8 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Fascinating case study from the Guardian on the human obstacles to Corbynism and a rejuvenated inclusive social democracy.


    Meanwhile in Amsterdam its just as depressing.

    Relevance to this web site? Economics at bottom is about optimising resource production and distribution. Social democracy starts from the belief that people are fundamentally nice and intelligent. Unfortunately these sites seem to confim that there is a lot of work to do on sanctions and systems to stop not so creative destruction.

    And for the time being we seem stuck with vicious no holes barred capitalism. To the point where some academics have suggested we should charge for loans.

    Some might argue that this behaviour is the product of neoliberalism of the past 35 years. But from my memory of the golden 1970/80s it was not much different as exemplified in particular with the problems so many utopian collectives up Nimbin way ran into, where “Thou shalt not trash thy neighbour’s kindly loaned circular saw” was a commandment too often assumed by the lender but not the lendee.

  2. @Newtownian

    “from the Guardian on the human obstacles to Corbynism”

    Knowing that one of the most obdurate red-tory (Blairite) obstacles to such a thing in recent years has been the Guardian itself I followed the link expecting the usual, but there is no mention of Corbyn there. What’s happened for the Guardian to have missed such an opportunity? Is The Guardian going soft?

    “Economics at bottom is about optimising resource production and distribution.” Is it or is it about scarcity? Perhaps at bottom they are the same thing. In the canals case it may be a scarcity of – ahem- recycling, or dump sites, their distribution and producing the associated fees. All that out of sight is out of mind… last year in Paris:



  3. @Newtownian

    Are you speaking from experience when you talk about the problems with “so many utopian collectives up Nimbin way”?

    I agree that social democracy is based on the belief – although it is more than just a belief – that people are fundamentally nice; I’m not sure about people being fundamentally intelligent though, depending on what you mean by intelligence of course. I think that people are potentially intelligent – although there will always be a normal distribution of human abilities – given what we know about the plasticity of human brains and particularly developing human brains.

    Perhaps what social democracy is based on is the belief that people are fundamentally social beings and that being part of a cohesive society is the best thing for all people and that this would be the organisation that would allow for optimal resource production and distribution.

    The work that needs to be done and the way to allow the fundamental nature of human beings to develop that way is to be raising our children so that they understand the benefits of sharing and when no holes bared capitalism is the dominant paradigm in the society (that according to libertarians doesn’t even exist) this is a difficult task for parents.

    I do think that there was more instruction for children in ‘sharing’ and there was definitely more community spirit back in the 50’s and 60′ that is still remembered fondly out here in the small country towns; it began to change in the late ’70’s and ’80’s.

    The way I remember it the people who started the communes and I was there off and on in the original Tuntable community – at Nimbin – was that the only thing that we all had in common was a desire to live an alternative life and not be ‘straight’. There was very little socialism or talk of how to build a sharing community. And there were several people I know who were hippies at the first Aquarius festival who became libertarians after reading Ayn Rand.

    The few communities that I knew about that worked well were based on a common aim to create a space in which the focus was on raising ‘good’ children and in which parents or mothers really had the final say in how things were done and specifically they had dispute resolution mechanisms so that problems that the men had with lending their tools and the other problems that men had with being part of a collective did not develop.

    I don’t remember circular saws though as not all communities had power tools 🙂

    That sort of problem could be solved by understanding people and being able to predict who will look after and be able to properly use your ‘circular saw’ before lending it or by the tool owner not lending the precious tool itself but by doing or trading the work the lendee wanted to do with the tool.

  4. And now Larissa Waters has resigned from the Senate because she, too, is a dual citizen.

    For the Greens to lose one Senator may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.

    Richard di Natale, while born in Australia, had Italian parents. I wonder if he is an Italian citizen. Children of European migrants often are.

  5. Small Adani update. It turns out that there are not two big lossmaking coal plants on the block in Gujarat but three. The Essar group, controlled by the Raui brothers, is trying to dump its 1.2 GW Salaya plant. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/stressed-tata-and-essar-power-plants-in-gujarat-fit-for-takeover-ntpc/59521476
    This is less significant in the numbers (Tata’s and Adani’s are 4 GW each) than in the negotiating dynamic. With three billionaire clans at the table, secret side deals become very unlikely. The state government will have to offer the same bailout to all three, publicly. They will have to take some hit.

  6. @Smith
    One result of the ineligible Greens senators is the cacophony on ‘the constitution rules’. Sure it applied with Day and Cullerton but what would be said if another dozen, two dozen ‘errors’ were unveiled? I’d suggest a retrospective ‘fix’ would be the new call. Also worth recalling that Richard Sneddon, Australian, became New Zealand prime minister and a very good one. But then remember this was in pre-Federation, pre-Constitution days. With no such encumbrance it would be interesting to know how many ‘true Kiwis’ make the cut.

  7. @pablo

    You can’t just ‘fix’ the constitution.

    20 years ago, when Heather Hill was knocked out as a One Nation senator because she was an English citizen, one political sage said this was the proverbial ticking time bomb for the parliament because a lot of them could be affected. It was swept under the carpet. It’s not just the 20 or so foreign born MPs who are at risk. There’s a lot of them with foreign born parents who would have acquired foreign citizenship automatically when they way were born.

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