22 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I’ve seen no real comment, let alone official interview or strategic leak from government sources on the Queen’s recent brazenly political moves to have son Charlie get the inside running on succession, starting with the Commonwealth management gig. The Australian public have been ‘placated’ by the view – at various strengths from both sides of the republican/monarchist debate – that the Queen’s passing will bring a watershed: a younger ‘millenial’ heir could be the compromise that might win over luke warm republicans…for a time. But the Queen’s gambit to me has loaded the dice, and we’re hearing nothing to the contrary. We’re sleepwalking into a situation where overnight a death and a coronation will be foisted on us like it or not.

  2. Comment deleted and commenter permanently banned. I will update the comments policy to make it clear that advocacy of (state or non-state) terrorism is not welcome here. I will also be banning another recent commenter who advocated preventive war.

  3. Its always dangerous not to follow basic laws of succession in monarchy. That principle hasn’t gone away. Best to go with the eldest son or the whole thing becomes even more arbitrary and therefore dangerous then it already is. I personally think that the whole family is infiltrated by fence-jumpers. I don’t see the boys as his sons. Nor do I see Spencer as Diana’s father. The reality is, that as far as the public knows, Charles is the rightful heir. A dispute which sought to deny him his kingship could lead to factional fighting. This could even be a precursor to outright anarchy if history is anything to go by.

    If the Queen is seeking to have Charles become King, well I’m sure that I could find many things to complain about her prior to using that as an excuse. All throughout history, the failure of a monarch to make succession unambiguous is one of the ultimate sins of monarchy. A failure of the Queen to do this would be the ultimate irresponsibility of a monarch.

  4. Reading the WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN, it helps my speed reading skills develop, I came across an article by Ewin Hannan and Richard Ferguson. Entitled “Coalition to look at easing sack laws” it caught my eye. Reading the article it read like the government is trying to find some excuse, any excuse, to reintroduce the worse features of the Howard government WORKCHOICES legislation. To quote the article:
    “The Turnball government will examine contentious proposals to slash the maximum compensation paid to unfairly sacked workers and allow small businesses to more easily dismiss employees.”
    This chilling introductory paragraph was followed by the reported endorsement of a government ministers – Workplace minister Craig Laundry. Then it reported that Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell is accredited with coming up with this blast from the past. Her recommendations include lifting hurdles for workers when they make an unfair dismissal claim. She also proposed inserting an award provision allowing small employers (very aptly name there) to trade off penalty rates for other entitlements for a higher hourly rate of pay. Still not finished with ‘good ideas’ for these ‘small employers’ she proposed cutting compensation for unfair dismissal from six months pay to only three months pay. There was more but you get the idea This “Uber’ Ombudsman considered all her proposals were in her own words there to provide a “safe harbor” for small business to shield them from inadvertent underpayment of wages.
    Of course Mr. Laundry considered them a “constructive contribution” as his government considered ways to make workplace relations “easier” for small business owners. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Paterson said that the proposals were sensible.
    The ACTU disagreed with this assessment. They saw it as giving a license to small employers to “fire any person at any time for any reason or no reason”. They were not impressed with the suggestion that small employers could “steal wages with no fear of consequences”.
    After the recent case of some franchises stealing wages from employers then dismissing anyone who complained, this seems a strange reversion to a dark past of Australian workplace relations.

    Sounds very destructive to the lives of the unfairly dismissed!

  5. The Banking Royal Commission is exposing how corrupt our entire finance system is. Yet there seem to be no comments on this blog.

    It’s certainly indicative of all that is wrong with late stage (neoliberal) capitalism to see how it has eventually devolved into outright corruption. A system which begins from a hidden corrupt premise as capitalism does, will always devolve into worse and worse corruption. The only exceptions have been when ordinary people have risen up against it and temporarily reformed it. The reforms are always temporary. Capitalism always tends back to corruption due to the corruption at its core.

  6. @Ikonoclast

    Corruption in finance is about as surprising as big tech’s misuse of personal data. Hard to believe the level of resistance that was shown to the idea of an Australia Card so long ago now. I think most everyday people in the West know what is going on and have simply given up, calculating that the party will still go on for a while yet. Major redistribution’s usually dont happen peacefully ,also the transfer from one empire to another is usually not peaceful.

  7. These financial institutions outsource for their legal advice and these hotshot outfits have obviously led them down the garden path. These are the same lawyers that advise the govt.

    Federal ICAC anyone?

  8. @sunshine
    Only when there is mass hunger and actual starvation (ie motivation to disbelieve the prevailing societal model) will there be a fundamental restructure of the social and economic order. I agree it won’t be pretty. However, if you keep the masses ticking along with a UBI then you can avoid that and keep on ruling and accumulating stuff – at least till the ecosystem resources run out.

  9. @pablo Nobody’s got a better option, Turnbull stuffed it up last time and it could be a generation before it happens again.

    There needs to better exploration of the issues, it’s not as simple as replacing the GG with a president.

  10. “The Banking Royal Commission is exposing how corrupt our entire finance system is. Yet there seem to be no comments on this blog.”

    Well to me its all a big yawn, and a calculated letting off of steam. Since I view the Northern Hemisphere bosses as the real big power in the world, and the enquiry would have not gone ahead in the first place, under a Goldman Sachs flunky like Malcolm, without it being just a big pantomime. The only way it will cease to be a pantomime is if it results in a determination to end the overnight reserve bank discount rate …. bring in a reserve asset ratio …. release a lot of cash in tandem with slowly RAISING that reserve asset ratio.

    If thats not the outcome then its all been a stage show with Turnbull talking up a storm, pretending to be in favour of the little man, when he’s really just doing a song and a dance for his dynastic Northern Hemisphere masters.

  11. graeme bird

    You wonder if the Greens and economist Nicholas Gruen feel a bit of momentum now regarding an RBA role in ‘shop front’ domestic banking to compete with the big four.

  12. Right. Nicks ideas are interesting. But if you believe that central banking is part of a worldwide racket his ideas are kind of missing the point.

    I would set up a currency board, close down the reserve bank and sack everyone. I would subcontract a small amount of work out to the department of statistics. And once we had reached a reserve asset ratio of 100% for on-call funds …. then I would either increase cash 1% per month or 0 % per month depending on whether people were reducing or increasing debt. If people were paying down debt I’d release all this cash. But if they were expanding debt the cash level would remain the same as our currency board went to work trying to get people to pay down or forgive debt.

    See Nicks thinking that the RBA can cut out the big four to some extent. He wants them to extend cheaper credit for the bulk of the loan which represents that proportion of the loan that involves no risk.

    But if they (central and commercial banks) weren’t all part of the same racket, then why do I remember a Reserve Bank Governor heading to Basil to get down on one knee and beg for concessions? He is an Australian, supposed to be serving us, and he’s bowing and scraping to proven failures and people of ill repute, for concessions. What sort of country are we running?

    The human race ought not stand still for all this nonsense, rococo thievery, and obscurantist slavery-lite.

  13. I want to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the Austrian school approach of “methodological individualism.” Well just the weaknesses actually. Because I tend to take the strengths for granted. I see them as the best extant school of economic thought. But there are glaring weaknesses that don’t get talked about enough.

    Mostly the weaknesses are to do with not being observant of the current situation. When they’ve built their ideal system up through rigorous logic and they can be blinded to conditions on the ground. So for example I was stunned just listening to Murray Rothbard running down Thorstein Veblen. When I had just been reading Veblen and his mental construct of how the world worked would have explained the massive oversupply of building of retail space that started happening in the late sixties and 70’s, the rise of the Woolworths/Coles duopoly and all kinds of other almost inexplicable events in economic history.

    For the most part I’m not going to fault them on the logic of their system. Because they are a powerfully logical bunch. I’m only going to point out where and why they tend to be one eye blind. Soft on rent-seeking and oligarchy.

  14. Annals of nationalisation: I’ve just been drinking good Bavarian beer with a pork knuckle at a Berlin pub franchised by the Munich Weihenstephan brewery. It’s been in state ownership since (they claim) the year 1040. Of course there is no monopoly and technical progress is a crawl in the industry. Still, the anecdote scores against the libertarian prejudice that public ownership guarantees incompetence and bad quality. The right-wing Bavarians even built a brewery within the new public Munich airport – try the Weizenbier if you stop over.

  15. I read an article on Council Corruption in SE Qld. in this morning’s Brisbane Times.

    The time of saying “this is the way business is done” is drawing near. This “business” if proved is blatant crime in the form of taking secret commissions for corrupt decisions usually zoning approvals. Jail is very likely see Gordon Nuttall’s history.

    I find it unbelievable to think that corruption is compartmentalised to the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan and Moreton councils.

    We have a councillor on the Sunshine Coast who publically stated he received a developer’s donation and withdrew from a council meeting. Really why accept the donation initially ? The Mayor is recorded as saying he opposes a ban on developers’ donations. The mayor has a senior role in the Qld. Local Government Association !

    A reading of the CCC Operation Belcara transcripts reveals a network of intrigue of Liberal Party members or associates eg. Gold Coast Tommy “Teflon” Tate [see 4 Corners Report on him last year] AND Stuart Robert [Liberal federal minister sacked by Turnbull over his suspicious Chinese business relationships] bankrolling 2 of his staffers to stand for Council election.

  16. @Graeme Bird

    It seems to me that the fundamental and overarching fault with Austrian Economics is its reliance on praxeology. In turn, the problem with praxeological economics (as a philosophical method) is that it begins with what it claims is an “axiom” when it should correctly term its starting point an a priori assumption.

    I have no problems with starting a philosophical system with an a priori assumption. Indeed, that’s the only way you can start a line of philosophical thinking. Intellectual honesty demands, however, that you highlight the a priori assumption. From this a priori assumption or a priori justification, you develop a consistent philosophical system, if you can. The developed consistent system is then a sign of what might be true if the a priori assumption is correct. A consistent philosophical system with a clear a priori starting point signifies no more than that. Such consistent philosophical systems, when well written, are intrinsically interesting and possibly persuasive. A modern “scientific empiricist” would then adopt C. S. Peirce’s view: “The best that can be done is to supply a hypothesis, not devoid of all likelihood, in the general line of growth of scientific ideas, and capable of being verified or refuted by future observers.”

    The Austrians go wrong at the first step. They claim that their first step is an “axiom”, by which they seem to mean it is some irrefutable or irreducible truth. However, it is clearly an a priori assumption. They then deduce each further aspect of the economy via a single chain of logical deductions. This is going wrong at very subsequent step! Even if the initial assumption were true, it could not be the explanation of all economic phenomena. The axiom implies a single cause for all subsequent economic phenomena. This is the “fallacy of the single cause”.

  17. @James Wimberley

    Whatever you do, try to avoid telling a real Bavarian you went to Berlin to taste Weihenstephaner Bier (getting money from a franchise is one thing, but ….. ). It would be preferable to get Weihenstephaner beer from Murphy’s and consume it in Sydney – no problem with that since it is definitely not Prussia.

    Weihenstephan is the name of a hill in the town Freising, connected to Munich via a metro line. The brewery sits on top of the hill, together with the faculty of brewing and the faculty of horticulture, both belong to the University of Munich.

  18. @Ikonoclast

    Yes I think your comments here are very relevant. But whether their basic assumptions are axiomatic or whether they are just assumptions they tend to be well-founded assumptions. I can see you have done your homework.

    One problem I see is that there is no sensitivity test. Supposing Rothbard objects to Riccardos views on “economic rent.” I side with Riccardo in this matter. I side with Riccardo, Mill and Henry George here. But if I was tendentiously arguing the case for minarchism, or even anarcho-capitalism …. I could say …. “But Riccardo’s economic rent formulation would not be such a live issue if we had gone with Rothbard and had 100% backed silver currency for these last 100 years…”

    Well you see I agree with that. But the reality is that we almost never can expect a time period of both tight money and very little debt overhang. These time periods are few and far between. Usually we have all this credit creation, or we are suffering from debt deflation because of credit creation in a prior time period. So in order for the economic rent business to be a minor thing we need perfection in monetary matters, not just now, but for many decades prior. We would also need a redistributive tax system all that time. This is not realistic. So I cannot be like the Austrian school and sweep economic rent under the carpet. And furthermore, even if economic rent weren’t a big issue, we still need some level of government spending for the meantime right? So the failure to raise the finance from our best efforts to tax economic rent, means we must raise the money in wealth-destroying ways.

    Its this cavalier approach to unjust enrichment which is getting me down at the moment. A guy with ten billion dollars makes another billion while he takes an afternoon nap and the Austrians think thats all normal and according to Hoyles. I think its indirect theft. A product of an obscurantist thieving system.

    To rely so heavily on perfect monetary history is a fantasy on one level. And on another level its like putting a penny in the fuse-box. I want three or four levels of safeguards against unjust enrichment. Particularly as we know that the unjustly enriched tycoons give birth to dynastic demon-spawn that do not act with fantastic ethics or humanity.

  19. @Graeme Bird

    “Its this cavalier approach to unjust enrichment which is getting me down at the moment.”

    Agreed. It’s been getting me down for over 40 years. The monetaraist/neoliberal program began just after I started my working life, when the oil shocks sank the Keynesian consensus. I could tell a long life tale but I won’t. Suffice it to say, some of my very early working life was as a laborer in a gravel pit for $68.00 a week. Workplace health and safety was non-existent. Trucks would back up and and start tipping when I was still on the grizzly clearing it of stuck stones. The grizzly is an inclined screen for screening course gravel over which trucks tip 6 to 8 cubic meters of raw gravel per load from the grizzly head.

    The fat owner would come out from time to time in his Ford Galaxie LTD to inspect the pit and then back home to count his money I guess. I have had a sense since then that there was something wrong with our economic system. It’s only gotten worse under neoliberalism. H&S is better but pretty much everything else is worse. Inequality is worse. The precariat is larger. But I don’t want to make a long post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s