11 October 2008

the music goes round and round (*)

Around the newspapers today.

The SMH carries
this article about political polarisation in the US. When you have participants in rallies apparently calling out for the other candidate to be assassinated, and it doesn't seem like a joke or heat-of-the-moment stuff, that's pretty scary. And not only is the real, suburban, world increasingly partitioned, but the media both mainstream and alternate. Admission: I don't visit blogs I find to be extreme, although I'll trawl some those whose views I don't share. But my living in a self-imposed cocoon isn't good.

Update: It's worse than I thought. Nothing like a mix of ignorance and arrogance to bring forth the worst in human nature. Whay aren't these people at work, one might ask (listen to first clip). Courtesy of Club Troppo.

Irwin Stelzer in today's Courier Mail more than hints that we are moving into a protectionist era. He's sad about this, naturally, but he employs the same glib dismissal of real impacts that I used to read from (Australian) Treasury in the early 1990s, about the same time as Michael Pusey identified the cult of eco-rationalism.

"Defenders of free trade...have failed to develop a defence of the way free trade's benefits have been distributed."

Plasma TVs and cheap t-shirts, is my glib interpretation of Stelzer's answer.

Which he then follows by "Meanwhile, globalisation has increased the opportunities for members of the managerial class: they can spread their talents over larger enterprises. Result: Rising inequality, with trade the apparent villain."

I wonder who the real villain is? When the ratio of American CEO salaries to average weekly incomes has gone up by some phenomenal extent (read it last night, can't find it now, google not helping, must have wrong search terms), I assume the real villains are in hiding.

And, btw, doesn't Pusey still
cop it?

Let's be slightly serious for a tick: we have been hearing non-stop for some decades that markets are the answer and anybody who now is seeking to qualify, in any way, what they have been saying over that period is really indulging in a little revisionism. And yes, markets were the answer to a period where structural rigidities in various areas including trade and labour relations indeed stifled growth. So we got real growth, far larger than during the 'long boom' after WW2.

Then, inevitably, some of the unintended (yes, I'm being charitable) consequences started to rear their heads including a widening gap of income. The answer, equally inevitably, has been: reform. Code for: more of the same.

You know that definition of stupidity? The one about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?


Finally, the Courier Mail's Paul Syvret relates a letter to the editor from an unrelated paper which in essence blames the prolonged drought - which we didn't use to have when t'writer were a lad - on less moisture in the atmosphere because of one more hour of daylight due to - you guessed it - daylight saving. As Syvret says, "How can you argue with logic like that?"

Enjoy your weekend. I have to go and give the TV a work-out, it's Bathurst weekend. Haven't been there since 1974 but I read about a bloke who's been there annually for 40 years. That's dedication.

(*) In this case, it's the music of the V8!


Laurie said...

Jesus, mate - i followed that link to Andrew Norton's blog and read the whole article; I must be a masochist! I'm a big fan of Pusey's, BTW.

phil said...

Nothing like the sniff of blood, eh? It'll be facsinating to watch what model emerges after governments sell down the holdings they are now acquiring.

Laurie said...

Rudd's just promised that all our savings are safe. Hahaha! How many prople do you know who've got a tidy sum stashed away down at the local ANZ? We're all in super funds, Kev - and I just got peeled for about 20G! I don't see the gubberment bailing out the super funds, Phil!

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