62 thoughts on “NSW Privatisation

  1. Jim, are you gloating that it might not be easy to role back? It would sad if anyone felt pleased about an imposed monstrosity with no hope for correction, a bit like the East West Link Napthine tomfoolery in Melbourne

  2. @Jim Rose

    As Paul says, it’s a god-awful mess. The partial renationalisation of telecommunications involved in the creation of the NBN was far more expensive than if we had never privatised Telstra. What we should have is a single publicly owned common carrier, with competition among providers of Internet and telephony services paying a regulated access rate. How we get there from here, I haven’t had time to consider.

    However, if you come back to electricity, I have a more concrete proposal for a unified publicly owned National Grid, which is what we should have had in the first place. It’s in the paper I did a year or so ago.

  3. Thanks John Quiggin.

    I was always suspicious of the outlook and objectives of those who peddled privatisation as a panacea.. was it about good economics, or was there politics involved, to do with the eventual knee-capping of effective government and the breaking of the trade unions prior to the acheivement of the sort of subjective and decidedly anti rational political objectives we can associate with people like Tony Abbott, the US Tea Party fantasists and Britain’s Cameron.

  4. @paul walter

    It’s about the fully intended, well planned and well implemented transition away from democracy and a mixed economy to oligarchy and corporate capitalism. We are now a long way along that road. The US is no longer a democracy (if it ever was).

    “The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite. So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page. This is not news, you say. Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here’s how they explain it:

    ‘Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.’

    In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.

    The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted.” – BBC News.

    Australia, having a better (more democratic) constitution and better social institutions (IMO), is not as far down the road as the US but our politics, like all national politics around the globe (except perhaps in China), is being distorted by the great political economy force-field emanating from the US.

    The age of Democracy is over. The age of Corporate Oligarcy has commenced.

  5. And if you want a good look at what that means, then look at Bengal and the English East India Company.

  6. @Tony Lynch

    Yes, I mentioned the East India Company in a previous debate on this blog. I have also referred previously to the Jack Abramoff scandal of Saipan (Mariana Islands) as indicative of what happens when capitalist oligarch-gangsters have most of the power and the ordinary people have little or no power. Such historical events are really morality tales. They show us exactly what happens when wealth rules.

  7. @Jim Rose

    Progressives are not pretending. They actually can tell the difference. All private monopolies are bad. On the other hand, it is possible for some public monopolies to be good if they meet 3 basic criteria;

    (1) Natural monopoly;
    (2) Reasonably well run; and
    (3) Earnings belong to all the people equitably (i.e. go into consolidated revenue.)

  8. The penny just doesn’t drop with him, does it, Ikon?

    How Jim Rose so covers his eyes with his hands, that he might not see.

  9. @Ikonoclast Natural monopoly is a very narrow set of industries where ownership is a superior method of extracting information about the true costs of the supplier and his potential innovation for the purposes of price capping. Nothing more.

    As Harold Demsetz said in “Why Regulate Utilities?,” (1968), at 61:

    …in utility industries, regulation has often been sought because of the inconvenience of competition.

  10. So, an investment bank reached a conclusion (on the negative impact of privatisation on future State budgets) which the Premier of NSW didn’t like – according to the smh article referenced below. Then there was a phone call and another report.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-state-election-2015/nsw-election-2015-premier-mike-bairds-office-sought-to-influence-critical-electricity-privatisation-report-20150318-1m1ni9.html

    JQ, you are having an impact – investment bankers seem to be aware they are not the only ones who can do the sums, using mainstream financial economic analysis.

    I am reposting this on another thread because this one is a little aged.

  11. So Richard Holden from UNSW weighs in to say that NSW must sell its power lines here . The fact is that he has been privileged all his life and has worked in Chicago University for a long time, so that he has lost touch with reality. I support Prof. Quiggin because I was unfortunately not as privileged as Richard. When I studied in the US, I had to live in a predominantly black and hispanic area in the suburbs of Washington DC. With every storm (even without it) the power to the capital of the most advance country on earth would be knocked out. The power crew would rush to connect the power to the rich and wealthy areas but left our area to sweat or freeze for days before we got our power back. In the meantime guess what happened to all our stuff in the fridge. I am not going to live like that in Australia.

    The funny thing is that Richard Holden bases his verdict on a theory by Oliver Hart which only holds if we live in a pure world bereft of corruption, bribes, with strong checks and balances and full transparency. The liberals that I see are nothing like that. So my verdict: even if the sales of power grid is a good idea, we cannot still trust liberals with it.

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