174 thoughts on “Another sandpit

  1. How about a mag lev bullet train between Melbourne and Sydney to cut down on air congestion? Of course, since Sydney can’t even manage to lay badly needed rail to get freight to its port it will probably need to be suspended in the air from balloons or something. Or maybe if the train was moving fast enough it could do a jump over Sydney and splash down in the harbour?

  2. @BilB

    Is this really your level of understanding?

    Yes 15 is just a number. It is not the number itself that matters, but what you do with it. That number multiplied by another number gives you yet another number that defines ones options, for that week. If the number is not satisfactory then one has options to change their future. I can handle that kind of truth.

    Let’s consider your co-operative truth. No numbers. Sleep over there and you will be provided for, all you have to do is work all day,…for the good of everyone else. It is a bit hard to multiply that one out. Impossible to predict or change ones future.

  3. They’re all good thoughts, Fran, but think about some of the projects that have been done and how the cost has streched the economy. To make an airport four or five times the basic on land cost just because of noise is an unlikely starter. And that is before you consider whose beach you will park it off and how people get too and from it.

    One major advantage would be with fuel management if aviation fuel came by tanker directly.

    The nearest equivalent to this notion from which could be measured some of the operational requirements is the airport for the Maldives. Take a look. It is one of my favourites.

    I was just thinking through some of the bouyancy issues and stress loadings of having 500 tonnes land on a floating structure and role along it. I think tyou would be requiring up to ten times the amount of concrete that is required for a regular runway. That is a lot of extra cost.

    The second airport will be at Badgeries Creek. We will all get used to its noise and profit from its presence.

    To my thinking, far worse than living in the proximity of an airport is living next to a motor way. The noise pressure from highspeed traffic is oppressive and constant.

  4. @Ernestine Gross

    I am not sure whether this is just a naive prejudice:

    I agree with you, good old Karl Marx is quite irrelevant to the contemporary issue of corporatism.

    or whether you have a useful argument underpinning such gaffes.

    Under capitalism, corporations arise from 1) concentration of capital, 2) intensified competition 3) gains, for itself, through efficiencies of scale 4) market and political power and 5) gains, for itself, through degrees of monopolisation.

    This process is inherently exploitative and unsustainable.

    Under socialism, things are different but as there will still be corporations, you need to understand Marx to realise how and why?

  5. Chris Warren,

    It is you who has the perception problem.

    And your problem is that your Utopia requires a universally accepted philosophy of acceptance for it to work.

    The nearest situation to your model that has occurred in our part of the world (that I am aware and actually experienced) was in New Zealand during Robert Muldoon’s fortress economy and “think big” national project years, and particularly near the end when a national freeze on prices and wages was applied.

    Up to that time incomes were fairly flat across the economy and product retail markups were modest. The country had an aging fleet of vehicles that were lovingly maintained and there was a strong sense of community.

    BUT……..it was voted out,…by the people.

    Next came the Labour leftwingers….who were actually ultra right wingers, and smashed it all apart. It was the nearest thing that you might expect from a capitalist coup de tat. One of the ring leaders Richard Prebble as minister for most things was responsible for sacking more people from NZ Rail (24,000) than there were people in his electorate at the time. The people brought that on themselves by voting in David Lange and Roger Douglas. The wanted a change, and they got it. The whole argument was “is the cost of maintaining the fortress too great?”

    The point that I am making is that if you have to enslave the minds of the people in order to achieve some fancifully different economic system, then you are have failed at the outset because it is just not sustainable.

  6. @BilB

    It seems to me you are not familiar with the history of KSA and the history of old Sydney suburbs such as Pymble and Gordon.

    Pymble and Gordon are two suburbs in the north of Sydney with established residential areas going back to before Federation. At that time there was no airport in Sydney.

    In 1933, the year you claim the runway directions have been determined, there was only gravel runways. The first runway was the East-West runway, which is now hardly used at all. There was so little aviation traffic that there was a railway line crossing the runway and there is a historical event of a plane crashing with a train.

    The north-south runway was extended some time in the 1960s. The ‘third runway’ refers to the noth-south parallel runway which was opened in late 1994. Only the parallel runway operation can cope with high volume aircraft movement. You claim amounts to nothing having changed in terms of runway alignments since 1933 is a perpetuation of the myths generated to deflect public criticism of the expansion of KSA (third runway) is a planning disaster for several reasons, one of them being the deceptio of residents living far way from KSA to the north of KSA regarding aircraft noise.

    The wiki site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Airport is not quite adequate in the description of the history of KSA but it is good enough as a reference to refut your glib statementments.

    You are wrong about me wishing to vent anger at either Albanese or Howard. The Howard government had to pick up where the Hawke-Keating (Brereton) government left off – it was quite obvious that not much could be done in the short term. Albanese has to pick up from the planning disaster – not easy either.

    There was a lengthy and detailed site selection process for a second airport in the 1980s which reported in 1985. Wilton and Badgery’s Creek were selected as the most suitable middle distance airports. The systematic process of decision making was sabotaged a few years later when the decision to not expand KSA was reversed. This is the point in time I am talking about.

    If you were to agree the operation of KSA is restricted to Herrier Jump Jets, , I would concur with you not having sympathy with aircraft noise affected residents at Mascot. Otherwise I would say you do not understand the difference between economic rationalism and rational economic analysis.


  7. @BilB

    Using schizophrenia terms such as “utopia” and “enslave the minds” does not build confidence in your argument.

    I do not understand your linkage to New Zealand as a relevant model. The regimes running capitalist governments regularly change all over the world. NZ had to smash its fortress because this was the only way NZ capitalism could survive for a few more decades.

    NZ products sold in Australia are now made in China – eg Masport lawnmowers.

    So what do you think happens when Chinese wages equal New Zealand wages?

  8. NZ is relevent because the NZ “experience”, actually being there, was the nearest thing to what you aspire to achieve in terms of community outcome.

    However, NZ went wobbly because the markets it had specialised to service since the end of WW2 with meat wool and butter had accumulated unsustainably high stock levels of all of those commodities. There were exchange rate issues which led to people feeling trapped within their economy, unable to travel and unable to sell their property and relocate. And yet they were in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

    That is why Muldoon’s (in effect) socialist government was voted out.

    Your problem, Chris, is that you are trapped in this Marxist dogma that only you and a handful of other people could be bothered learning about, because it is totally irrelevent. There will be economic collapses in the future, but they will not lead to the formation of a socialist state as Marx envisaged. Even in Russia communism only barely got a foot hold. It wasn’t driven by mass demand, it was instigated through mass self interest by a handful of people who utilised political instability during a period of change to seize power for their ideology.

    The Marxist dream is dead, Chris. Tell your buddies BilB said so.

  9. @BilB

    You seem to be demonstrating “trapped in dogma” than anyone else.

    What socialist state did Marx envisage? He mentioned 10 points in the famous “Communist Manifesto”. Which of these are totally irrelevant?

    Or is it the case that you have no idea what you are talking about?

    Specifically what “dream” are you talking about? Where is it sourced in Marx?

    If you are going to use “socialist” to apply to both Muldoon and Marx, then you need learn the difference between national projects (to benefit capital) and socialist projects (to benefit society).

    If there is an economic collapse in the future – and this depends on whether countervailing tendencies are still viable – then the future had better be based on the analysis provided by Karl Marx because the only alternative is the thug-rule of a few.

  10. @Chris Warren

    I am telling you no knowledge of Karl Marx’s writing is required to reach the conclusion that the expansion of KSA (third runway) is a planning disaster and this happened during the period of corporatising the public sector.

    It seems to me any practical problem with economic content is seen by you as an opportunity to transform or weave it into a 1940s type of discussion. Other people read Karl Marx in historical context and may still draw some insights from his writing. But this surely is different from your style of argument.

  11. Ernestine Gross :

    I am telling you no knowledge of Karl Marx’s writing is required to reach the conclusion that the expansion of KSA (third runway) is a planning disaster and this happened during the period of corporatising the public sector.

    Correct – so why did you invoke Marx?

    It seems to me any practical problem with economic content is seen by you as an opportunity to transform or weave it into a 1940s type of discussion. Other people read Karl Marx in historical context and may still draw some insights from his writing. But this surely is different from your style of argument.

    Actually the economic content goes back to the Nineteenth Century. The historical context is the history of the form wage-labour and of surplus value.

    I know capitalists like to think they have ended history, but the old context continues even today. So if you read Marx in a historical context you are also reading Marx ion today’s context, unless you can demonstrate that wage labour and the capitalist mode of accumulation from history does not exist today.

  12. You are compleltely deluded about the reality of socialism, Chris. National socialism does not get started or survive without the “thug-rule of a few”. USSR has had a whole procession of thug rulers. In fact any artificially suppresed population (this is what your socialist society becomes) is a furtile feeding ground for psychopaths and sociopaths.

    Marx’s 10 points? WOW, you’ve got to be joking. Items 2 and most of 10 are the only points that I would subscribe to out of that denudation of individuality.

    If you subscribe to them all then you have been living in a fantasy land of false expectation.

  13. @BilB

    “The second airport will be at Badgeries Creek.” [BilB]. Is this an example of you having insider knowledge or are you trying to influence public expectations? (I understand, the Minister, Mr Albanese, had commissioned a scoping study for Wilton.)

    “We will all get used to its noise and profit from its presence.” [BilB]. Oh dear, this sounds awfully like Stalinist Communist propaganda.

    There is no evidence I know of that people get used to aircraft noise. Aircraft noise, as distinct from aircraft sound, is, by definition, unwanted sound. I am aware of a few isolated psycho-studies (eg Job), which claim that people’s responses to aircraft noise are ‘modified’ by their attitudes toward the aviation industry. A study by Gross and Sim (1997) does not support this hypothesis for areas to the north of KSA, which had litte or no aircraft sound exposure prior to the planning disaster of KSA (third runway). That is, people in areas with little aircraft sound exposure (overflights) had relatively more favourable ‘attitudes’ to the ‘aviation industry’ than people who had relatively heavy aircraft sound exposure. There may well be a few individuals ‘everywhere’ who have an ‘attitude’ toward the ‘aviation industry’. But the great majority of people seem to develop ‘an attitude’ toward the ‘aviation industry’ after they are exposed to aircraft sound in doses that interfers with their lives.

    Incidentally, the only economic (as distinct from corporate finance) analysis of the options available at the Environmental Impact Statement stage, a cost benefit analysis, reached the conclusion that the construction of the third runway at KSA is not the best. (If this economic analysis had been taken note of, then the location of the radar, which you mentioned as an illustration of the relative efficiency of decision making, would not have been a problem requiring a solution.)

    PS: One of my posts is in moderation, perhaps because of links (or a few too many spelling errors or whatever.)

  14. OK. We are talking socialism, so I had a look at the Socialist Alternative, a site that Chris Warren’s name seemed to lead me.

    On the subject of socialism and individualism, one Liam Byrne, after a very long screed on how capitalism denudes one of individuality (?), writes….

    “Human beings would labour for the replenishing of a society over which they had ownership and control. Work would gain a new meaning, and be liberated from the profit motive. Under such a state of affairs the human potential for individual expression would be limitless”

    …it would be better to have read a summary of the communist manifesto 10 point pathway to freedom from oppression.

    Can anyone else see the huge credibility gap in this thinking?

    The whole Marx thing to my thinking is little more than a cult because it hinges on the faith based notion that having been denuded of all property, the individual owns everything, in common with everyone else.

    So the sun is going down, you are tired and hungry, in Marx’s world you can only eat what is provided for you and you can only sleep where everyone else allows you to sleep. To my thinking that is owning nothing, especially hope. Where is the individual voice when everyone is talking equally at the same time?

    As all property has been confiscated for the common good no doubt the get out of jail notion here is that you continue to live where you have always lived. But what if someone else wants my luxurious place and everyone else agrees, for the common good?

  15. @BilB

    Huh? How was Gorbachev a “thug”? Didn’t Yeltsin unleash the worse capitalist thugs in the form of the Russian mafia? How is Mondragon ruled by thugs? Are you saying that it got started or survives because of “thug-rule”.

    How was the Western wars of intervention not an attempt at anti-Soviet thuggery? Are you implying that Tsarist Russia was not ruled by thugs backed by Ochrana?

    How was the basis of American capitalism – in slave-owning – not “thuggery”?

    How was the basis of Australian capitalism, based on convict labour, extermination of native peoples, plus blackbirding Pacific Islanders – not “thuggery”.

    How do you explain the wealth of nineteenth century British capitalists if not by thuggery against Indian, African and Chinese peoples?

    How was Australia’s and American efforts to erect a regime of their own liking in Vietnam – not thuggery. What else can a F111 bombing civilians represent?

    How was the massacre of Allende’s regime and supporters not “thuggery”?

    So have the populations of Indonesia, Vietnam, Chile and etc, been subject to American back thuggery or not?

    You whole capitalist economy, your whole existance, including New Zealand, was built only on the most viscous, long-running thuggery imaginable.

    If you want to object to thugs in power – why not object to the a whole range of Islamic states being set up by Saudi oil-capitalists across north Africa and Middle east.

    Marx’s first point (abolition of private property in land) specifically did not concern personal property. Enclosures were one of the earliest forms of capitalist thugs suppressing the then British population – finally shipping thousands to labour camps in Africa and Australia right through into the nineteenth century. Enclosures separated, by thuggery, the masses from their traditional property rights.

    So if you want to look at a suppressed population just look at Georgian England.

  16. Well, I guess I may as well answer Quokka’s question about how does rooftop solar reduce transmission costs. I’ll try to keep things simple. Quokka, all else equal, which do you think will have lower transmission costs? A power plant 1,000 km from where the electricity is used or a power plant 10 km from where the electricity is used?

  17. @BilB

    For Pete’s sake please provide evidence for:

    in Marx’s world you can only eat what is provided for you and you can only sleep where everyone else allows you to sleep.

    You are fabricating your own strawman.

    Marx said the exact opposite to:

    hinges on the faith based notion that having been denuded of all property,

    It is the capitalist form of property that is transformed not all property.

    What is the point of:

    But what if someone else wants my luxurious place and everyone else agrees, for the common good?

    Usually your luxurious place is resumed if needed for an airport, or freeway. This is normal and happens all the time. Only in capitalist Israel is personal property and rights to services generally denied based on race and religion.

  18. No special knowledge Ernestine, just a little bit of common sense. It is a distance thing. for every plane that takes off there will be up to 200 cars take their loved one to the airport to see them off on their adventure. Have a look at the map, the distances involved, the location of the M’s, and the location of the new Southern Sydney Freight line. Then think a little about the future probabilities on fuel prices and transport options.

    I don’t see how there was ever a doubt.

    There is a new drive in aviation to reduce fuel consumption, noise, and total travel times, by giving aircraft an unrestricted path from engine power up to exiting the airfield air space, and the reverse for landing. In other words aircraft do note start engines until they have a clear path to runway without delay.

    From Badgeries Creek most aircraft would be exiting the airspace towards Lake Burragorang and landing in a circuit over the same area providing minimal noise nuisance. The curved approach radar developed in Australia in the Badgeries creek area offers excellent scope for noise sharing. I think that it is a no brainer.

    The only thing that Wilton has to offer is no resistance.

  19. Chris,

    The communist 10 points manifesto that you forced me to read says the exact opposite of what you claim. If it comes down to interpretation then the outcome would be a dogs breakfast of applied ideologies, as is exactly what happened in Russia. Mega fail.

  20. @Chris Warren

    BilB certainly does love his strawmen …

    If there is a purpose to community, it is to meet the needs of its members. In complex societies, a division of labour is required so that these needs may be met most efficiently. If we are all ethical equals then it follows that all the burdens and benefits of labour should be settled with equity and efficiency in mind.

    Capitalism cannot do that as efficiently as can planned economy. While it may well be efficient and not inequitable for personal services and small scale distribution of consumer goods to be delivered on individual initiative, infrastructure, hevay industry, transport, communications, even light industrial ought to be the subject of plans spanning time frames from years to decades and that can attach suitable weight to the protection of the commons rather than the protection of the interests of equity holders.

    Governance must be inclusive, and that is, as we have seen, at odds with capitalism.

    This does not entail arguing that socialism will arise any time soon. Before we get anywhere near abundance we will need to have achieved inclusive governance and planned production therewith. That is foundational, IMO and we are a very long way from achieving that.

    If and when working people next perceive that capitalism has failed, it is this that we must point out — that societies based on the marginalisation of the many to serve the enrichment of the few must inevitably suffer collapse and a devaluation of their output, immiseration of small holders and workers, and that these processes are often attended by intra-communal violence and war. Only a society that holds its key assets in common trust can hope to resist the tendency of the system to self-destruct and just as importantly, lay the foundations for a dundamentally more just, rational and maintainable set of social arrangements.

  21. Chris,

    I don’t see how

    “At Mondragon, there are agreed-upon wage ratios between the worker-owners who do executive work and those who work in the field or factory and earn a minimum wage. These ratios range from 3:1 to 9:1 in different cooperatives and average 5:1. That is, the general manager of an average Mondragon cooperative earns 5 times as much as the theoretical minimum wage paid in his/her cooperative”

    …..fits your notion of equal return for the common good. The workers may “own” a share of the company for which they work, but when they leave they have nothing to take away. That means that they have no ownership at all. It fails the ownership test of being able to transport ones accruals. This is actually worse than capitalism as the “workers” cannot buy a share of the company for which they work, they only get the warm fuzzy notion of ownership while they are working. The summary that I read did not mention medical benefits or a retirement plan.

    Whereas I applaud this class of industrial organisation, I am sure that if I scan around I will be able to find plenty of family owned businesses that do as much or more for their workforce and enjoy every bit as much cooperation and loyalty.

  22. BilB, one of my earlier posts regarding KSA is still in moderation. That concerns the planning disaster of KSA (and important historical matters you have wrong).

    I don’t agree with your statement: “The only thing that Wilton has to offer is no resistance.”

    Firstly, it is not true. There is local resistance and I don’t know as yet how the planning bodies will deal with the issues raised by residents.

    Secondly, it is not true because Wilton is outside the air basin for Sydney, B.C. is inside. The western suburbs get a lot of air pollution from the rest of Sydney almost every night.

    Third, it is not true. Transport of aviation fuel is a distance and build-up environment matter, which you igore.

    It is not only the flight paths of a hypothetical B.C. ‘second airport’ that need to be considered but also the operation (flight paths) of all airports. I can assure you there is persistent resistance to the concentrated flight path at KSA and rightly so. People have been mislead at the planning stage. They have no budget feasible alternative to wearing the costs for other people’s benefits to an extent that is not considered unavoidable.

    I believe it would be more helpful if people would respond to the scoping study for Wilton, within the proper process, instead of asserting ‘common sense’.

  23. Chris,

    Reading a little further,

    I am not saying that capitalism is not awash with thuggery, I am saying that socialism, communism is dripping with it as well.

    So socialism is not a pancea for the world’s ills, it is simply a different way of organising things, and not a very palatable one as any summation of populations economies and governments will attest.

    On the other hand it is not a total failure either. As I said originally, socialism is most successful at tribal level or situation specific level.

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