Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

12 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. In the World Bank 1994 report “Averting the old age crisis : policies to protect the old and promote growth” several of the keywords tell the actual story: “Keywords …  capital market development; private pension fund;”. As does “promote growth” in the headline – growth toward neoliberals, capital and finance.

    Which led Australia to: (see The Financial Review articles below)
    ● Tax break – max $770,000,000 per year for 11,000 with >$5m super balance.  
    ● 30% super by 2060 simply inheritance.
    ● 48% believe the pension will not exist on retirement. 
    ● And government policy led to the shocking practices of for profit super funds & bank listed in “”Everything you need to know about the royal commission so far”.  If you or I did these things individually,  we’d be in gaol. 

    Why? “As a part of the effort to slim down state apparatuses by skimping on public investment, states attempted to reorient retirement savings toward capital markets.

    “The combination of retirement crises and attacks on the welfare state provided a golden opportunity for neoliberals who sought to dismantle public systems of retirement and open up new possibilities for finance capital.”

    “… growing old has become harnessed by finance into a profit-making machine while all the risk has been pushed onto retirees. There wouldn’t be a problem if the pension system was designed to serve the elderly rather than to serve capital markets. If “protecting the old” was afforded more importance than “promoting growth,” the coming catastrophe could be dealt with much more easily.

    “In part because of the World Bank’s best efforts, the “old-age crisis” is here. Fragile 401(k)’s, collapsing DC plans, and soaring housing costs are all coming together to make retirement a frightening prospect for many.”

    Even The Financial Review has headlines like;
    ‘Inequitable’ and ‘unsustainable’: Call to cap super balances at $5m”

    “arguing people with large balances are benefiting from excessively generous tax concessions.

    “The proposal would affect about 11,000 people, who would be required to withdraw excess funds were the policy adopted by the government.

    “The government’s retirement income review found a person with a superannuation balance of $5 million could achieve annual earnings tax concessions of around $70,000.”

    “By 2060, one in every three dollars paid out of the superannuation system will be an inheritance rather than retirement income, according to the government’s retirement income review.

    “Surveys suggest that less than half of all respondents (48 per cent) and only 37 per cent of people aged under 55 agreed the age pension will exist when they reach retirement,” found the review.”…

    “Everything you need to know about the royal commission so far”


    JQ after the GFC:
    “Refuted economic doctrines #4: individual retirement accounts.

    ” Looking to the longer view, this is more than a bad year for superannuation funds. The crash and the way it came about undermines the fundamental premise that has driven Australian retirement income policy for the past decade: that allowing individuals, with good financial advice, . ..”

  2. Anyone else have a copy? Read /viewed it?

    I am finally sufficiently knowledgeable to grasp “Ways of Seeing”, but can’t put my hand on my copy. The curse of tsonduku! I will resurrect it today.

    “Ways of Seeing at 50: an icy blast of a book about male voyeurism, art, capitalism and so much more

    “Ways of Seeing was like a blast of icy water – Berger stripped away the gloss to expose the capitalist ideology behind polite narratives, such as Clark’s, tracing the rise of western culture.

    “The book of the series was released in the same year. By the time Berger died in 2017 this slim paperback, sometimes called art history’s equivalent of Mao’s Little Red Book, had sold over a million copies. It is still in print.

  3. The RBA can use its foreign exchange operations to limit the impact of imported inflation on Australian consumers. There is no need anymore to use oppressively high adjustments to the official cash rate. One method is to do nothing. For example
    When central banks implement unsterilized foreign exchange intervention, they do not put insulation measures in place. Therefore, the transaction is one-sided—only purchasing or selling currencies or assets—without being offset. The policy allows foreign exchange markets to function without manipulating the supply of the domestic currency. This means that a country’s monetary base is allowed to change.
    With the detailed data on dependent and independent variables available to the RBA there should be no major mishaps. Imported inflation can be carefully managed. That way the consumers would not have ton face severe price inflation in the consumer goods market.

  4. Bribe – not pork barrel.


    …”Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years or 50 penalty units, or both.

                 (1)  A person shall not ask for, receive or obtain, or offer or agree to ask for, or receive or obtain, any property or benefit of any kind, whether for the same or any other person, on an understanding that:
                         (a)  any vote of the first-mentioned person;
                         (b)  any candidature of the first-mentioned person;
                         (c)  any support of, or opposition to, acandidate, a group of candidates or a political partyby the first-mentioned person;
                         (d)  the doing of any act or thing by the first-mentioned person the purpose of which is, or the effect of which is likely to be, to influence the preferences set out in the vote of an elector; or

    “AJ Brown, an expert in political corruption at Griffith University, said
    “In some cases, [it] arguably has crossed over the line into being actual electoral bribery, effectively giving people money in order to vote for you.”

    “Analysis of $3.9 billion in federal spending programs under the previous Coalition government by the Australia Institute found that 71 per cent of money was allocated to its own electorates.

    “Outstanding examples from the previous Parliament included: …”

  5. Are masks sanitation?

    Black letter law + texturalists = conserve-itism + and more Covid infections.

    “A lawsuit challenging the mandate had come before Judge Kathryn Mizelle, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.

    “Mizelle took a textualist approach to the question — looking specifically at the meaning of the words in the law. But along with consulting dictionaries, she consulted a database of language, called a corpus, built by a Brigham Young University linguistics professor for other linguists. Pulling every example of the word “sanitation” from 1930 to 1944, she concluded that “sanitation” was used to describe actively making something clean — not as a way to keep something clean. So, she decided, masks aren’t actually “sanitation.”

    “The mask mandate was overturned, one of the final steps in the defanging of public health authorities, even as infectious disease ran rampant.


    “Using corpora to answer legal questions, a strategy often referred to as legal corpus linguistics, has grown increasingly popular in some legal circles within the past decade.”

    “The district court’s evaluation of corpora is fatally flawed,” they wrote — and is “opaque and unreproducible.”

  6. KT2,
    Two comments:
    Bribery – I don’t think porkbarreling precisely meets bribery, because there (generally) isn’t the contractual link. The Libs say “We will give this marginal electorate a carpark” in the belief that that will move people to vote for them, but they don’t say “and if the electorate votes for the other party we’ll take it away again.” That was the difficult bit in the old money-in-the-palm methods of bribery; you had to have someone else check your ballot to make sure you couldn’t renege. And I think that’s what it would take to make a criminal case.
    With Ways of Seeing, I was chuffed to find that the actual TV lectures are online – couldn’t do that fifty years ago.

  7. Chrisb… yes, the barrels of pork have no contractual links. Except maybe the social contract, which we seem not to have codified. The argument has legs now, due to recent history.

    Ways of Seeing now showing, yet my older self now wants my younger self to have some context and external examples to deepen my understanding. It still makes me think.

  8. Is American tolerance of gun violence really that hard to understand ? Plenty of Australians seem to think that their freedom to go mask less on public transport is worth the cost of 20 or 30 thousand lives per year , or that our freedom to buy cheap consumer goods is worth the cost of wage slavery and environmental destruction in a foreign land. No ,unfortunately its all too easy to understand .

  9. ‘F’ for “Fantasy”. And fail.

    Nuclear Power with an ‘F’ for Fantasy is correct…
    “Fantasy –  being ‘caprice, whim, fanciful invention’”. (^OED)

    JQ: “Until we see [a carbon price.], the opposition is offering a fantasy, not an energy policy.” (^1)

    That last phrase JQ, in the Conversation today; “the opposition is offering a fantasy”, says it all. Fantasy with an ‘F’ is correct as per OED. Your spelling, or editors?

    I just happened to be driving and heard you on ABC News Radio. Your dog wasn’t happy your attention was elsewhere.

    Perhaps, so you don’t have to repeat the nuclear FFFantasy spiel ad infinitum (^2. ), distribute a…

    “Fantasy – Nuclear Once and for All” Press Release;
    – until 3x SMR’s are built on time and on budget,
    – with 3 years incident free operation
    – with unsubsidized energy price to consumers comparable to firmed renewables
    – able to be sited in near markets ala cities and one each in Dutton, Littleproud & Joyce’s electorates
    – spent nuclear, carbon dioxide and particulate matter waste costed and included with a carbon price
    -decommissioning charges included
    – insurance paid for by owners of capital – in other words risks bourne by capital not the Commons
    … finishing with “then we will have a “mature conversation”.

    press release 2030 will solve your continued deja vu. And the opportunity cost? More time, less repeating.

    Just hit send.

    Fantasy or Phantasy?
    “In mod. use
    – Fantasy –  being ‘caprice, whim, fanciful invention’
    – Phantasy –  ‘imagination, visionary notion’
    … in spite of their identity in sound and in ultimate etymology, tend to be apprehended as separate words, the predominant sense of the former being ‘caprice, whim, fanciful invention’, while that of the latter is ‘imagination, visionary notion’.


    Ad infinitum.
    (repeat every 3 years ad infinitum until fusion reactors a reality)

  10. Early yesterday morning (Jun 9) there was an on-air discussion broadcast between Radio 2GB host Michael McLaren and outgoing Senator Rex Patrick. In the podcast, from time interval 0:07:47, Senator Patrick said:

    What we can say from that, is that every couple of years we end up with a crisis. We end up with governments playing brinkmanship with the gas cartel and getting some form of outcome, when in actual fact, what we really need to do, is move to a gas reservation policy. And in 2019, I negotiated with the government as part of discussions on tax cuts, and got a written agreement from them, that they would move to introduce a gas reservation policy. Sadly, they didn’t, and we find ourselves in the situation we are now, where people again as I said before, are playing at the fringes, when, what has to happen is governments need to put national interest, the interests of our manufacturers, the interests of our consumers, ahead of the commercial interests of some of these gas cartel companies.

    Rex Patrick tweeted Jun 8:

    As the gas cartel extracts maximum profit from selling OUR GAS to us, killing our manufacturers and hurting Aussie families through high electricity prices & rising inflation, take a look at how their revenue has grown (green) compared the royalties they pay us (blue).

    Will the new Labor government acquire the courage to introduce a national gas reservation policy, or cower from the gas cartel, like the previous Coalition government seems to have done? We’ll see.

    And on a different note, David Spratt tweeted on Jun 9:

    #Climate emissions reduction scenarios used by policy-makers & #IPCC are based on Integrated Assessment Models. But what if those models are so deficient as to practically useless when dealing with deep uncertainty & catastrophic risks?

  11. Text below of school Covid Alert, first in a month. I do not believe no Covid for a month. Testing rates wildly variable. Reporting?
    Covid continues to;
    – Be circulating 
    – Deadly
    – strain in health system due to;
    “1,250 Admitted to hospital
    41 In intensive care
    14 Requiring ventilation
    11 deaths” today
    – Disruptive of my kids education.
    One teacher permanently moved ro aupport other kids so Geography on Friday, the kids now have 48 lessons online. One watched movies. One music. My kid read The Shining. Hmmm…. a Dad talk.

    Yrs 7-12. Whole student body.
    3 teachers – caveat – who actually “tested positive”. In other words we have totally dropped the ball on TTIQ. Cancelled classes 3x this week and shifting teachers tell a different story.

    Masks. You are joking. My kid reports of 1,000 students zero masks. One only immunocompromised teacher masked.

    Testing clinic in town wouldn’t do a PCR for us 2mths ago as we had RAT positive. Testing clinic is a shade house in a car park next to underfunded hospital – roof to keep rain off basically. 2 half days a week now down to 2 x half hours per week. It has been 0 degrees to 12 the past week wind never below 10kmph up to 25. Who waits?

    11 Deaths in last 24 hours in NSW.
    Western Area Health District;
    Case rate per 1,000 = 62
    Test rate per 1,000 = 52
    So at least 10 cases per 1,000 missing.

    Testing rates /1000 vary between 9 (Berrigan) up to 134 around Dubbo to 188 in Hunters Hill, an outlier –  Hunters Hill is one of the old money affluent north Sydney suburbs. 

    How would we know. Ah! Statistics.

    If you click thru above page to Communicate Diseases you will want to get a flu shot.
    Influenza strain A (negligible B)
    Jan 10
    Feb 22
    March 373
    April 2,782
    May 22,030
    Total to date 25,217

    “Active COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths in NSW

    86,689 Active cases
    1,250 Admitted to hospital
    41 In intensive care
    14 Requiring ventilation
    11 Deaths in last 24 hours
    (TODAY 10th June 2022)

    Active COVID-19 cases are defined as people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.

    Text of email from high school today
    ” Dear parents and carers,

    “Please be aware that members of our student body continue to test positive for COVID. The students who have tested positive are isolating at home. The cohorts affected this week have been Years 7 to 12. Additionally, three members of the staff have tested positive and are isolating at home.

    “I would like to remind you to continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If unwell, stay at home and get tested.

    “Students who are close contacts may attend school but are required to wear a mask in all indoor settings. They must also test daily. RAT kits are available through the front office.”

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