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Monday Message Board

March 21st, 2016

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

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  1. Newtownian
    March 21st, 2016 at 17:11 | #1

    Here is an interesting post from Naked Capitalism on whether the world is really serious about climate change control as a result of Paris I suggest is worth discussing as it illustrates it possible to have both climate change being out of control even when the trajectory appears notionally the opposite.

    The bottom line from the inteviewee, who is involved in the game, is NO – because China, India and other big growing economies are still projected as growing coal fired power stations for a long time to come irrespective of initiatives in the renewable energy field because they plan to keep growing their economies exponentially.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/reducing-carbon-emissions-wont-halt-economic-growth.html

    On the up side I guess it means good times for Oz miners and my default superannuation mix…..party on as they say.

    On the downside….pity about the next generations. Still when you apply conceptually discounting at 7% per annum, as Malcolm might being a classically financially ‘literate’ fellow, the generation 30 years hence would only be worth 10% of us here and now and 60 years hence the 2080 lot would only be worth 1% of the current generation. So why should we care?

    My cynicism here on discounting isnt quite what it may seem as it seems a useful metric of how much we really value the future such that we are collectively currently putting our money where our mouth suggests.

    So if possible I’d like to see comments on how we unequivocally measure whether Oz/The world are REALLY turning the sustainability corner and how rapidly so we can reduce insufficiently quantified arguments on this score to a minimum.

    For example notionally the government would have us believe we are turning the emissions corner based on changes in land clearing. But that avenue is largely exhausted and now there are suggestions the process has been thrown into reverse …… http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/19/australias-emissions-rising-and-vastly-underestimated-says-report .

    Unfortunately like too much journalism this article seems a case of the old lies damned lies and statistics problem again.

  2. Ivor
    March 21st, 2016 at 18:48 | #2

    @Newtownian

    Yes. There is absolutely no possibility of reducing carbon emissions by any relevant amount while ever we have the economic system we have at the moment.

    As posted earlier we need to reduce global emissions by 57% so presumably the developed world must reduce by significantly more.

    With all the whoo-ha over ceiling insulation, recycling, LED globes, wind farms and solar farms etc etc and meeting after meeting after meeting for decades, this is the result:

    Carbon disaster

    Even the IPCC process and Flannery’s Climate Council and Gore videos are a complete waste of time if they do not produce the needed policy changes.

  3. Ivor
    March 21st, 2016 at 18:49 | #3

    @Newtownian

    Yes. There is absolutely no possibility of reducing carbon emissions by any relevant amount while ever we have the economic system we have at the moment.

    As posted earlier we need to reduce global emissions by 57% so presumably the developed world must reduce by significantly more.

    With all the whoo-ha over ceiling insulation, recycling, LED globes, wind farms and solar farms etc etc and meeting after meeting after meeting for decades, this is the result:

    Carbon disaster

    Even the IPCC process and Flannery’s Climate Council and Gore videos are a complete waste of time if they do not produce the needed policy changes.

  4. John Turner
    March 22nd, 2016 at 12:51 | #4

    Catastrophic climate change is unstoppable. The CO2 in the atmosphere is now greater than at any time since the Pliocene epoch, the melting of the arctic permafrost is well under way and will not be stopped now. The release of methane and CO2 from the permafrost melt and the feedback loop it represents in terms of climate change will quickly escalate. Global warming under 2 degrees C, no chance, more like 4 or even 5 degrees and at that level we are well and truly stuffed.

    Paradoxically it may result in a Northern Europe ice age as the fresh water from the Arctic melt affects the Gulf Stream ( refer various research on Midges and global warming which indicates the last ice age came about within a couple of decades as a result of this phenomenum)

  5. Ernestine Gross
    March 22nd, 2016 at 16:39 | #5

    Its only Tuesday and the news about private vocational training is BAD. ACN with alledgedly 15,000 students has appointed an administrator (an expensive one). Talk is that ACN considers using the remaining cash and insurance money (for what?) to mount a legal challenge against State Governments, read tax payers.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/australian-careers-network-collapses-leaving-15000-students-in-limbo-20160321-gno14y.html

    I may have to look for an alternative electricity supplier because Engergy Australia is one of the large companies that paid $0 (zero) tax in 2013/14, according to a smh report of today.

  6. Donald Oats
    March 23rd, 2016 at 00:27 | #6

    The senate documents reveal the original extent of the CSIRO cuts into climate data gathering, experimental groups, and relevant field sciences. To quote the Sydney Morning Herald article:

    One of CSIRO’s main climate science units planned to slash four out of five researchers, all but eliminating its monitoring and climate modelling research, a new document reveals.

    The cuts are contained in an analysis for the Oceans & Atmosphere division, dated January 25, 2016. CSIRO handed over the document to the Senate committee investigating plans to slash 350 staff overall, and it has been made public on the Senate’s website.

    It makes for sober reflection on to what extent the government is serious about funding of STEM research areas. On the one hand, they complain that STEM, especially early school and high school mathematics, is being taught by staff that, for all their good intentions and hard work, just don’t have the necessary education themselves, and if they do, chances are they work in a private school or college. On the other hand, everywhere that STEM work skills are urgently needed in the sciences, we are cutting hard into the intellectual capital we spent years developing. It is retrograde.

  7. Ikonoclast
    March 23rd, 2016 at 07:29 | #7

    @Donald Oats

    I read an article where it was pointed out that the neoliberals support production science but dismantle impact science. That’s the real mantra: blind production without concern for social and environmental impacts. We are going to pay heavily for this.

  8. Ikonoclast
    March 24th, 2016 at 12:54 | #8

    I always thought I batted the correct way for my left-handedness. Now there seems to be proof.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-24/cricket-professional-batsmen-more-likely-to-use-reversed-stance/7273616

    Honest disclosure requires that I admit I was a mediocre school cricketer. As a left-hander, I delivered left-arm unorthodox spin which was once called (politically incorrectly) “slow left arm chinaman”. I was not accurate but the unusual nature of my looping deliveries ensured wickets or boundaries with not much in between.

    As a batsman, I batted what is commonly called right-handed. It always seemed natural to me to have my strong hand at the top of the handle. Now, as I said, there seems to be proof I was correct . It didn’t help me much. I batted number 11 and averaged about 3.

  9. Tim Macknay
    March 24th, 2016 at 14:13 | #9

    @Ikonoclast
    I was the same – a left-hander who batted right-handed. The main difference would be that, while you describe yourself as having been a mediocre school cricketer, I can fairly say that I was a crap one. So batting the way the experts now say the best batsmen do evidently did nothing to overcome my underlying lack of talent. 🙂

  10. wmmbb
    March 24th, 2016 at 14:52 | #10

    The SMH reports:

    Just 3 per cent of voters think a company tax cut should be the government’s top economic priority, according to a devastating poll that will put further pressure on the Coalition’s pre-budget planning.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/election-2016-devastating-poll-shows-just-three-per-cent-of-voters-support-likely-budget-centrepiece-20160324-gnq4t5.html?

    Robert Reich had an interesting analysis of the state of the labour market in his address to The Future of Work Conference in Auckland, run by NZ Labour, including the effects of globalization and tax minimization ( of which Malcolm Turnbull has first-hand experience):

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLKC-p1tTKA&w=560&h=315%5D

  11. J-D
    March 28th, 2016 at 14:35 | #11

    @wmmbb

    There are 3% of voters who think the government’s top economic priority should be a company tax cut? That seems awfully high. What’s the sampling error on that poll?

  12. rog
    March 29th, 2016 at 05:20 | #12

    There are calls for sueing fossil fuel companies for misleading and/or fraud and there is precedence after claims against tobacco, asbestos and VW (for example) were successful.

    http://ecowatch.com/2016/03/28/michael-mann-climate-denial/

  13. wmmbb
    March 29th, 2016 at 13:27 | #13

    @J-D
    It was not so much the margin of error(woops), as the low level of support for decreasing company taxes. Of course, those companies that are not paying taxes will not notice the difference. The budget will be a greater test for Turnbull than the Senate. And if enough of us are conscientious citizens the results of the Senate election may be unexpected. Perhaps it is time to consider the critiques of neo-liberal economic policy and the TPP “investment” agreement. Then again, with a generous margin of error, pigs might fly.

  14. Collin Street
    March 29th, 2016 at 19:14 | #14

    J-D :
    @wmmbb
    There are 3% of voters who think the government’s top economic priority should be a company tax cut? That seems awfully high. What’s the sampling error on that poll?

    A significant fraction of the population is severely mentally disturbed. I’m not saying that it’s the explanation in this particular case, but it’s something you have to keep in mind when you’re looking at things with rates under 10% or so.

    Unless you’re working low-end retail or front-line welfare [inc police here] you’re dealing with a biased sample of the population.

  15. J-D
    March 29th, 2016 at 19:38 | #15

    @wmmbb

    Whether your statement is correct (‘It was not so much the margin of error … as the low level of support …’) depends on which ‘It’ is being discussed. My best guess is that what you meant by ‘It’ was ‘The striking aspect of the poll’; but what most strikes you is not the same as what most strikes me.

    I still think 3% sounds like a high figure, not a low one, but it turns out on inspection that the result is spurious, for two reasons. The first is that it was an online poll with self-selected respondents, which automatically makes it valueless (except for purposes like propaganda, provocation, and entertainment — people wouldn’t conduct polls like this if they didn’t have some kind of value).

    The second problem with the poll is that the pollsters selected (arbitrarily) four options for respondents; they also allowed respondents to nominate ‘something else’, but given a choice between four stated options it’s less surprising to find each getting at least some modest support. If the poll had asked ‘What do you think the government’s top economic priority should be?’ without listing any pollster-defined options, I am confident we would have seen (assuming the same set of respondents, even a self-selected one) a lower level of support for company tax cuts.

  16. wmmbb
    March 29th, 2016 at 23:11 | #16

    @J-D
    While your points in relation to polling are well made, I am more interested in what reliable polling would indicate about the acceptance of neo-liberal economic policy framing, particularly among Liberal Party voters. We have seen the results of this policy, which were predictable at the time they were first introduced, but that does not seem to have stopped their implementation. It could not simply be crude class politics, could it? What interests me more is what the real alternatives might be, given those points that Robert Reich mentions. I think conceptually and culturally we have not transitioned from an industrial society way of thinking, although all the technological artefacts seem to be the products of exploited labour. Both global justice and ecological sustainability seem beyond possibility.

  17. J-D
    March 30th, 2016 at 06:08 | #17

    @wmmbb

    Posting a link to something which turns out not to be the thing you’re interested in is a strange thing to do.

  18. wmmbb
    March 30th, 2016 at 12:06 | #18

    @J-D
    Obviously, reduction in corporate taxation is intrinsic to the economic recipe of neoliberalism. Broad public electoral support or otherwise for this policy direction is relevant. The critiques of the policy, it’s history and implications might be considered. Equally, the possible critiques of the alternative policies and their limitations given, for example, globalization, the rate of technological displacement and the effects of capital markets are, I would expect, equally relevant. I don’t expect to see these discussions in the mass media.

  19. J-D
    March 30th, 2016 at 13:03 | #19

    @wmmbb

    If information about how much public support there is for reduction in corporate taxation is relevant, then it’s relevant to point out that the poll you cited, despite appearances, provides no such information.

  20. Mpower
    March 30th, 2016 at 16:49 | #20

    @Ikonoclast
    Bill Brown of 1948 fame once wrote that LHandeds batting RH were a bit vulnerable on the legside – may well be why I tried to turn everything into a square cut and why I played Rhand tennis forehands off the wrong foot. I have read that the preponderance of Pommy LH batsmen arose from too much stroke making in front of the mirror – say no more. As for tennis, I understand Nadal, a natural RH plays a bit left.
    does your average of 3 include the high proportion of not outs that no 11s are usually blessed with.?

  21. Collin Street
    March 30th, 2016 at 20:12 | #21

    I’ve never actually understood the point of cutting company tax rates in australia: we have dividend imputation, which means that the entire tax burden is borne by the shareholders and the effective tax rate on company profits is basically zero.

    [actually, no: I understand it perfectly well. If you have dividend imputation then there’s no tax advantage to leaving the money in a corporate shell, which means it drains out into the hands of the shareholders and out of the control of the managerial classes / banksters. If you cut dividend imputation — another big thing from the IPA types — to “fund a cut in company tax”, then the shareholders have a massive tax advantage if they leave “their” money in the hands of the managerial types.]

    Which is to say: the purpose of “cutting corporate tax” is to narrow the control of real money to the managerial classes, cutting the non-managerial wealthy out of direct access to their wealth.

  22. Troy Prideaux
    March 31st, 2016 at 07:18 | #22

    @Collin Street
    There is a problem however when you have small business A paying their 30% company tax who are competing with multinational B paying effectively zero company tax (as all their profit is in low taxing jurisdictions) – and people ask why Australian’s are so risk averse to entrepreneurship.

  23. J-D
    March 31st, 2016 at 14:19 | #23

    @Troy Prideaux

    If a small business has a problem paying company tax, why not avoid it by the simple expedient of not incorporating? How many small businesses are companies, anyway? It seems to me it’s not small businesses but big businesses that want to talk about bringing down company tax.

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