17 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. The actions of Canada in not signing the Trans Pacific Partnership eleven nation deed of intent, may be a signal that a new wave of trade protectionism is about to unfold on a shaky global economy. Donald Trump is not helping by announcing that he will renegotiate US trade deals to “eliminate trade deficits”. Not since the 1960s has David Ricardo’s Priniciple of Comparative Advantage faced such hostile acts from two members of the Group of Seven.

  2. Greg McKenzie fears a new wave of protectionism from not signing deals like the TPP.

    But the TPP, and other trade preference deals like it, is protectionism. These deals, rhetorically called ‘free trade’ deals, are actually the opposite, limiting or excluding free trade while actively harming open access to goods, services and information: and seeking to do so at the expense of open and general trade and at the expense of domestic policy too.

    No wonder all serious analysis discloses these deals to have at most tiny economic benefits and at least substantial costs and policy detriments.

    Trump may be a rhetorical protectionist. But his real objection to the TPP, and to other trade deals, is that the excessive gains for US corporations were too small for him and he wants more. It’s at least improbable that Trudeau has motives that are similar. Instead the economic harm from the investor/state rules, the absurd intellectual monopoly rules, the special pharmaceutical rules and so on are on the nose with NZ, Canada, and plenty of others…including purely economic analysis of a range of types.

  3. My son’s economics class has hit the twentieth century. So we’re having a go at Friedman:

    US economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006) was the free market champion of the twentieth century. He believed in money! In particular, slowly and steadily expanding its supply, in parallel with economic growth, to manage inflation. This was monetarism, Friedman’s biggest concept and extremely fashionable in the West in the 1980s. Like Reagan, Thatcher, and the New Romantic movement.

    Friedman was decidedly unromantic about his ideological foes though. Keynes was ‘naïve’, expansionary fiscal policies were ineffective and, most pointedly of all, Friedman detested government. ‘Governments never learn. Only people learn’, and ‘If you put the Federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand’ he said. Don’t entrust anything to a bureaucracy. Minimise tax to avoid public waste. Privatise, deregulate, and liberalise trade wherever possible.

    Now, around many dinner tables, Friedman’s anti-government rants may have become tiresome. And caused family members to politely steer the conversation onto the weather. Fortunately though, Friedman was surrounded by free market kindred spirits. Wife Rose was a collaborating economist on his seminal 1962 work, Capitalism and Freedom. And son David was an anarcho-capitalist, who was even more down on government – wonder where that came from!

    Friedman was criticised relentlessly by the Left for his convictions. And for the taint of association with the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Friedman insisted his short visit to Santiago in the mid-1970s was not to advise the regime. But merely to chew the fat on inflation, and get some shopping in.

    Whether this was true or not, Friedman’s 1976 Nobel Economics Prize for ‘consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for demonstrating the complexity of stabilisation policy’ became a lightning rod for international protest. Because of his alleged links to Pinochet. And for the absurdity of an award for demonstrating that stabilisation policy is complex. Like any idiot doesn’t already know that! 

    For all the controversy, Friedman’s influence was profound. In economics fanzines, Friedman consistently gets ranked the second most popular economist of the twentieth century. The bad news for Friedman: Keynes is number one! 

  4. Honest History have an article on Clive Hamilton’s book being supressed by the PRC, and PRC conduits funding the Australian War Memorial… The latter is an interesting development in light of the long supressed history of how the WW2 Pacific War turned out for Australia thanks to the mainland Chinese.

    “Update 13 November 2017: Winging it with Dr Chau: Clive Hamilton’s suppressed book has more about the War Memorial’s Fellow
    An old acquaintance of the War Memorial pops up again as a player in a book withdrawn from publication after fears of legal action by the Chinese government.

    “…Clive Hamilton’s book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia has been pulled by its publisher, Allen & Unwin, for fear of legal action by the Chinese government or its proxies. The book, Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State, was all set to go.”

  5. Sorry if this a bit off the theme but as to Keneally’s arrival in Bennelong and the imputation relating to Obeid by Turnbull and Hunt :-

    This is typical of the Coalition when in trouble to resort to attacking the “man” eg. Slipper who beat every allegation], Thomson [similar], Shorten [nothing found by a compromised Abbott-appointed Commissioner], Gleeson SC [who belted Brandis, Turnbull and the current SG in the High Court], Triggs [who belted Brandis, Abbott, MacDonald, O’Sullivan etc.]. Justice eventually prevails won’t it Broughie, Ashby, Pyne etc. ?

    The War Criminal and mass murderer from Iraq Howard is being recruited to assist oh dear.

    Hunt [together with Sukkar and Tudge] is lucky he is not behind bars after his flirtation with base and jailable Contempt of the Victorian Court of Appeal. One thing is certain he was found in contempt and it was only his snivelling and obsequious apology that saved him real jail time and his voice being deepened.

    Alexander’s section 44 problems are not over yet. Of interest may be his claim the UK government has no records of his father’s renunciation. There is still the issue of his swearing for earlier elections he WAS entitled under section 44 when it is apparent he never enquired then as to is father’s Citizenship status which seems on the current version to have always been UK.

    Keneally did not gut the ICAC like “Teflon Mike” and Newman/Nicholls/Bleijie did to the CCC in Qld. In Qld. in light of the Nicholls Coalition’s not supporting criminalising developers’ donations the corruption supporting LNP rolls on. Reference is made to the Gold Coast Liberal-based Council with implications for Turnbull through MLA Stuart Robert’s Fadden foundation.

    And so it goes on.

  6. “Thomson [similar]”

    You might have over-egged your argument there. Thomson was convicted on 13 charges of theft in the Victorian County Court in 2014.

    As for Keneally, the record of her involvement with Obeid is mixed. She relied on his support to get to the top and turned against him later. A generous interpretation of events would be that she turned when she discovered the truth about him, but if so she was exceedingly naive before then. More realistically, she knew perfectly well, like everyone else, what he was like and pragmatically held her nose until the stench was over-powering.

    I don’t think this makes Keneally a bad person – politics in NSW is an inherently dirty business – and she might make a fine member for Bennelong and perhaps even a successful minister in a Shorten government. But, please, let’s not make her out to be Joan of Arc. Keneally can take it and she can dish it out, which is as it should be.

  7. Some interesting electorate by electorate results from marriage survey, with very strong No votes recorded in safe Labor electorates in the western suburbs of Sydney.

    These electorates contain a large slab of people with very conservative cultural backgrounds. The ironic thing is that just yesterday Tony Abbott was in the Australian saying that opposition to SSM is a bulwark against the erosion of western civilisation, but he (and others of his ilk) also have said that the very same people in western Sydney who voted No are a threat to western civilisation (for different reasons). Poor western civilisation can’t take a trick these days.

    Abbott’s electorate, a monocultural white enclave of wealthy church going business people, which is so safe Liberal it would elect Ivan Milat if he was the Liberal candidate, voted 75% Yes.

  8. In my defence I did not feel the time and space available permitted me to explain my qualification of “similar” but I would argue it is of little importance.
    I take your point BUT the allegations by “lawyers ” Brandis, Abbot, Pyne and Connie Fierravante- Wells[a former DPP prosecutor?] all publically alleged $500,000 BUT he finally went for only $5,000? for credit card funds theft from the union.
    I still think as per his trial QC and appeal lawyer there is a good argument he was not guilty of the final $5,000 theft based on the concept of a chose in action not due from the bank to the union therefor the union had no property in law capable of being stolen.
    This was also in an environment of pre-trial publicity when any ethical lawyer knows raises the issues of contempt and abuse of process by a fair trial being undermined – but hey ask “lawyers “Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar this is no barrier to letting a good “story” get in the way of the truth and law.

  9. @Troy Prideaux

    Here is my hot take for the day. The next big thing in the culture wars will be that the white Right will stop demonising Muslims and will instead join forces with the reactionary wing of the Muslim community because they have so much in common.

  10. About 49% of the electorate voted “Yes” for SSM.

    If the ALP and Greens had allowed the government to fulfill its election promise and hold a compulsory plebiscite, the “Yes” result would have been about 60% – and it would have happened about 6 months ago, and SSM would be law already.

    The excuse was that it would have caused bigotry and violence etc.. (the same thing they said about the survey – and of which there were maybe 2 examples, one by each side of the issue).

  11. @Smith
    It would make logical sense for them to do that as a political strategy, but the identity issues involved are fundamentally non-rational, so I suspect the logic will struggle to get a foot in the door.

    I know a few no-voting Christian conservatives, and they hate and fear Muslims at least as much as homosexuality. It will take a lot to bridge that divide.

  12. @Tim Macknay

    These things take time but once they arrive are very solid. Christian conservatives used to be at best indifferent towards Israel if not outright anti-semitic, now they are more Zionist than the Zionists.

  13. @Smith

    To the extent that this itself is motivated by Islamophobia, I think it undermines your case. Bigots are almost always the full package, but there’s a hierarchy of prejudices and gay people (and Jewish people) aren’t first on the list any more. Just consider the success of troll Milo Yiannopoulos, or the way the no campaign tried to make the same sex marriage debate about transgender people, knowing that voters were already too familiar and comfortable with gays and lesbians for direct attacks to work.

    Culture wars grounded in racism and xenophobia will also be more effective at driving popular support for anti-poor policies that wealthy political donors want. Muslims are not natural political allies here, since they strongly favour large amounts of government spending.

    Finally, it’s not at all clear that the Christian right actually cares about any of the moral issues it purports to be motivated by, so there’s little reason to think it will find common cause with other religious conservatives. Tony Abbott is such a strong believer in traditional marriage that he felt compelled to speak up in support of Donald Trump in the aftermath of the release of the Access Hollywood tape. We’re now at a point where many Republican voters are indifferent to strong evidence of child molestation if the abuser is one of them. Tribalism is their only guiding principle, and whether behaviour is good or bad is just a matter of tribal identity. Muslims are not their tribe. A new common enemy would have to come along.

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