29 thoughts on “Appearances

  1. @jquiggin
    says “and charge little or nothing for the venues, but those days are long gone.”

    I know Prof..I was around in the 70s and 80s…those days are not so long gone (from early 90s maybe) but they are gone and I regret their passing.

    Lots of people including students got extra benefits from the good old days. Now that the profit motif has been shifted centre forward in universities I can hear the plaintive cry “oh but any profit we make from the hiring of a venue will be ploughed back into the uni”.

    Sadly lots of people, students and community groups included can no longer get the benefit of public access to uni facilities at an affordable price. The problem I have is that given taxpayers essentially fund the cost of the profit making activity and get no direct return, they have no say in how “the profits are ploughed back into the university”.

    It defeats the purpose of taxation to redistribute in the public interest and for the public welfare …if for example it is reivested in a higher order of h’orderves at the next conference (increase in some of the public being wellfed?) or a superior accommodation standard for a select few to attend conferences.

    I recall students had more fun on campus in the good old days (Toga parties etc..and as you say folk festivals etc) and likely the publically employed cleaners didnt like it much the next day…but I am not a gringe.. and Id like to see the students have more than just study in their campus life again. It might even help reduce the drop out rates.

  2. jquiggin :
    As I’m busy trying to organise one of these conferences myself, I can assure readers that it’s very hard to do it for less than $500 a head. Certainly the suggestion of 100k profits is way OTT.

    The figure of $100 K comes out of the number of participants X the average revenue – likely reasonable costs.

    If it is “OTT” then there would be an alternative fees-costs model.

    Using the surplus to fund other loss-making ventures does not remove the 100K surplus from this event.

    Whether the surplus falls to the conference organisers or sponsors is another matter.

  3. Just to flesh things out a bit. In May this year the Labour History Society held a conference in
    the Haydon-Allen Tank, ANU and the cost was nominal, (so small I cannot remember) and they covered other costs by a raffle.

    Room hire, with all audio visual, for real thinking conferences is reasonable, it is only when certain ambitious capitalists smell an opportunity to stage premium showcase events for their own glorification at luxury facilities funded by taxpayers and attended by middle class on expense accounts or public service incomes. But these conferences by design end up one dimensional meet and greet affairs that are best soon forgotten.

  4. @Chris Warren
    And just to flesh things out even more, if as the Prof says there was ample opportunity to slip in to the Economics Conference and take up an empty seat without paying entry then there must be spare capacity at the venue…such that there is no need for conference organisers to hire secuity to check admittance ie its not a sell out.

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