There is a world market for maybe five computers …*

As has been true since 2010, our aspiring leaders seem to be determined to outdo each other in silliness this week. Since Julia Gillard will (with 90 per cent probability) be nothing more than a bad memory in a year’s time, while Tony Abbott will be an unavoidable reality, I’m going to ignore Gillard’s “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” aprroach to funding Gonski and talk about the National Broadband Network.

The Abbott-Turnbull proposal for a cutprice NBN has been an amazing success in clarifying issues that previously seemed too complex to be resolved. Until now, it’s been far from obvious how to assess the NBN – the complaint that we didn’t have a benefit cost analysis was obviously silly in the absence of any easy way of quantifying the benefits. But now that we’ve seen the alternative – a 25MBps network, dependent on Telstra’s failing copper network and non-existent goodwill, it’s obvious that the NBN is the only option that gives us any hope of keeping up with the steady growth in demand for information. The claim that individual subscribers can choose to upgrade to fibre-to-the-premises appears to have collapsed in the face of expert scrutiny. Instead, it seems, we’ll end up with lots of street-corner boxes, which will have to be ripped out and replaced wholesale when their inadequacy becomes apparent.

Given that he is going to win the coming election anyway, Abbott could greatly improve his chances of re-election in 2016 by admitting his mistake and going with the existing NBN plan, maybe with some cosmetic tweaks. As a bonus, from Abbott’s POV, Turnbull would have to eat a lot of humble pie.

The same is true for the other slogans on which he’s relied so far, like “Stop the Boats’ and “Axe the Tax”. Thanks to Labor’s implosion, he can afford to dump them now, and replace them with something more realistic – there’s no shame in changing policies before an election.

I don’t expect Abbott to take this unsolicited advice, but he could look at the cautionary lesson provided by Bligh, Gillard and NSW Labor among others, and consider carefully whether it’s better to take a few lumps now, or gain office on the basis of commitments that will prove a millstone, whether they are abandoned or adhered to.

[Comments are closed]

* I know, this quote attributed to Thomas J Watson is apocryphal, as is a similar one attributed to Bill Gates, but lots of similar statements have been made in reality, and they’ve all proved to be silly. For example, I can remember people saying in the early 80s that 8-bit address space of 64k (a double octet) were all we would ever need. Many more people said, well into the 1990s, that graphical interfaces were an unnecessary luxury and that personal computers would always start with a C:> prompt.

201 thoughts on “There is a world market for maybe five computers …*

  1. To Fran Barlow –

    What is the Lindsay crowd?
    I find that research from universities has gone downhill because it is narrowly commercially oriented. I recently had to help a disabled Australian navigate two units of an Australian university degree and found the bureaucratic money grabbing machine of administration seemed to have almost entirely taken over academic freedom. I watched as my friend’s lecturer, presumably through fear of performance black marks, dragged my friend and so many other students across a pass-line that they could not get over themselves due to the university’s investment in hugely expensive, crappy and bug-ridden microsoft cloud technology. In sociology I watch as every year the output gets narrower and more commercial. There is almost no history. Geography is now all about commercial planning. Far from impressive. And the universities prolong the post grad degrees of foreigners and push the locals out because the first are cash cows and the others cost money. I compare this situation to a time when universities were owned by taxpayers and you could get an education there. Universities that court numbers from overseas and invest in housing them and fleecing them seem corrupted to me.

    You write that “Given that the Murdoch press is running hard against “foreigners” {“boat people”} and “Big Australia” I don’t agree that’s so.”

    You seem to take my desire for a small population to be a reaction to boat people, however it isn’t. There are many greater sources of population growth here.

    Where, I wonder, do you get the idea that the Murdoch Press is against a big Australia? It invests in a big Australia; it is part of the growth lobby. My quals on all this are that I am a population sociologist and I actually identified the growth lobby in Australia. You could check out my thesis which follows the lobbying by the Murdoch Press for greater population growth all through the 1990s and connects this lobby largely to property development here It also goes into the history of similar lobbying back to before Federation. Australian state parliament were then and are now havens for land speculators, full of developers mates who make laws for developers.

    With all due respect, it is a big mistake to think that people who don’t want a big population are all somehow xenophobic. You might check out my recent book, which is Demography, territory and Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2012/2013 (Kindle and Lulu); it is far from xenophobic.

    I mention this research of mine to show you that my reasons are much deeper than you may think.

    With regard to your other comments, you are probably right, unfortunately.

    Fran Barlow :
    @Sheila Newman

    I keep a faint hope that Gillard might actually try something new and ecologically sustainable. This almost certainly means that I am a poor deluded fool, but Gillard’s predecessors were even less likely to do so.

    I’d not be so harsh, but I would say that your hope has no basis at all. Left to her own devices, Gillard will do exactly nothing of substance in this area, because almost all those keen on it will vote ALP “in the faint hope”. Moral hazard applies, and the ALP can afford to ignore you and pitch at people with the opposite view.

    The universities seem to have become huge dens of commercialised corruption and too expensive already and seem mainly to be used by foreign students.

    Oh for pity’s sake. “Dens of corruption”? “foreign students”? “Kelvin Thomson”? Population policy? “reducing immigration”? You really are pitching at the Lindsay crowd. It ‘s ugly and it won’t work.

    I liked the Citizens assembly idea and was disappointed that it did not take off. Anything that sounds like participatory democracy appeals to me.

    This would not have been anything of the sort. It was simply an artifice for burying the issue of carbon pricing during the election which, had she somehow won the election in her own right, she’d have used to do exactly what Rudd did — dropkick it down the road.

    What does it really reveal? That I pay absolutely no attention to the Murdoch press and am completely unbothered by the things that seem to get most peoples’ goats

    Given that the Murdoch press is running hard against “foreigners” {“boat people”} and “Big Australia” I don’t agree that’s so.


    Sheila N

  2. @Sam

    The IAT is one method of measuring implicit attitudes. There are a dozen others that are well validated (priming, ERPs, brain imaging, startle potentiation, spreading of activation, like/dislike paradigms). You stick to your view though. You have the right, just like those people who insist that it was hotter when they were children and global warming is a crock. I’ll stick with the science, thank you.

  3. By the way, John Tierney is infamous for manufacturing controversies. In general, not a good idea to get your science from newspapers.

  4. @Neil

    What is your guesstimate of the negative effect for Gillard by virtue of her gender alone?

    By that, I mean stripping away the aspects of the approval/disapproval based on everything other than gender (eg: rusted on party supporters, actual policy and actions etc..) so that we could put a percentage figure on it – such as: “If all else was equal, Gillard would have a handicap at the elections of (say) 2% purely attributable to her gender”.

  5. @Neil
    See, this is to me an amusing example of social scientist conceit. You imagine you are on a par with the physical (AKA real) scientists, and you want to be taken as seriously as the grown-ups. As the NYT article shows, reality is usually more complex than the toy environments you construct in your “lab.”

    When you get the sort of unanimity among yourselves that climate scientists have, maybe we can talk. Until then, I’m going to think you’re all a bunch of politically motivated hacks, just like the proponents of race-based intelligence in the ’90s.

  6. The effect of the very early announcement of the election date on the comment pages is much worse, IMHO, than what I had feared.

    My simple mind is at a loss to understand how sexism, attitudinal studies, media management, religion and Jim Rose can be woven into a topic such as the NBN and the copper-end alternative.

    I have simple questions. Suppose Mr Abbott does not take note of JQ’s unsolicited advice after winning the election and the NBN is replaced by the copper-end alternative (three related suppositions). My questions are:
    1. What is a ‘street corner’ in the context of the copper-end alternative? (Recently, boys and girls, with at least one of them being an electronics engineer, assembled in my house considered the possibility of the term ‘street corner’ being highly misleading to residents. Residents understand the notion of the ‘nearest street corner’ but not ‘street corner’ Is there only 1 for Sydney and 1 for Brisbane, etc? Does the term ‘street corner’ stand for the existing nodes in the copper network?)
    2. Who owns what in the copper-end alternative?
    3. Does anybody know anybody, irrespective of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, eye colour, hight, etc, who wants to choose a slower version of the minimum cost NBN? I don’t. (The oldest member in my sample is 89 years old).
    4. What exactly is the plan to have individuals choose a fiber optic connection to their house? What are the costs, who owns the extension, who pays?
    5. Suppose people can, via some unknown mechanism, pay to have fiber optic cables put to their house. Are these people by assumption NOT taxpayers (at least during their working life)? If the answer is No, then why is there a need to discriminate among tax payers (for budget purposes vs internet access purposes)? If the answer is YES, then there is a tax collection problem.
    6. Who would own the privately commissioned fibre optic extension to the house?
    7. Does anybody know anybody who believes the copper-end alternative is a cheaper and faster provision of the NBN? I don’t. (The only answer I received so far is: “It is not the NBN, it is a different thing.”)
    8. Suppose annual budget considerations are given high priority. Isn’t there another alternative, namely to slow down the roll out of the NBN?
    9. Isn’t it conceivable to consider a national major infrastructure program with some flexibility regarding the speed to have the advantage of considering not only the annual budget but also unemployment of various trades and professions over time?

  7. @Ernestine Gross

    Can’t answer your questions, unfortunately.

    But, I can make an observation from personal experience.

    During the late 1990s trucks and crews were rolling about the suburbs stringing up fibre optic cable for Optus and Telstra. You could see the two lines, one just above the other along power poles – a metre or so below the electricity cables.

    When I moved into a house that had a little “Telstra” box stuck to an outside wall I asked Telstra if I they could connect that up for my internet. They denied any such service existed. I told them I could see it, and it had “Telstra” written on it.

    They told me I would have to ask Rupert Murdoch – not directly, of course – if I could have a fibre optic internet by getting a Foxtel TV subscription. I told them I was philosophically opposed to pay TV. They told me they were tired of talking to me and I should contact Rupert.

    I reluctantly rang Rupert and was told I could have a package with pay TV, landline and internet. I said I only wanted the fibre optic cable internet. They told me that was not possible.

    A few years later I moved into another house and repeated the entire episode word for word.

    I still don’t have pay TV, fibre optic internet or a functioning landline phone.

    As a techno-dummy, can anyone explain why all that fibre optic cable lying around all over the country is unable to somehow play a part in our NBN miracle to be?

    If not, I’m probably not alone in wondering whether this isn’t just another massive incomprehensible free-market neo-con con designed to hoover lots of our dollars into corporate pockets so they can own some more turnstiles.

  8. @crocodile

    Thanks, Crocodile.

    Does that mean it is already out of date? I think the whole thing cost about $6billion or so (?).

    I’m getting more and more concerned about the bipartisan consensus that we absolutely MUST rip up our nationwide copper network if we are to have decent internet/communications. That copper stuff has worked for over 100 years. OK it isn’t broadband but it actually worked, we used to own it – and from memory it earned “us” taxpayers about a billion dollars a year before we “sold” it to ourselves and turned it into a disfunctional honey pot that delivers sub-standard everything and plays like a free-market bully rather than an accountable government department.

    This is as clear as a parliamentarian’s disclosure of pecuniary interests!

  9. @Megan

    The copper stuff might have worked OK for 100 years, but only as a telephone service. The Optus and Telstra cable rollout was to support Pay TV. Just so happens that the extra bandwidth can support higher internet speeds as well. It’s not already out of date as the full NBN rollout is a long way off and the Pay TV provider may still opt to use their own infrastructure for many more years to come.

    When I first signed up for email and internet I had access at the blistering speed of 19.2 kbps. Over the next twenty years, the growth in data rate has been staggering. Seems like a natural progression to roll out something faster. Won’t take too long before tech savvy inventors build new devices and businesses to make use of it.

    Have fun

  10. @Megan

    Megan, it really would be a guess. The small grain of truth in what Sam says is that there are so many factors at work in the wild that beyond saying the likelihood is that it would be down (not certainty: there is some probability that implicit negative biases could produce a handicap, but high likelihood) that it is impossible to put a figure on it. Plus I would need a lot of data I don’t have. We have population wide data on Australian implicit attitudes but it is patchy – much better studied among the kind of subjects we have easy access to than among rural populations, say.

    Sam, you literally do not know what you are talking about. The people most heavily involved in the implicit attitudes literature on the ones most heavily invested in whole-field research: controlled lab-based studies backed up by convergent fieldwork, with a multi-level multi-methodology approach. See, for instance, Dasgupta and colleagues work on implicit attitudes toward maths and gender, conducted in the lab and in the calculus classes of a major research university as well. Measures included not only lab-based IAs, but also the interaction between those measures and scores on the actual calculus exam, and the propensity to enroll in further classes. We can explain a large proportion of the variance in both measures by reference to IAs (though of course very far from everything). This is just one example of course (Stout, J. G., Dasgupta, N., Hunsinger, M., & McManus, M. A. (2011). STEMing the tide: Using ingroup experts to inoculate women’s self-concept in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 255–270).

    I do not expect to convince you of course. There is a common response to this kind of evidence. The first response we get from just about everyone is “I don’t believe it”. The second response is “wow, other people are dumb; I’m glad I’m not like that”. I don’t expect to manage to lift you from 1 to 2, let alone to the inconsistent and less than full recognition that just maybe you are like that which is the best that anyone seems able to achieve. In the meantime, I suggest you go and read Watt’s up with that, for their incisive refutations of climate science.

  11. The bottom line is that Australia is becoming a backwater. Australians are largely unware of how far we are falling behind. Spend any time overseas in first world, second world and even some developing countries and you begin to realise how blinkered, isolated, parochial and backward Australia really is. Current neoconservative policy by Labor and Liberals will see us falling further and further behind. Neocon policy is actually a return to bourgeois classical economics before Keynes. These are doctrines nearly 100 years out of date (and wrong from the start).

    Most of the basics that we had right were built in the statist, dirigist, Keynesian era. What is still working are the legacy aspects of those systems and infrastructure we have inherited from that era. It’s clear now in the neocon era that all this is being white-anted and is crumbling.

    We change course or we collapse. It’s that stark.

  12. @Neil

    Thanks Neil. Over the last week I perceived that two big pro-ALP talking points seemed to be:

    “Abbott would be worse”


    “Criticism of the ALP is driven by sexism”

    I was wondering if there could be some quantifiable translation of real gender bias into a figure that would account for an x% ‘discount’ against the ALP to explain the figures shown in the polling. In other words, some evidence for the suggestion that it looks like the impending ALP loss is – in fact – due to sexism rather than policy.

  13. @Neil
    Sorry sent empty comment by mistake. So are you someone who does not agree that climate change is happening? Just trying to make sense of why you referred Sam to the ‘Watts up with that’ page?

  14. @Val

    Hi Val,

    Sorry for the confusion. I was taking a – slightly unfair – dig at Sam. I guess he is not a climate change sceptic. I want to know why he is not a climate change sceptic but feels its okay to dismiss other sciences without any special knowledge of them. The dig is slightly unfair because the level of confidence we should have in the findings of social psychology is lower than the level of confidence we should have in climate science, for lots of reasons. Stlll, the basic situation is the same: go with the science or talk out your ass. So no, I’m no sceptic!

  15. @Val
    No, he’s not saying that. He’s saying that being honestly skeptical of his kind of quakery is the same as being delusional about climate change. I say that genuine skepticism about very hazy fads in the social sciences is actually quite healthy. I further think he’s trying to ride the coattails of the successes of real science to make criticism of his view unfashionable.

  16. @Megan
    I think there has been some research on the disadvantage faced by female candidates although I can’t give references at the moment. However that is not what I am talking about. Nor am I saying that criticism of the ALP is driven by sexism. I’m not an advocate for the ALP and I think criticism of the ALP is quite justified. However what I am saying is:
    – the right make exaggerated claims about the incompetence and deviousness of Julia Gillard and the government. One reason they can get away with this is that these claims draw on or reference (implicit or explicit) sexist stereotypes of women as devious and incompetent (not natural leaders)
    – some of the statements being made on this website about the incompetence and deviousness of Julia Gillard seem to reference the same stereotypes (though presumably fuelled by frustration with her mistakes and apparent inability to cut through or counter the right campaign rather than an actual desire to see the ALP lose)
    – I’m really concerned about this because, even if unintended, I think it does assist the right’s campaign

  17. @Neil

    Hi Neil, I have posted a reply to your comment at Weekend Reflection due to the sandpit being closed and further discussion on implicit attitude seems to be derailing the thread.

  18. Just to make it quite clear – I do not in any way oppose criticism of Julia Gillard or the ALP – what I am opposed to is this exaggerated stuff, what I call “bagging”, which is simply focusing on everything that’s wrong with her, not allowing that she has any good qualities or has done anything right, and implying that, as opposed to say, Kevin Rudd, she is particularly dishonest.

  19. @Ikonoclast

    The bottom line is that Australia is becoming a backwater. Australians are largely unware of how far we are falling behind. Spend any time overseas in first world, second world and even some developing countries and you begin to realise how blinkered, isolated, parochial and backward Australia really is.

    This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, Ikon. Australia has always been something of a backwater, at least in comparison to North America and Western Europe, but it’s certainly no more of a backwater now than it’s ever been. And as for falling behind, Europe and North America are in a mess, frankly. Asia is growing, but from a low base.

    The Australian media does strike me as being blinkered and parochial, compared with some European and Asian media. But then, when I travel I only read the English language media, which may well be less parochial than native language media in many places, since it’s aimed at an international audience. Media aside, I rather doubt that Australians are comparatively more blinkered and parochial than anyone else.

    I agree that Australia certainly risks falling behind if we don’t invest in the appropriate infrastructure for the future, but I don’t really think there’s much of a case for saying that we’re falling behind right now.

  20. @Ernestine Gross
    Hi Ernestine, I can understand your confusion, but the reason I brought sexism into the conversation is because JQ framed the piece about the NBN (something that I think he is saying the ALP has actually got right) with a dismissive reference to Julia Gillard being “nothing more than a bad dream” in a year’s time. I can’t see why, if you are going to talk about good policy initiatives of the government, you can’t just do that and give the government, and Julia Gillard as leader, credit.

  21. @Neil
    Sorry Neil, I posted that before your reply. As to your question about my alleged inconsistency, I’ll just reiterate:

    1) I don’t have much respect for the “social sciences” in general; indeed, I’m not sure they even qualify as a science. They adopt some of the same procedures and language as real science, but their ideas are fundamentally a lot less falsifiable. So if you ask, why do I accept climate science but not your ideas from social science my answer is, because one is a science and the other just has scientific pretensions. My position is not absolute; I’m prepared to believe certain, extremely well agreed upon results from the social sciences, but if a new idea comes out of the blue in a field like this, the chances are it’s at best temporarily interesting nonsense.

    2) Within your own (for want of a better word I’ll call) “field,” there seems to be genuine disagreement on what the results of your experiments mean. I know warming denialists use a similar sounding tactic to manufacture the false impression of controversy within climate science, but in your case the disagreements seem to be real. The fact that throughout this thread you’ve acted as though you have very high confidence about these conclusions, whereas this confidence seems not to exist in an overwhelming majority of your peers suggests to me you are overstating the case.

    Since the position you’re advocating is an extremely radical and unpleasant one (we’re all prejudiced and there’s very little we can do about it), and there is significant argument between peers about whether your position is really correct, I’m going to default to my natural scientific conservatism and remain unconvinced.

  22. Not trying to restart that debate – I think the discussion between myself and JQ over this has been resolved in earlier posts – just trying to explain how it happened.

  23. One more thing. Unlike Neil, I’m actually perfectly prepared to believe Gillard’s gender is a slight electoral liability. This is because it’s quite clear there is a minority of explicitly sexist people, who actually articulate their sexist views so we know for sure what they think. I’m of course alive to this kind of (actual) sexism, and agree it’s a big problem in our culture. What I’m against is the pseudo-scientific overreach typified by Neil and Val, which says we’re all guilty.

  24. @Sam
    Hi Sam, I don’t say we’re all guilty and I have never have. It’s tiring to be misconstrued so often, I must say. I say that exaggerated bagging of Julia Gillard draws on and references sexist stereotypes of women.
    When I was actually working in a political position, we were told that to get a message through to the general public, you had to keep repeating it till you thought you would vomit if you had to say it one more time. People get really sick of politicians staying “on message” all the time, but maybe this process helps to illustrate why they do it. I don’t know how many times I have been misquoted or misconstrued on this blog so far, but it is an awful lot. Some of it may arise from genuine misunderstanding, but I get the feeling some of it is just a technique for trying to “win” the argument, and as such, I think it’s waste of everyone’s time. Why not just try to engage with what I am actually saying?

  25. Was Pauline Hanson’s gender a liability? I have trouble believing it was. No man in Australia has ever done anything as incredible as going from a fish and chip shop owner to one million votes in the wink of an eye. She also managed to get lots of votes from old fuddy duddys who might ordinarily be considered prone to sexism. Sexism is real but operates in a more complicated way than some would allow.

  26. @Val
    I agree that trying to “win the argument” is unproductive, and I apologize if I sometimes do it myself. I was getting a little huffy on JQ’s behalf, because to me the suggestion his dislike of Gillard is coloured by prejudice is frankly offensive.

    Quiggin has been a tireless campaigner for women’s rights for decades, and it seems very clear to me his criticism of the prime minister is entirely due to her record, and not in the least out of line with his treatment of male politicians. I think it cheapens the debate when you suggest otherwise. When John Quiggin says something like “women are ruining the joint,” or “ditch the witch,” it will be appropriate to accuse him of sexism. Until that happens however, I think you should leave the nebulous psuedo-science at home.

  27. Sam,

    As I have pointed out elsewhere, some of the old fuddy duddys who held “Ditch the Witch” type signs or who at least approved of them, would have voted for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. As I say, sexism, like most things, works in a complicated way.

  28. @Jim Rose

    “bank re-regulation to reduce competition and increase bank profits?”
    One sentence, two mistakes.

    Deregulation has indisputably *increased* not decreased bank profits. Also, since the GFC (caused by excessive deregulation) almost all the small competitors in the banking sector (St. George, BankWest, Bendigo Bank, Aussie, Adelaide Bank, RAMS, Wizard, and Challenger) have been partly or wholly acquired by one of the big 4, so deregulation has also ultimately *reduced* competition in Australian banking.

  29. @Mel
    It is interesting how actually prejudiced people work. I know people who un-ironically use the N word to be derogatory to aboriginals, but who have black friends.

  30. @Sam

    Sam, I don’t think further discussion is fruitful. I have said all I have to say, and you understand what I say. I also understand your views, and have even conceded that they have a small grain of truth in them (social science is messy, and our confidence in its findings should be lower than our confidence in, say, evolution). You clearly aren’t educable on this topic, but why should you be? Life is short; one can’t learn everything. Maybe one day you will read one of the papers I recommended. If you ever do, I hope it is one of Dasgupta’s. If you will do, you will see that my position is not, as you say, “we’re all prejudiced and there’s very little we can do about it”, but we’re almost all prejudiced and there is a *lot* we can do about it.

  31. @Sam
    “I think you should leave the nebulous psuedo-science at home.”
    wow Sam good one
    First, an apology that ends with an insult is not convincing. Secondly I’m doing my PhD in nebulous pseudo-science at university, so I can’t leave it home. The association of woman and home has been around for a long time, so it’s not surprising that you made it, but it is still unfortunate (at the risk of introducing yet another bit of nebulous pseudo-science, Freudian slip much?). Thirdly, when you are trying to have a serious discussion about sexism, it’s not a good idea to patronise a woman.
    Like Neil, I am going to end this discussion, but I can’t resist the opportunity to be a bit of a smart arse (I think I can be excused) – there’s hard science and soft science, eh Sam, and real men do hard science?

  32. @Neil
    I agree further discussion is pointless. I respect you enough as a person to tell you frankly that I don’t respect your research, or even your field. I’ll continue to believe there’s probably nothing to be “educable” about here until this sort of thing is generally agreed upon by experts and used regularly in (for instance) court rooms.

    To misdiagnose the nature of prejudice, and say we’re all guilty, is just another way of saying none of us are guilty. The truth is, there’s a number of people who are explicitly racist, sexist, or homophobic, and that minority makes the world worse for everybody. We should be disinfecting the clearly filthy, not histrionically washing our hands to rid ourselves of some non-existent stain.

  33. @Val
    I’m sorry you thought I was apologizing, you should know that as a male I could never do such a thing.

    This has been an entirely unproductive discussion, and one I agree we should terminate. I must say I find this kind of po-mo infection into the public discourse quite infuriating. I’d prefer a straight (whoops, there I go again!) argument with an old fashioned conservative to being smugly told I’m the enemy by self righteous intellectual impostors.

  34. @Sam
    Ok this really is the last. I’m sorry I was a smart-arse. But during this conversation you have put words in my mouth, denigrated my knowledge, questioned my right to express opinions, called me names and patronised me. Regardless of whether it’s sexist or not, Sam, it’s honestly a crap way of arguing.

  35. Time to call a halt here, I think. If anyone really wants to continue, they can post contact details in the sandpit

  36. @Val

    I walk a mile barefoot to stay away from people in some so-called social sciences, those who put others through frames while maintaining these people ‘framed’ something. To put it clearly to you so that no confusion can arise: It is you who selected ‘the frame’ about which you complain.

    I post on this thread rather than on the sandpit, as suggested by the owner of this blog-site, because I definitely do not wish to be contacted by you.

  37. @Tim Macknay

    I am going to have to rush this reply, so I won’t be checking all my contentions nor giving sources. However, IIRC;

    (1) 1902, Australia was first independent country to give women the right to vote in national elections was Australia in .
    (2) 1904, the Australian Labor Party forms federal government. The first labour movement in the world to attain government.
    (3) 1907, Harvester Judgment – court ruling that established the right to a basic wage – a ‘fair and reasonable’ minimum wage for unskilled workers of 7/- (7 shillings).
    (4) The post-WW2 boom, 1945 – 1971 saw our lowest sustained unemployment.

    I can’t find the facts now but I believe at one time Australia had the highest per capita income in the world or close to it. Now, we see we are slipping down the world ranks (education recently discussed in this blog) in many measures (though not all measures).

    Yes, the neocon infection which has hit the anglophone world has hit us.

  38. @Ikonoclast women could vote in NZ from 1891. NZ was self-governing from 1852.the conservative parties led the charge to give women the vote.

    Women could vote in frontier states of the USA from the 1870s.

    Frontier areas gave the right to vote early to attract female migrants

  39. @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine I’m new to this blog but as far as I’m aware going to the sandpit is just a way of continuing the discussion off the main thread. No one except the site owner can contact you unless you give them your contact details. So if you really have to send confused and unpleasant emails about me, that’s where you should do it. By the way. John Quiggin does not disagree that he framed the blog post with a dismissive reference to Julia Gillard. My argument was not, at least originally, that in doing that he was necessarily being sexist. My concern is that:
    A lot of right wing attacks on Gillard in the media are sexist, or draw on sexist stereotypes (eg of women as incompetent, devious and not natural leaders)
    There seems to be a lot of exaggerated denigration of Gillard (what i described as bagging)on this site, from people who appear to be left
    I’m concerned that that gives credence to the right. I’m not saying we should not criticize Gillard or the government, but it should not just be bagging, and when they’ve got something right, like the NBN, I think we should give them credit for it.
    I’m not going to respond any further to you on this thread because JQ has asked us not to continue this conversation here. If you want to say anything further you can safely do so in the sandpit. However could I ask that rather than being rude to me personally, you engage with what I am actually saying. Also please note that I don’t normally describe myself as a social scientist, and I don’t even like the term much. If you are going to use it as a general term however, it does actually include economics, ie professor Quiggin is a social scientist in that broad sense.

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