34 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. An issue that bugs me, and one I don’t understand.

    The first is the myopic focus on the Euro as the choking grip on Greece’s neck. Sure, Greece is not going to earn its way out of this crisis with debt denominated in a currency it does not issue, but what about the issue of the debt itself. If the global banking industry, which, I believe, lost all the profit it ever made throughout history in a single year, can rise on angelic voices singing a cappella ‘too big to fail’ then what is to prevent Greece from reorganising and re-emerging, maybe notionally poorer but nationally more self-sufficient and resilient . Instead there seems to be some conspiracy to emasculate the centrist parties and bring Greece to its knees both financially and politically. The question is cui bono?

    And what is federal Labor up to? A storm in a teacup has obviously got to have some heat, but where is it coming from, and again cui bono? Are they just furiously lining up to be on the top deck while the ship goes down, or do they think their horror story is going to have a Disney ending. The noble, self-effacing hero/heroine hasn’t shown their face yet (so to speak), and it’s getting pretty late in the show. Maybe they have collectively lost the plot somewhere between the spin and the poll driven drivel that passes for communication these days.

  2. James – is there no-one who can stop Kevin Rudd’s undermining of the Labor Party? And is there no way to stop him from undermining it totally. To watch him undermine Labor’s chances in Queensland whilst ostensibly supporting Qld Labor is breathtaking. He says he has changed while showing clearly that if put back at PM he would be worse than ever. Everything he has learned has been negative.

  3. I have supported these idiots for FORTY FIVE years (I guess I’m in no position to be calling them idiots 😦 ) and I just despair what they are doing to Centre Left of politics. They are removing any remote chance they had of winning the next election. All of the advances they have made and policies that are important to our future as a nation (Carbon Tax, NBN, no fault insurance, education reform, etc. etc.) will all be wound back. And why?

    Well the answer I believe lies in Labor Party history; the real enemy has never been the conservative opposition (of what ever party it was). The real opposition is the factional opponents within the Labor Party. Electoral and policy success comes a very distant second to defeating the factional enemy.

    If the Prime Minister really want’s to bring an end to the current situation of instability or on how to successfully deal with the Opposition Leader then take some time out and read Machiavelli’s “The Prince” – the answers lie there.


  4. I think you’re on the money there @Peter. The machinations within the party are much more engaging and rewarding than the hard slog of governing; the former can be carried out amongst ‘friends’ and may even lead to personal advancement while the latter require discipline, focus and perseverance in the face of a barking media and a barking mad opposition.

    I was quite close to a senior minister at the end of the Keating government and was intrigued as to his ‘politics as usual’ approach as the spectre of electoral defeat loomed ever larger. In the end I think he had no choice; the skills that got him to the highest levels of government were now failing him and were very different from the skills needed to retain office, and that was as true of his colleagues as it was of him.

  5. @Chris Warren
    It’s not just the right. Read a history of the Labor Party and its been there since the shearer’s strikes of the 1890’s.

    If only the Greens would grow up or the Democrats be re-born! One can live in hope 😦


  6. Yea, and not quite right on another front. The SMH reports that some sub-faction in the Victorian Left – led by Senator Gavin Marshall – are also white-anting.

    There must be heaps of emails flying around and mobile phone calls.

    Where is “news-of-the-world” when we need it?

  7. Back to the Banks, I see more evidence is starting to appear their increased funding costs claims are looking more and more bogus. It’s a worrying sign when you consider the complete and utter greed that’s rife in the US & Europe whom are probably the majority shareholders 😦

  8. Greece has a 28% payroll tax. It’s a dumb policy and the fact is worth repeating.

    Greece should not be bailed out. Greece should default and sort out the mess itself. It will be a salient lesson to others (borrowers and lenders). It is also the most democratic option.

  9. You need to look at the real forces behind the attack on Greece and Greek democracy. The real forces are the anti-democratic forces of global corporate capital. The European Union is expressly designed to remove power from national democratic governments in Europse and tie up that power (particularly the power to make economic policy) in a body non-responsive to democratic forces but open to manipulation and “guidance” from corporate capital interests.

    The best thing would be for the people of Greece to free their country from the tyranny of corporate capital. This would involve electing a new government which would implement the true democratic wishes of the people. Their best course of action would to leave the Euro, default, restore the drachma and implement Keynesian stimulus policies.

  10. @Freelander

    I don’t mind the Green’s image problem and a lot of their policies, the only problem I have with them is that I’m not sure about their standing in economic policies and regulations if they were to win the federal election. For example what will be their take in industrial relation and regulations etc.

  11. @Peter Anderson

    If only the Greens would grow up or the Democrats be re-born!

    The Democrats died precisely because they did “grow up”. They became indistinguishable from the majors — and thus simply a less effective form of them. Truthfully, the Democrats stood for nothing but what they saw as good process. They tended to attract values voters but they eventually drifted off in the direction of the Greens.

    The Greens represent equity and reason in public policy — or at least, what most who care about such things think equity and reason look like. Polls show that most people like the sound of key Greens policies now. We are the party that most ALP supporters who say the party should go back to its roots dream of having. The problem is that they (along with much of the public) have been cowed by the press into thinking that we will somehow lack the organisational skill to run an effective government.

    As things stand though, The Greens are the only party in the parliament that are not making up our policies as we go along. The Greens are the only party that is both being constructive in policy development and focused on engaging the public with that process. Bob Brown this morning, speaking to the egregious LNP troll, Fran Kelly of #theirABC, gave a pretty good example of how to deal with hostile media, (with only one slip of the tongue). He stayed on point, refusing to feed the leadership beatup and spoke of substantive issues rather than personality.

    He behaved like the true adult in the room.

  12. @Fran Barlow

    My understanding of the Greens is that they have taken a similar roll as the Democrats in the past which is to educate the public about the politics on both sides (much lesser focus on this topic nowdays thou) and environment. This is the reason why even thou they have their own policies, they do not have policies about how to run the government nor do people know their stance in economic policies; also because of this their mind changes about economic policies as they do not have a fix stance in them, e.g. the recent private health rebate.

    I personally support Greens getting more power in the parliament (house of reps or the senate) but as long as I don’t know about their stance in economic issues or their plan/goals on how to manage the economy. They will not get my (and some other labour voter’s) vote in the federal election.

  13. IMHO, trying to separate ‘the environment’ from ‘economics’ implies a misunderstanding of what ‘economics’ is about.

  14. @Ernestine Gross

    I understand they are interrelated to each other, however there is a big difference. Environment policies are definitely needed for a sustainable future however, economic is also one of the most important issue in any society. IF a government focus too much on the environment and don’t care about the economy; there will be huge problems:

    1. poverty increases crime rate and the society’s moral values (e.g. China)
    2. mental and health conditions of the general public will become poor
    3. the possibilities that the general public might point their anger at focusing too much on the environment
    4. the “excuse” the rightwing politics to point the finger at the government and affecting the general public’s attitude towards environment
    5. a lot more to be continued…

    I’m not saying we should be care less about the environment (in fact the exact opposite), but if the economy is unwell it might have a negative effect on the future economic and the environment. I tried to look for their stance on the economy but they don’t even have it on their website except the subtitle “sustainable economy” link which leads to nothing. This is why as I previously said I give my support to the Greens except at federal level.

  15. Tom – I have a comment in moderation which included a link to The Greens’ economic policies.

    They are social democrats through and through.

  16. @Dan

    Thanks Dan, I’ve found it through Google. Their hyperlink of “sustainable economy” was broken so when I clicked on it, it led me back to their home page. I haven’t gone through all of them yet but so far their policy do look like the Democrats and the very old traditional Labour.

  17. So maybe you will consider supporting them federally now?

    You might also note that they supported the federal stimulus.

  18. @Tom

    It seems to me there are two issues in your post and this time it is me who would like to seperate them.

    1. The relationship between ‘economics’ and ‘the environment’. My point is, it makes no sense in economics to talk about ‘the economy’ without recognising that ‘the economy’ depends on ‘the natural environment’ (eg what is ‘the economy’ on Mars?). The term ‘sustainable economy’ might be a phrase to assist people to stop thinking about ‘the economy’ in abstract notions such as GDP and think about the physical and biological environment which is the basis upon which people live, including the technological knowledge.
    2. There is the topic of what the Greens actually have in mind when they use the term ‘sustainable economy’. I have no answer.

  19. System justification theory is a scientific theory within social psychology that proposes people have a motivation to defend and bolster the status quo, that is, to see it as good, legitimate, and desirable.

    According to system justification theory, people not only want to hold favourable attitudes about themselves (ego-justification) and their own groups (group-justification), but they also want to hold favourable attitudes about the overarching social order (system-justification). A consequence of this tendency is that existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives to the status quo are disparaged. [Wikipedia]

    Johnson and Fujita took this a step further to investigate whether people’s willingness to see negative information about a system was related to their perception of the systems changeability. The idea being that if a system was believed to be unalterable, people wouldn’t want to know about its negatives but if the system was perceived to be changeable, then they wouldn’t avoid negative information.

    Result: People do avoid negative information about systems they believe cannot be changed.


    This has a lot of consequences for political activity. For example, promoting the idea that dealing with climate change will be dreadfully costly would encourage denial. OTOH demonstrating that greenhouse gas reduction can be relatively painless would help people to take AGW seriously. This also helps explains why conservatives – who believe that change from the status quo is fraught – tend toward AGW denial.

  20. Jim Birch :if a system was believed to be unalterable, people wouldn’t want to know about its negatives

    This is why I stopped reading CounterPunch 😛

  21. @Ernestine Gross

    I might have made some confusions here. I totally agree with what you are saying, in fact I did so in my previous reply “Environment policies are definitely needed for a sustainable future “. What I was implying in my previous reply was the general public’s mental attitude towards a certain political party and to the attitude of the need for environmental sustainability.

    Look at it this way, “IF” (please look at the IF) a government (e.g. Green) has acted agressively on climate change but has mismanaged the economy (because of poor economic management not because of acting on climate change). This will cause a lot of social problems (listed in previous post) and if the rightwing decides to use this to attack leftwing politics (especially for acting for the environment), it will have a great probability to cause the general public to feel angry about it. This will have extremely serious consequences:

    1. Say for example like Labour party the general public will believe that they are unable to put through a budget surplus if they could not do it in the past.
    2. If the above happened, future environmental sustainability policies may never happen again if the right dominates politics and if it gets too late to act, consequences are unthinkable.

    Because of those reasons, even thou aggressive environmental actions are for good cause, but the same government mismanaged the economy and the economy is in a very bad shape; it might actually have negative consequence on the possibility of future environmental actions.

  22. @Tom

    I’d agree with you if you would say: If a government (eg Green) has acted strongly against human induced global warming but has neglected other economic problems such as (eg escalating real estate prices due to easy access to credit), then social problems (eg listed in post …) can be expected.

  23. @Ernestine Gross

    I can’t see a difference? I’m have always agreed with the need to act on climate change; what I was suggesting in my previous posts were worst consequences which might happen with a great probability if a government does not have sound economic policy. I’m NOT suggesting acting on sustaining environment will cause economic disaster.

  24. @Ernestine Gross

    Sorry for attitude in the above comment, I know that my grammar is not that great and sometimes I misrepresent myself. But I hope you’ll see my point about the need of sensible economic policy even if environmental issues such as climate change requires serious actions and most attention.

  25. @Tom

    I agree, there is no difference in terms of important policy goals. I didn’t wish to suggest there is any problem with your writing. If I have done so, I apologise. I’ve tried to suggest it is time we adapt the terminology such that it becomes obvious that environmental policies are not policies in conflict with ‘economic policies’ but are one type of economic policies. Other types of economic policies are labour market policies, trade practices, etc.

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