14 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Rudd’s choice of ex National party leader Tim Fischer as Vatican ambassador is an illogical indulgence. Not to mention a slap in the face for indigenous Australians. This is the guy who promised ‘bucket loads’ of extinguishment from Native Title legal wins in the Mabo and Wik cases.
    It may win Rudd brownie points in the obscure world of train enthusiasts, agrarian socialists and wonky tourism. Fischer should be declared a threatened species and never allowed to leave his Boree Creek farm.

  2. The HR department of Telstra is doing the company a disservice in refusing to acknowledge the changed industrial landscape since the elections. Whilst it was keen to adopt Workchoices and rushed to tie its workforce into AWAs earlier this year their curretn refusal to negotiate with the unions representing their workers appears to be backward and perverse.

    Is it any wonder that the Telstra share price is so low? It is so bad because its own Mum and Dad shareholders hold the management in contempt and are with other carriers – unless there is no choice.

    The American practices of the management are out of place and out of time. What a shame for a once great company which still has a workforce of excellence.

  3. On central bankers becoming predatory lenders-

    “Ron Paul, Republican congressman from Texas, told Bernanke that the Federal Reserve is a “predatory lender”. But he did not mention that by law, predatory lenders forfeit any right of collection.

    Lender liability is embodied in common and statutory law covering a broad spectrum of claims surrounding predatory lending. It is a key concept in environmental-cleanup litigation. If a lender knowingly lends to a borrower who is obviously unable to make reasonable beneficial gain from the use of the funds, or causes the borrower to assume responsibilities that are obviously beyond the borrower’s capacity, the lender not only risks losing the loan without recourse but is also liable for the financial damage to the borrower caused by such loans. For example, if a bank lends to a trust client who is a minor, or someone who had no business experience, to start a risky business that resulted in the loss not only of the loan but of the client trust account, the bank may well be required by the court to make whole the client.

    In the United States, although predatory lending is not defined by federal law, and various states define abusive lending differently, it usually involves practices that strip equity away from a homeowner, or equity from a company, or condemn the debtor into perpetual indenture. Predatory or abusive lending practices can include making a loan to a borrower without regard to the borrower’s ability to repay, repeatedly refinancing a loan within a short period of time and charging high points and fees with each refinance, charging excessive rates and fees to a borrower who qualifies for lower rates and/or fees offered by the lender, or imposing new unjustifiably harsh terms for rolling over existing debt. Predation breaks the links between an economy’s aggregate resource endowment and aggregate consumption and between the interpersonal distribution of endowments and the interpersonal distribution of consumption.

    The choice by some to be predators decreases aggregate consumption, both because the predators’ resources are wasted and because producers sacrifice production by allocating resources to guarding against predators. Much of welfare economics is based on the concept of pareto optimum, which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust global society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice.

    Now, there is a close parallel in most Third World debts and International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue packages to the above predation examples, where sophisticated international bankers knowingly lend to dubious schemes in developing economies merely to get their fees and high interest, knowing that “countries don’t go bankrupt”, as Walter Wriston, former chairman of Citibank, once famously proclaimed.

    The argument for Third World debt forgiveness contains large measures of lender liability and predatory lending. Debt securitization allows predatory bankers to pass the risk to global credit markets, socializing the potential damage after skimming off the privatized profits. The housing bubble has been created largely by predatory lending without any lender liability. The argument for forgiving Third World debt is applicable to low- and moderate-income home mortgage borrowers in the US as well. Let’s hear some proactive commitments from the presumptive candidates of both political parties instead of empty populist campaign rhetoric.”

    Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com

  4. John – you’ll be only too well aware of the staging of V8 races as a local issue here in Townsville.

    Having listened endlessly to the glib statements of the economic impact of the proposed race and then hearing Iemma talk today of the $1 Billion vaule of international exposure from the Pope’s Party it’s time someone debunked this “economic impact” mumbo jumbo.

    Any purchaser of advertising will tell you – the cost or value of the advertising is irrelevant (except to the budget of course) – the only measure is sales generated. As someone who has fox news or ABC News radio constantly running in the backgound I can tell you that the hours of the Pope’s Party I saw, heard and read about neither won them my soul nor my respect – let alone my money!!

    I’d love to see you pull the V8’s apart – but then I’m not sure of your chances of getting the T’vlle Bully to publish – they won’t even touch stories from the Courier Mail that question the future of the dinosaur sport (see http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,,24041187-10389,00.html) let alone a commentary that questions the mumbo-jumbo being pushed by one of their major sources of income – the local auto retailers!!

  5. As someone who has fox news or ABC News radio constantly running in the backgound I can tell you that the hours of the Pope’s Party I saw, heard and read about neither won them my soul nor my respect – let alone my money!!

    Islander, the same argument can be applied to those advertisements for female hygiene products. I’m never going to be swayed by an advertisement for them — indeed, I’m never going to have a (personal) need for them — so all the money they’re spending on them is wasted. Clearly it is a waste of money and they should stop.

    Sydney has once again made the world’s televesions reminding people it’s there. Lots of people have come from around the world and they’ve contributed to Sydney’s economy. And as for the Catholics, well, from the angle of news reports I’ve seen, I would think it’s been a success for them. Even the sex scandal stories have been handled well I think . Maybe there won’t be a massive jump in the number of young people attending Mass this Sunday and next Sunday, but this and other events might cause a slow trickle.

    In any case, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, I’m sure if even one more soul is converted than is turned away by the event, it was a net success. Regardless of what you might think, most Christians of all persuasions I’ve met really are interested in helping the rest of us get æternal life and not in getting rich quick.

  6. True Trisan – “most Christians of all persuasions I’ve met really are interested in helping the rest of us get æternal life and not in getting rich quick” – but is it true of the institution?

    In my experience, institutions almost by definition are primarily concerned with their own survival and power.

  7. ‘I would say that it looks like Mr. Henry C K Liu is the one indulging in “…empty populist campaign rhetoric.â€?’
    More like 20/20 hindsight given Freddie Mac and Fannie May now Andrew. Still it was fun while it lasted but alas it’s time to clean up the empties now.

  8. “In any case, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, I’m sure if even one more soul is converted than is turned away by the event, it was a net success.”

    That still doesn’t justify Iemma signing the check to commit tax funds to the event.

  9. Islander

    Good luck vs the V8 car race. Writing from Adelaide, where the Clipsal 500 is as entrenched as nepotism in Bjelke-Petersen era Queensland, all I can say is fight hard. In my time in government I never encountered one of these events that actually made money. “Benefits” are never discounted against the usual level of tourism and entertainment spending that would occur anyway to get a true net figure. Crowd figures are often exaggerated, as with the recent Melbourne F1 event. Costs are often hidden on various other departments budgets. Losses are never even investigated, much less quantified. We had several people attending a meeting in Adelaide delayed out of Sydney airport on Monday due to the WYD crowd leaving. I would bet that the organisers of the Gold Coast Indy and Adelaide Clipsal don’t pay for the cost of all the roadwords and traffic control either. Perhaps I’d be more tollerant of such events if I didn’t find them to be a painful bore.

  10. Yes, one wonders when “big engines burning hydrocarbons and going round and round in circles” will cease to be subsidised.

    I am amazed at how many otherwise intelligent males at my work obsess and drool over shiny automobiles with big engines. Equally, I am sure that sensible iconoclastic women are amazed at how many of their otherwise intelligent “sisters” drool over dress shops, shoe shops, handbags and cosmetics. This inculcation of mindless, wasteful consumerism has to stop. We’ll never save the planet unless we find some better values than that.

    Currently, one of my most prized possessions is a battered paperback copy of “War and Peace”. I’m re-reading it for about the fifth time. I’ll be quite happy in my old age if I have a box of candles and few hundred paper back classics. I really won’t give a damn if I dont have eletric light, a car or a computer. I will want a bit of hot water though. Solar can easily supply that.

  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions

    Interesting chart from Wikipedia showing carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP.

    On this measure, China and India are amongst the least-efficient economies on the planet.

    This is good news – since it implies that increasing the efficinecy of fuel use in these countries would premit those countries to continue their rapid economic growth without a proportionate increase in their carbon dioxide emissions.

    Generally speaking there’s no close correlation between GDP per capita and carbon dioxide emissions.

    The ex-Communist countries are generally the least efficient in their carbon dioixde emissions despite substantial disparities in income levels within that group. Russia has a per capita GDP severl tiems that of North Korea but similar levels of carbon intensity.

    At the other extreme, while the carbon intensity of most developed economies is relaitvely low, some poor countries also have low carbon intensity.

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