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My latest (ir)regular email

August 28th, 2017

I guess I should call this an irregular email, since I haven’t sent one for a few weeks. As usual, I’d appreciate any compliments, brickbats, suggestions on things I should say more or less about and so on. [email protected]

Adani, energy and climate action

Farmers for Climate Action commissioned me to do a report on the proposed loan to the Adani Rail Project, focusing on alternative investments in the agricultural sector. It was release at the weekend, and got some coverage, including in The Guardian. The report is here, along with a summary. It’s recently got a nice run in Queensland Country Life
http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/4874157/report-shows-value-of-investing-in-agriculture/
Other media interviews included Robyn McConchie RN Country Hour, and WIN Rockhampton. I also spoke to ABC Brisbane Drive about electricity prices

Asset recycling

There’s been quite a lot of interest from the US in the idea of ‘asset recycling’ which is being pushed hard by the finance operators who would profit from such a deal and also by our unlamented former Treasurer and now Ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey. My thoughts are here
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/07/asset-recycling-may-look-new-and-exciting-but-its-the-last-gasp-of-a-failed-model

I did interviews with the Washington Post a while back
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/trump-advisers-call-for-selling-off-old-assets-to-build-new-infrastructure/2017/05/23/657aa2c6-2f53-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.ed9502270a0b
with Bloomberg,
Asset recycling https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-10/australia-pitches-trump-on-a-plan-to-fix-america-s-roads-and-bridges
reported here and just now with Politico (yet to appear)

UBI

I gave to a video presentation to on Income: What to aim for and how to get there a workshop on UBI run by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.
Penalty rates
I appeared by teleconference, before a Senate Committee today (24 August), defending penalty rates

Twitter feed https://twitter.com/JohnQuiggin
Blog http://johnquiggin.com/

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  1. derrida derider
    August 29th, 2017 at 13:57 | #1

    John, that Guardian piece was exceptionally clear and persuasive – a fine piece of exposition. Congratulations.

  2. Gregory J. McKenzie
    August 29th, 2017 at 15:22 | #2

    The recent announcement that the TEN Network will be sold, by the total exchange of all shares, seems to be an example of what you wrote in regards to asset recycling. Still not sure what the giant CBS Corporation are going to do with these assets, particularly the intellectual property rights, but it may be a no go after legals anyway. The only integration gains I see between the largest TV network in the USA and the smallest (and most highly geared) Australian TV network, lies in its access to anti-siphoning sports in Australia. Recycling assets carries the risk of stifling new entrants into the market. With the small size of the Australian TV market, and the mass media advertising market at saturation point, any new barriers to entry may make market renewal problematic, at best.
    Another potentially problematic example is the plan to close the old snowy mountains company towns to permanent residents. When, more likely IF, Turnball’s grand plan reaches a construction phase; the “Fly in-fly out” recruitment of non permanent workers will carry huge social costs. On the wider scope of potential social cost blowouts, the whole Turnball “Turn on the cheap power” Plan seems ill advised. The assets of Snowy Mountains Power, including its intellectual property and human capital, are to be recycled. With some of the social costs from 50 years ago still not mitigated, adding more social costs to this environment seems risky at best and vandalism at worst. The Snowy River still does not have the water flows promised, migrant families are still being marginalized into the third generation and public housing is still inadequate. The external diseconomies of scale for both the Ten Network takeover and the Snowy Mountains Power upgrade, may turn out to outweigh the promised benefits of both these asset recycling proposals.

  3. paul walter
    August 30th, 2017 at 19:19 | #3

    Did scan Adani alternatives but could do no more…Like a lance through my spirit, I just felt sad.

    God knows what bad taste ended up in the par concerning asset recycling, that’s where we sell off parks, foul rivers and lakes and chop down river Redgums for car parks bound to go bust because of location and then paid for by taxpayers, isn’t it?

  4. Svante
    September 2nd, 2017 at 11:14 | #4

    Following the August 16 Guardian article on Adani facing huge financial fraud claims, a story that didn’t get a fair run in Indian media, an article connecting Adani with heavy Indian media intimidation and the need for change was carried by ‘QUARTZ India’ on August 30.

    https://qz.com/1065403/in-india-its-the-media-and-not-e-commerce-that-desperately-needs-a-jeff-bezos/

    “…Adani is a feared man in the country today. In the weeks prior to the Guardian revelations, his group had sent legal notices to the individual trustees of The Economic & Political Weekly over an article by then editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. The write-up showed the Modi government having surreptitiously tweaked the rules governing special economic zones, resulting in a Rs500 crore bonanza for Adani’s companies … The alleged duplicity of corporate entities such as the Adanis, meanwhile, have been made invisible by a glaring omission bias. Had this bias existed just a few years ago, the same media wouldn’t have unearthed the myriad instances of crony capitalism that played a part in bringing down the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2014…”

  5. September 5th, 2017 at 13:58 | #5

    What is with that guy?

  6. September 7th, 2017 at 10:37 | #6

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