and then spot something similar in Kenneally or Bligh as to defective character, why am I not allowed to say so in the second instance?
    Can iask fran for her assessmentof Kenneally and Bligh and whether should she would be attacking rather than defending, if they were males?

  81. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 19:04 | #81

    Fran, what I wrote was intentionally provocative. I hoped to get some punchy replies defending the actions of the politicians. I got 2 responses (so far) Jill Rush’s response talked about political conviction and outcomes, great material, and yours which immediately launched into mysogeny, ethnic patrimony, bigotry and chromosomes. Half way there.

  82. Salient Green
    December 28th, 2010 at 19:21 | #82

    My wife periodically gets her back up about some of my utterances because she assumes motives or machinations which just don’t exist in my mind. I am usually completely baffled as to how I could be the heinous person she has perceived me as and am sure I never said most of the things she said I did but that’s how she heard them.

    #27 and #29 have me completely baffled which hasn’t helped your case one bit Fran. My feeling is that putting me down is more important to you than getting your point across.

  83. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 19:37 | #83

    @Salient Green

    My feeling is that putting me down is more important to you than getting your point across.

    How amusing. It’s all about you and your feelings, even when I put the very words you’re defending before you. I wouldn’t dare explore your matrimonial relationship, but you might reflect on that.

    @paul walter

    Apologise?

    Your first word was “sorry”.

    If I despise people like Tripodi or Kevin Andrews, say and then spot something similar in Kenneally or Bligh as to defective character, why am I not allowed to say so in the second instance?

    You are allowed to say so, but if you want to say that you hate Kevin Andrews actions as a politician but attribute the flaws of female politicians to their gender I call foul. I’ve attacked the policies of Julia Gillard and Anna Bligh and Kristina Keneally — but I didn’t attribute their shortcomings to their chromosomes.

  84. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 19:52 | #84

    @Fran Barlow
    Female – whats female about female puppets Fran, with right wing macho type blokes pulling their strings. Id rather call them sell outs and so would the sisterhood.
    Let me see now there is Anna Bligh, Kristina Keneally, Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop and dont forget Prue Goward, Bronwyn Bishop, and now you can add Amanda Fazio (who has heard of her?) for trying to can the inqquiry into the electricity sell of debacle in NSW
    and to that Ill add Caren whatsername for doing nothing as education minister in the great sell off of school and university lands in NSW.

    Need I go on?. Females or puppets of the party? Not an ounce of feminity in any of them bar a physical examination which you would need for conlusive evidence.

    Political party animals, without exception.

  85. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 19:54 | #85

    Sorry thats Careml Tebbutt – ex minister for one failed system (education) now another failed system (health).

    Never did much for either but was considered for leadership of NSW ALP. Says it all.

  86. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 19:58 | #86

    @Salient Green
    Salient – I work for a lovely 70 year old accountant. His wife, when obviously ticked off by him says “and you are supposed to be an accountant!!”

    As if being an accountant can solve all problems..
    I rather wish I could say it to my partner but I am left saying “and you are supposed to be a used car salesman!!”

    Doesnt quite have the same effect!.

  87. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:11 | #87

    @Fran Barlow
    This is what you claim as the moral high ground for your adocation of user pays road charges Fran

    “This is a policy mess. I don’t so much want to get the poor off the road as to get as many people as is rational, regardless of wealth) into safe, clean, efficient public transport, abating pollution, resource depletion, urban sprawl and road trauma. ”

    Noy once anywhere have you offered any colution to what exactly would fund this safe, clean, efficient public transport Fran

    Higher taxes? Count me in. But build the bloody thing before people like you impose road user charges. Ill beleive it when I see it. Do you honestly think the government has the means, the inclination, or the expertise to build “safe, clean, effective public transport Fran”

    The inclination being the most important thing here. They dont have it. They do have an inclination for user pays road charges without providing the public transport option you mention. You must be living in dreamland. They are more interested in your user pays, and its people like you who totally naively consent to it, without getting the “safe, clean efficient public transport”.

    So thanks a lot for helping rightist governments rip us off more by being naively trusting Fran, and having lovely theories that dont work.

  88. paul walter
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:23 | #88

    Just want to say, at this moment, how nice it is to see someone else on the the end of a thread hiding, instead of myself.
    Alice, while you await FB’s reply, thank you for attempting objectivity, and congratulations on the difficult accomplishment, succeeding in such an endeavour.

  89. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:29 | #89

    @paul walter
    I suspect I know a (usually fixed smiling) puppet politician when I see one Paul and it does not distingusih between genders and if that makes me a misogynist then I must be one.

  90. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:31 | #90

    and Paul – you want me to say which females are OK in politics?. Id place a bet on Jenny Macklin and Tania Plibersek.

  91. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:32 | #91

    Oh and Sylvia Hale who could not be faulted ever.

  92. Chris O’Neill
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:42 | #92

    @jakerman

    I am not arguing that clean energy like PV will stop peak oil, I am arguing that we need clean energy like PV to be broadly available before peak oil bites and risks leaving us stranded and unable to transition.

    So what you mean is that our ability to develop new industries such as PV mains-electricity is very dependent on the availability of cheap oil. I guess you could say this is yet one more type of adverse effect from peak-oil. If it’s as bad as that, maybe people will be more worried about other things than global warming. What a fun world peak-oil will be.

  93. Charlie
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:45 | #93

    Alice & Fran: It seems obvious, especially from the former’s comments, that neither of you has ever been to New York, London, or Tokyo, Shanghai or Beijing. Despite the most brilliant public transport systems in the world, with vast underground metro systems etc, commuting on those systems in those cities is pure hell. Seats? forget it, they are all occupied before you get on, mostly by rapists and other unsavouries (personal observations of myself and my daughter in London and Paris, especially after 8 pm – and Sydney is not much better, ever tried Redfern after 8 pm except when you need a fix?).

    However where there are serious user charges (eg fees for driving into Central London or Singapore’s CBD) people are indeed forced to use public transport. But in London the undergound is hell on earth, heat, stink, and the seats all occupied ab initio so standing room only for all who get on from the 2nd outermost stations. Things are better in Singapore where the car entry fees are high enough to keep most private cars out of the CBD and at least unlike London and Paris the trains are air conditioned. Dream on if you think that could ever be the case in Brisbane or Sydney!

  94. paul walter
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:47 | #94

    God help us if they’re not (Plibers, Macklin and co); there sure aint much left in the male side of that particular guinea-pig hutch.
    I always thought Nettle was on the square and could have done wonders also, but like most other independent figures, they found a way of getting rid of her, too.

  95. paul walter
    December 28th, 2010 at 20:55 | #95

    Charlie, I think Alice and Fran would remind you that outcomes like the one you describe relate very much to economic rationalism.
    We read in these threads of $trillions squandered on warsm bridges that lead nowhere and tax cuts anmd avoidance legisalted for the rich and TNC’s, yet we see with the London underground an example of what comes, for ordinary people, of the shortfalls that have occurred in service provision as result of all the waste.
    London underground sounds like the old and sly ploy of “situational bads” and resulting simulacra that prevents subjects from recognising the reality of their situation, as to cause; also beingable to instigate reform, against a “captured” system controlled by smug vermin.

  96. jakerman
    December 28th, 2010 at 21:11 | #96

    So what you mean is that our ability to develop new industries such as PV mains-electricity is very dependent on the availability of cheap oil.

    Yes, but depending on the scale of the shock, peak oil risks impeding many developments that we currently have capacity to address. So I guess the goal becomes setting priorities, as if any one will listen.

  97. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 23:30 | #97

    @paul walter

    Just want to say, at this moment, how nice it is to see someone else on the the end of a thread hiding, instead of myself.

    While being right in the majority is clearly better than being right and in the minority, being wrong and in the majority is ugly. cowardly and creepy. I guess that is why it hasn’t occurred to me to cast a formal vote for either of the major parties in any federal, state or local election since 1977 and why I’m now a Green.

    You are welcome to be with the misogynist faction. I’m happy to be in a faction of one against that.

  98. Fran Barlow
    December 28th, 2010 at 23:32 | #98

    @Alice

    Not once anywhere have you offered any solution to what exactly would fund this safe, clean, efficient public transport Fran

    You didn’t read my post, did you?

  99. paul walter
    December 29th, 2010 at 00:26 | #99

    Fran, what will you do when something presents itself that can’t just be waved away with the blanket ad hominem, “misogynist”.
    After you pals elsewhere, you lazily and recklessly employ the term as a catch-all, to distract people away from an inspection of your claims; the same as the righty jerks who scream “political correctness” when someone tries to examine their truth-claims re events like privatisation.
    And having never met me, what encourages you to such an adhominem?
    The fact that I think that scum like Bligh and Kenneally should be subject to the same scrutiny as jerks like Costa and Andrew Fraser?

  100. Alice
    December 29th, 2010 at 07:05 | #100

    @Fran Barlow
    Yes I did read it Fran – you suggest road user charges would fund safe clean reliable public transport. I dont know what dream world you live in but you apparently failed to notice that the harbour bridge tolls which were introduced to pay for the construction of the harbour bridge have never been removed, the fuel excise tax which was introduced to pay for road construction and maintenance has never been fully applied to that,
    and that numerous road tolls now in place fall into “general revenue streams” the outcome of which shows clearly that investment in safe, clean, relaible public transport provision is not high on the list of government pursuits.
    The current state government cant even clean existing trains Fran.

    As I suggest to you – you are another dreamer with a nice pretty economic plan, which will go the way of all pretty plans when the user pays revenue falls into the hands of a state government like Kenneally’s.

    The far more likely outcome is that when the user pays revenue starts flowing in, the state government will sell it as a going concern business to Macquarie Bank (Roads, tolls, the lot) or the Singapore Government or the Saudi Arabians without building your safe, clean, efficient public transport at all.

    Dream on.

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