Standard Chartered and Galilee

Among the international banks that might finance Adani’s massive Carmichael coal mine, and the associated rail line and port development, the most significant is probably Standard Chartered of the UK, currently Adani’s largest lender outside India. The media is providing mixed messages here.

Standard Chartered has announced its intention to “review” its involvement, stating, according to the Financial Times that

We will go no further with this until we are fully satisfied with the environmental impact of this project.

The chairman added that

He added that the bank was in “active dialogue” with the Australian government about the issue.

I’d normally read this as a euphemism for “we are going to pull the plug, like everyone else”, except that the Fin reports that the bank is.

running a now fairly discreet process because of the line-in-the-sand assault by the environmental defenders on banks that support coal

We’ll find out soon enough, I guess, given that Adani claims that it will start dredging in September. But given that the previous CEO and Chairman were forced out a few months ago, mainly because of bad loans to mining companies, it’s hard to see what the bank could gain by extending more credit to a venture that’s both financially marginally and politically toxic, or how it can claim to have satisfied itself on the environmental impact of a mine that will contribute as much to global warming as all but a handful of national economies. Surely they don’t believe that they will please anybody by announcing that the Abbott government has assured them that everything is fine.

63 thoughts on “Standard Chartered and Galilee

  1. J_D lol What sort of “evidence of actions to make good on the words” would make the grade?

    And more lol’s with respect to your assertion “that’s not what people thought at the time”.
    Really? I was a people in the late ’60’s and I never heard anyone complaining that there were not enough jobs.

    You seem to be claiming that in the 1961 election the govt was “very nearly” defeated because the peoples were unhappy that there was not full-employment. Where is your evidence for this?

    I’m reading Caldwell’s 1961 election speech and in this speech unemployment levels and the failure of the Menzies govt to maintain full employment is only one issue he discusses. He says much more on many of the other things such as: World Peace, European common market, Northern Development, Housing, Industrial matters, Social Services, Education, Health, Local Government, Aborigines, and Primary Industry.

    So perhaps your memory of the times is not all that accurate?

    And, in the bit where he explains what Labor will do about the problems if elected, he says “Labor will introduce a supplementary Budget immediately on election to provide for a deficit of £100 million, if necessary, to restore full employment within twelve months.

    So he never got the chance to implement his plans but plans there were to do actual things.

    Awesome speech though, who woulda thought that world peace would be on the agenda for an election speech.

  2. I’m with J-D on the 1961 election, though I was below newspaper-reading (not to mention voting) age at the time. Most accounts I read from people who were there suggested that the increase in unemployment was central.

    Coming to elections within my memory, 2.4 per cent unemployment was a big factor in McMahon’s loss to Whitlam in 1972.

  3. Fair enough JQ. I have to admit that I was only 9 in 1961 and didn’t read newspapers either.

    I do remember a lot of political discussion at times happening but possibly 1961 was during the ‘theosophical years’ rather than the ‘political years’. My father had these periods of intense interest in things different and esoteric. The Theosophists provided a very nice supper after their talks.

    The assumption that there ‘should’ be a job for everyone who wants one was a thing, and now it’s not. Sigh.

  4. @Julie Thomas

    I see I’ve inadvertently given a misleading impression. I mentioned earlier that I’m old enough to remember the 1977 election, but I’m not old enough to remember the 1961 election; indeed, that was before my birth. So I have to rely on the accounts of historians, political scientists, journalists, and memoirists, as all of us often have no choice but to do.

    Relying on such accounts, I have formed the understanding that the general rate of unemployment in the 1950s and 1960s was substantially lower than in either the early or the late part of the twentieth century, so that what seemed a shockingly high rate of unemployment in 1961 would seem a remarkably low one now.

    Relying again on the accounts of others, it appears to me that economists are in agreement that government policy can affect unemployment levels (although they disagree about which policies are best calculated to lower unemployment and which most liable to increase it). However they appear also to be in agreement that other things apart from government policies, factors outside government control, can affect unemployment levels. Supposing all that is true, then a historical period of lower unemployment might be the result of different government policies (more effective in reducing unemployment), but it’s also possible that government policies were much the same then and that other factors made the difference.

    Circling back now to my original exchange with Ikonoclast, even supposing that governments were more serious about the problem of unemployment in the 1960s, how does that mean that there was more democracy then? Do we define ‘democratic government’ as meaning ‘government that is effective in keeping unemployment low’? I don’t think so.

  5. @J-D

    I define democracy as government which is responsive to the demos, responsive to the common people. I assumed that people do tend and have tended to demand good employment prospects (low unemployment) both now and back then (the 1960s). I adduced as evidence of “more democracy” (admittedly a rather qualitative judgement) the higher commitment of earlier governments (like those in the 1960s) to maintaining low unemployment ie. to meeting the common demand for good employment prospects across the economy and for all classes of workers. I further adduced as evidence of this commitment the actual existence of low unemployment as an indicator of government commitment to low unemployment. I admitted this was circumstantial evidence (in the broad meaning of the term). This contains the implicit admission that other factors drive unemployment rates too.

    These are my arguments in a nutshell. If they don’t convince you that is fair enough. I could go much wider and talk about other evidence that federal governments are now less responsive to the general polity and more responsive to elite demands (oligarchs and corporate capital) than they were in the 1960s. However, as I mentioned before, I don’t have the patience for that argument with you J-D. You can Gish Gallop longer than I have the patience to dig up and provide evidence.

  6. @Ikonoclast

    I am going to add just one more to the list of possibilities you have not adequately considered: maybe it is the case that governments now are as much (or, equivalently, as little) responsive to the wishes and expectations of the people as they were in the 1960s, but people’s expectations of governments are substantially different from what they were in the 1960s.

  7. @J-D

    Or maybe:

    “When the moon is in the Seventh House
    And Jupiter aligns with Mars
    Then peace will guide the planets
    And love will steer the stars

    This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
    Age of Aquarius
    Aquarius! Aquarius!

    Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding
    No more falsehoods or derisions
    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic crystal revelation
    And the mind’s true liberation
    Aquarius! Aquarius!” – James Rado / Gerome Ragni.

  8. Apropos of nothing much..

    “A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.” – Wikipedia.

    The song title “IN A GADDA DA VIDA” by Iron Butterfly may well be a mondegreen. It might have been “In the Garden of Eden” originally. My personal belief is that it is or ought to have been; “In the Bhagavad Gita.”

    My question is this. Is it possible for conceptual mondegreens to occur? To misunderstand a concept and in this process come up with another new and viable concept? I happen to think I might be prone to conceptual mondegreens. Then I come up with ideas which I think stand in their own right. Of course, I could be entirely mistaken… as in barking mad. 🙂

  9. @Ikonoclast

    Or maybe not. I read in Wikipedia: ‘ According to different astrologers’ calculations, approximated dates for entering the Age of Aquarius range from 1447 AD (Terry MacKinnell) to 3597 (John Addey).’ That’s a margin of error roughly as wide as the supposed length of the Age itself, which does not inspire a high degree of confidence in the reliability of the concept.

    Maybe I am too ready to jump to conclusions without adequate justification, but personally I am prepared to rule out the possibility of peace guiding the planets and love steering the stars; and likewise to rule out the possibility of an age without falsehoods or derisions.

  10. @Ikonoclast
    You may not be the only one. It may even be the case that some of our culture’s most cherished principles and the foundations of our way of life are also mondegreens. Who knows?

  11. @J-D

    We can agree on that. I was obviously being flippant in a relatively benign way to end what we both threatened to turn into an interminable argument.

  12. @Tim Macknay

    Yes, the idea of the intellectual or conceptual (or religious or ideological) mondegreen is intriguing and thought-provoking. Any mondegreen could occur due to near-homophony, even a conceptual mondegreen. However conceptual modegreens could also occur in other fashions due to, for example, analogously or homologously suggestive aspects and mental associations (just guessing here).

    In (nearish) relation to this thought-arena it is worth noting the concept of mumpsimus.

    A mumpsimus is an action or utterance by a person who adheres to a routine, idea, custom, set of beliefs, or a certain use of language that has been shown to be unreasonable or incorrect.

    So mumpsimus is the old word for derp, in some respects at least. J.Q. likes to point out derp (justifiably too). I wonder if he would like to add mumpsimus to his lexicon (if it’s not already there). He’s accused me of mumpsimus once or twice. 😉

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