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Sandpit

February 14th, 2012

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on.

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  1. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 13:10 | #1

    Nickr: Re. bike helmets and seatbelts

    Fair enough on your “slow rational voter” point. I was a little glib when i wrote “If you don’t think they’re rational enough to decide for themselves, you shouldn’t think they’re rational enough to vote for a government which decides.” I’d like to read your book. I won’t change my mind on this issue though. For me, the issue is really philosophical rather than empirical. I would oppose this law even were it shown that helmetless bike rides caused fatalities 100% of the time. I suppose I’m OK with these “nudges” referred to in the link you provided, but something about them still feels a little off to me. As I said before, I’m completely OK with safety messages and education campaigns, as well as instilling good practices during childhood.

    Ikonoclast:

    Wow, a very fiery response over a supposedly “petty” issue!
    Some clarifications are needed. I don’t say that corporations never trick us into being unsafe for their financial gain. They certainly do in the case of pokies and cigarettes, which is why I support government measures to counteract these tricks. I say they don’t in the specific case of seat-belts and helmets. I also absolutely restrict my opposition to these laws to adults; the “poor innocent children” objection doesn’t apply. As to the duty adults have to their dependents to stay alive so they can support them, I recognize a moral duty, but not a legal one. In any case, many adults don’t have dependents for just this reason.

    You say this a silly issue, but for me it’s symbolic of what’s gone wrong with the modern welfare state. It seems to have gone beyond it’s original remit of ensuring basic needs are met and protecting the weak against the powerful (a remit I absolutely support). In it’s new incarnation, it’s a controlling nanny, keeping citizens in perpetual childhood. If you don’t feel somewhat oppressed and stifled by a benign dictatorship, I feel sorry for you.

  2. Ken Fabian
    February 14th, 2012 at 13:59 | #2

    The opposition of the Right to action on emissions and climate reflects the views of commerce and industry, because the political Right is first and foremost the political voice of those interests.

    Commerce and industry has come to it’s conclusions about where it stands on climate based on commercial decision making criteria – cost, competitiveness and profitability. Where commerce and industry stands – or, rather, deciding the stand it should take – is something quite distinct from whether or not the science on climate and projected consequences of failure to restrain emissions are real and valid. In a very real sense they are quite distinct; commercial decision making is not about the common good, or whether science is right or wrong, it is about maximising profitability. Minimising and avoiding costs is standard and essential practice and when it comes to climate change the costs and potential loss of competitiveness of actions to reduce emissions are considered in terms of whether they can be avoided or minimised. Whilst the direct costs climate change itself belong in an uncertain future and can be counted as unavoidable once they arise the costs of preemptive efforts to avoid and minimise those harms have more immediacy and, arising principally out of government policies, can be minimised and avoided using familiar means. MP’s and political parties can be lobbied and their views and ultimately their policies influenced by manipulation of economic hopes and fears – more or less investment, jobs growth or losses and the impacts of commercial decisions on future taxes, royalties and other revenues. Since governments and their policies rise and fall according to public opinion and public opinion can be changed through the use of advertising and public relations those are tools that can be used to alter public perceptions. Well co-ordinated with lobbying efforts, the economic fears and hopes of the wider public can be used to undermine support for or raise opposition to policies and directly impact the electoral chances of Parties according to their support or opposition to climate policies.

    So our captains of commerce and industry, through their representative bodies and political voices, and using the opinion shaping tools at their disposal have found the stand they conclude is most advantageous – deny the seriousness and even the existence of the problem, accentuate the negatives of decisive early government action whilst downplaying or ignoring completely the longer terms costs and consequences of failure to act.

    None of that ought to be a surprise from leaders of commerce and industry, making commercial decisions. Nor ought it surprise anyone that theirs are voices that should be listened to; they are the part of our society where things get done, made and traded. Most of our prosperity directly or indirectly arises out of the activities they oversee. However elected representatives even from parties that see themselves as voices for those commercial interest hold positions of trust and responsibility to all their constituents that involve obligations beyond those to their direct supporters and particular interests. They have obligations to the security as well as the sustainable longer term prosperity of their entire constituency. They have expert advice and resources at their disposal to help understand complex issues and to help develop appropriate policy. The elected representatives of the Right have failed their constituents by their failure to recognise that the position commerce and industry has taken on climate is incompatible with expert science based advice and that failure to heed that advice will endanger the future security and sustainable prosperity of their wider constituency. Ultimately their positions of responsibility and trust require them to recognise the shortcomings of doubt, denial and delay that commerce and industry has chosen as their optimum response to impending regulation of emissions and put their wider constituency and longer term considerations first. To continue as they are, enabling climate science denial and opposing action on emissions must be seen as a profound betrayal of trust.

  3. NickR
    February 14th, 2012 at 14:10 | #3

    @Sam
    Hi Sam,

    Ok that makes sense, but I’m still not sure that I agree.

    Why make it a philosophical point and not an empirical one? You could say that you think that social welfare would be higher with the government not involved in matters such as this and it would be a fair point.

    But to say that you don’t even want to look at the data is strange to me – if social welfare was significantly higher with regulation in place, then this seems like a big price to pay for an obscure kind of philosophical purity. Further (although I don’t understand the ins-and-outs of your POV) I suspect that a utilitarian perspective is every bit as philosophically defensible (if not more) as your libertarian one.

    Anyway an interesting debate.

  4. Chris Warren
    February 14th, 2012 at 14:37 | #4

    @Sam

    Only ninnys winge about nanny.

  5. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 14:45 | #5

    @Chris Warren
    Only Dummies are still Commie.

  6. alfred venison
    February 14th, 2012 at 14:55 | #6

    dear Sam
    respectfully, what’s your take on compulsory suffrage? philosophically or empirically.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  7. Ikonoclast
    February 14th, 2012 at 14:59 | #7

    It seems that compulsory seat belts and bike helmets for adults has become the specific area of libertarian debate in this current exchange. What I take prime issue with are your apparent petty definitions of words like “liberty” and “tyranny”. I was correct to point out that libertarians are simply getting into emotional hyperbole when they say things like;

    “Most think belts and helmets a minor imposition. It’s irrelevant what most people think. The law is immoral. This is tyranny of the majority.” This is an emotional statement stemming as I said from a hyper-sensitive and solipsistic interpretation of personal rights. One may contrast it with the mature acceptance that living in society and cooperating with others always entails minor inconveniences, situations and outcomes which are not perfectly fair or do not feel perfectly fair.

    Imagine if I was a affected by an outside decision beyond my power to amend or avoid and this decision was “a bit unfair” but not in any way hugely inimical to my interests. Imagine that sensible, rational, impartial observers if consulted would also agree, yes, that decision was a bit unfair to Ikonoclast. If I said, philosphically, in the company of some such observers, “That decision by third party X was a bit unfair to me but there’s nothing I can do about it and it doesn’t really affect me vitally.”, then they would likely nod in agreement and think me a sensible, level-headed and reasonable chap.

    If I were to say, “This decision against me is immoral! It’s tyranny,” perhaps even accompanied by an angry intonation and a thump on the table, then they would think “This guy gets things out of proportion.”

    As I keep saying, “tyranny” is a serious word. It means (in practice) serious stuff like wrongful imprisonment, arbitrary detention, kidnapping, torture, slavery, unlawful murder, serious assault and so on. Politically it means arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power, despotic abuse of authority and/or undue severity or harshness.

    To call the requirement to wear seatbelts (or to stop at red traffic lights or to drive on the left side of the road in Australia) “tyranny” is both hyperbolic (exaggerated) and inaccurate.

    1. It is not an arbitrary rule. It has a valid rationale to keep more people safe and to curb public health costs.

    2. It is not unrestrained or despotic. It was legislated by democratically elected governments, it is enforced in a codified and controlled way and its legality and ramifications can be tested in law.

    3. It is not unduly severe or harsh. People (average healthy people) are not being told to restrain themselves with multiple bands that chafe or burn incessantly. (It’s hard to even think of a sensible example of how the seatbelt rule could be severe or harsh.)

    Given these eminently reasonable and indeed convincing proofs (which would hold up quite well in a court of law) that he seatbelt rule is not tyranny, I really doubt that you can show in any way how it could seriously be construed to be tyranny.

    At a personal level, I can think of a regulation that (at the time) annoyed me as much as this seatbelt/helmet issue annoys you. For me, it was the requirement that a new hot water system (or even a newly re-situated hot water system) had to have a heat governor or heat limiter put on it. I could no longer (legally) have piping hot water coming out of my hot taps. This provision has been put in to save children from scalding accidents with very hot tap water, which accidents are quite real and very injurious. At the time I was annoyed and felt the nanny-state thing had gone too far. I called it stupid rule and said people should be in charge of setting their own hot water temperature. I was also annoyed in that (in old systems at least) I thought it was inherently energy inefficient as water was heated to full heat and then brought back by a limiter which bled cold water backinto the heated water stream. At no stage did I rant that it is was tyranny. I called it “bl..dy annoying over-regulation”.

    The strange thing is this. First, I toyed with illegally re-setting the heat but never got around to it out of plain old laziness. Then I got used to it and realised there was no real inconvenience at all. A sink filled with hot water for washing up could now just be tolerated by the hands with no need to tone it down with a bit of cold water. Having a shower just meant a new setting on the shower tap which bled less cold water in at that point as more was being bled in at the heater. Even my efficiency complaint was probably out the window as the relatively long pipe to my bathroom means that hotter water from the system is going to lose more heat to the environment on the journey to the bathroom.

    So it turned out that all my objections were not necessarily objective, reasonable or logical but simply stemmed from preferring the set-up I was used to in comparison to some new set-up. I liked the old set-up out of habit and soon learned to like and even prefer the new set-up partly out of new habit and partly out of accepting it might be preferable in some ways.

    So my suggestion is this, if it’s really about personal wishes, old habits and willingness or unwillingness to adjust, rather than about any genuinely serious issue of “liberty or tyranny” then… just keep a sensible perspective on it. And seatbelts fit in this category.

  8. Tom
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:07 | #8

    @Sam

    So I take that you oppose the carbon tax and poker reform as well?

  9. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:08 | #9

    @NickR
    Oh I want to look at the data, particularly since I think it’s on my side. That was what my points 1 and 2 were about in the previous thread. I just wouldn’t change my mind even if it wasn’t. In your vocabulary, I think government intrusion into matters of purely personal risk (where that personal judgement hasn’t been distorted by commercially motivated coercion) causes an infinitely negative change to social welfare.

    The problem with discussing this sort of thing is that we both have different moral axioms, so it’s not surprising we can’t agree on Morality. Perhaps we can meet halfway on Aesthetics.

    To me, there’s something sad about a society where people are too unadventurous about personal risk. Think of grown men unwilling to swim out of their depth, children afraid to climb trees, campers who never leave the trail, friends who never ride dink on a bicycle. When I was a child there was an artificial plastic rainforest in the Cairns airport. Japanese tourists would come and take pictures of it, but never drive up to the Atherton Tablelands to experience the real thing. These apartment dwellers were too afraid of snakes and getting lost to ever have a real experience. There just seems to be something stale and artificial about the whole thing. I don’t like to think that my neolithic ancestors would be ashamed of me.

  10. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:13 | #10

    @Tom
    No i don’t oppose either of these things. Carbon pollution generates an unavoidable negative externality on other people, it should certainly be controlled. Pokies reform simply allows gamblers (who are influenced by amoral profit seeking corporations and their pet psychologists) to commit to responsibility ahead of time.

  11. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:16 | #11

    @alfred venison
    I also support compulsory suffrage. The citizen has a duty to society to think about how it should best be organised. On the other hand, I would support a “none of the above” box on these compulsory ballots. It wouldn’t necessarily be a cop out either; sometimes NOTA is simply the best candidate.

  12. Ikonoclast
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:27 | #12

    I have another long comment ( a few comments above) in moderation. Not sure why all my stuff is going to moderation ATM. But I admit I do take a strong line against libertarianism for pohilosophical and ideological reasons. I also admit that I get annoyed at over-regulation too but I suggest a more level headed way of looking at it rather than immediately going to a red-alert level and crying “tyranny”.

    I prefer “tyranny” as a strong word best kept for truly egregious events; large-scale phenomena like Stalin-era rule in Russia or specific phenomena like the USA’s extraordinary rendition program. To call an inconvenient regulation which we personally dislike, probably out of unwillingness to simply adjust our habits a little, … to call that “tyranny” as I say is to just trivalise the word and empty it of its proper full strength and content.

  13. Tom
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:49 | #13

    @Sam

    I admit there is a difference in carbon tax, however the fundamentals of poker reforms compared to helmet and sitbelts are quite similar. Both of them are laws prevent to people making irrational decisions on personal risk (monetary vs safety). The difference would be one law generates profits for corporations and the other harms their profit. as suggested by you, corporates spreads fear in order to manipulate the general public into buying helmet and sitbelts is true; however as I have suggested in previous post people can be quite irrational when it comes to personal safety and/or gambling even if they know the decision they made is irrational. These laws on compulsory helmets and sitbelts do and had saved people lives in accidents and lives of these people should not be priced, nor should they be looked down because they made irrational decision when it comes to personal risk management. Both of these laws are made to regulate people’s behavior which should fall within the same category (unless you oppose the sitbelt and helmets laws purely because companies makes profits from them; if thats the case then in my opinion thats too extreme).

    When it comes to risk adventures, it is true a society where people photos the artificial rainforest instead of going to see the real thing is sad. However the law in place made them behave like that. These decision in these risk adventures are largely related to family or peer perspective at those actions and sometimes the region they live in (e.g. there are quite a lot of Japanese youths racing at midnight on mountain roads at more than 200km per hour, semi trailer drivers driving over 140 km per hour at night. Japan’s average road speed limit is 50km/hr). Other examples such as people grown up in the rural area might like to go camping or hunting in holidays while people grown up in the cities like to go overseas travel, surfing etc which is different in risk.

  14. Chris Warren
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:51 | #14

    @Sam

    Sounds like redneck talk?

  15. Tom
    February 14th, 2012 at 15:52 | #15

    @Sam

    Sam, I have a reply in moderation, please look at my full reply after moderation is cleared. In short I believe the fundamentals of poker reforms vs helmet and sitbelt laws aren’t much different.

  16. NickR
    February 14th, 2012 at 16:26 | #16

    @Sam
    Yeah I have no idea what the data actually says – and I agree that it may well be in your favour. But I’d like my policy to be made with it in mind, rather than on some other ideological basis.

    If I understand you correctly then we agree that maximizing social welfare (however we define it) is important, so the question then becomes determining what a good social welfare function is.

    If you place an infinitely negative value on unwarranted heavy-handed government paternalism (which is surely already in place) then we are already at negative infinity. This is risky, as it implies that anything that anybody else does should be totally irrelevant. We should then be indifferent to AIDS, genocide, murder etc… I know that in reality neither of us is going to be unconcerned about these things.

    Rather I suspect that we are qualitatively similar, but just differ on the extent that we care about being told what to do by govt. I don’t mind being told to wear a helmet or seatbelt much but it is very clear to me that serious accidents are very bad. You may be more risk-seeking which I find perfectly acceptable.

    Also I do find your examples of people extreme risk aversion quite compelling, and agree that it is a little sad. Again we can be guided by Kahneman on this issue though. He generally seems to advocate fairly strong risk aversion (as far as I can tell) but he makes the opposite point about diversifiable risks. So if a gamble has (i) positive expectation, (ii) you can handle an individual loss, and (iii) there is the chance to take many such gambles, then you should proceed.

    It seems though as if your apartment-dwellers are also probably misunderstanding risk, this time in the opposite direction. Again Kahneman points out that we overestimate vivid risks such as snakebites or getting lost in the woods, so for the same reason I would support policies that seek to give accurate information.

  17. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 18:35 | #17

    @Chris Warren
    Sounds like an ad hominem attack?

  18. Ernestine Gross
    February 14th, 2012 at 18:41 | #18
  19. may
    February 14th, 2012 at 18:58 | #19

    phrase mining plaigiarism alert.

    “unwarranted heavy-handed corporate paternalism.”

    is that the last ditch,desperate effort to derail the current government currently revving out in the goss and gas sphere?

    the bleat goes on.

    apologies for recent incorrect spelling.

    whingeing! is not whinging and ubiquitious is not ubiquitous.

  20. Chris Warren
    February 14th, 2012 at 19:00 | #20

    @Sam

    What should we do with folks who want to fiddle with the legal system even though this could mean:

    fatalities 100% of the time

    or who claim we are “oppressed” by some “benign dictatorship”!!!

    By their words ye shall know them.

  21. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 19:05 | #21

    @NickR
    I knew you wouldn’t let me get away with my “negative infinity” remark. Let me clarify. If improving the status of third parties was contingent on passing a paternalistic law against some individual, I wouldn’t be automatically against that law. If the law’s proponents could only promise that the individual concerned would benefit, and if it was clear that the person wasn’t being unduly influenced by others, then I would, no matter how much extra welfare was being promised to that individual.

  22. Sam
    February 14th, 2012 at 19:06 | #22

    @Chris Warren
    Chris, grown ups are talking.

  23. Tom
    February 15th, 2012 at 08:10 | #23

    @Sam

    Sam, I do understand what you’re talking about. Unfortunately the private health rebate do get excessively abused especially by the wealthy. In general I do agree with that thresholds should be lower than $80,000 however if the government do try to set the threshold too low say $45,000 etc. The media and Tony Abbott will not hesitate a second to start using the c or s word to use the ignorance of the general public to achieve their goal.

    Now other than the political issues, some people from lower income do use private health especially some with serious health issues and terminal illness that requires fast treatments rather than the long queue in public system. These people without private rebate might possibly be unable to afford treatments and the consequences of queuing in the public system might be fatal. However these kind of patience only account for parts of the private health rebate, so the system is being abused which I agree.

  24. Chris Warren
    February 15th, 2012 at 08:15 | #24

    @Sam

    Yes, but not about being oppressed by dictatorships and imposing 100% fatalities.

  25. Tom
    February 15th, 2012 at 08:21 | #25

    @Sam

    Ops……. my apologies, my above reply was suppose to be for the topic on the monday message board about private health rebate.

  26. Jim Birch
    February 15th, 2012 at 13:15 | #26

    @Sam

    If the law’s proponents could only promise that the individual concerned would benefit, and if it was clear that the person wasn’t being unduly influenced by others, then I would, no matter how much extra welfare was being promised to that individual.

    What if the “individual” was a baby? A child? Mentally retarded? Irrational? Prone to foolishness? All of us are prone to making stupid decisions.

    There is no firm line here, eg, many children make better decisions than adults. The concept of the “generic individual” having a thing called a “right”is in itself a mythology. Mythologies have their uses, but assuming that they have an absolute reality is fraught.

    The fact that the person might feel upset about the perceived loss of freedom, or that other parties (eg, you) might feel upset that someone’s rights are being infringed are material considerations but they are only some of the elements that need to be weighed up. As are: the prospect for saving people from brain damage or death, saving families and others the emotional, financial and other costs of having a dead or brain damaged member, costs to the community, overall impact on cyclist numbers and community health, etc. AFAICS, it all goes in the mix. Of course, in practice these things might be difficult to calculate, or disputed, so we often have to rely on “truthy” ideas that people float, but in principle we should be doing the best possible – if messy – calculation to optimise community welfare.

    I don’t see you have proved or demonstrated any privileged weighting to your belief that people should be allowed to do what they want to themselves. Sure, it’s relevant, important even, but imperative, no. Absolute requirements require strong arguments and from my reading you haven’t done much more than made a declaration.

  27. Hermit
    February 15th, 2012 at 14:25 | #27

    Blimey even the BBC reckons Rudd is plotting a comeback
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17037110
    If it comes to naught I hope some members of the journalism profession break ranks and examine how their colleagues wasted so much time on a non-issue.

    On the other hand if the reverse coup actually happens then I for one will not be voting for Big Australia and the cancelled ETS. Might as well clone Abbott and make either original or clone the ALP leader. In the evident of Rudd as leader in 2013 I’ll split my Reps vote between Greens and some extremist party, purely in the interests of balance.

  28. Sam
    February 15th, 2012 at 16:21 | #28

    @Jim Birch
    I thought I made clear before that my “individual” refers only to a non-institutionalised adult.

    I also dealt with the point about externalised medical costs.

    I agree, I haven’t proved anything. For me, this is just a moral axiom. If you don’t agree with me, I’ll I’ll .. think that you’re wrong.

  29. Ratee
    February 15th, 2012 at 19:24 | #29

    There is an automatic reduction of freedom in a crowded world.

    A crowded world where the individual and their choices can have a disproportionate social cost – simply due to the number of people the person can negatively impact on or the aggregate cost of allowing infinite personal decisions with social costs.

    If you were the only person in Australia then there would be no law against collecting wildflowers, pretty rocks from the bush, starting fires or wearing a bike helmet.

    When there are 22 million and a fire can destroy many lives it gets banned and you get force applied to stop you or punish you after the event.

    In a crowded world a rational person will see that individual choices to do things which seem a personal responsibility actually, in the broader context, are a social act.

    Not wearing a bike helmet creates substancial economic activity about the subsequent crash and funeral or the many years of managed care before death after serious permanent brain damage. But this activity would be better employed on a number of other people vs that one individual. Assume the society will not punish the non helmet wearing person by non action to save of repair their life.

    Aggregate this choice across the number of individuals who will choose to not wear a helmet and the helmet law becomes a logical imposition on personal freedom. The side effect is, I agree, a nanny state, but there are many foolish people out there who would impact on my freedom of action if we don’t all behave.

    In a crowded world it’s a trade off and freedom is always the ultimate casualty of our freedom to breed.

  30. February 16th, 2012 at 10:33 | #30

    One would think that a person without gravel in their brains would be considerably more free than a person with gravel in their brains. For example, free to voluntarily move their limbs as they wished, free to walk, free to tie their shoe laces, free to control their pooping, and so on.

  31. may
    February 16th, 2012 at 12:42 | #31

    @Hermit
    the pity of it is that with the american evangelist at the head of the ABC “our” publically funded institution is now a fully functioning member of the gossip and gas sphere.

    hopefully not for too much longer.

  32. may
    February 16th, 2012 at 12:55 | #32

    re helmets for bike riders.

    personal opinion only.

    ride in traffic–wear a helmet.
    sit and pass a road rules and skills assessment the same as every other road user.
    in other words get a licence.
    if you get bowled by a car (or truck or bus) and land on your head,that should be alright,mind,the rest of you probably won’t be but it’s the thought that counts.

    riding in traffic as far as i’m concerned is dicing with death and must be a source of constant anxiety for drivers of motorised vehicles.
    all over the place and really fast and hard to see,zipping through lights and so on.

    other bike users who are in no hurry and using the pavement give way to foot traffic,wheel chairs,gofers and prams.the chances of being knocked off in those circumstances shrink to around zero.helmet not neccessary.

  33. Sam
    February 16th, 2012 at 14:18 | #33

    I feel like I’ve responded to all the arguments now. Would anyone think I was running from a fight if I bowed out? If someone has a new criticism, I would of course like to hear it, but I don’t like to waste time rehashing old opinions.

  34. Sam
    February 16th, 2012 at 14:36 | #34

    @Ikonoclast
    And I just noticed your response. The term “tyranny of the majority” isn’t meant to be hysterical. The tyranny could be quite mild. It’s just a political phrase invented by Alexis de Tocquevville to describe situations where democracy can cause an unjust result. I used it as a simple label to refer to what I thought was a well known political theory.

    I say these laws are immoral and unjust, because they can’t be justified using any “social welfare” function that I recognise as moral. I don’t think they’re egregiously evil or anything, but to my mind the world could be clearly improved if they were scrapped.

    @Tom

    I don’t oppose the seatbelt and helmet laws BECAUSE corporations have an interest in selling us seatbelts and helmets. Far from it. I ignore that trivial fact. No, I oppose them because no corporations have an interest in coercing us to be UNSAFE. That’s the source of distinction between cigarettes and pokies on the one hand, and seatbelts and helmets on the other.

    Ok, now I’m out, unless there is something more.

  35. Ernestine Gross
    February 16th, 2012 at 15:30 | #35

    Sam, cigarettes are produced by corporations!

  36. Sam
    February 16th, 2012 at 15:59 | #36

    @Ernestine Gross
    Err, yes, which is why I support legal restrictions on them. I’m now getting the feeling I haven’t made myself clear.

    Laws to restrict personal behavior so as to improve that person’s well-being where behavior is significantly influenced by interested parties=possibly good.

    Laws to do the same thing where interested influence is absent=always bad.

  37. may
    February 17th, 2012 at 11:51 | #37

    but. but.

    without the helmet laws the only buyers would be the ones riding in traffic and parents who insist their children wear one.

    the market would collapse.
    and the sellers would not regard that as trivial,seeing as they didn’t have much of a market until helmets became mandatory.

  38. Sam
    February 17th, 2012 at 14:24 | #38

    @may
    Hi May,
    I don’t agree that this would happen. Almost all the cyclists I know wear helmets for safety, not because of the law.

    Even if it did happen though, Australia is operating at close to capacity, and is not in a liquidity trap, so Say’s law roughly applies. If people stopped spending money on helmets, they’d spend it on something else. Why privilege one group of producers over another?

  39. Tom
    February 17th, 2012 at 16:47 | #39

    @Troy Prideaux

    A reply for your comment in the austerity thread.

    My thoughts on your some of your questions:

    I believe that selfishness, self pride and group think has an effect on why I believe so too on people are being more naive and less open minded to opposing arguments is from. People studying biased education materials from the current education system mainly economics related studies has learnt ideas and materials and they do not want to admit that they are wrong even if no evidence backs their claim. People will be selfish if they make income out of advocating for the ideologies of the neoclassical theories (applies to indirectly benefited people as well such as people working in the finance industry). The people without economic knowledge of any sort will just follow what the media tells them since they believe thats the universal agreed side they should take and anyone that oppose it is advocates for the evil of some sort.

    Another thing affect it is the side effects of pressure of the education system in the world; nearly every single asian student I personally know or befriend with possess extremely great deal of knowledges but lacks or holds nearly none logical and critical thinking. It happens because of study pressure of 6-7 days a week of schooling/tutoring from 6am- 8pm. This pressure creates a normal human behaviour of the students that lives in those society to use nearly all their brain exercise to remember the things they learnt and the tireness from that affect their will of thinking or researching about the thing they are learning is actually right or wrong. For this I oppose the thought of needing to catch up with the so called “education level” with the asian countries.

    Because of the reason above people thesedays whether if they work or study as their regular daily exercise have such a tireness which tends to make people unwilling to spend further more time to search for the truth behind matters, or things they were not told of. Slowly they develop a habit of accepting anything they were told by the media because of they develop the reliance on group think.

    But well, that’s just my two cents on the topic so, it’s upto you to agree or disagree with it.

  40. Hermit
    February 19th, 2012 at 15:55 | #40

    If Kevin O-Seven fails to mount Challenge O-Twelve there’s going to be a lot of disappointed people. Barry O-Farrell and Tony Abbott for starters. I’m surmising the fact that it headlines every Murdoch newspaper is part of an orchestrated campaign. Somewhat disappointingly the ABC has taken up the call like a sort of lyrebird.

    Wilkie gives it another fortnight to run. God spare us another two weeks of intense media speculation which may fizzle into nothing. If it does fizzle out the media should then ask itself whether they could have worked on real issues all that time.

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