25 November 2006

saturday night

And I aint' got nobody? Well, actually I do. I have Mrs VVB, I have the footy on in the (distant) background, it's distant because I also have youtube. I also have had several bottles of brew no9, which was a Vic Bitter clone.

Because it was three bottles ago I forget where I started on youtube, but I got a roll on with a lot of early Linda Ronstadt. I have been a Linda fan since back in tha day. In my humble opinion, hers must be one of the best voices in pop/rock. She probably had some competition if you narrowed it to country. She always seemed effortless, particularly in the higher registers such as when she soared above the crowd in Heart of Gold. I just adore all the early stuff such as Heart Like a Wheel, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, When Will I be Loved and so on. Simple stuff but it grabs you by the heartstrings...pedal steel does that.

So that's a kind of long introduction to saying that tonight VVB is feeling particularly mellow, a Ronstadt-induced mellowness that has only been complemented by those bottles of brew no 9.

On that basis, any attempt to start analysing everything that's wrong with the world, from a Chateau VVB persepctive, is only likely to bring on some anger and depression. Given Mrs VVB's unsolicited comment about privaisation the other night, maybe there is more of a Casa VVB perspective than I have made out. Briefly, a Hacienda VVB perspective is wishy-washy left, as the blog header originally used to proclaim.

It's not that we are 'out and proud' about it, but it does seem to reflect a house view that has been informed by upbringing, education and the impact of slightly over half a century of taking it all in and processing it. The old man's conversion to red hot socialist in the mid-60s was a rare coincidence of circumstances that brought to the fore his previously relatively unformed views. By contrast, Mrs VVB's background was a family on the land, which is about as individual as you can get, short of share trading perhaps (tongue in cheek there folks).

Our current exposures to 'stuff' in the workplace would be likely to reinforce Mrs VVB's views about society's responsibility to look after the downtrodden, preferably in a coordinated way to ensure as few people as possible fall through the cracks. This would indicate a government role funded by taxes, because if reliant on indvidual effort, it's not going to happen. Mrs VVB also notes where the private sector does get involved in her particular area, it's not all that effective and the service providers are badly paid. She has drawn a link between the two.

By comparison, VVB works in a area that is highly contestable and accordingly he often wonders what difference he is making - this is not a reflection on how good he is at his job, rather a musing on the difficulty of identifying the outcome of his efforts at anything more than an 'obvious' kind of level.

By crikey that's a good brew. Not all that conducive to deep thinking though.

{There was a hiatus here while we had dinner and I invited Mrs VVB to take over the keyboard. This kind offer was declined for reasons I cannot fathom.}

Anyway the train of thought has been shunted into a siding. If the Fat Controller was to try ot get us back onto the main line, I suppose we would be saying that Maison VVB is not utterly statist, we understand how markets work and in general we like to see them working effectively. But we also have noticed that suppliers do prefer to be monopolists if they can get away with it. We have noticed that when privatisations have simply effected a change from a public to a private monopoly, it's only a few people who have gained. Airports are a very good example. Having spent 5 hours at Mascot last week, it was like being in a Westfield. Is this a good thing?

So lots of clever but quite theorteical economists in Treasuries around the country spend years working out to protect the public interest as the wave of privatisations rolled across the country. All the good work was instantly undone, in each case, as hordes of lawyers and people with a better eye to the main chance worked out how to subvert the intent in each case.

The wave was slowed a bit in the case of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and it'll be instructive to watch how management of that situation unfolds over the next few years. The theoretical economists are forever in our ears about how the world should work, but the people are starting to get a bit wary. A damn good thing.

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