7 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. An experience on the weekend has reminded me of what I already know about the Israel/Palestine debate.

    My Facebook friends span the full spectrum of views on this issue. On Saturday morning one of them, writing from an anti-Zionist perspective, posted that where there is agreement between anti-Zionists and left/liberal Zionists on specific demands for Palestinian human, democratic or national rights, the former should cooperate with the latter to support those demands. While anti-Zionists should, he argued, also continue to articulate their points of difference with left/liberal Zionists, it is counterproductive to do this by “calling out” the latter in an attempt to “prove” that they are essentially no different from, and as bad as, right-wing Zionists like Netanyahu and his even more right-wing allies.

    The majority of commenters agreed with these sentiments, but a few were deeply displeased with them. One of those who was most deeply displeased is a quite prominent Australian-based anti-Zionist who is very knowledgable about the I-P issue and has published books on the issue, but who demonstrated in the Facebook discussion that he has no political sense, and used language that it would not be altogether easy to defend against the accusation of antisemitism.

  2. I see in the news that Richard Branson wants aid for BVI (British Virgin Islands). Would this be the tax haven BVI? So…. the rich want their tax havens and then they want the aid monies to fix them after hurricanes!

    He also asked for a “Marshall Plan” for the Caribbean which would cover many poor people of course. Has he made the connection that governments might be short of money for aid (standard economics) if the rich don’t pay taxes? Alternatively, (from a more MMT point of view) we can see that governments captured by capitalists are unwilling to “print” money when it would be spent on poor people although they are quite happy to allocate print and spend for unnecessary wars, corporate welfare and propping up banks and stock markets for the wealthy.

  3. North Korea – it looks to me that their unity comes from the perception that they are under siege and sanctions and the heated rhetoric coming back at them will strengthen that perception.

    Instead of dropping bombs on them, maybe we be dropping aid packages? Instead of cutting off trade, we should be extending credit and dumping cheap commodities into their economy?

  4. Analogy in our own PM and the “Cayman Island” tax avoidance factor whilst still collecting the PM salary, access to Boeing and Commcars, 2 palatial PM houses etc.

  5. Ikonoclast reminds us all that disaster relief aid programmes, when run by government agencies, are rarely about helping the majority of distressed people. There is an old economic saying in relation to disaster refiner efforts. Simply put, it goes like this:
    ” When a natural disaster hits an area inhabited by largely rich people, disaster relief efforts are quickly put in place and effectively managed.
    But when a natural disaster hits an area of the world inhabited mainly by poor people, the disaster relief is slow in arriving, corruptly managed and of little benefit to locals.”

    The truth of that saying will be tested in the American disaster relief efforts.
    Already US President Trump has rushed through an aid package for oil rich Houston.
    Yet the earthquake victims of Southern Mexico are yet to get any financial assistance.
    Now admittedly we are talking about two very different countries. So a better test may be to compare the disaster relief given to Texas as a whole, in terms of which regions get the most financial help. Some cross referencing with disaster relief programmes in Florida may also be an eye opening experience.
    The economic theory around disaster relief is a bit obscure. Most of it concentrates on reestablishing infrastructure. But human capital needs are usually overlooked. So too is any compensation for the social dislocation caused by the disaster.
    It could be worth at least a glance to see what priorities are set and how they are fulfilled.
    The ABC TV program “Utopia” may have nothing on what will happen
    behind the scenes at the Texas disaster relief centre over the rest of September.

  6. The news articles on the ABS statistics recently released give a misleading impression of the changes to income inequality, and household wealth inequality. The href{http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-15/inequality-is-getting-worse-in-australia-abs-figures-opinion/8949102}{ABC} has an article that sheds some light on it, in line with the sort of changes that are readily apparent, should you walk down a main street in the CBD of a capital city, and see how many new homeless people there are.

    The P90/P10 ratio, i.e. the ratio of wealth possessed by the top 10% of households to the wealth possessed by the bottom 10%, well that has increased dramatically in the past three years, and in the past 15 years, to give a bigger period for comparison. That ratio has gone from 45 in 2003/2004 to 52 in 2013/2014, and to 60 in 2016/2017.

    If a one-off wealth tax were to shave 0.4% of the wealth from the top 20%, and to hand it straight to the bottom 20%, it would increase the wealth at the bottom by 50%, but be almost unnoticed by the top. The game is rigged.

    This is the great Neoliberal experiment at work.

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