22 thoughts on “Monday message board

  1. It’s not something that I do per son ally, but why do people per sist in spelling per cent with a space? And what would be the change in comprehensibility, in percentage point terms, if they desisted?

  2. they are reminding the world that percent was originally per centum, and that they are more widely educated than you. no change in comprehensibility, but vastly greater mianzi.

  3. deos ti rlleay matetr if wrods are seplled crretcoly for tehm to be copmrenehsbile? It truns out taht olny the frist and lsat ltteres need to be crroect for the setnecne to be ealsiy raed.

  4. Someplaceshavea house style, so you can’t blame the individuals. Theirwordsget changedbyothers.

  5. You mean corrected by others, Paul.

    Other than that, you’re right, of course. Per cent, percent or % – it’s just a matter of house style. I’ve worked at places where each was preferred

  6. Having identified women’s issues as one of the sleeper issues of this election – studiously ignored by male commentators I find it interesting to see that the “What Women Want” party has been launched by a mother of six.

    Perhaps it has something to do with the Galaxy polls latest puzzling figures where the pundits are shaking their heads over why Kevin Rudd is holding up.

    Women – affected more by Workchoices, children affected more by Workchoices, concern about abuse of all children including the ones living in the same suburb, sexualisation of young girls by advertisers, affected by housing shortages and mortgages, Maternity leave,concern about the impact of fast food advertising are feeling frustrated.

    Many of these issues have yet to make it onto the mainstream radar of the Howard government. Women are less likely to be concerned about the nation’s economy as they are battling to balance their own budget and pay the bills.


    Further to Jill’s post, this is from the media reports about the new party;

    Justine Caines [from What Women Want] said women needed better representation and were sick of being paid lip service on key issues. These included paid maternity leave, post-natal services, access to child care, education and the environment.

    That’s funny, because none of my childfree female friends have ever wanted any of these things (apart from a decent environment). On the other hand, I know plenty of fathers who want these things, as, strangely enough, their living standards are affected by the largesse governments provide to their partners!

    In effect, the new political party is simply another attempt by the child-laden to make the child-free pay for their lifestyle choices.

  8. if the human race attains civilization, women who bear children will be genetically healthy and get a prize: a year off from work, a large chunk of money, and a medal. women, and men, who raise children will be trained professionals at least as well paid as school teachers.

    on current form, civilization is distant, survival in question, the immediate future very interesting.

  9. TomN

    In principle it is the child who gets the benefits of more time from their parents, more money available to be spent on their upbringing, health care, education, etc. The parents collect these benefits and manage them on behalf of the child.
    No childless adult is subsidising other families. They are repaying to the government from their earnings the benefits that they received as children. Our society supports first then seeks reimbursement later, through taxation.

  10. Women are less likely to be concerned about the nation’s economy as they are battling to balance their own budget and pay the bills.

    Maybe they would be interested in a tax cut.


    Sorry BilB, but the main rationale for the provision of things such as child-care is to allow women to remain in the workforce – it is not a chld-oriented agenda; it is a mother, or more correctly parent, oriented agenda.

    Further, a large number of the “family benefits” available today did not exist when my parents chose to reproduce. Thus, even if the argument were about intergenerational transfers, the current generation already receives much more than previous ones.

    However, the fact remains that being brought into the world is a choice of parents; not children. If there are net public costs that result from those choices, it is parents who in the first instance should be held accountable for those costs, rather than shifting those costs to others.
    This is particularly the case given that any shortfall in population levels – should one be deemed to exist* – can be met at less cost through future immigration than through subsidising additional domestic reproduction now.


  12. TomN

    I have to disagree, Tom. Taking a wild stab I will suggest that about half of all government expenditure is entirely for the purposes of children. If there were no children then the child care which is seen very much as a very important first leg of the education process, would not be necessary. Sure a parent can go to work, but that is very much a troublesome side effect, not the main goal.

    Those family benefits that are available today but were not available when we were kids are entirely a product of our western productivity per person. And that does not mean that you personally are doing more, it means that there are more automated machines working on your behalf (on the one hand and on the other that there are more Chinese people working for very little on your behalf).

    On the shifting costs to others, you should add up the cost of your being from conception to your first day at work then compare that to your gross social tax contributions, before you start to suggest that you did it all and they are taking it away from you. Certainly you parents conceived you for their own personal satisfaction, and you owe them nothing, other than love, for the so doing. And it is for that very reason that you carry a responsibility to the society that secured their well being on your behalf. To understan this more clearly, take away all of the supports that our community provides and then rerun your life to see how it would be. you will quickly see that these things are all for your personal benefit, not your parents.

  13. I have already done that thought experiment BilB, and the main effect of taking away those supports would have been that my parents would now be enjoying a somewhat less luxurious retirement than they currently are. I might also have had one less sibling (and thus the planet may have had one less carbon emitter).

    Your argument is really one that says that prospective parents can’t be trusted to do the right thing by their children: rather, faced with having to pay for the full costs of their reproductive activities, they will not alter those activities, nor cut back on other expenditures, but rather bring the same number of children into the world and simply cut back on the amount they spend on each of their children. Certainly that is not something my parents would have done. Nor, even if it was, is it something that should necessarily be rewarded through government handouts.

  14. G.W.Bush has cancelled Libby’s gaol sentence. The Economist’s View post on this calls it “commuted”, but since no substitute penalty seems to have been imposed, “cancelled” seems a better word.

  15. Tom,

    If you’ve done this experiment properly you will wind up living in a Zimbabwe, the best example in recent times of where all of the institutional facilities that we take for granted have been removed.

    You have only taken away the ones that annoy your preferred social model. That is being just a little bit pickey. Of course there are those who do well even in Zimbabwe. Maybe your family would be one of those.

  16. In a real life case of the pigs ruling the farmyard, in Zimbabwe it is the extreme Marxist adherents who are doing well. It is the ockers who are being murdered, starved, beaten to within an inch of their life etc.

    For a better example of a country which has not our institutional facilities, perhaps Singapore, Malaysia, India, all places where nobody is propped up, but (unlike Zimbabwe) people are allowed to get on with whatever they wish.

  17. “Singapore … people are allowed to get on with whatever they wish.”

    Time for some distributed mockery, methinks.

    I’d comment on Malaysia and India as well but don’t have first hand experience.

  18. Umm, good point Haiku, Singapore not exactly civil a libertarian’s delight.
    Perhaps Mexico fits the bill better?
    For best example of county without institutions perhaps Somalia?

  19. Steve, my apologies for the incitement to mock! I don’t think Mexico is a libertarian’s paradise: the libertarians of the USA seem mostly to be staying put (and advocating voting for Paul), rather than charging across the border.

    On your second point, I suspect that, sadly, there are many places in the world with a severe lack of institutions – or ones that are almost hopelessly corrupt, or in the process of being torn down.

  20. Motorists paying tolls electronically will be interested in research reported at Economist’s View which indicates that electronic tolls rise quicker than tolls still collected manually. An extract:

    “As a result of [electronic toll billing systems] … many [drivers] don’t notice the cost of a toll. Which raises an interesting question: If you don’t know how much you’re paying for something, will you notice when the price goes up? Or has [electronic toll billing], for all its benefits, also made it easier for toll collectors to take your money?

    A young economist named Amy Finkelstein started thinking about these issues a few years ago… So she collected decades of toll records from around the country and found a clear pattern.

    After an electronic system is put in place, tolls start rising sharply. Take two tollbooths that charge the same fee and are in a similar setting… A decade after one of them gets electronic tolls, it will be about 30 percent more expensive on average than a similar tollbooth without it … “

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