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Monday Message Board

March 13th, 2017

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. Joe
    March 13th, 2017 at 13:09 | #1

    For those who think Britain will be better off after Brexit, consider this:
    “The product which brought all voluntary retail initiatives to a full stop was the experience of the floor covering and carpet retailers. Their 1975 change to sales by the square metre started well, but in 1977 one of the major High Street retailers found enormous commercial advantage in reverting to sales by the square yard. Consumers could not be persuaded to believe that goods costing, for example, £10 per square yard or £12 per square metre were virtually priced the same. Consumers bought, in very significant volume, the apparently cheaper priced imperial version.” (from http://metricviews.org.uk)

  2. Greg McKenzie
    March 14th, 2017 at 06:17 | #2

    Britain is an all inclusive term for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is some indications that England will benefit from Brexit. This should benefit Wales, but is unlikely to be of benefit to Scotland. Scotland needs the open market to survive, as an independent economy that does not over rely on tourism. If Scotland is taken out of the Euro zone, the black market will benefit at the expense of government taxed transactions. For Northern Ireland, the Brexit will bring economic stagnation. The cross border trade with the Republic of Ireland will go on, but not be taxed when the Irish use smuggling routes. The loss of revenue to government budgets in Scotland, and northern Ireland, will damage their infrastructure maintenance and improvements.

  3. Garry Claridge
    March 14th, 2017 at 16:55 | #3

    From the comments on an article on decoupling of GDP and Resources in regards to potential limitless growth:
    “‘growth as measured by GDP either reflects throughput of materials and energy or is simply inflation’
    Keep in mind that growth in GDP is growth in value, and thus non-material – builders and engineers often struggle with this concept.

    I wasn’t aware that a calculation of value change is included in the GDP. Have I been wrong all this time? 🙂

  4. Garry Claridge
    March 14th, 2017 at 17:13 | #4

    The article is in The Conversation.

    To clarify the “growth in value” meaning to me is; the value of the two widgets produced in 2015 is $200 and the value of the one widget produced in 2016 is $110, hence the GDP has decreased. I’m guessing that the author of the comment is trying to highlight that the GDP is not measuring tonnes of resources but the value of them. Yet, a relationship does exist between GDP growth and resource throughput!

    I’m just waffling away here 😉

  5. hc
    March 14th, 2017 at 23:06 | #5

    Unless there has been some extraordinarily bad editing this article does seem to be an extraordinary misconception. It wrongly identifies 5 major firms acting almost completely as nominees for a large number of Australian (and other) shareholders as the beneficial owners of a large slab of Australian industry.


    I hope these views are not driving Labor’s competition policies. How could the business editor of the SMH ever publish it?

  6. Ernestine Gross
    March 15th, 2017 at 05:10 | #6


    The topic in the referenced smh article is not new. What is the extraordinary misconception?

  7. hc
    March 15th, 2017 at 05:41 | #7

    That these firms control big slabs of Australian industry. They don’t.

  8. Ernestine Gross
    March 15th, 2017 at 07:12 | #8


    The headline of the article may well convey your interpretation. The article itself does not. The general problem is that of the division of ownership and control on the investor side, featuring institutional investors.

    Some time ago Unisuper (not named in the article) announced on the title page of its website that it invests in Sydney Airport because this corporation has a local monopoly and therefore a low risk of low pay-offs. Surely, if a superannuation fund that caters for the highly educated segment of the population, using traditional categories, finds it to be suitable to advertise what they did, then there is a role for articles like the smh one you referenced. The Andrew Leigh article in the smh is too wordy for my liking but who am I to judge such matters.

    IMHO, a lot more articles in the daily press would be useful to bring home the point that the crucial interrelationships between rates of returns on investments, consumer goods prices, housing, wages and, ultimately income and wealth distributions is ignored by the micro-economic model(s) which underlie current ‘competition policies’.

  9. hc
    March 15th, 2017 at 07:40 | #9


    “It turns out that five investors – HSBC, JP Morgan, National Nominees, Citicorp and BNP Paribas – own a massive chunk of our listed companies. What’s surprising about this is that many Australians probably haven’t heard of some of them. What’s even more surprising is that if you look at the big players in our 20 largest industries, the five faceless investors have a majority stake in most of them. They dominate industries as diverse as airlines, insurance, telecommunications and mining.”

    Just seems wrong and it is not only in the heading but in the article.

  10. hc
  11. Smith
    March 15th, 2017 at 08:20 | #11


    Obviously they don’t own the companies and it is very sloppy, at best, of Andrew Leigh to say that they do. But is it not the case that the owners (mostly superannuation funds) give thesecbominees their voting rights at AGMs and the like?

  12. Ernestine Gross
    March 15th, 2017 at 08:39 | #12


    The analysis Andrew Leigh is talking about concerns ownership structures as diagramatically represented in the link below. Yes, the diagram is based on 2014 data but this doesn’t change the methodology. There is a publication called “Who Owns Whom”. Interesting stuff.


  13. Ernestine Gross
    March 15th, 2017 at 08:43 | #13


    The analysis Andrew Leigh is talking about concerns ownership structures as diagramatically represented in the link below. Yes, the diagram is based on 2014 data but this doesn’t change the methodology. There is a publication called “Who Owns Whom”. Interesting stuff when I looked at it about 25 years ago.

    The link took my post into moderation. Please enter: https:// followed with no space by

    blog.ccreditcardcompare.com.au followed with no space by


  14. hc
  15. Ernestine Gross
    March 15th, 2017 at 09:42 | #15


    This is why I talked about the separation of ownership and control on the (financial) investor side. (nominees are aggregating institutions – they wield power – on assumed behalf of the ‘owners’). Your alternative explanation, poorly edited (too wordy), is more to the point, IMO.

  16. Ikonoclast
    March 15th, 2017 at 10:16 | #16

    This is consistent with the findings of the Marxist/Marxian writers and editors of the “Monthly Review” and their published articles and books. Monopoly, oligopoly and conglomerate ownership concentration of the the world’s businesses continues to increase under “late stage capitalism” or “neoliberalism” or “the extant system”. Call it what you will. This is what the current system does par excellence. It concentrates wealth for a few super-capitalists. Ownership is concentrating. Wealth is concentrating. The Marxists and the empirical economists like Piketty all agree. Those who can’t see this and/or don’t care are either billionaires or illiterates in basic economics.

    The picture is so big. Many people can’t see it because they are standing too close and have no analytical methods to get it into perspective.

  17. Smith
    March 15th, 2017 at 10:54 | #17


    Leigh might have decided to do a Trump and just make stuff up. It worked for Trump. In the modern political world it doesn’t matter if you get called on getting your facts completely wrong or shown not to have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

    Andrew Leigh the populist! We are in a Seinfeldian bizarro world.

  18. hc
    March 15th, 2017 at 18:00 | #18

    I know Andrew Leigh and I am certain this is not the case. A good bloke and a good academic. This seems to be an errant move.

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