16 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. So according to Richard Dennis’s comment on ABC24, none of the options on the table in Paris deliver a safe environment.

    Australia is torpedoing proposals by agreeing to a 1.5% target only if there are accounting rule changes.

    While we must wait for the final outcome – which will be a useless agreement of some sort – it looks like the short-term demands of the economic system have produced nothing but a ghastly long-term future for humanity.

    What do you expect when our Prime Minister is either a right wing Catholic hack or an investment banker?

    The only option now is degrowth in the West and catch-up for the rest and at least there are some signs of sanity here – Degrowth? .

  2. Ivor:

    I don’t think that there is time to apply degrowth, even if there were unanimous agreement across the globe and all coal-fired power stations were closed down today. I suspect that we have already passed the tipping point at which global warming will accelerate. There is clear evidence that the permafrost in Siberia is melting. Of course, I may be wrong, as these natural systems are non-linear.

    World leaders have been given many warnings: 1972 The Limits to Growth, 1989 Margaret Thatcher’s address to the United Nations, 1995 an unambiguous warning signal from the IPCC. None of these warnings were heeded by our economic elites.

  3. I have a new blog post drawing lessons for econocrats from failures by the IMF in Indonesia and the troika in Greece. It calls for more humility and less confidence in stereotypical market liberal “reforms”. It also emphasises the importance of strong institutions of trust in econocrats and urges them not to exaggerate the benefits of structural reforms.

    I hope this could be of interest to some of you. I would welcome feedback.

    Teaser: “The Indonesian bailout is a great case study of market-orientated economic policy advice gone wrong. There are lessons not only for the Greek crisis, but also more generally. It serves as a reminder for humility across the economic policy community.

    For too long, there’s was a belief that an econ wonk’s job was a narrow one. Just boil down some MICRO101 intuition, cook it up in some best practice policy guidelines, and you have an all-purpose toolkit to fix everyone’s problems. Now brush off your hands, and crack open a beer to celebrate a successful day’s wonking. Empirics? Local context? Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

  4. Turnbull is eating Labor’s lunch in a big way. While Shorten proposes crackdowns on union corruption, Turnbull is opening arts faculties and announcing innovation projects.

    The details are typical Tory rot, but the optics are great.

    Let’s get the election over with so Labor can switch leaders.

  5. @Sancho
    Indeed. Shorten needs to do some serious reinventing of himself or Labor needs a new leader quickly. Yes, I appreciate nobody wants the job, but something must be done quickly. You can’t go on giving speech after speech looking down at your notes after every 3rd word. Dunno, why he does that – tippy toeing a tightrope to keep the various factions onside? Whatever the reason, it’s completely untenable.

  6. Yes, it really distresses me that Labor isn’t opening arts faculties and announcing innovation projects. In fact, it seems like it’s been years since they’ve performed any government functions what so ever.

  7. Cartoonist Bruce Petty asks Dr Jeremy Salt: Has Bashar al-Assad killed more people than ISIS? and similar questions

    Bruce Petty is a highly regarded political satirist and cartoonist as well as an award-winning film maker. He went to Syria in 2009 (before the war) on a project to interview Syrian intellectuals and university students about their political views. Dr Jeremy Salt is a former journalist, turned academic and is the author of The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, (University of California Press, 2008). Until recently, Dr Salt was based in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, where he ran courses in the history of the modern Middle East, in politics and in politics, propaganda and the media. The story behind this series: On 16 November 2015 a small group of concerned Australian citizens got together to talk about the problems of getting real information out to Australians and other US-NATO allies about war in Syria, in spite of mainstream press efforts to confuse the public. Bruce Petty and Jeremy Salt were part of that group. Inside is the transcript of the embedded video.

  8. Ronald Brak :
    Yes, it really distresses me that Labor isn’t opening arts faculties and announcing innovation projects. In fact, it seems like it’s been years since they’ve performed any government functions what so ever.

    And they better get used to it by the way things are going.

  9. @James

    I know we disagree about Bashar al-Assad because we have disagreed about him in the past.

    Having said that, my position on the Middle East is this. The West should disengage militarily from the Middle East. We should not fight anyone there. We should not bomb anyone there. We should have no boots on the ground, including no advisers and no part in any of the conflicts including funding and arms selling. Middle Eastern security and polity (national boundaries etc.) is a matter for Middle Eastern people and we simply have no business being there and should not interfere. It’s against our own interests to interfere and it does more harm than good in the Middle East itself. Our interference has played a large role in creating ISIS. Our interference has played a large role in increasing the terrorist threat. We should stop pouring petrol on the fire.

  10. @Troy Prideaux
    Tony, I just looked it up and it apparently Labor has been out of Federal government since September 2013, so I imagine they already would have gotten used to it. After all, it only took me three weeks to get used to sleeping on the floor.

  11. In Paris

    The good news …

    Countries are meeting in Paris to forge a new global agreement on climate change, with limits on emissions and finance for poorer countries,

    yea, right …. in fact this will only;

    kick in from 2020 when current commitments expire.

    If current trends continue, CO2 levels will be 410 ppm by then.

    2020 is too late.

    see: Media Report

  12. Professor Quiggin,

    I posted a comment very early this morning. The comment was in response to Ikonoclast’s post of December 8th, 2015 at 08:03. I was advised that my comment was ‘awaiting moderation’, but the post now seems to have vanished. This happened once before, on 11 November I think.

    Do you know what happened to my post? Should I post it again?

  13. On the topic of closing the gap:

    I’m seeking input from people better informed than myself. I want to start by assuming that all people are created equal, and that all people deserve equal opportunities. I want to assume that different life outcomes are, en masse, the result of nurture, not nature: i.e. your upbringing has more of an impact on your life than your ethnicity.

    If we assume these things, then it follows that “the gap” is defined by cultures. Non-indig Australians live longer not because they are genetically superior, but because they live closer to hospitals, visit GPs more often, eat better food, live gentler lives. Non-indig Australians have lower rates of alcohol abuse and physical violence because they have better community support mechanisms.

    However, it is – to put it mildly – unpopular to claim that one culture is superior to another. It is unconscionable to deliberately attempt to eradicate a culture you believe is inferior to your own.

    How, then, can we close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people if we can’t change their culture?

  14. Please, nothing more in support of Assad. I don’t intend to debate this topic. Anything further will lead to a permanent ban – JQ

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