26 thoughts on “Monday message board

  1. More details required Laura.

    Was it one of those dreams where you suddenly and uncomfortably realise you have been nude in public all day, or one where you are being pursued by a horrible hairy monster, a dream where you hold power in some omnipotend way over a hapless member of the public and torment this person without mercy?

  2. Anyone who hasn’t dreamt about Professor Quiggers hasn’t truly lived.

  3. Anyone tired of dreaming about the Prof is tired of life.

  4. Prof Quiggin,
    Are we setting Australia up for the “mother of all recession”(TM) with our massive foreign debt blowout and our total inability to save money because of all those nice big flat screen TVs in the shops.
    It seems debt levels increased despite an interest rate rise, and if this trend continues, when will it all fall in a heap.
    Broken Left Leg

  5. Laura
    Having recently re read Philip K Dicks rather bizarre masterpiece “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ” I found myself wondering: what do economists (Prof Q excepted of course)dream about, and could said dreams be the basis of a distopian SF best seller ?

  6. Well, I dreamed a couple of days ago that my lecture ran way over time (not something I normally worry about, but I was putting a lot of work into this talk).

  7. Don’t you ever dream of Karate kicks Prof Q?

    And have you ever read (as I just have) a book called Mates of Mars by David Foster (the Australian Foster, not David Foster Wallace). It’s the most brilliant read, although punctuated with unfortunate fugues on Foster’s weird racial politics, which are a bit Quadrant-y, but his writing makes up for it on the whole. If you do Martial arts, it’s a must-read. I’d be interested to hear your take on it as a lot of it’s very arcane.

  8. With climate change, has the tree line moved in the North Hemisphere and if so has the effects of more trees been taken into account then?

  9. I’ve been reading about ‘middleness’, an organisational condition said to afflict untold thousands of middle managers all over the world. Caught in the middle between seemingly self interested senior management and lower level workers, caught between opposing view points, cajoled, bullied, pleaded with and otherwise manipulated by opposing forces and, in their attempt to please both ultimately pleasing no one, including themselves. Sad to say I recognised many of the symptoms in myself and others I know. Reading about it reminds of Shostakovich’s 5th symphony.

  10. I see Alex Encel with another article somewhere on the weekend I think touting his idea of free generic low cost digital TV boxes for all to fix up the mess that is digital tv in this country. His idea has an intuitive appeal to me – but I’m guessing a good economist (that is most of them 😉 might argue otherwise.

    I heard also that the community channels – mainly 31 – will be out in the cold with digital.

  11. I’ m with you Broken Leg. What’s with all the ‘Dreamin”? Aren’t the serfs about to find their living conditions diminished somewhat?

  12. Interest rates are the wrong tool for the job when it comes to the impending inflation spiral. Costello is right in this regard but he has yet to point the rba in the direction of an alternative. For the answer they should be looking at how the boj defeated deflation.

  13. The following letter has been cross-posted from the Communities Against the Tunnels web site.
    Save Our City!
    Cancel the NSBT contract!
    An open letter to the Brisbane City Council
    Labor Councillors

    Tuesday, 1 August 2006

    Dear Councillor,

    I am contacting you and all of your fellow Labor Councillors as a resident of Brisbane and as a member of the community group, Communities Against the Tunnels with this open letter. The purpose of the letter is to plead with you to use the power that the Brisbane City Council Labor Caucus still has in its hands to stop the North South Bypass Tunnel and related projects, before the residents of Brisbane are contractually locked into this course.

    The North South Bypass Tunnel will be amongst the most extravagantly expensive road projects in the world, now costed at $2,000,000,000 and climbing, in spite of initial assurances that it would not cost more than $900,000,000 to build.

    Make no mistake. Whether or not the $2,000,000,000 is supplied largely by private investors, it will be the residents of Brisbane who will end up paying all of this money, and so much more, through their rates, state and federal taxes, as well as through tolls, which could easily reach the order of $100 per week for many commuters.

    This money could easily be put to far better use towards reducing traffic congestion and improving the lives of Brisbane residents in so many other ways. These would include :

    Grade separation at railway level crossings to enable both faster
    movement of road traffic and more frequent train services.

    Better public transport

    Cycleways and footpaths

    Effective town planning so that more residents can commute by cycle or foot to work and amenities.

    The expected increase in traffic movements is the main justification for the NSBT and related projects. I would have thought, as we approach an era of rising oil prices due to the anticipated decline in production of petroleum, that any responsible Council would be doing its utmost to avoid increased traffic movements. But If Brisbane residents were somehow to find themselves able to afford the additional petroleum, despite greatly increased prices, the extra car movements which the planned tunnel anticipates would nonetheless have enormously detrimental effects on residents’ health and quality of life.

    The processes of construction of these projects will in themselves entail further costs and disruption to the communities of Brisbane as residents have their houses resumed, streets are blocked off, and truckload after truckload of excavated rock is transported through the streets of Brisbane.

    Circumstances have changed in many ways since Lord Mayor Campbell Newman was elected on a promise to build the NSBT. As well as those mentioned above, the most obvious is his promise for the toll not to exceed $2.00. Given these dramatically changed circumstances, it is nonsense to suggest that the ‘mandate’ to build that Newman claims he obtained in the 2004 elections still exists in 2006. If you do as Communities Against The Tunnels and the large meeting of residents opposed to construction of the Hale Street Bridge on Sunday 22 July ask of you, the residents of Brisbane will not only understand your stance, they will heartily thank you all.

    The motion passed by the meeting of residents opposed to the Hale Street Bridge, on 22 July regarding the related NSBT project was :

    That this meeting calls upon the Labour Caucus, as a matter of urgency, to introduce into Council a motion to terminate the North South Bypass Tunnel Agreement.

    If you fail to take this opportunity, which you now have before you, then each and every one of of you, together with Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, will be held to account by the residents of Brisbane when the extreme folly of the NSBT project becomes all too obvious for anybody to deny.

    Yours faithfully,

    James Sinnamon
    on behalf of
    Communities Against the Tunnels

  14. I’ve only spent a week or two in Brisbane, but it seems to me quite absurd that they need a big, expensive tunnel. The traffic wasn’t too bad, and the trains looked like they needed an upgrade.

    A $2bn tunnel funded through PPP will end up costing about $6 bn, if Melbourne’s CityLink is anything to go by.

  15. What do people think of things like this to raise economic literacies in the general population?


    Do we need an Australian version?

    I am interested in seeing what can be done, but I am no good at digging into economic data. Maybe someone here can provide me with some good links which summarise federal spending.

  16. wilful,

    Also, remember that this is only one of three closely related projects to supposedly solve traffic congestion in a relatively small part of Brisbane fairly close to the CBD. These are the NSBT, the Airport Link and the Hale Street Bridge. Whilst the NSBT would be the most expensive, the cost of all these projects are likely to be yet even more than the $6 billion that the experience with PPP’s in Victoria would suggest.

    In my own personal experience the traffic, contrary to what your impression seems to have been, congestion in many parts of Brisbane is appalling, although not as bad as Sydney, in which I lived for 6 months up to September 2004. If population increases as Beattie, Newman and a number of powerful vested interests would wish, the congestion problem will become worse than what it now is in Sydney even if these roads are built.

    Possibly these projects may serve to mitigate these problems for a while, just as turning on a tap fully when the plug as been pulled out will slow down the drop in the level of water in the bath for a while. However, these kind of ‘solutions’ appear to be the least cost effective imaginable.

  17. et me tell you now that Sydney siders are coming to Brisbane whether you want them or not. People want to live in houses, and they can’t afford to do that in Sydney.

    You should set aside some massive transport coridoors. Wide enough for heavy rail and a ten lane freeway. You’ll probably never build ten lane freeways, but if the land is there you have lots of options. Just draw them on a map in the logical directions and make sure no-one ever builds on that land. Ever.

    Sydney would be fine we had done that. Building a massive freeway or heavy rail is not too difficult. But tearing up whole suburbs to make way for them is.

  18. I am far too old to dream of heavily bearded professors be they ever so spunky, however my nightmares are now visited constantly by a small, bandy, balding, colourless, grinning man with a whineing voice – rather reminiscent of that diabolical little creature in the Lord of the Rings, who interminably conned a certain Hobbit.

    I am well aware that we are under the spell of a personality cult that is heavily stage managed by powerful forces, but where is the famous ‘bullshit factor’ that Australians are marketed as having when we so badly need it. Help!

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