Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

7 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Two thoughts.

    1. The West has Failed.

    I fully concur with this assessment.

    2. The Penchant for “Hail Mary” future techno-fixes while existing methods of addressing problems are ignored.

    The above article refers to this in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In summary it talks about the pursuit of a vaccine cure-all while ignoring or under-utilizing (in most Western countries) all the tried and proven methods fore dealing with pandemics (lock-downs, quarantines, travel restrcitions, contact tracing, face masks and other techniques.

    We have seen the same thing play out with climate change. The main promotion has been techno-fixes for the future, from CCS to carbon draw-down and geo-engineering. In the meantime available fixes were largely ignored, namely greater energy efficiency, renewable energy which was already cost-efficient, improved public transport, electric cars where the technology was mature enough, effective carbon pricing, by tax or ETS, and so on.

    We need to ponder why available, multiple, eclectic and synergistic approaches to these problems were and are largely ignored. They were largely ignored and preference was given to promoting non-mature technologies, technologies which might never work, and old technologies re-fitted which were energeticlly and safety-wise never going to work even after the refit (CCS and nuclear).

    What’s happening when this kind of thing happens? I think it is;

    1. Vested interests biases for existing major processes and business as usual.
    2. Inability to contemplate something which might change business and the way we live now.
    3. Preference to bet on long-shot solutions out in the never-never so we don’t have to do anything now and then presume the long-shot solutions will eventuate and work extremely well.

    Instead of investing in a bunch of sure-fire initiatives with individually modest near-term returns but which will add up to something substantial, the preference was for one or a few future magical hail-Mary fixes. Every time we see this happening we can presume that the powers that be don’t want to change anything and don’t want to meet the challenge. It’s a strangely sclerotic system (neoliberal capitalism) which does not want to change, refuses to change and fights change. It’s a head-in-the sand approach of pure denial. They say “Climate change? It’s not happening. COVID-19 pandemic? It’s not real.” The answer is always “Do nothing. The auto-correcting market will fix everything.”

    What this approach leads to is a lack of change. Indeed, it leads to a system incapable of change and incapable of responding to crises. When something won’t bend, flow round or adapt then it is brittle and it breaks. Apparently, our system has to be completely broken before people realize something is wrong with it. It feels strange and frankly morbid to have to cheer for catastrophic collapse as the only lesson apparently severe enough to teach the purblind elites and the dumbed-down masses that radical change is required to save our ossified neoliberal capitalist system.

  2. Ikonoclast,
    You state: “Apparently, our system has to be completely broken before people realize something is wrong with it.”

    People usually must die before change occurs. Sometimes it requires many, many deaths – smoking, lack of seatbelts, drink-driving…

    The standards we take for granted today are a consequence of past deaths.

    Humanity has to learn the hard way every time.

  3. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of Glenn Greenwalds’ tweets over the last few days. I’m not a lefty, but I thought Glenn was. Is this still the case, or has he switched sides? Hard to keep up these days. Just today:

    “Throughout the Trump era, mainstream liberal media outlets elevated the most deranged, neurotic and ridiculous people as “experts” to scare the shit out of everyone. Well beyond NYT putting *Louise Mensch* on its op-ed page about Russia, look at what this person is *still* doing:”

    and (talking about Trump)

    “Look at how they’re still terrorizing people even as they know their grift is soon going to be up. HE’LL USE NUKES FOR REAL THIS TIME ON HIS WAY OUT. Here’s my Patreon link. Watch me on Joy Reid’s show warning about this!!!!

    They f****d with people’s mental health for years:”

    Also: (talking about Sarah Cooper)

    “From Lenny Bruce and George Carlin devoting their careers to fighting every form of censorship to Trump-era comics begging for it: what a sorry decline.

    Liberals like this are utter authoritarians who beg Silicon Valley overlords to decide Truth for us & silence those they hate”

  4. Posted today at P&I is a piece by Cameron Rimington headlined “The escalating risk to Australia’s vehicle fleet. Australia applies the brakes again and again.” It finishes with:

    “A fuel efficiency standard is not about Australia leading the clean vehicle transition – we already missed our chance. It is not even about catching up – we are already too far behind. It is now simply a question of not coming last, of not condemning Australian motorists to dirty, expensive, third-rate vehicles that nobody else wants.”

    In an inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ world these “dirty, expensive, third-rate vehicles that nobody else wants” will also become useless without adequate, affordable fuel.

  5. Too many Swedish dead. Where to now?

    The King of Sweden’s 17th November Instagram “Hold on tight!” post in google translation:

    kungahuset’s profile picture
    the royal house

    Drottningholm Castle

    kungahuset’s profile picture
    the royal house
    Statement by H.M. The King on November 17, 2020:

    “We must all take our responsibility and continue the joint efforts and efforts to stop the spread of infection.

    Hold on. Hold on! ”




  6. Scummo narrowly frames it thus:

    However, expand the frame a little and Blind Freddy can see that it’s capitalism of the crony, oligarchic, corporatist, rentier neoliberal form that has made the public health system sick.

    Meanwhile, will taxpayers be slugged another $25M for the retired no-hoper Mathias Conman’s chasing after an OECD lucrative and tax free job whilst living high on the hog and gadding about in an RAAF jet held on standby all over Europe?

    It’s quite some loyalty fly-buys reward that Cormann has scored there for disengaging from a Dutton Challenge round 2.

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