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.

13 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. If Italy moves to the right in terms of policy implementation, there may be a change in its attitude to refugees arriving by boat. This may see more distressing scenes of refugees deported. I realise that as a member of the Euro zone it cannot go too far to the right on this issue. They may even choose to merely copy what France does and allow transit of refugees across Italy to the German border. Again the new government would have to tread carefully as it has massive sovereign debts and it needs Germany’s support with any continuing EuroBank bailout. But this may not stop the new government from hardening government refugee policies.

  2. I can’t help wonder if the fossil fuel industry is shooting itself in the foot with it’s profiteering from the Ukraine conflict. Their climate change and renewable energy denier supporters are going all out to reframe it as a green energy crisis and cause to set aside climate concerns and clean energy ambitions but I don’t think many people apart from them are buying it. Well, politicians are people too I suppose but they can be fossil fuel supporters for reasons other people don’t – politically indebted or cowed as well as innate agreement with “only fossil fuels are good enough”.

    If those prices had been imposed as a carbon tax this industry would surely have argued it would destroy economies. Now economies are being seriously damaged, more by costs than by shortages, with most of the price rises being hyper profits; production and production costs haven’t changed that much. They won’t reduce their prices down to mere very good profit levels willingly – not even to prevent economic mayhem – whilst using the sense of crisis to promote further growth and dependence. It is looking increasingly clear that these are not good corporate citizens and leaving our economic future in their hands is a dangerous move. Politicians being cowed by an industry that shows itself willing to wring profit from conflict, that is willing to wreck economies if they don’t get their way makes a kind of sense. Electing politicians who lack the backbone to resist makes less sense.

    The profiteering has that essential feature of a very high carbon tax, that other options look more attractive in comparison, but it is different in being one where they keep the revenues. In combination with a growing determination to avoid future energy price shock vulnerability it doesn’t look – to me – that their short term gains will translate into long term ones. I don’t see indications that investment in renewables has slowed and see some indications of increased commitment. And many of the “open new mines” concessions don’t look like sure things – in large part because of FF price volatility.

    Maybe I’m overly optimistic to think it is renewable energy that will ultimately get the most benefit, but I’d be interested in how others see it.

  3. I fell I just don’t know what will happen in this space. It seems the world can stay irrationally addicted to fossil fuel power for far longer than is wise. While the fossil advocates have financial, bribing and lobbying power it seems they can stave off renewables for a long time. But there could be a break point where things change quickly.

    As I said, I don’t feel I know enough to predict outcomes but I do not feel hopeful. I think fossil fuel use will be dragged out until we are completely doomed from climate change. There are long lead times and feed-back delays but then the runaway processes will start in earnest and it will already be too late. They may have already started. Things look really grim already.

  4. Old.
    “Nuclear Power Still Doesn’t Make Much Sense

    “But the argument for significantly ramping up the production of nuclear power — especially in places where overall energy consumption isn’t growing, like in the United States andEurope — falls short. That’s because the nuclear industry has long been hobbled by two problems that its boosters can’t really wish away: Nuclear is far slower to build than most other forms of power, and it’s far more expensive, too. And now there is a third problem on the horizon. As battery technology improves and the price of electricity storage plummets, nuclear may be way too late, too — with much of its value eclipsed by cheaper, faster and more flexible renewable power technologies.”

    Sept. 16, 2022
    New York Times

    New wind power design.
    Very cool idea.
    “… WWW has designed a floating offshore wind turbine unlike any other. Indeed, it’s two vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) in one, tuned to rotate in opposite directions. With one turbine attached to the generator’s rotor, and the other to the stator, you double their relative rotation speeds, with a corresponding increase in output.

    “Where conventional large horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) have to support a large mass of motor and generators in a nacelle at the top of their enormous towers, WWW’s design keeps all its heaviest components at the bottom, vastly reducing engineering stresses and materials costs.

    “And where HAWTs need to be anchored right to the sea floor, or mounted on extremely heavy platforms so they won’t tip over, WWW can simply put a float partway up its pole, held in place by tethers, and let its own weight balance hold the turbines up, allowing the whole structure to tilt with the wind rather than fighting to stay upright.

    “A deeper dive into World Wide Wind’s colossal, contra-rotating turbines

  5. Ikonoclast: – “There are long lead times and feed-back delays but then the runaway processes will start in earnest and it will already be too late. They may have already started. Things look really grim already.

    Glaciologist Eric Rignot confirms that the whole of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is committed to unstoppable melt.

    In the Q&A he also confirms that Greenland is irreversible.

  6. 21st C burning of Rome – melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    Fiddling – develop Tax 3.0 – while above is melting;

    “15th Plenary Meeting of the Forum on Tax Administration

    Date: 28-30 September 2022
    Location: Sydney, Australia

    “The FTA Sydney Plenary Meeting 2022 will bring together Commissioners from advanced and emerging tax administrations from across the globe and representatives from international organisations and regional tax administration bodies. Participation is by invitation only.

    “More information on the event will be made available on this page in due course

    A presentation;
    “Finland: real-time economy and ecosystems”
    7 minutes
    “Director Sanna Esterinen talks about how Finnish Tax Administration works in ecosystems and real-time economy.
    Case: Nordic Smart Government & Business. Watch chapter by chapter


    Perhaps an action at Forum on Tax Administration –

    Conduct forum in the “West Room” in 3.3m of water. No use. They’d just introduce a wet tax and buy boats to continue business as usual. Isn’t there a parable about bau?

    “The West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) is a relatively small part, containing an amount of ice equivalent to 3.3m of sea level rise. Yet, most of it sits in a precarious position and is considered “theoretically unstable”.

    “Guest post: How close is the West Antarctic ice sheet to a ‘tipping point’?

  7. Smaug & Bezos –
    “Arrived Homes” (^1.) …
    ” Enabling exploitation” (^2.)

    Arrived Homes has $35m equity from investors and $100m debt funding. Think about it. $100 to invest. Choose you home.
    Comments economists?

    Arrived Homes…. “Our team works to maximize returns for our investors.”
         “Our investors believe in our mission to make real estate investing and ownership accessible to millions of people. Arrived has raised over $35 million in equity financing and has secured over $100 million of debt financing to build this new category of consumer investing.”

    “In summary, while Arrived cannot predict future returns, this historical 5.5% – 12.1% combined annual return on investment from investing in rental homes here helps illustrate the unique value of owning shares of single-family rental home properties. And now that you can also invest in vacation rentals on Arrived, there is potential for returns to exceed those of long-term rentals. Again, it is important to note that past performance may not be indicative of future results.”

    “Enabling exploitation
    “Co-founded by a GM at the hyper-predator Uber, a social media manager, and a software engineer for an arms manufacturer, Arrived is backed by a who’s who list of venture vultures, including Jeff Bezos, the current CEO of Uber, the former CEO of Zillow, and the former CEO ofInvitation Homes, a shelter monopolist famous for securitizing rental income and oppressing tens of thousands of families.

    “In the case of Jeff Bezos, this means acquiring MGM, and Whole Foods, and The Washington Post, and IMDB, Zappos, Souq, Blue Origin, Kiva Systems, Alexa, DPReview,, Woot, Goodreads, Twitch, Audible, Elemental, Quidsi, Annapurna Labels, Accept, Living Social, Twilio, HomeGrocer, Bill Me Later, eZiba, BankBazaar, Kozmo, Ionic, Songza, and, plus VC stakes in Lookout, Juno, Grail, Workday, Vessel, Domo, Fundbox, Stack Overflow, Everfi, Remitly, Rethink Robotics, General Fusion, MakerBot, Unity Biotech, General Assembly, Business Insider, Google, Uber, Airbnb, and Twitter, plus at least eight mansions, 100,000+ acres, a bunch of penis-shaped rockets, and a $500,000,000 hyper-yacht.

    “And now a startup that wants to turn every house on the planet into a rental.

    “It’s the next step on our road back to serfdom, where we the assetless majority slave our entire lives for the propertied rich just to stay alive.

    “There’s only one thing that can be done with men like Jeff Bezos:

    “They must be stopped.

    “Because if Smaug the money-hoarding dragon in The Hobbit taught us anything, it’s that people who love money will not stop until they are stopped.

    “Billionaire Monopolist Jeff Bezos Is Buying Up Single-Family Homes to Rent-Trap Humanity Forever”

  8. I predicted a while back that the end point of neoliberal housing policies would be to rent-trap all classes except the rich. That’s the intended goal.

    Not quite sure why the rich want to kill all the kids though. But there must be profit somewhere in this too or else why are they doing it?

  9. 4 Day Week studies and a question.

    seqaugur commented in “A Path to a 4-day week (with 8-hour days):
    “For businesses like convenience stores and services like hospitals, an 8% decrease in the standard work week (from 38 to 35 hours) requires a commensurate increase in the number of full-time equivalent workers required.”

    Question goes to seqaugur’s point above as – “Swedish city of Gothenburg, …To reduce the 8-hour days at the 68-nurse Svartedalen old people’s home, the city had to hire 17 extra staff at a cost of 12 million kronor ($1.8 million).” From SMH article below.

    Q: Does 25% extra staff to cover patient staff ratio necessary for 4 day week in nursing home, hold across industry types and does
    “A Path to a 4-day week (with 8-hour days)” solve for such a high ratio?

    (JQ you’ll appreciate that “For Mr. Roderick, the new schedule gave him more time to train for a recent Ironman Triathlon in Wales.” And or, time for wound management and recovery! How is the wrist?)

    “4-Day Workweek Brings No Loss of Productivity, Companies in Experiment Say

    “More than 70 companies in Britain are undergoing a six-month experiment in which their employees get a paid day off each week. So far, most companies say it’s going well.

    “Nearly halfway into the six-month trial, in which employees at 73 companies get a paid day off weekly, 35 of the 41 companies that responded to a survey said they were “likely” or “extremely likely” to consider continuing the four-day workweek beyond the end of the trial in late November. All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either the same or had improved. Remarkably, six companies said productivity had significantly improved.


    Site & Study from above NYT;

    “UK Companies in 4 Day week Pilot Reach Landmark Halfway Point

    21 Sep 2022
    By Charlotte Lockhart – Founder

    “Companies Report Their Successes and Lessons to Date

    “At the halfway point of a groundbreaking six-month trial of a four-day week pilot programme in the United Kingdom, data points and qualitative feedback are flowing in. The indicative research being gathered by 4 Day Week Global reveals a general tenor of positive experiences alongside valuable lessons for some organisations that are striving to change decades of ingrained work cultures and systems.

    “More than 70 organisations signed up for the six-month trial, which kicked off at the beginning of June and is being run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with leading think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. More than 3,300 employees are getting a paid day off weekly through the course of the trial.

    “4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor says, “The organisations in the United Kingdom pilot are contributing real-time data and knowledge that are worth their weight in gold. Essentially, they are laying the foundation for the future of work by putting a four-day week into practice, across every size of business and nearly every sector, and telling us exactly what they are finding as they go.

    “We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some there are some understandable hurdles – especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures which date back well into the last century.

    “4 Day Week – What we stand for
    “A hundred years ago, we moved from working six day weeks to five, and we’re overdue for an update. The 4 day week is a reduction in the work week from a standard 40 hours to 32 hours for the same pay and benefits. This reduction has been proven to work for employees and employers.

    “COVID-19 made it clear we can find a better balance between work and life. 85% of U.S. adults already approve of moving to a 4 day week. Let’s make the move together.

    “Get the White Paper

    “Employees pining for a shorter, six-hour workday just got some bad news: the costs outweigh the benefits.
    January 4, 2017

    “That’s according to the preliminary results of a two-year experiment carried out in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, the home of Volvo. To reduce the 8-hour days at the 68-nurse Svartedalen old people’s home, the city had to hire 17 extra staff at a cost of 12 million kronor ($1.8 million).

    “The study showed that employees felt healthier, which reduced sick-leave absence, and that patient care improved, but the city won’t push ahead to make the plan permanent.

    “It’s associated with higher costs, absolutely,” said Daniel Bernmar, a local left-wing politician responsible for running the municipality’s elderly care. “It’s far too expensive to carry out a general shortening of working hours within a reasonable time frame.”

  10. Chesterton’s “isolate Covid infected” fence has been “cleared away”.

    Leonard Cihen sang: “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    “Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    “Everybody knows the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    “Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    “The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    “That’s how it goes
    “Everybody knows”
    Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows

    Everybody knows the decision to eradicate an isolation period mandate for those who get Covid is a cliff. It needs to be a responsive net as it was, albeit smaller or finer relative to cfr, and infections vs health system stress.

    The phrase “personal responsibility” is at fault. Public spaces are not personal therefore personal responsibility excludes, which everybody knows.

    How do we instigate expert plurality, to have Doherty Institute & Raina MacIntyre for eg, get a paragraph in our Chief Medical Officer’s “Advice”?

    “If you think scrapping COVID isolation periods will get us back to work and past the pandemic, think again

    Published: September 30, 2022 6.45pm AEST

    C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW Sydney,
    Brendan Crabb, Burnet Institute,
    Nancy Baxter, The University of Melbourne

    “COVID is an exceptional disease and was at its deadliest this year, causing more deaths in Australia between June and August 2022 than at any other time. There have been 288 deaths from influenza so far this year compared tomore than 12,000 deaths from COVID.

    “The number of deaths from COVID in Australia in the first nine months of 2022 is more than ten times the annual national road toll of just over 1,000 – but we are not rushing to remove seat belts or drink-driving laws so people can have more freedom.

    “Isolation flattens the COVID curve by stopping infectious people from infecting others, and is a key pillar of COVID control.

    One physical solution is to upgrade ventilation plus UVC@ 222nm to reduce virus load in enclosed public spaces. Everybody knows.

    If the National Cabinet – (why didn’t they vote to abolish it) – as well as stopping isolation period also mandated ventilation and sterilization I’d be less frustrated. Politics plus technocratic pragnatism. Everybody knows.

    This is political plus hip pocket sans science …”the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), made up of federal and state health officers, was not asked for advice.” (M Grattan) … justified by fiscal austerity and “personal responsibility”. Everybidy knows. 

    Michelle Grattan said;
    “Notably, the body that advises national cabinet, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), made up of federal and state health officers, was not asked for advice. Instead Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly provided written advice, at the request of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

    “Several weeks ago Kelly had push back from the AHPPC over the proposal to reduce the isolation period from seven to five days. There was division among the state health officers, and no recommendation from the committee, which is supposed to operate by consensus. National cabinet cut the number of days anyway.”

    The fence.
    “There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'[81] ”

    Leonard Cohen would be turning in his grave as…”The rich get rich “Everybody knows the fight was fixed. The poor stay poor, the rich get rich,”
    Leonard Cohen sang in his 1988 hit “Everybody Knows”.

    “Blackstone — the private equity titan whose chief executive, Stephen Schwarzman, made more than a billion dollars last year — not only owns rights to that song, but has packaged it up with a host of others and securitised it as collateral against hundreds of millions of dollars of debt.”
    “How Wall Street stormed the music business” at FT.

    Everybody knows.

  11. It seems that Australian governments are finally beginning to understand the potential of green alternatives to deliver cheaper and reliable energy. They would do well to look at the work being undertaken by the innovative UK start-up Rheenergise which has developed a high density fluid that enables it to derive the same energy from a pumped storage as projects 2.5 times higher. I live in Gippsland close to the rolling hills around Korrumburra and every time I drive pass them (in my EV) I think that everyone one of them could be a pumped storage project providing energy when we need it.

    Go to and for more information.

    On a personal level, I have now had a solar system installed for 4 years and Tesla Battery for 3 years and I reckon the savings represent a payback within 7 years if utilised effectively. I look forward to a day when the EV and the Battery systems can all be integrated into the grid and managed to effectively. The UK is well ahead of us on this score.

  12. Crazy times. The British government has to retreat plans to cut taxes on the rich under preassure of financial markets. The Italian Industry association strongly opposes a flat tax after right wing populists who want to introduce one win the election. Corona kills 100 people in Germany even under great summer conditions and we celebrate an Okotoberfest as if nothing happened, no critical voices whatsoever (+70% weakly hospitalisations in Bavaria….). The Russian army is so much more incompetent than even the biggest optimists would have ever predicted, confirming the uter unnecessity of excessive military expenditure and yet spendging is increased massivly all over the west. Saving gas in the simplest ways or speading up renewable construction in contrast seems to be a thing of impossibility.

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