84 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. 50-50 in the latest Newspoll. I’m not about to do a happy dance for two reasons 1. this Labor government doesn’t make me happy, and 2. it’s just one poll, a long way from the next election still, but I am going to laugh fairly hard when the leadership murmerings start for Abbott.

  2. The Victorian local government elections have seen an improved showing by the Greens compared to the 2008 results. For some reason this is deemed less newsworthy by The Australian than the results of the NSW local government elections which saw a trend the other way.

  3. Mitt Romney’s campaign staff thought it was a good idea to use Meatloaf vocal talents in their most recent campaign event. This is a clear testament as to how many Americans watch the AFL Grand Final.

  4. Or alternatively, millions watched and some liked what they saw. We are talking about Republicans, after all.

  5. @Troy Prideaux

    There are some other interesting bloopers

    1. The Romney campaign managed to produce a badly photoshopped image of a rally they held that exaggerated its size.
    2. Tagg Romney was interviewed on what it was like to have the President call your Dad a liar. He professed a fantsay wish to punch the President. Apparently his brother Josh declared that Tagg “had slugged {him} a couple of times”, so the President had nothing to worry about. Not sure what this means. Tagg has apologised.
    3. Romney tried lining his wife and kids up for one of those cute photo-ops in front of some jingoistic bunting. Ann had a logo that was a kind of stylised red white and blue “R” character, but looked a little like the fast forward arrow on old video players. The kids, wearing T-shirts with one chracter each of “OMNEY” were lined up. Amusingly, the “O” & “M” became transposed, with Freudian slip consequences.

    My favourite tale from the “land of the free” today is Joss Whedon’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Romney, which speaks of the coming “Zomney Apocalypse”.

  6. There are some other interesting bloopers

    1. The Romney campaign managed to produce a badly photoshopped image of a rally they held that exaggerated its size.
    2. Tagg Romney was interviewed on what it was like to have the President call your Dad a liar. He professed a fantsay wish to punch the President. Apparently his brother Josh declared that Tagg “had slugged {him} a couple of times”, so the President had nothing to worry about. Not sure what this means. Tagg has apologised.
    3. Romney tried lining his wife and kids up for one of those cute photo-ops in front of some jingoistic bunting. Ann had a logo that was a kind of stylised red white and blue “R” character, but looked a little like the fast forward arrow on old video players. The kids, wearing T-shirts with one chracter each of “OMNEY” were lined up. Amusingly, the “O” & “M” became transposed, with Freudian slip consequences.

    My favourite tale from the “land of the free” today is Joss Whedon’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Romney, which speaks of the coming “Zomney Apocalypse”.

  7. Katz @3, good empirical example of ‘incomplete markets’ in the nuke industry to complement the example for ghg emissions.

    The proverbial ‘world’ was conned by those who peddled ‘free enterprise’ under the name of ‘free markets’.

    By the time this confusion was ‘sold’ in the policy area, the theoretical results on incomplete markets had been published not only in journal articles but in book form. It seems to me, the fiscal and monetary policy time lag is trivially short in comparison to the time lag in the dissemination of knowledge.

  8. Opps …

    It turns out that the Romney — Money photo to which I alluded above is itself someone’s idea of a joke. Romney-Money.

    I apologise for citing this. I suppose I should keep in mind that things on the internet that seem just too amusing to be true, usually are. Please don’t repeat my error. I don’t want to be part of spreading an urban myth.

    The kids were much too young to be his as well, (though I’ve never seen them I should have noted that).

  9. I tuned into 2GB briefly this morning to check. And it seems Alan Jones is still on the radio. He wasn’t making much sense but he was transmitting loud and clear.

  10. There seems to be little mention in this blog of Spain’s descent into full fledged depression. Spain has over 25.1% unemployment and over 50% youth unemployment. Greece unemployment is 24%. Stiglitz has noted that Greece and Spain are in depression. The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.4 % in August 2012. All of this points to the failure of austerity economics.

    Some economists (e.g. Bill Mitchell) blame the failure of the monetary union also (loss of currency sovereignty etc.). Some peak energy analysts blame high energy prices and note that the countries having trouble (PIIGS) produce little fossil or nuclear energy of their own. My guess is that it doesn’t have to be an either/or case. Pro-cyclical budgets represent an endogenous (fiscal) shock to the economy and high energy prices (and scarcity) represent an exogenous (real resources) shock to the economy. It seems possible both causes are in operation.

  11. Terje lol you say “I tuned into 2GB briefly this morning to check. And it seems Alan Jones is still on the radio. He wasn’t making much sense but he was transmitting loud and clear.”

    Perhaps he isn’t all that ‘clear’ – loud for sure.

    But did you hear any ads? That is the point isn’t it? He only blathers on because it pays well? Or do you think he would do it for free?

    According to my destroying the joint facebook page, the ‘cyberterrorists’ are keeping tabs on the advertising and stopped AirAsia from running ads yesterday by asking nicely so it seems to be only that restaurant and one other place are still advertising on his show.

  12. Well said, Julie Thomas.

    If the Parrot is still broadcasting, it is the radio version of vanity publishing. Good on Jonesy for volunteering to burn 2GB’s cash. Keep up the good work, old fellow!

  13. Julie – I don’t have enough time or the inclination to monitor it for advertisements. But he is still there.

  14. Switching to 2GB to see if it is still on the air makes about as much sense as poking a dog turd with your finger to see how old it is.

  15. Terje that’s fine with me; I don’t want to drive him to suicide or anything although some of the destroyers are rather more angry than me.

    I think there is a range of acceptable outcomes that people are wanting; ranging from what we have already got, compulsory fact checking, – and won’t that be a hoot for the poor person who has to try and educate him – to sacking.

    There is a comp on the ‘destroyers’ facebook page to predict what spin 2GB will put on the statement the managing director is going to make soon.

    It is interesting to consider the psychology of his demographic and how in need of some ‘help’ they are, it is very difficult to listen to his ‘shrill’ lol – voice and tone, the incipient madness and incoherence are very disturbing if you can ‘hear’ the ‘signs’.

    But the ‘destroyers’ take turns to monitor him so nobody gets too depressed.

  16. Ernestine Gross :
    Katz @3, good empirical example of ‘incomplete markets’ in the nuke industry to complement the example for ghg emissions.
    The proverbial ‘world’ was conned by those who peddled ‘free enterprise’ under the name of ‘free markets’.

    Another good example on 4 Corners last night. The “free” market availability in India of antibiotics has created super bacteria whose resistant genes are now transmissible to other bacteria. According to the program, this unregulated market threatens to make all antibiotics obsolete. The only alternative to antibiotics is surgical incision and amputation.

  17. Hearing some of the US presidential debate, I found it interesting that both parties have a clear direction when it comes to foreign i.e. Israel is our ally (even though they wouldn’t actually say that phrase), need to make sure Afghanistan can look after themselves before we leave etc…. So it seems that they have a clear image on how they want the world to run, yet they cannot agree on what is ‘best’ for their own country (a possible superiority complex)

  18. But the ‘destroyers’ take turns to monitor him so nobody gets too depressed.

    Is there a compliant OH&S policy in place?

  19. Terje Check for yourself; you do have a facebook page?? All you need to do is ‘like’ their page and you get updates all day. All free and sometimes with pictures. 🙂

    But it seems to me to be a dynamically self-organising system with no policies at all; they make it up as they go.

  20. Apparently the last ratings period occurred almost entirely before the Jones controversy arose. Not sure what data Jenna Price is relying on.

  21. Yep, since Gillard and her handlers took a slice out of the Parrot, her numbers and the ALP numbers have gone north.

    The Parrot is just a small piece in a bigger game.

    Yet the Murdochracy claimed this publicity would have a bad effect.

    Don’t they know that Gillard smacked a parrot, not a “cute animal”?

  22. Katz – yes the ALP numbers are up. I think Gillards tactics are working. Which is more than can be said for her policies.

  23. As it happens, I agree.

    The ALP suffers from two shortcomings:

    1. An unacknowledged betrayal of its core values.

    2. Inept mismatch between ends and means.

  24. The NSW government seems to have sacked the wrong people – hospital and education staff instead of accountants!

    According to the smh report of 31/10/12, the nsw government accounts have been found to contain an error of about $1 billion with the result that an announced deficit is a surplus.

    The Auditor General, NSW, has expressed the size of the error in a language that makes sense to me and, I assume, to most so-called ordinary people, when he is quoted as having said: “I would say that a $1 million error is unfortunate, a $10 million error is undesirable but a $100 million error is totally unacceptable,”
    Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/1b-error-nsw-swings-from-deficit-to-surplus-20121031-28j8s.html

    If $100 million is a totally unacceptable error, then what is a $1 billion error?

    Setting aside the size of the error problem, having decisions made on seriously erroneous accounting data is even worse. It is worse because the consequences of the accounting errors become irreversible.

    The consequences are irreversible because the income and expenditure plans of the sacked people have been disrupted, the work plans of institutions have been disrupted and all this has flow-on effects in the so-called ‘wider community’.

    The government of Greece, I dare say, still wears the crown for creative accounting. In contrast to NSW, in Greece the discovery is not a hidden surplus but accumulated hidden deficits. The numbers involved are not strictly comparable. Still, I believe my point stands that decisions based on erroneous data have irreversible consequences.

    Who is being held responsible for this form of erroneous decision making?

    Government data is typically easier to scrutinize than private enterprise data. But this does not mean that there is no erroneous decision making taking place in the latter (Enron may still be wearing the crown on this one, HIH comes to mind and the entire proverbial Wall Street banking sector).

    The errors in the decision making process don’t necessarily cancel out ‘globally’. Of course it would be very difficult for me to get rid of the word ‘necessarily’ in the foregoing sentence. I am fully aware that I put it in deliberately.

    The point I am trying to get at is, even if the accounting errors underlying decision making processes by public and private organizations would cancel out ‘globally’, it would be grossly (no pun intended) unfair because every individual has only one life and therefore irreversible consequences for each life cannot be cancelled out by aggregation over the population.

    The exclusive focus on macro-economic data (and balance sheets) is, IMHO, inconsistent with the notion of liberalism as well as social democracy. But then I have only a simple mind, unencumbered by political theories.

  25. @Ernestine Gross

    “The exclusive focus on macro-economic data (and balance sheets) is, IMHO, inconsistent with the notion of liberalism as well as social democracy.” – Ernestine Gross.

    I agree. In agreeing, I assume you mean;

    (1) Governments (at national level) should pursue a full employment and full capacity utilisation policy rather than the arbitrary targetting of surpluses or balanced budgets regardless of cyclical considerations.

    (2) Other ideals, standards, goals and purposes (for example democracy, social values, public education, scientific standards and personal liberty) are values in their own right and should be pursued directly. In other words, budget outcomes and balance sheets, public and private, ought not to be the final arbiters of everything we as a society decide to do.

    The real problem is the bourgeois economics of late stage capitalism. The natural tendency of the system is to generate ever greater inequality. You cannot change the tendency of the system without changing the system. I would propose that until we move past capitalist ownership to worker cooperative ownership in a social democratic polity we cannot fix any of this. The real question is what do you propose?

  26. @Ikonoclast

    The point I wanted to make @33 was much more modest. I gave empirical examples of a general problem of decision making, which is based on false information. The examples pertain to decisions made by ‘large organisations’.

  27. @Ernestine Gross

    OK, fair enough. But how do you propose we address the “general problem of (poor) decision making based on false information especially in relation to large organisations”?

    Admittedly, a first step is a comprehensive analysis of the problem and academic interest may legitimately extend no further. However, in the wider socio-political context the identification and/or delineation of a problem in the socio-economic field presupposes an interest and intent to address the problem in some way.

    Of course, the other issue is that possessing correct information does not guarantee good decision making. If the decision making framework (including methods, ideologies, presuppositions, biases, blind spots etc. etc.) is poor then the decisions will be poor anyway.

  28. @Ikonoclast

    By ‘general problem’ I mean one which can occur in various forms at various times. I don’t know of another way of addressing erroneous decision making due to decisions being based on false information other than case by case. I thought I’ve given the answer in the first paragraph for the specific case.

  29. Sorry, I am going to be pedantic (as usual). You have given the answer for the situation after the fact. Sack the people badly in error. However, this begs several questions.

    1. Is the error solely one of major ineptitude or dereliction of duty? In this case sackings might be part of an appropriate response.
    2. Were there other organisational and/or professional errors of method, procedure and technique which need rectification? (What sort of book keeping do they use? Why did not normal cross-checks discover the error etc. etc.?)
    3. Who bears final responsibility for signing off the erroneous result?

    How do we prevent such events occuring or at least minimise the possibility? Was the department that made this error subjected to cuts itself some time before the error? Had it lost expertise and the “luxury” to cross-check and triple-check figures and so on?

  30. @Ikonoclast

    The point I made is that people in areas such as education and health were sacked on the basis of a need to reduce a deficit. To achieve this, redundancy payments were made (more money spent). After this fact, the discovery is made by the auditor general that there was no deficit but a surplus. I say this erroneous decision making has irreversible consequences.

    The easiest way to prevent this recurring is to make budget allocation decisions only after the data has been audited by the auditor general.

    (Incidentally, I know of one case where the externally audited data has been subsequently internally audited with the result of introducing new errors. To detect these new errors required additional unpaid work. I can’t be sure whether the person in charge of this mess is or was mentally unstable or acted strategically. But I am sure if this person’s ‘position’ had been cancelled, it would have constituted a Pareto improvement. I am sure because the ‘position’ was replaced with direct data entry and the error problem stopped.)

  31. Re-reading Zombie-Economics. For an economics polemicist like myself, this is a deeply satisfying book. Now you can get it at kindle for ten bucks. Lunch money. A moral purchase as well since its an “in your face” gesture to the Financial Review for being nasty to people who rebel against financial sector hegemony. I haven’t been reading that ignorant rag lately, but my bet is that they are not overwhelmed by articles on the ground-breaking research of Professor Keen or opinion pieces by Professor Hudson. It strikes me as unlikely that they have published anti-fractional reserve works by the Austrians (gaining in prominence) either. What an anti-intellectual paper that is. It tries to ingratiate itself with academics by way of a fraux-leftist tinge to it. But surely we must judge the financial review, as a paper, that can be described as part of, “Ruperts loyal opposition.”

  32. ” …… 1. this Labor government doesn’t make me happy, and ……….”

    Its good to see that you are only human. Party allegiance ought not remain untarnished in the face of the relentless stupidity displayed by Labour since Kim Beazley left town? What a talented lineup Labour used to have? By the late Hawke era they must have had more talent then any other workers party around. This was back when they were a workers party. Rather then a public servant and bankers party. Now they have a lineup with little brains, almost no relevant experience, and no loyalty to their worker constituents.

  33. @Ikonoclast

    Sorry, I am going to be pedantic (as usual). You have given the answer for the situation after the fact. Sack the people badly in error. However, this begs several questions.

    Sorry to be even more pedantic, but Ernestine’s answer doesn’t beg any questions at all. It might prompt a few questions. It could raise a question or two. But it most decidedly does not beg them. 😉

  34. As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  35. As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  36. As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  37. As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

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