Monday Message Board

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. In this context, could I ask commenters to avoid the term “bulls**t” which has sent a lot of recent comments to moderation, creating unnecessary work for me. In future, comments containing this term will be deleted.

40 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “The developed nations on the other hand are being asked to scrap existing working power plants and infastructure.’

    No, they’re not.

    Essentially the entire power industry infrastructure will need to be replaced between now and 2050. If we replace it with carbon-free energy sources as and when it reaches the end of its economic life, then we will achieve the goal of a 60-80% reduction in emission from the stationary energy sector.s

  2. “If we continue with the financial system that we have on the fly there can be no doubt that this is the end of this country. The financial system in American has basically wrecked that Republic. And it will go the same way for us eventually.”

    Australia currently has amongst the lowest unemployment rates; public debt to GDP ratios, bank debt to bank assets and government deficit to GDP ratios in the developed world and is IIRCthe only developed economy not to have experienced a recession (defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth)

    I find the evidence for imminent catastrophe less than impressive.

  3. @Graeme Bird
    I agree with your concerns and with your belief that we have to get more loans for productive purposes and fewer loans that simply increase the price of existing assets.

    Our loans system is structured to give loans to buy existing assets. To build new assets we have to use savings. We can create more loans than we have savings and so loan money is plentiful and it is cheap.

    A small change to the system that will stop the proliferation of “bad loans” is to allow loans to be made to build new assets and to make those loans zero interest.

    This makes it financially cheaper to build a new asset than to buy an old asset. Do this and the system will adjust itself and asset bubbles will become a bad memory.

  4. @Ian Gould
    Ian – I dont think Birdie used the word imminent but the word eventually. After the GFC and every other US centred financial tank last century, we cant ignore the transmission here. It happens and we are not immune. Just because we got out of this last GFC marginally better than some other nations doesnt protect us. We have never been so powerful or so big or so indepdendant that what happens in the US financial system doesnt get transferred here.

    I also have a problem with your take on unemployment rates. Have you checked the rates for 16 to 24 year olds? They are ugly. There is also the small matter than an entire year of school leavers have been kept out of the unemployment figure (earning or learning – must be learning if not earning, to get access to unemployment benefits…and if “learning” no longer counted). Unemployment rates for the young, I know are at 27% on the Northern Beaches and yet at 46% out Campbelltown way.

    These are not pretty numbers and your rosy view may not be quite justified.

  5. If people took actions within their own households they could reduce GHG emissions by X%. However, if we loosen this to “If people were free to undertake any voluntary actions they wished, they could reduce GHG emissions by Y%”

    The fact that we haven’t reduced GHG emissions by Y%, or anything like it yet, demonstrates quite unequivocally that purely voluntary actions are not working, and that is in spite of 30 years of “getting the message out”.

    PS: X and Y don’t really matter too much as far as the point I’m making goes.

  6. People reading this blog in NSW who follow the local news will probably have heard that a 21-month old child died after two men who fled the scene of an East Hills liquor store robbery and were pursued by the police on the motorway collided with the back of the family Subaru. At the time of the collision a number of police cars were involved and a police helicopter.

    Now anyway you slice it, the two alleged offenders were not all that good at risk trading. Two guys who think holding up as liquor store and fleeing with about as much in cash and goods as they could make in a week of mowing lawns or distributing spam into people’s letter boxes ($1265 plus two bottles of whiskey) are not the kind of people to make good decisions when at the wheel of a car being pursued by the police. Post-collision, one of them got out and tried to hijack another vehicle, only to be knocked down. He’s in hospital.

    My question is — what possessed police to pursue such a dangerous pursuit, particularly after the police helicopter had them under surveillance? Pulling back, allowing them to get a grip on their emotions and to entertain the illusion that they could dump the car and escape on foot would have been more sensible, but it seems the police were little better at risk trading than the two crims. They gambled with the lives of the public and, not surprisingly, lost what they had no business gambling with, given especially that the robbery in question was committed without injury by two obvious dimwits.

    Had those being pursued been two murderous psychopaths with a reasonable prospect of evading capture and causing mayhem, then the case for close pursuit would have been strong, but it’s simply madness that the cost of preventing the remote chance of a similar trivial robbery has proven to be a human life (and randomness alone prevented the other two occupants and a fetus being added to the casualty list).

  7. @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    We support what he’s standing for, …

    This is where the concept of getting off your butt and doing something turns into a pun.

    Seriously though, it does underline the point that private property rights in anything bearing upon social production and the interests of the commons are never far from being in conflict.

    The time is long overdue when private land is brought back into the explicit control of the commons.

  8. @Fran Barlow
    Fran – interestingly the location of the stores robbed is usually close to a freeway. Thats what the thieves like. A hit with a good clear exit. There was a poor TAB at epping somewhere – did we have this conversation? Close to an intersection entry point for two major arteries providing a clear fast high speed getaway. The poor guy who owned the TAB couldnt cope with the repeated robberies and closed. Maybe bring back some suburban strip shopping centres not so close to freeway entry points. Planning… to reduce crime.
    Fast getaway is what these thieves were clearly banking on but they got chased at equally high speed. It isnt the police’s fault that there was a tragic death of an innocent child involved. They were doing what they are paid to do. The thieves got caught and will do the time for their actions and this acts as a deterrent to others. It was just a very sad accident.
    The best cure of all for a crime rate is to have low unemployment levels isnt it? (and that doesnt mean fudged figures of people being seen as employed if working for an hour or two a week).

  9. Hubby thinks the cops see police chases as a perk of office and that this (rther than protecting the public) is why they get licence to do them.

  10. [PrQ … please sub this post for the one at 36 as that has too many typos. Thanks]

    @Alice

    It isn’t the police’s fault that there was a tragic death of an innocent child involved. They were doing what they are paid to do.

    No they weren’t. They are paid to protect the public. That is always a risk management exercise in which one trades in various types of risk to produce the optimal risk/reward balance in reconciling competing claims — timely restraint of criminal conduct; minimisation of loss of civil liberty; public safety in the short, medium and longterm; trading in serious harm versus more general harm etc.

    The thieves got caught and will do the time for their actions and this acts as a deterrent to others.

    There’s little persuasive evidence that this “deterrent” works that way. Most people who commit these crimes are in a poor position to evaluate the possibility of being caught and one of them was on a warrant for parole violation. Sending them to jail also improves their ability to learn new techniques that may elevate their belief that they can evade capture in the future. And much as you and I would prefer to stay out of prison, there’s no denying that for some, prison life provides a culture with attractions that appeal to those with weak life skills and self-esteem. Having done voluntary work in the past with prisoners, for many it’s like having a family who, unlike their biological counterparts, aren’t about to abandon them. The prison and the army aren’t that different, and if you compare the demographics of the US army/marines at “grunt” level with those who wind up in prison, the demographics are remarkably similar.

    It was just a very sad accident.

    That’s a meaningless appeal to metaphysics. The vast majority of events (whether negative or positive) are to some extent authored by humans, at least in terms of their impacts on humans. Beyond a couple of news articles I haven’t looked at the backgrounds of the criminals involved behind this robbery, but I’d be very surprised if they both hadn’t been from dysfunctional and marginalised families known to DOCS and the police as minors, and if they had both performed poorly at school and had had anger management issues. One of them strongly resembles one of our problem kids out at Sarah Redfern at Minto.

    Could the police have anticipated what followed? Of course as collisions are a fairly common occurrence in situations such as this. Deaths and serious injury are entirely foreseeable. They had a helicopter up. What were they thinking?

  11. @Fran Barlow
    You mean hubby thinks they have been playing too much “need for speed” or watching too many police “hot pursuit” shows before they do the real thing Fran? Like if some kid hooked on speed driving video games grows up to be a policeman and makes some unconscious connection with his video game entertainment activities….horrible thought isnt it? Lets hope not.

  12. Actually Alce, he thinks that the police force attracts those who like illicit risk-taking. I recall a couple of my schoolbuddies who wound up in the police force in the 1980s and they were very much the kind of people who wanted legal cover to do things that would otherwise get them into trouble.

  13. @Fran Barlow
    Well…we know the cash and drugs in busts has always proved a little too tempting to some in the force, historically, dont we? The uniform can really give cover for some organised lightfingeredness with the proceeds of crime cant it? Then of course, there is the too close relationships with dealers, pimps and prostitutes for some. The force does seem to have its good cops and bad cops – like Owen and Roger Rogerson for example.

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