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.

18 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. JQ, have you studied the loss of trust relative to your scholarly works?

    Q: What effect of “changes are spurring uncertainty, pessimism, and a general loss of trust in institutions” (McKinsey^1.) on prices / opportunity cost / tax / polarization / law breaking / tax avoidance / social cohesion / social capital etc…? [ I trust I won’t get an answer].

    I’m losing TRUST in many economists. 

    And I have most certainly lost a non tivial amount of trust in the “The social contract in the 21st century”. (McKinsey^1.)

    This will be my 1st comment on Trust, as backgound to;
    ” ‘It’s important not to overreact’: Australia’s top economists on how to fix high inflation”

    [ 5 of 48 economists surveyed, or 12.5%, argue for less trust, more poverty, and labour to carry the weight of budget repair, agreeing with, as an answer to inflation “Push for below-inflation wage rises in the Fair Work Commission”. They need to answer my question below. JQ, Ernestine, Harry – what IS the cost of the LOSS of TRUST? ]
    https://theconversation.com/its-important-not-to-overreact-australias-top-economists-on-how-to-fix-high-inflation-188537
    *

    McKinsey-MCKINSEY!, told us – on the cusp of The Pandemic “changes are spurring uncertainty, pessimism, and a general loss of trust in institutions.”

    I’d say way more than the difference between avg tax to gdp ratio of 24.5% to 28%. 

    Think of outcomes such as PHON, PUP, The-mango Mussolini, Erdogan, Bolsonaro, GoP currently, Truss (!) – basically many sending the globe towards austerity, authority, destabilization & polarization. 
    *

    ^1.
    “The social contract in the 21st century
    February 5, 2020

    “but basic necessities such as housing, healthcare, and education are absorbing an ever-larger proportion of incomes.

    “Coupled with wage stagnation effects, this is eroding the welfare of the bottom three quintiles of the population by income level (roughly 500 million people in 22 countries).

    “Public pensions are being scaled back—and roughly the same three quintiles of the population do not or cannot save enough to make up the difference.

    “Broadly, individuals have had to assume greater responsibility for their economic outcomes. While many have benefited from this evolution, for a significant number of individuals the changes are spurring uncertainty, pessimism, and a general loss of trust in institutions.”

    https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/the-social-contract-in-the-21st-century
    *

    When high income earners suffer from a loss of trust in the system, ironically they establish a Trust!
    [No wonder you aren’t wanted at the Fin JQ.  Many spat their coffee & breakfast upon reading…]

    “A relationship taken on trust
    …”The answer to this concern is simple. There are almost no trusts in Australia established for legitimate purposes.”
    https://www.afr.com/policy/a-relationship-taken-on-trust-19970416-k7e11
    *

    “Trust. Who? In Australia it seems we trust Business & NGO’s more than government & news. Ohoh.

    “The trust fall in the news media been driven mostly by Republicans, according to the data.

    “– Just 5% of Republicans said they had “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in newspapers, compared to 35% of Democrats.
    – Only 8% of Republicans said they had “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in TV news, compared to 20% of Democrats.
    – Independents’ views are generally closer to Republicans’.”
    johnquiggin
    com/2022/07/06/would-we-be-better-off-without-corporations/comment-page-2/#comment-253932
    *

    “Currently, 36% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they can trust government, compared with 9% of Republicans and Republican-leaners.”
    pewresearch
    org/politics/2021/05/17/public-trust-in-government-1958-2021/
    *

    ““Australian political contests are no longer purely won on trust, they are lost on distrust.”

    “The March survey reveals the political reverse when it comes to the most trusted political leaders in the country. The ALP dominates the Net Trust Score rankings with Penny Wong in the #1 position.”
    roymorgan
    com/findings/8933-political-trust-distrust-australian-leaders-march-2022-202203220543
    *

    I TRUST you – yes you – will comment. But as I am an outlier here, and as zero + 1 woman ever comments here anymore, I expect “Australian political [economic blogs] contests are no longer purely won on trust, they are lost on distrust.”. Pity.

    JQ, why cant you and Bill Michell get together? Macro Heresy? Philosophically you seen to be in the same page.  (yes, I saw your comment Ikon).

    “Radical change is needed and mainstream economics will not be part of the solution”

    ” Identifying a ‘poly crisis’ is tantamount to declaring the neoliberal experiment has failed dramatically and taken us all to the brink. It cannot form a basis for the future. ”
    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=50279

  2. Trust. Elderman Trust Barometer says:
    1. “Of the studied institutions, business is once again the most trusted
    2. “Distrust is now society’s default emotion
    *

    Zombie Economics 
    By John Quiggin
    Pg 72, para 2.

    “We also need a  deeper understanding of financial collapses like the current crisis. Although the text books represent the financial markets as involving impersonal exchanges of precisely defined assets, the actual operation of the system relies CRUCIALLY ON TRUST (my emphasis) and, more generally, on the amount of trust that should be placed on understanding the amount of trust that should be placed in particular kinds of promises. In the last few decades economists have soent a lot of time studying trust, and particularly the problem of when one party to a cintract should trust the other to tell the truth and keep faith.” 

    [Why am I less trusting now? ]
    *

    The tail is wagging – you and I.
    Scary! Pause for thought;
    1. “Of the studied institutions, business is once again the most trusted
    At 61%, business is the most trusted institution, ahead of NGOs at 59%, government at 52% and media at only 50%. Seventy-seven percent of respondents, however, trust “My Employer,” making the relationship between employer and employee incredibly important.”
    2022 Elderman trust Barometer

    2. “Distrust is now society’s default emotion
    Nearly 6 in 10 say their default tendency is to distrust something until they see evidence it is trustworthy. Another 64% say it’s now to a point where people are incapable of having constructive and civil debates about issues they disagree on. When distrust is the default – we lack the ability to debate or collaborate.”
    https://www.edelman.com/trust/2022-trust-barometer
    *

    “Markets only function in circumstances of widespread trust and social cohesion. Because social capital is a public good, individuals can reap the benefits of widespread trust without contributing to it, leading to its slow erosion. The state must constantly intervene in civil society in order to shore up the public environment that makes commerce possible.” – from…

    “Introduction: Symposium on Robust Political Economy

    Nick Cowen
    Pages 420-439 | Published online: 22 Dec 2016

    “To borrow a phrase from Albert Métin and revived by John Quiggin (Hazledine and Quiggin2006), they exemplified a “socialism without doctrines.”

    [Ref: Hazledine, Tim, and John Quiggin. 2006. 
    “No More Free Beer Tomorrow? 

    Economic Policy and Outcomes in Australia and New Zealand since 1984.” 
    Australian Journal of Political Science 41(2): 145–59. doi:10.1080/10361140600672402 ]
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08913811.2016.1264158
    *

    “Trust, Institutions, and Institutional Change: Industrial Districts and the Social Capital Hypothesis

    Henry Farrell, Jack Knight
    December 1, 2003 

    Abstract
    “Much current work in the social sciences seeks to understand the effects of trust and social capital on economic and political outcomes. However, the sources of trust remain unclear. In this article, the authors articulate a basic theory of the relationship between institutions and trust.”

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329203256954
    *

    “Markets only function in circumstances of widespread trust and social cohesion. Because social capital is a public good, individuals can reap the benefits of widespread trust without contributing to it, leading to its slow erosion. The state must constantly intervene in civil society in order to shore up the public environment that makes commerce possible.” – from…

    SYMPOSIUM: MARK PENNINGTON’S ROBUST POLITICAL ECONOMY

    “Introduction: Symposium on Robust Political Economy

    Nick Cowen
    Pages 420-439 | Published online: 22 Dec 2016

    “To borrow a phrase from Albert Métin and revived by John Quiggin (Hazledine and Quiggin2006), they exemplified a “socialism without doctrines.”

    [Ref: Hazledine, Tim, and John Quiggin. 2006. 
    “No More Free Beer Tomorrow? 

    Economic Policy and Outcomes in Australia and New Zealand since 1984.” Australian Journal of Political Science 41(2): 145–59. doi:10.1080/10361140600672402 ]
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08913811.2016.1264158
    *

    “Trust, Institutions, and Institutional Change: Industrial Districts and the Social Capital Hypothesis

    Henry Farrell, Jack Knight
    December 1, 2003 

    Abstract
    “Much current work in the social sciences seeks to understand the effects of trust and social capital on economic and political outcomes. However, the sources of trust remain unclear. In this article, the authors articulate a basic theory of the relationship between institutions and trust.”

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329203256954
    *

    Just about anything by Eva Cox (Thanks EC)

    “What kind of Australia do we want?

    “When I spoke of a truly civil society in my Boyer lectures more than a decade ago, I looked at the importance of trust as the basis for creating civility.”

    “Too many rebels may make societies too hard to govern, particularly when there is deep distrust and cynicism about those running the place. Too few and the results can be systems of totalitarianism and oppression of dissent. Some groupings will relate to others with civility, hospitality and respect. Others may be mean, fearful and discriminatory. The overall balance between these behaviours establishes the ethos of societies at large.

    “Current neo-conservative changes build on the mistrust of human nature and punish those who do not show sufficient self-care responsibilities. These strategies are different to Neo-liberals’ laissez-faire policies and are far more damaging to the possibility of a more civil society. Their presumptions of inherent evil encourage self interest and populism and legitimise the distrust of strangers.

    https://www.evacox.com.au/node/71

    Cox E. (2000), 
    “Diversity and Community: Conflict and Trust? 
    in Vasta E. (Ed),Citizenship, Community and Democracy, Macmillan UK.

    Cox E. and Caldwell C. (2000), 
    “Making Policy Social in Winter, I.
    ed., Social Capital and Public Policy.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Cox

  3. There has to be unity in austerity. If the RBA and the government want an end to higher inflation then they must ensure that there is no one not pulling their weight. Banks and large businesses too often can skirt their responsibilities to the public. They must be pulled into line. If Australian households are being asked to sacrifice net wealth gains then they need to know that no exceptions are being made in secret deals.Australian billionaires must also make net wealth sacrifices. As should large corporations. After all trust must be earned not demanded. Economists must do their part by not selling out to vested interests. If we are all on a leaky boat of state then we should all be bailing. Tax dodgers must be hunted down and made to pay evaded taxes. Rorters need to be caught. No Australia. must seek a free ride.Politicians must serve the public not expect the public to serve them and applauded their petty political point scoring. If real wages are to fall then compulsory superannuation must rise. That way workers are not being robbed of a fair wage for a fair days work.

  4. Gregory J. McKenzie, here is THE example of “Politicians must serve the public”.

    In a wealthy city in Australia, a Liberal Party in opposition (^2.) invokes marxism / communism ala…
    ^1. “Notably, Ms. Kahr also canceled several prestige projects, including an Ö.V.P.-led proposal to give Graz’s 300,000 residents their own subway line. “Instead, the city will soon have a new office for social and housing services and more subsidized apartments.” (^1.)

    And the Libs in Victoria are proposing ^2. “The Victorian opposition says it will shelve the project and invest the money saved into new hospitals at Melton, Mildura, West Gippsland and Wodonga as well as a new infectious diseases hospital.”(2. )

    Wow! I am actually surprised for once. Politics. Anything to win power.

    Does anyone have any examples of such a conservative to marxist conversion pitch in Australian politics, ever?  

    Victorian Liberal Party donor (pratt) must be choking on breakfast this morning.
    *

    ^1.
    “In Wealthy City, a Marxist Mayor Wins Over Voters

    “Yes, this Communist politician in Graz, Austria, wants to redistribute wealth, but a focus on housing, her own modest lifestyle and a hard childhood have helped her popularity.
    ….
    “And for nearly two decades, Ms. Kahr, not without controversy, has dipped into her own pocket to help people pay for unexpectedly high electric bills or a new laundry machine. She’ll listen to a problem, ask for a bank account and transfer some money, usually capped at a few hundred euros.

    “During her political career, she has given away about three-quarters of her post-tax salary. Since becoming a city councilor in 2005, Ms. Kahr’s handouts have amounted to more than one million euros, or approximately $1,020,000”
    [Replace spaces w dots]
    nytimes com
    /2022/08/12/world/europe/graz-austria-communist-mayor-elke-kahr.html

    ^2.
    Bloody Marxists!
    “Victorian opposition says it will ditch the Suburban Rail Loop and invest in health if elected”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-17/victorian-opposition-pledges-to-scrap-suburban-rail-loop/101340416
    *

    I’ve a mind to emulate Ms. Kahr. Not as a marxist, as a Liberal!

    Trust. Ms. Kahr has it.

  5. Any comments?

    “A totally off-the-news post about taxes
    How I think it should work in theory”

    Matthew Yglesias

    “So without getting too deep into the economic modeling, it’s worth starting with an intuitive case against capital taxation.”

    ” And I think the answer is Bob-like behavior. A society with a higher savings rate is one in which it is cheaper to obtain financial capital in order to make investments in tangible capital. And a society with a larger stock of tangible capital will be a richer society over the long run.”

    https://www.slowboring.com/p/a-totally-off-the-news-post-about

    Via marginal revolution

  6. That’s true KT2 but the proviso is “over the long run”. But the future doesn’t consist only of the long-run – it also includes current and near-future events. And savings that can be turned into capital also diverts resources away from current consumption and that is something we all like. So the appropriate rate of capital accumulation involves a tradeoff between current and future consumption. Also very high rates of savings now will mean that not very productive capital investments are made.

    The perennial problem of Keynesian economics is insufficient current demand which suggests excessive not deficient savings so I wouldn’t necessarily buy the line that we should have low taxes on capital income.

    On the other hand entrepreneurs who take substantial risks and are sometimes rewarded with huge windfall profits which predictably raises suggestions for “excess profits taxes”. This works since the government transfers the loot into its pockets. But of course next time round firms are less inclined to invest in these types of projects since they know the government will grab the loot if they do make good guesses.

  7. KT2,

    Trust. Yes, trust is low. I would say trust in governments and institutions is low precisely because they have been captured by business, mainly big business. The government won’t act for the majority of the people. Why won’t either major party tax the rich properly, for example? Because the rich have captured the parties and thus captured government.

    Where two major parties exist and they are the only parties which can ever realistically form a government under current broad voting patterns, then business only has to buy these two parties. They buy these parties by parallel donations. Many big businesses donate to the LNP and the ALP. They may donate a bit more to their favorite party which is the party which most favors them and their mode of doing business. I am sure there are calculations done to determine the “bets”, on something like Kelly betting principles. “We bet this much extra on our party of preference because our odds of preferential treatment from them are higher. We bet this much less on the other party so as to ensure some (lower) chance of preferential treatment from them and still keep a foot in that door for lobbying.”

    It’s just like a man courting two ladies in olden times. Better gifts to the more desirable of the two (to him in terms of some implicit equation combining calculations of beauty and dowry) but some gifts to the less desirable lady in case the first turns him down. He improves his odds overall and will have at least some kind of marriage, some dowry and probably some children.

  8. Harry, glad you said “so I wouldn’t necessarily buy the line that we should have low taxes on capital income.”

    But most of these discussions are of “averages” or “all in one set” implying all savers all capital. I always have a problem with say social impact investing with limited and time bounded returns vs the other end – predatory or Bain Capital style maximum return at all cost capital maximization.

    With the wages debate at least we seen 3 groups discussed usually, low paid, award & contract. Even JQ”s last paper re fiscal space imo presumes one set. JQ?

    You also said “since they know the government will grab the loot if they do make good guesses” which I see as a comment relative to WEIRD laissez.faire countries. I haven’t seen Shell divest from Norway.

    So some nuance somewhere not necessarily taken into account by Matthew Yglesias, or maybe I’m not nuanced enough.

    And all this is actually about humans and lives. Dry economics seems to forget “now” effects of the tax change & investment cliffs and cycles.

    Ill have more to say abiut trust & Substack tomorrow.

    Oh, and Elon is “investing his capital” or is that untaxed wealth or just “my miney” in a fotball team. He doesn’t need a return just kudos, making another category ot “capital”.

  9. Trust. Asabiyyah. 

    (Word of the day: Asabiyyah
    Anyone aware of the word?)
    Any better single word in English?)

    Lack of trust crushes an active society and volunteer social work…

    “We conclude that not a society based on fear is needed in the first place, but an active society of volunteer social work.”(Tausch & Heshmati 2009) 

    Economic performance, trust & participation “as a counter-model to both Barro and Inglehart and Welzel approaches” (Tausch & Heshmati 2009) 

    – Social capital & cohesion. traditional versus secular, long term social cohesion, “cheating versus active society”, volunteering…. “”[PDF] “Volunteers and volunteering during the COVID-era in Australia ANU …
    19 May 2022 “The rate of volunteering fell between late 2019 and April 2021 for both men and women and for all age groups. For both men and women and all age…”
    csrm cass anu edu au › docs › 2022

    And remember, Albanese has, in the words of Jaquie Lambie, Albo has destroyed ALL trust Labour built up with her for the last 9 years. And Teals. Idiot Albo. Seeds of destruction for Labour & duopoly. And distrusting governance. And bau.
    *

    “Asabiyya: Re-Interpreting Value Change in Globalized Societies

    Author
    Listed: Tausch, Arno
    (University of Innsbruck)

    Heshmati, Almas
    (Jönköping University, Sogang University)

    Abstract
    “This article reflects the renewed interest of economics and the social science discipline in value systems and religion. The World Values Survey provided a data framework of global value change, whose quantitative results led Barro (2004) to analyze the connections between some dimensions of recent sociological religious value research with economic growth. 

    “The present essay starts from this methodological position, and links value systems with economic performance in a much wider and macrosociological framework. 

    “We further develop the well-known Inglehart and Welzel (2003) map of global values, and develop the idea of “Asabiyya” (“social cohesion”), as a counter-model to both Barro and Inglehart and Welzel approaches. A frequently asked question is whether “modernization” without “spiritual values” in a globalized world economy and world society possible in the long run? 

    “Starting from principal component analysis, it is shown that rather two factors are decisive in understanding global value change: a continuum of “traditional versus secular”, and a continuum “cheating versus active society”. Asabiyya in the 21st Century, as a way out from the modernization trap of societies, characterized by large-scale social anomaly, is a high secularism combined with a high active society score, thus avoiding the “modernization trap”. 

    “We show that economic growth in the current world crisis is far more connected with these dimensions. We conclude that not a society based on fear is needed in the first place, but an active society of volunteer social work.”
    https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp4459.html
    *

    Robert Barro referenced above is a parent of macro …”Barro is considered one of the founders of new classical macroeconomics, along with Robert Lucas, Jr.and Thomas J. Sargent.[2] (Wikipedia) and does podcasts on Econotalk with Russ Roberts, both of whom I’d say polar opposites to JQ.
    (Comment JQ?)

    JQ, if you are going to change the world you’ll need to beat Russ Roberts

    7,958,759 + 5,211,328 views re ” Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there’s a “boom and bust” cycle in modern  and good reason to fear it.”… and “Can war or natural disasters paradoxically be good for an economy in a slump?” … “Should more spending come from the top down or from the bottom up? What are the ultimate sources of prosperity? Keynes and Hayek never agreed on the answers to these questions and they still don’t. Let’s listen to the greats. See Keynes and Hayek throwing down in “Fight of the Century”!”

    … which is exactly the point I was making to Harry C above “And all this is actually about humans and lives. Dry economics seems to forget “now” effects of the tax change & investment cliffs and cycles.”

    And still we “fight”!
    Videos on yootyoob..
    “Fight of the Century
    The 2nd Keynes vs. Hayek Rap Battle”

    “Fear the Boom and Bust
    The 1st Keynes vs. Hayek Rap Battle”

    Here is podcast #613 by Russ Roberts:
    Russ Roberts on Lessons from F.A. Hayek and Nassim Taleb, Decision-Making Insights from Charles Darwin, The Dangers of Scientism, Wild Problems in Life and the Decisions That Define Us, Learnings from the Talmud, The Role of Prayer, and The Journey to Transcendence (#613)
    https://tim.blog/2022/08/04/russ-roberts/

    JQ refers to Barro – last century.
    “The Welfare Effects of Alternative Choices of Instruments and Targets for Macroeconomic Stabilisation Policy”
    John Quiggin
    https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/confs/1997/quiggin.html

  10. Correction. I fell for Elon’s running joke. Musk never intends to buy a football team.

    Until he does.

    “Manchester United shares briefly pop 17% in premarket after Elon Musk jokes about buying the club
    CNBC
    “ET, paring gains after initially surging 17% after the tweet. Based on the club’s most recent stock market valuation, buying Manchester United…
    10 hours ago”

    Update prior – Musk loses trust but with that much capital he doesn’t care, so is in a different category to all other humans, economic and socially acceptable models.

    Musk could arbitrage his way to more riches without ever producie anything.

    Harry, How much “capital tax” appropriate to levy on Musk?

  11. KT2, That’s right. Firms with massive fixed investments that cannot be sold off will not be put off by extra taxes – got you by the short and curlies mate! What will change is the country’s reputation for what essentially amounts to an expropriation. They will be reluctant to invest in the future. My general point is that windfall profits taxes have more than immediate effects.

  12. Defence Joke: “act as a deterrent to Chinese aggression”.

    Which is the greater threat;
    – Climate change or
    – autonomous weapons.

    Please don’t reply and say “it has human oversight” as a flick of a byte is all that is needed to make it an autonomous weapon.

    Just imagine Scomo & Dutton, mango musollini or Sogavare with the codes.

    I’d add a fudge factor of 1.5 – +3-4% gdp – as I doubt all costs taken into account + Home Affairs “on water matters”. Oh – + consultants & – lobbyist lunches too.
    *

    “The Anduril founder said the first 30 metre-long underwater drone would be ready within a year and would act as a deterrent to Chinese aggression.

    “In May, the then defence minister Peter Dutton announced the defence department would co-fund a program to build “cutting-edge uncrewed robotic vessels”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/aug/17/robotic-submarines-fast-tracked-for-sydney-harbour-to-bridge-defence-capability-gap
    *

    “The cost of Defence ASPI defence budget brief 2022–2023

    “One hundred & thirty-three million, one hundred & ninety-one thousand, seven hundred & eighty dollars & eighty-two cents per day.
    ($133,091,780.82 / day ).

    …”$48.6 billion, which is 2.11% of GDP based on the Budget papers’ estimates of GDP. That funding represents a very substantial nominal growth of 7.4%. It’s the 10th straight year of real growth, but with inflation running hot, it’s hard to determine a precise percentage; we’ve estimated it at 3.8% based on the Budget papers, but, if inflation stays around 5%, the real growth figure will be less. That will hurt Defence. Just as inflation eats into Australian families’ budgets, it’s eroding Defence’s buying power.

    “So even holding the defence budget strictly at 2% of GDP will result in substantial, multibillion-dollar reductions to the DSU funding line, inevitably leading to cuts in capability.”

    https://www.aspi.org.au/report/cost-defence-aspi-defence-budget-brief-2022-2023
    *

    And we now host B2 nuclear bombs away…
    https://johnquiggin.com/2022/08/08/monday-message-board-565/#comment-254743

  13. I may need a…
    “Russian Gun Show debuts a new robot dog with a missile launcher backpack”.

  14. Trust in Uni’s eroded.
    Galling read from top to bottom.
    You’ll all be Bond soon.

    “Westacott joins academic gravy train as VC salaries go up and profits soar

    “Is business taking over university leadership?

    https://michaelwest.com.au/westacott-joins-academic-gravy-train-as-vc-salaries-go-up-and-profits-soar/
    *

    UQ.
    https://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/1.15.01-senate-remuneration

    Performance pay exec UQ.
    Maximum
    D$199,305$209,253$219,182$229,105$285,291
    C$174,431$181,628$188,811$195,996$241,192
    B$153,807$159,494$165,184$170,895$207,732
    A$136,509$141,287$146,064$150,835$182,161
    https://staff.uq.edu.au/information-and-services/human-resources/pay-leave-entitlements/pay-scales/senior-admin
    *

    Any uq exec vacancies? 😊

  15. As John Howard (groan) has said today “nuclear must certainly be on the table” (it never left the room), and amongst “they are wrong” Barnaby Joyce, Biden and other boosters,  this article w great links, is worth a post. 

    The word “hope” seems prominent to me!
    *

    “The First Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Was Just Approved by US Regulators

    “But questions have been raised about whether SMRs will really live up to their billing as a cheaper, safer alternative to traditional nuclear power plants. A study published inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May found that contrary to the claims of SMR makers, these smaller reactors are actually likely to produce more radioactive waste than conventional plants.

    “In an article in Counterpunch, nuclear power expert M.V. Ramana also points out that the cost of renewable energy like wind and solar is already lower than that of nuclear, and continuing to fall rapidly. In contrast, nuclear power has actually become more expensive over the years.

    “SMRs could cost more than bigger nuclear plants, he adds, because they don’t have the same economy of scale. In theory this could be offset through mass manufacture, but only if companies receive orders in the hundreds. Tellingly, some utilities have already backed out of NuScale’s first project over cost concerns.

    “Perhaps even more importantly, notes Ramana, SMRs are unlikely to be ready in time to contribute to the climate fight. Projects aren’t expected to come online until the end of the decade, by which time the IPCC says we already need to have made drastic emissions reductions.

    “The technology has some powerful boosters though, not least President Joe Biden, who recently touted NuScale’s “groundbreaking American technology” while announcing a grant for an SMR plant the company will build in Romania. Engineering giant Rolls-Royce also recentlyannounced a shortlist for the location of its future SMR factory, which will be used to build 16 SMRs for the UK government by 2050.
    ….
    https://singularityhub.com/2022/08/05/the-first-small-modular-nuclear-reactor-design-was-just-approved-by-us-regulators/

  16. Who so you trust?

    Sars CoV2-

    0 in 17,000 bats
    Or
    4 in 342 bats?

    “Edward Holmes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney who coauthored the Cell paper with Hughes, dismisses the preprint with a single word: “Bullshit.” ”

    https://www.science.org/content/article/pandemic-start-anywhere-but-here-argue-papers-chinese-scientists-echoing-party-line

    +1bn people and we won’t be able to trust their research. I have enough problem trusting US research and vested interests.

    But losing trust in a billion?

    Climate change Bad.
    Lack of trust worse.

  17. “… especially acute for women, who suffer worse from the combined effects of capitalism and patriarchy,”…
    *

    “Nine Ways That Capitalism Is Ruining Sex

    “Our well-being depends on a better understanding of how the logic of labor has twisted our relationship with pleasure.

    Breanne Fahs

    “…it is clear that our version of late-stage capitalism—shaped by rampant consumerism, each-for-him/herself neoliberalism, and a lingering anti-sex Puritanism—has limited and twisted our capacity for pleasure. It has done so in particular by stripping away any possibility that does not adhere with the mandates of labor.

    “This focus on work is accompanied by the principle that power and class inequalities are inevitable. And if people must always work, always produce, always operate within and through the logics of capitalism, what happens to sex and sexuality?

    “The answer varies, but in short: nothing good. This is especially acute for women, who suffer worse from the combined effects of capitalism and patriarchy, and whose sexuality and bodily autonomy have historically been treated with disdain.”

    “U.S. capitalism also fundamentally alters the way people have sex—not just the who, what, why, and where, but down to the level of affect: joy, satisfaction, complaint, trauma, anxiety, and unease. In what follows, I outline nine ways that our particular brand of capitalism is destroying people’s sex lives, drawing on my experiences as a psychotherapist specializing in sexuality and as a women’s studies scholar.”

    [ 1- 9..]
    https://bostonreview.net/articles/nine-ways-that-capitalism-is-ruining-sex/

    http://www.breannefahs.com/books.html

  18. Barnaby Joyce was on ABC TV’s Insiders program this morning (Aug 21), primarily to talk about what he knew (and when he knew it) about Scott Morrison’s secret ministerial portfolios, but also as an aside, also promoting SMRs by suggesting they would become “ubiquitous” (from about the 7 minute time interval).

    Published in February 2022, was a post headlined IEEFA U.S.: Small modular reactor “too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain”, beginning with:

    February 17, 2022 (IEEFA)—A small modular reactor (SMR) that NuScale has been developing since the turn of the century is “too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain,” according to an analysis of the project by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

    The first-of-its-kind SMR is a serious financial threat to the member communities of the Utah Associated Municipal Power System that have signed up for a share of its power and to any other communities and utilities thinking about doing so. NuScale has optimistically targeted the cost of power from the new plant at $58 per megawatt-hour (MWh), although some estimates predict costs for the power from new SMRs could reach $200/MWh.

    https://ieefa.org/articles/ieefa-us-small-modular-reactor-too-late-too-expensive-too-risky-and-too-uncertain

    Ouch! Meanwhile solar-PV + battery storage is already demonstrating prices around $45/MWh in 2022.

    Meanwhile, NuScale’s SMR design still hasn’t officially received NRC approval:

    NuScale submitted an application to the NRC on 31 December 2016, to certify the company’s small modular reactor design which uses natural, passive processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features. A plant would comprise up to 12 of the pressurised water reactor modules, submerged in a safety-related pool built below ground level.

    The final safety evaluation report (FSER) for the reactor – the first-ever FSER to be issued by the NRC for an SMR – was issued in August 2020. November 25 is pencilled in on the regulator’s timeline for publication of the final rule.

    https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/US-regulator-to-issue-final-certification-for-NuSc

    NuScale projects that the first module, once forecast for 2016, will come online in 2029 with all six modules online by 2030. As a FOAK, I think that’s supremely optimistic, and certainly does nothing helpful for contributing to Australia’s energy mix in the 2020s & into the 2030s.

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