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View Full Version : Opportunity for Hobart players to appear on "The Insiders" [random politics thread]



Kevin Bonham
07-06-2007, 11:50 AM
[EDIT: This is cancelled - just kept this post up as it is the start of the thread]

I've just had a call from ABC-TV "Insiders" programme. They have, at ridiculously short notice, decided they would like to include some chess players in one of their samples of public opinion where they ask people what they think about federal politics.

They are seeking exactly three (3) players to meet up somewhere tomorrow (Friday) lunchtime, play some chess for the camera, and be interviewed about their general views on federal politics, the upcoming election etc.

Most likely we would do this at the big chessboard in Salamanca. (I'm willing to be one of them, or to sit out if there is an unexpected rush of interest.)

If anyone is interested in doing this please PM me, and give me your phone numbers so I can let you know if it is on, when it is on (etc). Also feel free to pass this invite on to anyone in Hobart who plays chess.

They wanted me to do a ring-around but I didn't feel up to it as I prefer not to individually impose on people to do things in an area unrelated to the area I know them through, but I told them I was happy to put a group notice up here and see if anyone was interested.

This is a long shot but I thought I'd give it a try - if it doesn't go ahead I won't be fussed and it will be their problem for not contacting me sooner. :D

Basil
07-06-2007, 12:05 PM
I've just had a call from ABC-TV "Insiders" programme. They have, at ridiculously short notice, decided they would like to include some chess players in one of their samples of public opinion where they ask people what they think about federal politics.

[feigned shock at outcome rigging] So let me get this straight. A bunch of lefties {journos} with increased lefty propensity {ABC journos} are wishing to talk to a group of leftys {chess players} for some informed {choke and laugh at the same time} and impartial discussion on politics [/feigned shock at outcome rigging]

On a scale of 1-10, how much central or pro right-wing commentary is coming of this little session?

OK, everybody carry on!

(Will accept Kevin as a lefty on account his not making absurdly unworkable suggestions)

peter_knight
07-06-2007, 12:06 PM
Just so happens that I will be down Salamanca tomorrow so I might stop in at the board for a game.
I don't follow politics enough to talk about it though.

Kevin Bonham
07-06-2007, 12:19 PM
Gunner, while I have found that chessplayers in Hobart are generally left-ish in orientation (including myself to a degree, but not consistently) there is at least one glorious exception, as readers of the letters column of the Mercury would be very well aware. :lol:

Oh yes, there do exist chessplayers (well, one at least) who venerate Ayn Rand, believe the PM should never apologise over the stolen generation, wish that Pauline Hanson lived in their electorate, and that's just the start of it!

I pointed out to this individual once that the capitalist side of his politics and the other right-wing side were completely inconsistent and asked him how he reconciled the inconsistency.

His answer, brilliantly delivered, was that he got around it by holding to the two views involved at different times.

Basil
07-06-2007, 12:37 PM
Gunner, while I have found that chessplayers in Hobart are generally left-ish in orientation

Geez, there's a shock! :P


... believe the PM should never apologise over the stolen generation...
Of course he should apologise.


wish that Pauline Hanson lived in their electorate, and that's just the start of it!
Oh she's fine. Leave her alone. She doesn't create biggots, she just helps them articulate their ideals.


I pointed out to this individual once that the capitalist side of his politics and the other right-wing side were completely inconsistent and asked him how he reconciled the inconsistency.

His answer, brilliantly delivered, was that he got around it by holding to the two views involved at different times.
Goose. There is no doubt that my bretheren in the centre or on the right have as much right to be completely clueless as some of those on the left - especially when Daddy's bought them a Porsche.

I believe those geese are as arrogant and shallow as the other side's are as naive and unworldly.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2007, 12:15 AM
Worth a try but insufficient interest so cancelled.

Really have to wonder why the ABC left it til 11am today to contact me about this. Had they called me, say, a week out it would have been child's play to get it organised but as it was they left me in an impractical position and I'm not entirely impressed by them doing so.

Capablanca-Fan
08-06-2007, 01:33 AM
[feigned shock at outcome rigging] So let me get this straight. A bunch of lefties {journos} with increased lefty propensity {ABC journos} are wishing to talk to a group of leftys {chess players} for some informed {choke and laugh at the same time} and impartial discussion on politics [/feigned shock at outcome rigging]

On a scale of 1-10, how much central or pro right-wing commentary is coming of this little session?

Knowing the ABC (Atheist Bolsheviks Collective), hardly any. Some of them like Venezuela's new communist despot Hugo Chavez even after he closed down the only opposition TV station. Yet Mr Howard hasn't done this to ABC, although I wish he had stopped forcing taxpayers to fund it.

So are most chessplayers lefties? There seems to be a wide range of opinions in the chess community. Botvinnik was a sincere lifelong communist. Kasparov seems to be a libertarian. I'm a moral conservative and economic libertarian. Catholic chessplayers who are anything like B.A. Santamaria would be morally conservative and favour some socialistic policies.


OK, everybody carry on!

(Will accept Kevin as a lefty on account his not making absurdly unworkable suggestions)

Kevin is a fairly articulate lefty who doesn't support unworkable ideas like communism. But think back only two decades, and the Soviet Union was the favorite country of many journos and academics. P.J. O'Rourke exposed their blindness by noting how many leftists gushed about touring the USSR, but they made sure they brought plenty of loopaper with them. :LOL:

It's easy to document that many thought that Reagan was naive in claiming that Soviet Communism was a sad and bizarre experiment, and that its last chapters were now being written. During his presidency, supposed intellectuals were praising the USSR's economy, and saying that it was here to stay, and that Reagan should be "realistic".

Capablanca-Fan
08-06-2007, 01:50 AM
I believe those geese are as arrogant and shallow as the other side's are as naive and unworldly.

It's notable that the left are more likely to denounce the other side as "evil", and not caring about the people that the leftist policies ostensibly help. In reality, the conservatives often do care, but disagree that the leftist policies are as truly helpful as the left claim. But the left just sounds oh-so-compassionate, because their intentions seem so kind, while conservatives care more about the incentives and results of the policies.

E.g. how kind it sounds to put price caps on petrol, to make it "affordable". In reality, making petrol cheaper than what the free market would pay means there is less incentive to supply and more incentive to buy more than you need. The results of price caps in the past have always been shortages, e.g. mile-long lines at petrol stations (if they were even open) under Pres. Carter. When Pres. Reagan who lifted price controls, there were no more huge lines at petrol stations, and because it became economic to re-open capped oil-wells, the price soon dropped below the capped price.

Alas, our state governments are treating water as Carter treated petrol, which is why we have shortages and the Geheime Staatswasserspolizei looking out for home gardens that are still green.

The myth of the caring left v heartless conservatives is blown away by a recent book, Who Really Cares (http://www.arthurbrooks.net/), by Prof. Arthur Brooks. Strangely enough, Brooks himself had been raised in a socially liberal environment and was so surprised by the outcome that he had to recheck his data before he would accept it (http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/ThomasSowell/2006/11/28/who_really_cares?page=full&comments=true). But the data showed;


‘Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood; religious people give more to homeless people on the street.’

One reviewer summarized (http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JonahGoldberg/2007/01/03/charitable_nation):


‘The further to the left you are — particularly to the secular left ’ the less likely you are to donate your time or money to charity. Imagine two demographically identical people, except that Joe goes to church regularly and rejects the idea that the government should redistribute wealth to lessen inequality, while Sam never goes to church and favors state-driven income redistribution. Brooks says the data indicate that not only is Joe Churchgoer nearly twice as likely as Sam Secularist to give money to charities in a given year, he will also give 100 times more money per year to charities (and 50 times more to non-religious ones).’

It shouldn't be so surprising though. The Left is mainly "generous" with other people's money, coerced by punitive taxation.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2007, 02:24 AM
Actually as some of the tests on this thread (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=3166&highlight=political+compass) show, I'm not consistently leftist, and only vaguely so on average. Many of my adversaries in the Tassie green movement would scoff at any suggestion that I was a leftist in any way at all. The one that breaks it up quite nicely is the Oz Politics test which puts me dead centre on economics and what it calls social issues but as far from centre as possible on "traditional issues".



It's notable that the left are more likely to denounce the other side as "evil", and not caring about the people that the leftist policies ostensibly help. In reality, the conservatives often do care, but disagree that the leftist policies are as truly helpful as the left claim. But the left just sounds oh-so-compassionate, because their intentions seem so kind, while conservatives care more about the incentives and results of the policies.

I think this is true of real conservatives (as defined by Michael Oakeshott for example) but not true of the ideological right-wing reactionaries who are at times mis-labelled "conservatives" and who form a fair slice of the Coalition's support base.


So are most chessplayers lefties? There seems to be a wide range of opinions in the chess community. Botvinnik was a sincere lifelong communist. Kasparov seems to be a libertarian.

And Fischer is an extremist nutter - so yes, there is quite a range!

Capablanca-Fan
08-06-2007, 03:22 AM
Actually as some of the tests on this thread (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=3166&highlight=political+compass) show, I'm not consistently leftist, and only vaguely so on average.

My apologies for typecasting you as a leftist.


Many of my adversaries in the Tassie green movement would scoff at any suggestion that I was a leftist in any way at all.

So you are opposed to the green movement? If so, they might label you as a right-wing fascist destroyer of the environment (although Communist countries treated the environment far worse than capitalist ones).


The one that breaks it up quite nicely is the Oz Politics test which puts me dead centre on economics and what it calls social issues but as far from centre as possible on "traditional issues".

Would you please explain "social issues" then?


I think this is true of real conservatives (as defined by Michael Oakeshott for example) but not true of the ideological right-wing reactionaries who are at times mis-labelled "conservatives" and who form a fair slice of the Coalition's support base.

Who would these be defined by? Ayn Rand, who treated selfishness as a virtue? I.e. as a contrast to conservatives who merely recognize that many people act in their own self-interest, so conservatives consider incentives of policies over intentions.


And Fischer is an extremist nutter - so yes, there is quite a range!

Yeah! Just a shame that non-chess-players think of him as typical of chessplayers, when in reality most world champs were not nutters at all.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2007, 04:15 AM
My apologies for typecasting you as a leftist.

No problems! Yes, although more of my positions fall on the left of the spectrum than the right, making me a centre-leftist on average (with a rather high standard deviation), I do not really consider myself to be left-wing and will often talk about "the intellectual left" in a way (usually critical) that excludes me from it. But at the same time if others want to classify me on one side or the other I'm not bothered by that.

(My general experience is that each wing classifies me as the opposite.)


So you are opposed to the green movement? If so, they might label you as a right-wing fascist destroyer of the environment

I've had pretty much those exact words used at times, but it's probably more accurate to say that they (at least many of them) are opposed to me. As I wrote on another thread, "I'm a contra-green rather than an anti-green. I tend to stir them for fun and get myself a reputation that is probably a little at odds with my actual views in the process. I don't always disagree with the basic ideas, but I strongly object to the poor manner in which they prioritise issues, and the politically immature way they tend to behave when, as usual, the facts aren't on their side or they are exaggerating. I've had a fair few public stoushes with them from time to time, the most significant being a two-year battle including a six-month court case (which I won) to get a snail booted off the state threatened species list on the grounds that it was not actually threatened."


Would you please explain "social issues" then?

I am actually a bit puzzled by what Palmer's test means by "social issues" in that context too. If you go to the page (linked off the tests thread linked to above) you may get some idea from the questions.


Who would these be defined by?

In this particular case, by me. :lol:

I'm not at all convinced about the result/intention dichotomy. There certainly are pragmatic lefties, even if their idea of a good result doesn't match yours. And there are plenty of impractical right-wingers too. Law and order is an example of this - plenty of right-wingers will support harsh punishments as a matter of principle even when these punishments strongly appear not to actually work.

(For what it's worth I don't agree with Rand's classification of all non-violent "selfishness" as a virtue, but I hardly think it's a major-league vice either.)

Basil
08-06-2007, 07:06 AM
I'm too excited to speak. What a tremendous dialogue. Perhaps when I have stopped hyperventilating (and lost a couple of kids, and ... and ... ) I will sit down to contribute in an appropriate manner.

Suffice to say - what a breath of fresh air. Just when I thought I was going barmy in a sea of simplistic naivety. Thanks Gents!

Capablanca-Fan
08-06-2007, 07:50 AM
No problems! Yes, although more of my positions fall on the left of the spectrum than the right, making me a centre-leftist on average (with a rather high standard deviation), I do not really consider myself to be left-wing and will often talk about "the intellectual left" in a way (usually critical) that excludes me from it.

Would be interesting to read.


I've had pretty much those exact words used at times, but it's probably more accurate to say that they (at least many of them) are opposed to me. As I wrote on another thread, "I'm a contra-green rather than an anti-green. I tend to stir them for fun and get myself a reputation that is probably a little at odds with my actual views in the process. I don't always disagree with the basic ideas, but I strongly object to the poor manner in which they prioritise issues, and the politically immature way they tend to behave when, as usual, the facts aren't on their side or they are exaggerating. I've had a fair few public stoushes with them from time to time, the most significant being a two-year battle including a six-month court case (which I won) to get a snail booted off the state threatened species list on the grounds that it was not actually threatened."

That's interesting, and that's right in your area of expertise. What about the forestry issue, since I understand that the pristine forests used to illustrate green postcards are actually new-growth post-logging forests?


I'm not at all convinced about the result/intention dichotomy. There certainly are pragmatic lefties, even if their idea of a good result doesn't match yours.

Here's one: consider a genie magically doubling the real wealth and prosperity of everyone in Australia. A rightie would think this is a good result, but a leftie would think it's a bad thing because the inequality doubled. :LOL:


And there are plenty of impractical right-wingers too. Law and order is an example of this - plenty of right-wingers will support harsh punishments as a matter of principle even when these punishments strongly appear not to actually work.

Hmm, yeah, probably crims are more deterred by the probability of being caught in the first place. If they don't think they'll be caught, the harshness of punishment would be less of an issue. All the same, locking crims away helps protect the rest of us. There is another issue: the probability of convicting crims in the first place would drop sharply if witnesses were fearful that the crim will be released in few months and take revenge.

Igor_Goldenberg
08-06-2007, 09:49 AM
The Left is mainly "generous" with other people's money, coerced by punitive taxation.That's the key point!

Igor_Goldenberg
08-06-2007, 09:57 AM
I think this is true of real conservatives (as defined by Michael Oakeshott for example) but not true of the ideological right-wing reactionaries who are at times mis-labelled "conservatives" and who form a fair slice of the Coalition's support base.


Don't forget that many lefties would happily put a label "right-wing" to anything they don't like. For example, Hitler and Pauline Hanson were labelled as a right wing while they were socialist (of extreme kind) with nationalistic streak.
Indeed, close comparison between Nazi Germany and USSR failed to find significant differences.

zigzag
08-06-2007, 10:27 AM
Don't forget that many lefties would happily put a label "right-wing" to anything they don't like. For example, Hitler and Pauline Hanson were labelled as a right wing while they were socialist (of extreme kind) with nationalistic streak.
Indeed, close comparison between Nazi Germany and USSR failed to find significant differences.

Pauline Hanson and Hitler were socialists?:eek:

Are you serious?:hmm:

Both were avowed capitalists. Hanson was strongly opposed to a welfare state as she considered it a gravy train for "dole bludgers".The use of the word "socialist" in the acronym NAZI is purely for propaganda purposes. The reality is the Nazi's had heavy political support by big businesses when they got elected .

You are closer to the money when comparing Hitler and Stalin,both were fascists and neither of them were true socialists.

Southpaw Jim
08-06-2007, 11:45 AM
would have been child's play to get it organised

Child's play indeed - Sante and myself both work in the Treasury complex behind Franklin Square.. 'tis a leisurely 2 minute walk from my desk to the chessboard...

Typical journos! :P

Capablanca-Fan
08-06-2007, 02:14 PM
Pauline Hanson and Hitler were socialists?:eek:

Are you serious?:hmm:

Igor was definitely serious, and right!


Both were avowed capitalists.

Not at all. Remember that Nazi was the abbreviation for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, i.e. National Socialist German Workers Party. They did not support free market capitalism but heavy government controls.

Ronald Reagan, in the speech that first put him on the political map, "A Time for Choosing: Rendezvous with Destiny (http://reagan2020.us/speeches/A_Time_for_Choosing.asp)" (1964) said:


You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream--the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path.


Hanson was strongly opposed to a welfare state as she considered it a gravy train for "dole bludgers".

She was a strong protectionist, which is highly anticapitalist (and harmful to the country which practises it, hurting more businesses than it helps, and impoverishes consumers by making them pay more for goods). Also, believing that the welfare state could be a gravy train for loafers is not necessarily incompatible with socialism, given that Marx preached "from each according to his abilities ..."


The use of the word "socialist" in the acronym NAZI is purely for propaganda purposes. The reality is the Nazi's had heavy political support by big businesses when they got elected .

Big businesses are not necessarily pro-capitalism. Walter Williams writes in a review of Thomas Sowell's book Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams041201.asp)(which I own and is excellent):


Those who favor government intervention in the economy often depict those who prefer free competition as Adam Smith's pro-business apologists. But Adam Smith, the 18th century father of free-market economics, was so scathingly critical of businessmen that it would be impossible to find a single favorable reference to them in his 900-page classic, The Wealth of Nations.

Today, businesses sometimes ask for government regulation to make it harder for competitors. In the USA, the Supreme Court in the Kelo decision allowed big business in league with local government to confiscate private property as long as they can promise to build better properties that would provide more taxes. Leading share investor Warren Buffet loves the death tax, since the government confiscation of half the assets forced many businesses to sell at firesale prices, that he could exploit.

I.e. never confuse big business with free market capitalism.


You are closer to the money when comparing Hitler and Stalin,both were fascists and neither of them were true socialists.

Fascism is one extreme form of socialism. NB, Mussolini was also one of Italy's leading socialist party members for years.

Igor_Goldenberg
08-06-2007, 02:46 PM
Pauline Hanson and Hitler were socialists?:eek:

Are you serious?:hmm:

Both were avowed capitalists. Hanson was strongly opposed to a welfare state as she considered it a gravy train for "dole bludgers".The use of the word "socialist" in the acronym NAZI is purely for propaganda purposes. The reality is the Nazi's had heavy political support by big businesses when they got elected .

You are closer to the money when comparing Hitler and Stalin,both were fascists and neither of them were true socialists.

Jono answered most of the points, but I'd like to add my 2 cents worth.
Big business often support socialist policies for 2 reasons:
1. Help themselves to a juicy government contracts
2. Stamp out possible competition.

Quite often they are worst enemies of a free market economy.

To me both fashism and communism are beneath contempt.
However, those 2 branches of socialism were at a serious fight in the first half of the centure. This fight culminated in Hitler's defeat. Nationalist streak was a most noticeable difference between Nazis and commies, hence it became unpopular on the left. Hitler (and, consequently, any socialist of natinalist colour) was relegated to the right wing.

The internal fight of different socialist ideologies is of a little interest to me, but I don't like when free market proponents are put in the same basket as Hitler and Hanson despite not having anything at common at all. Guess it's just the way how left slander their opponents.

zigzag
08-06-2007, 02:50 PM
You seem to have a very narrow definition of capitalism and a very broad definition of socialism,Jono.:rolleyes:

Just because people called themselves socialists doesnt mean they ever practised socialism. And for the record the Nazi's provided plenty of concentration camp labour to big german companies so they could maximise their profits.

One of the reasons why countries have trade barriers[high tarriffs] is to protect local businesses that are essentially cartels. By severly restricting the flow of trade it enables rich business people to sell products at an inflated price to a local population,which helps to maximise their profit margins. These cartels in turn provide funding to the ruling government so as to ensure that artificial trade barriers continue.

Can you please explain to me what concentration camps,and outlawed free speech,something that occurred under the Nazi's,has to do with socialism?:hmm:

Can you also name one big business which is not pro capitalism?:hmm:

Igor_Goldenberg
08-06-2007, 03:01 PM
Capitalism is a very loose term, anyone defines it the way they like.

To me the question is:
What is pro and what is anti free market?

Capablanca-Fan
08-06-2007, 03:16 PM
You seem to have a very narrow definition of capitalism and a very broad definition of socialism,Jono.:rolleyes:

OK, I am using capitalism to mean free market, where the government does not interfere in the buying and selling of goods and labour between genuinely free agents. The government's role should be enforcing contracts, preventing coercion, and enough law and order so that people can enjoy the fruits of their labour without it being taken from them.

By socialism I mean government intervention into buying and selling, to reach a predetermined goal, often ostensibly equality of wealth. In practice, it delivers equality of poverty. And some people become very well off while preaching socialism for the masses. In the USSR, the Party members lived like the Tsars, and in Nazi Germany, some businessmen profited much because of government controls.


Just because people called themselves socialists doesnt mean they ever practised socialism. And for the record the Nazi's provided plenty of concentration camp labour to big german companies so they could maximise their profits.

Once again, big companies and free market are not the same. By definition, a free market would not allow forced labour.


One of the reasons why countries have trade barriers[high tarriffs] is to protect local businesses that are essentially cartels. By severly restricting the flow of trade it enables rich business people to sell products at an inflated price to a local population,which helps to maximise their profit margins. These cartels in turn provide funding to the ruling government so as to ensure that artificial trade barriers continue.

And this is just an example (Igor gave two more) of how businesses and the free market can be antithetical. The answer to protecting cartels is the free market, not more socialism.


Can you please explain to me what concentration camps,and outlawed free speech,something that occurred under the Nazi's,has to do with socialism?:hmm:

Name something that has to do with free markets.


Can you also name one big business which is not pro capitalism?:hmm:

Already covered above.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2007, 04:04 PM
That's interesting, and that's right in your area of expertise. What about the forestry issue, since I understand that the pristine forests used to illustrate green postcards are actually new-growth post-logging forests?

Most of the pristine forests used to illustrate green postcards are actually pristine forests. But there have been cases where a lot of fuss has been made about forests that have already been harvested, mined (etc) typically because they are in somebody's backyard who values their view.

The forestry issue is one of my major areas of engagement. I have done quite a lot of work in forest ecology.


Here's one: consider a genie magically doubling the real wealth and prosperity of everyone in Australia. A rightie would think this is a good result, but a leftie would think it's a bad thing because the inequality doubled. :LOL:

Some lefties would be that extreme; I'm not sure how many. Also within what people call the "right" (and stressing further the uselessness of these labels) you will find plenty of people who are more interested in moral issues politics, nationalism, law and order, and not especially concerned about economics.

Indeed, in my view a true capitalist position (ie that of Rand) is not very "right-wing" at all and it is more common for the Right nowadays to favour a system that is actually economically statist/corporatist rather than true capitalist - a system that some big businesses get very rich in but that is actually not very competitive. Hewson was the last Liberal leader who approached true capitalism; Howard is not fundamentally committed to economic liberty and not at all averse to being a taxer if he thinks that it works.

(NB I am not myself a capitalist on economics. I support a very strong welfare state but an otherwise more or less free economy.)

[Hanson]

She was a strong protectionist, which is highly anticapitalist

This is absolutely correct. Hanson was not a capo in the slightest but just happened to participate in populist attacks on "dole bludgers" etc. One Nation was a fundamentally anti-modernist and anti-capitalist movement that in some ways was an (even more) irrational echo of some themes adopted by the trendy Left around the same time.

Indeed in my articles at the time I partly blamed trendy leftists for the rise of Hanson on the grounds that they had been calling capitalists and right-wing moderates "fascist" for so long that when something really ugly showed up they were out of cliches. I also considered that it's not that hard for leftist support of inept local industries to slip across the line into nationalism and then to racism, which Hanson exploited for a while.

Capablanca-Fan
13-06-2007, 11:15 AM
Most of the pristine forests used to illustrate green postcards are actually pristine forests. But there have been cases where a lot of fuss has been made about forests that have already been harvested, mined (etc) typically because they are in somebody's backyard who values their view.

The forestry issue is one of my major areas of engagement. I have done quite a lot of work in forest ecology.

Thanx for the correction.


Some lefties would be that extreme; I'm not sure how many.

OK, but my example was somewhat satirical on the tendency of many leftist to beamoan increasing inequality, even though both poor and rich are better off.


Indeed, in my view a true capitalist position (ie that of Rand) is not very "right-wing" at all and it is more common for the Right nowadays to favour a system that is actually economically statist/corporatist rather than true capitalist - a system that some big businesses get very rich in but that is actually not very competitive. Hewson was the last Liberal leader who approached true capitalism; Howard is not fundamentally committed to economic liberty and not at all averse to being a taxer if he thinks that it works.

Similarly, GWB is not much of a capitalist, except for removing some punitive confiscatory taxes. He has approved steel tariffs, farming subsidies and runaway government spending. Howard keeps the ACCC and a "progressive" and horribly complex tax system. NZ's Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson were true capitalist. I was in NZ when Hewson ran so can't comment, but have no reason to doubt you.


(NB I am not myself a capitalist on economics. I support a very strong welfare state but an otherwise more or less free economy.)

Reagan, even in his pre-politics days touring the country for General Electric, used to tell a story about a problem with too much welfare: an employee asks his employer for a pay cut, because then he would be eligible for many government benefits: housing, dental care, college education for his kids. The employer agrees, but warns that if his work doesn't come up to scratch, he will get a raise.

Another thing is whether a huge welfare bureaucracy is a good thing. We could probably give every person below the official poverty line enough money to surpass it, at a fraction of the cost of the welfare bureacracy (this is certainly true of America).


[Hanson]

Getting back to an earlier post, Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a time when people would be judged by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. Hanson pointed out that affirmative action policies reversed that dream, giving the example of two half brothers (thus presumably equal oppotunities), where one received far more government assistance because he had aboriginal blood. It is unfortunate that MLK's dream is now called "racist" in many lefty circles, and that real racists undoubtedly warmed to Hanson.


Indeed in my articles at the time I partly blamed trendy leftists for the rise of Hanson on the grounds that they had been calling capitalists and right-wing moderates "fascist" for so long that when something really ugly showed up they were out of cliches. I also considered that it's not that hard for leftist support of inept local industries to slip across the line into nationalism and then to racism, which Hanson exploited for a while.

Good point about the counter-productivity of much name-calling, and on the right there is some of that as well.

Kevin Bonham
13-06-2007, 11:44 AM
Another thing is whether a huge welfare bureaucracy is a good thing. We could probably give every person below the official poverty line enough money to surpass it, at a fraction of the cost of the welfare bureacracy (this is certainly true of America).

The cost side of unreasonably complex welfare bureaucracies has often interested me. For instance, the amount of hoop-jumping required to obtain unemployment benefits in Australia is astronomical; we are a rich country and I'm sure we could easily afford to just say "OK, you have to register properly as looking for work somewhere where employers can find your details if they want to, and you have to take jobs offered to you within reason, but apart from that the dole is unconditional." I see the present system as being driven by (i) a certain talkback-radio type constituency's concerns about "dole-bludging" (ii) the government's desire to drive people off welfare purely so it can boast about how few people are unemployed.

However, I was assured some years ago by someone who had worked within the department that it doesn't actually cost more to enforce than you save by not running it more simply. To me, that's not alone a sufficient defence of the system; I think what welfare is offered should be available under simple and non-demeaning conditions. I actually suspect that if Australia had a really strong unemployment system we could afford to scrap a good deal of the rest of the welfare state (much of which is essentially middle-class welfare which is not at all essential).

I was rather amused several years ago when a drop-box at a nearby Centrelink office where people could put their forms in had to be removed because it was threatening to put staff out of work.

ER
13-06-2007, 05:48 PM
Hanson ... was strongly opposed to a welfare state as she considered it a gravy train for "dole bludgers"
lol :D

Cheers and good luck!

Igor_Goldenberg
15-06-2007, 10:30 AM
The cost side of unreasonably complex welfare bureaucracies has often interested me. For instance, the amount of hoop-jumping required to obtain unemployment benefits in Australia is astronomical; we are a rich country and I'm sure we could easily afford to just say "OK, you have to register properly as looking for work somewhere where employers can find your details if they want to, and you have to take jobs offered to you within reason, but apart from that the dole is unconditional." I see the present system as being driven by (i) a certain talkback-radio type constituency's concerns about "dole-bludging" (ii) the government's desire to drive people off welfare purely so it can boast about how few people are unemployed.

Another way to simplify is to built into a tax system with "negative tax". Libertarian party offered a 30/30 system. It means that the tax is levied at 30% with 30K being a zero tax threshold. If you earn less then 30K you paid back 30% of the difference (negative tax). Of cource it's just an idea that does not address "black labour"/cash economy evasion (as well as existing system).



However, I was assured some years ago by someone who had worked within the department that it doesn't actually cost more to enforce than you save by not running it more simply. To me, that's not alone a sufficient defence of the system;
That's right. Government has to prove that interference creates a benefit.

I actually suspect that if Australia had a really strong unemployment system we could afford to scrap a good deal of the rest of the welfare state (much of which is essentially middle-class welfare which is not at all essential).
Middle-class and corporate welfare are both detrimental to economy and morally disgusting. While low-income welfare should be a subject to scrutiny and critical analysis, the other two can be removed immediately.

At the same time it seems to me that welfare system in Australia is way ahead that compare to other Western country (in terms of being targeted and effective).


I was rather amused several years ago when a drop-box at a nearby Centrelink office where people could put their forms in had to be removed because it was threatening to put staff out of work.
Ever seen anyone trying to work themselves out of the job?:D In fact we wouldn't need that much bureacracy if it wasn't for a bureacracy

pax
15-06-2007, 10:51 AM
Ronald Reagan, in the speech that first put him on the political map, "A Time for Choosing: Rendezvous with Destiny (http://reagan2020.us/speeches/A_Time_for_Choosing.asp)" (1964) said:


You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream--the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path.


I guess that puts George W firmly on the downward path then.

Igor_Goldenberg
15-06-2007, 11:46 AM
I guess that puts George W firmly on the downward path then.

War on poverty, war on drugs, war on terrorism (as well as war on global warming) indeed lead to diminished freedom and power grab by the government (without delivering promised benefits).

MichaelBaron
15-06-2007, 02:23 PM
While I do support democratic values, i doubt that they are as critical to the majority of the population (myself included) as the economic climate.

It is easy for us in Australia to talk about democracy and rights of an individual because for now, our economy is fairly healthy (I know that some economists are going to disagree with me on this point but again..its all relative - we are certainly ahead of the 85% of the world in terms of economic development).

Unfortunately, future is unpredictable. If one day our economy declines, I feel that attention of the masses will shift dramatically from the democratic values (e.g. should David Hicks be detained in custody or not, Aboriginal rights etc.) towards finding a resolution to our economic problems.

When I came to Australia some years ago, my biggest concerns were: spending my Austudy wisely, assisting my parents (who were recieving unemployment benefits at the time) whenever possible and finding an affordable way to get through university. Little did i care about the democracy!

This is why i believe, that decline of living standards in Australia (if it ever happens) will inavitably lead to:
a) political preferences shifting towards radical political forces
b) social instability
c) drastic decline of personal values.

It is easy to be compassionate in one's thinking when your own welfare is in a secure state.

In Russia, 1000s of people are being detained by security forces/police without trial. Yet, I am not sure how many people are gravely concerned about this problem.

In Australia, we had one suspected terrorist detained at a US military base. Yet, there was a lot of noise surrounding the case. To me, it is a clear illustration of the fact that our economy is well off and there were no bigger issues for people to worry about!

firegoat7
15-06-2007, 07:07 PM
Capitalism is a very loose term, anyone defines it the way they like.

To me the question is:
What is pro and what is anti free market?

There are much more interesting question then this, but if Capitalism is pro free market then why are all its lauded institutions hell bent on monopolising the earths resources for economic gain? Isn't that monopoly? So why are the most powerful institutions on the planet, namely Corporations, patenting things that were previously free. That hardly seems free or fair exchange.

No Mr Goldenberg, like most ex Russians who migrate to the West you are completely enchanted by the consumer choice of western individualism.
The West has coerced you with her seductive charms and illusionary freedoms. You preach the mantra of the free market, the ideology of individual choice, seemingly oblivious to the stark reality that before markets are people.


Can you imagine their lives? Western people
People raised on a diet of Junk mail, junk food and every other form of disposable commodity. Blinded by the mass hysteria of shopping malls, infomercials and sporting events. Made deaf through commercial media. Barely able to read and write they are forced to accept a mantra of the markets 'eliminate the weak'.

Its all bullshit Mr Goldenberg. The markets eliminate the poor. A society divided between the haves and the have nots. Winners and losers. Yet the only way people seem to win is to exploit all those who lose. Its the winners who are able to capitalise. The losers are left broken. Everybody raised in the west has a healthy cynicism for the market, they learn their lessons young. For its not easy losing the things you love, damn it, why is the palace hotel being turned into a shopping mall? Maybe the rich need to make more change.

cheers fg7

Aaron Guthrie
15-06-2007, 08:24 PM
There are much more interesting question then this, but if Capitalism is pro free market then why are all its lauded institutions hell bent on monopolising the earths resources for economic gain? Isn't that monopoly? So why are the most powerful institutions on the planet, namely Corporations, patenting things that were previously free. That hardly seems free or fair exchange.Post 18 by Jono, and 19 by Igor both make the point that corporations are not necessarily pro-freemarket.

firegoat7
15-06-2007, 11:08 PM
Post 18 by Jono, and 19 by Igor both make the point that corporations are not necessarily pro-freemarket.

Capitalists accumulate material wealth. It is they who historically developed corporations. It is their culture which is replicated in the mass industrial complex.
We are of course all born into it, and are forced to live within its socio/cultural boundaries whether we agree or not. This link may help http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
The ideology of a 'free market' is just that- ideology.

cheers Fg7

MichaelBaron
15-06-2007, 11:29 PM
Capitalists accumulate material wealth. It is they who historically developed corporations. It is their culture which is replicated in the mass industrial complex.
We are of course all born into it, and are forced to live within its socio/cultural boundaries whether we agree or not. This link may help http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
The ideology of a 'free market' is just that- ideology.

cheers Fg7

Criticizing capitalism is easy as many of its shortcomings are obvious (including the ones rightfully identified by FG). However the question remains: "Is there any other feasible economic model that can be implemented in the "real world" that is superious to capitalism"?

I do not think historically-accumulated material wealth should be an issue. Non-material assets (e.g. culture) can also be passed from generation to generation and i do not see anything wrong with transferring one's assets to his kids.

firegoat7
15-06-2007, 11:56 PM
Criticizing capitalism is easy as many of its shortcomings are obvious (including the ones rightfully identified by FG). However the question remains: "Is there any other feasible economic model that can be implemented in the "real world" that is superious to capitalism"?

Yes things will eventually change, but maybe not in our lifetimes. As you are aware, all cultures come to an end and one day capitalism will be placed in the history books, maybe even economics ;)




I do not think historically-accumulated material wealth should be an issue. Non-material assets (e.g. culture) can also be passed from generation to generation and i do not see anything wrong with transferring one's assets to his kids.

It becomes a problem because poor children are forced to compete against rich children on an unequal playing field. Inevitably a cycle of poverty is often, but not always replicated, in which the culture of the poor is always having to defend itself against the material interests of the rich. This of course works both ways, but is much harder for poorer communities to protect themselves when their parents are forced to labor for livings.

cheers fg7

MichaelBaron
16-06-2007, 12:44 AM
Yes things will eventually change, but maybe not in our lifetimes. As you are aware, all cultures come to an end and one day capitalism will be placed in the history books, maybe even economics ;)




It becomes a problem because poor children are forced to compete against rich children on an unequal playing field. Inevitably a cycle of poverty is often, but not always replicated, in which the culture of the poor is always having to defend itself against the material interests of the rich. This of course works both ways, but is much harder for poorer communities to protect themselves when their parents are forced to labor for livings.

cheers fg7

FG, I believe you still have not answered my question "What is your "Ideal" SUSTAINABLE economic model that can replace capitalism"?

Does it exist?

Secondly,
I think the difference between the poor and the rich lies in a number of complex dimensions. Money is just one of them.

In Australia for example Some trades people make very good money (80-100k) a year and their income is similar to the income of university lecturers, accountants, marketing officers etc. However, many of them are failing to accumulate any wealth out of their substantial income due to the lack of money management skills/careless life-style

These people earn enough to send their kids to private schools, but how often do they prioritize education over fancy holidays in Bali and outings at the local pub?:hmm:

Basil
16-06-2007, 06:34 AM
FG, I believe you still have not answered my question "What is your "Ideal" SUSTAINABLE economic model that can replace capitalism"?

Does it exist?

Secondly,
I think the difference between the poor and the rich lies in a number of complex dimensions. Money is just one of them.

In Australia for example Some trades people make very good money (80-100k) a year and their income is similar to the income of university lecturers, accountants, marketing officers etc. However, many of them are failing to accumulate any wealth out of their substantial income due to the lack of money management skills/careless life-style

These people earn enough to send their kids to private schools, but how often do they prioritize education over fancy holidays in Bali and outings at the local pub?:hmm:

Mike, this is a very good post IMO. Saved me the trouble of typing it. 'Good one', if you don't my saying so.

pax
16-06-2007, 03:08 PM
In Australia for example Some trades people make very good money (80-100k) a year and their income is similar to the income of university lecturers, accountants, marketing officers etc. However, many of them are failing to accumulate any wealth out of their substantial income due to the lack of money management skills/careless life-style

These people earn enough to send their kids to private schools, but how often do they prioritize education over fancy holidays in Bali and outings at the local pub?:hmm:

I don't know if it is your intention Michael, but the above sounds incredibly patronising. I have seen no evidence that trades people are any less adept at money management than accountants or lecturers, or that they are more likely to be frivolous with money.

And you make it sound as though accumulation of wealth is all that life is about. I put it to you that choosing to enjoy life responsibly is just as valid as working yourself into the ground to pay for a massive house with river views.

Axiom
16-06-2007, 03:12 PM
I have seen no evidence that trades people are any less adept at money management than accountants or lecturers, or that they are more likely to be frivolous with money.

And you make it sound as though accumulation of wealth is all that life is about. I put it to you that choosing to enjoy life responsibly is just as valid as working yourself into the ground to pay for a massive house with river views.
well said :clap: :clap: :clap:

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 04:11 PM
It becomes a problem because poor children are forced to compete against rich children on an unequal playing field. Inevitably a cycle of poverty is often, but not always replicated, in which the culture of the poor is always having to defend itself against the material interests of the rich. This of course works both ways, but is much harder for poorer communities to protect themselves when their parents are forced to labor for livings.
Actually, capitalism is the best way that the poor have to improve their lot. Many kings of industry had very poor backgrounds. What are the alternatives? Entrenched feudal structures? Socialism, which merely guarantees equality of poverty, which for some reason socialists prefer to inequality of wealth?

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 04:23 PM
Capitalists accumulate material wealth. It is they who historically developed corporations. It is their culture which is replicated in the mass industrial complex.

....

The ideology of a 'free market' is just that- ideology.

No, it means that buyers and sellers should be free to agree on a price of any good without interference from the government. That way, it is win-win. Say I pay $1.20 for a litre of petrol: I value the petrol more than the $1.20, while the petrol station values my $1.20 more than the petrol. Both of us are acquiring something we value more than what we give away, so we both win.

But if the government controls the prices, as in the USSR and the USA under Jimmy Carter, and caps the price at 80c/l, to make petrol "affordable", then people will buy more, while petrol stations supply less because they make less money. The result is long lines at petrol stations, if they stay open at all. Reagan's first act as president was to lift the price cap, and the lines disappeared overnight, and petrol became even cheaper than the caps as abandoned oil wells became economical to re-open.

The free market does not equal big business. Many corporations lobby governments to interfere with the free market, to protect them from fair competition. E.g. they have lobbied for tariffs to hinder free trade. This is nice for their own business, but hurts consumers who have to pay more for their goods.

E.g. America protects the sugar lobby by such huge trade barriers that Americans pay twice the world price for sugar. Wonderful for them, but nasty for the consumers, as well as for businesses that rely on sugar. Some, like Lifesavers, have relocated to Canada, at the cost of American jobs. So the "protection" actually cost more jobs than it saved.

Fortunately NZ and Australia lifted tariffs on clothing. Oh, the bleating by the clothing lobby, but as the former NZ Prime Minister Jenny Shipley pointed out, the protectionism put new clothes out of reach of many people, and she recalled having to take classes in sewing (she was a farmer's wife before entering politics). And it shouldn't be too hard to recall the concepts of "hand-me-downs", patches and all the delights of low income people's clothing in the bad old days. Now most people can afford decent clothes made in China. So the removal of protection was overwhelmingly good for the population as a whole.

Aaron Guthrie
16-06-2007, 04:32 PM
Fortunately NZ and Australia lifted tariffs on clothing. Oh, the bleating by the clothing lobby, but as the former NZ Prime Minister Jenny Shipley pointed out, the protectionism put new clothes out of reach of many people, and she recalled having to take classes in sewing (she was a farmer's wife before entering politics). And it shouldn't be too hard to recall the concepts of "hand-me-downs", patches and all the delights of low income people's clothing in the bad old days. Now most people can afford decent clothes made in China. So the removal of protection was overwhelmingly good for the population as a whole.And there is the point that if you remove trade barriers then sometimes the industries will have to produce a better product to survive, and example of which (from my vague eco class memory) is the Australian car industry.

pax
16-06-2007, 04:32 PM
And it shouldn't be too hard to recall the concepts of "hand-me-downs"

As the father of two (soon to be three) small boys, let me tell you that I am still intimately familiar with the concept of hand-me-downs.

pax
16-06-2007, 04:37 PM
No, it means that buyers and sellers should be free to agree on a price of any good without interference from the government. That way, it is win-win. Say I pay $1.20 for a litre of petrol: I value the petrol more than the $6, while the petrol station values my $1.20 more than the kebab. Both of us are acquiring something we value more than what we give away, so we both win.

Nice edit, Jono. Sure your petrol station values your $1.20 more than your kebab :)

pax
16-06-2007, 04:39 PM
But there is a false dichotomy on both sides of the debate here. I don't think anybody here really believes in totally unfettered capitalism or socialism. Either is potentially disastrous. The free-market works great for kebabs - it doesn't work so well for, say, education or health.

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 04:45 PM
There are much more interesting question then this, but if Capitalism is pro free market then why are all its lauded institutions hell bent on monopolising the earths resources for economic gain? Isn't that monopoly?

Nope, monopolies arise only when governments prevent free competition. Without the government, if a corporation has a profitable business, this business will attract competitors.

The US Justice Department began one of their absurd "anti-trust" cases against IMB for being a "monopoly", but in the years the case dragged out, the suit was thrown out because IBM clearly was no longer any sort of monopoly.


So why are the most powerful institutions on the planet, namely Corporations,

No they are not. When I was in America just now, I shopped at Wal*Mart, which is sometimes accused of monopolistic practices. Rubbish! If I didn't choose to shop there, there is not a thing they could do to make me. People shop there because they choose to, and they choose to because many things are cheaper there.


patenting things that were previously free. That hardly seems free or fair exchange.

Similar to copyright. Why should they develop new products if other people can steal their ideas, so the original inventor doesn't benefit from his invention? The result will be fewer inventions.


No Mr Goldenberg, like most ex Russians who migrate to the West you are completely enchanted by the consumer choice of western individualism.

More likely, Mr Goldenberg has seen the evils of socialism in real life, as opposed to the idealized form that exists only in the minds of leftist journalists and academics. I was in the USSR in 1988, and saw first hand the endless queues in shops, despite the widespread shortages.


The West has coerced you with her seductive charms and illusionary freedoms. You preach the mantra of the free market, the ideology of individual choice, seemingly oblivious to the stark reality that before markets are people.

Who says that Mr Goldenberg hasn't freely realized the superiority of the free market, aided by the empirical evidence that economic freedom correlates with prosperity?


Maybe the rich need to make more change.
Who are the "rich"? And as pointed out, the rich don't necessarily support the free market, and neither are all free market supporters "rich". I am hardly what you would call "rich" myself.

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 04:48 PM
Nice edit, Jono. Sure your petrol station values your $1.20 more than your kebab :)
Heh ;) Well, I changed to petrol because there are precedents of petrol price capping, and the disastrous effects it had.

pax
16-06-2007, 04:51 PM
Nope, monopolies arise only when governments prevent free competition. Without the government, if a corporation has a profitable business, this business will attract competitors.


That's patently false. Monopolies can exist in any unregulated industry where significant infrastructure is required. Do you think there would be any competition in landline based telecommunications if the industry were not regulated?

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 04:57 PM
But there is a false dichotomy on both sides of the debate here. I don't think anybody here really believes in totally unfettered capitalism or socialism. Either is potentially disastrous.

Speak for yourself. I believe that buyers and sellers should be able to agree on a price without any interference, and that is what the free market means.


The free-market works great for kebabs - it doesn't work so well for, say, education or health.

Yes it does. Lack of competition in education has been a disaster in America. If the government must pay for education, they should give parents vouchers, so they can choose the schools for their kids. That way, schools would have to perform to survive. But teachers unions like the NEA hate the thought of free competition.

Imagine being zoned for grocery stores as many countries practise for schools. If the stores had captive customers the way the schools do, then do you think they would bother to make sure the food is appetizing and fresh? Think USSR again!

And since you like government health systems so much, let me introduce you to an old friend: the waiting list! The government can control the price of medicine, but not the real cost. In a free market, prices work as signals to the cost of something, and interfering with this vital role is harmful. Medicine is no different from any other good: price caps result in shortages.

Aaron Guthrie
16-06-2007, 04:57 PM
That's patently false. Monopolies can exist in any unregulated industry where significant infrastructure is required. Do you think there would be any competition in landline based telecommunications if the industry were not regulated?BHP is another example, though they theoretically had overseas competitors.

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 05:09 PM
Hanson was strongly opposed to a welfare state as she considered it a gravy train for "dole bludgers".
However, as Thomas Sowell points out in his masterful book The Vision of the Anointed, abuse from the conservatives is far less frequent than abuse from the left.

Lefties denounce opponents of the welfare state as heartless and lacking in compassion, without any evidence that the right have any less compassion for the poor, although Who Really Cares by Prof. Arthur Brooks (http://www.arthurbrooks.net/) shows the opposite.

Conservatives don't need to talk about "dole bludgers"; rather, they point out the simple economics that if you reward/pay/subsidise behaviour, you get more of it; if you punish/tax/fine behaviour, you get less of it. That's the ostensible reason for the taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

Our ridiculous government bureaucracy pays people not to work; is it any wonder that we have non-working people? Conversely, the state governments fine employers who employ people, with the absurd "payroll tax". And they claim to care about the unemployed, when their policies make it harder to hire people?

Similarly, our government pays unwed women to have babies, while it fines parents who wish to adopt (the huge fees may as well be a fine). So it's no wonder there are so many kids being brought up by single mothers, despite the proven lower opportunities they have.

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 05:13 PM
That's patently false. Monopolies can exist in any unregulated industry where significant infrastructure is required. Do you think there would be any competition in landline based telecommunications if the industry were not regulated?

Why do you think Telstra had such an advantage in the first place? Because it was originally a government monopoly. Now there is free competition (apart from the crass ACCC) so Telstra provides a much better service than when it was a government monopoly.

You are also forgetting new technology. There were companies that virtually monopolized the typewriter market; where are they now, since word processors and printers became affordable?

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 05:16 PM
BHP is another example, though they theoretically had overseas competitors.

How is this the case? And the problem is, what?

Similarly with the so-called robber barons like John Rockefeller and Standard Oil. Yes, they became a virtual monopoly, but only because they could provide oil more cheaply than anyone else. So consumers won with the ever-decreasing prices.

The main whingers about so-called monopolies in "anti-trust" cases in America and our own ACCC are loser companies, not the consumers. ACCC just enforces affirmative action for loser businesses.

Aaron Guthrie
16-06-2007, 05:24 PM
How is this the case?I am not sure what you mean. As I understand it they had a monopoly on iron-ore (I say had because of the merger), and they had it because it takes huge capital to produce iron-ore. Something like that anyway.
And the problem is, what?There is no economic problem, as you note sometimes a monopoly (or as good as) is the best system for the consumers. However you seemed to be claiming that there is no such thing as a non-government made monopoly. BHP is an example of a monopoly that is the product of economic not government circumstances. Correct me if I am wrong about that.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2007, 05:51 PM
Conservatives don't need to talk about "dole bludgers"; rather, they point out the simple economics that if you reward/pay/subsidise behaviour, you get more of it; if you punish/tax/fine behaviour, you get less of it. That's the ostensible reason for the taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

But it's not correct to talk about "being unemployed" as if it was a crime that needed deterrence, or even a risky pasttime that should be taxed for medical reasons. In some cases people are unemployed because there are either no jobs that match their qualifications in their area, or because they are unable to obtain those jobs for social reasons unrelated to their ability to perform them. (Such a high proportion of jobs are never advertised and are filled on the who-you-know principle, while in many other cases public advertisement is just a veneer of transparency).


Our ridiculous government bureaucracy pays people not to work; is it any wonder that we have non-working people?

Any welfare programme sufficiently extensive to allow for all needy cases will always support a few freeloaders who don't really need it.

But why anyone capable of getting a job would freeload off the current labyrinthine dole system in Australia when there are plenty of jobs around that are easier work for more money is beyond me. I suspect there are more people falling through bureaucratic cracks and not getting the dole when they deserve it, than there are genuine bludgers getting it who could easily find work elsewhere.


Conversely, the state governments fine employers who employ people, with the absurd "payroll tax". And they claim to care about the unemployed, when their policies make it harder to hire people?

Payroll tax is an example of the sort of tax that would be abolished in my system.


Similarly, our government pays unwed women to have babies,

It also pays wed women to have babies (Howard's ridiculous baby bonus). No-one should be paid to breed.

Aaron Guthrie
16-06-2007, 06:01 PM
But it's not correct to talk about "being unemployed" as if it was a crime that needed deterrence, or even a risky pasttime that should be taxed for medical reasons. In some cases people are unemployed because there are either no jobs that match their qualifications in their area, or because they are unable to obtain those jobs for social reasons unrelated to their ability to perform them. (Such a high proportion of jobs are never advertised and are filled on the who-you-know principle, while in many other cases public advertisement is just a veneer of transparency).Also there is the concept of the natural rate of unemployment (i.e. if it drops below this the results for the economy are actually bad), which when I took eco we were told was about 4.5%. There is probably a good argument that if these people were skilled up the natural rate would drop, however I didn't pursue economics so that is just my own thoughts on the matter.

pax
16-06-2007, 06:30 PM
Speak for yourself. I believe that buyers and sellers should be able to agree on a price without any interference, and that is what the free market means.


It's a false dichotomy to use the USSR as 'proof' that all social policy is bad policy. Or when you assume the only alternative to unfettered free market is complete government control.



Yes it does. Lack of competition in education has been a disaster in America. If the government must pay for education, they should give parents vouchers, so they can choose the schools for their kids. That way, schools would have to perform to survive. But teachers unions like the NEA hate the thought of free competition.


Think about the consequences of unfettered free market education. There would be no compulsion for schools to even exist in places where it might be unprofitable (poor neighbourhoods or remote communities). Or the only affordable schools for the poor might be the "McSchools" that begin popping up with class sizes of 100.

School could not be compulsory in a completely free-market education sector. How can you possibly justify a system where children are denied an education because their parents cannot (or even choose not to) afford it?



Imagine being zoned for grocery stores as many countries practise for schools. If the stores had captive customers the way the schools do, then do you think they would bother to make sure the food is appetizing and fresh? Think USSR again!


Here is your false dichotomy! Nobody is proposing zoning for groceries. I don't think anybody even has a problem with private schools. I'm just making the point that with no regulation and no government services the poor are screwed.



And since you like government health systems so much, let me introduce you to an old friend: the waiting list! The government can control the price of medicine, but not the real cost. In a free market, prices work as signals to the cost of something, and interfering with this vital role is harmful. Medicine is no different from any other good: price caps result in shortages.

And free market health care works so well in America. Ask a family that cannot afford health insurance in the US what it's like to be constantly afraid of getting sick.

Pharmaceuticals is a perfect example of the ultimate monopoly. A company discovers a new treatment for a disease. They hold a million patents on the drug, and hence are the sole supplier for an extended period of time. They can charge what they like for the drug - irrespective of how much it cost them to develop. They have no obligations to anybody except their shareholders, so they are compelled to make maximum profit even at the expense of patients.

Government regulations or price-capping can prevent the sort of price gouging that can occur in these situations. Obviously regulation should not be so restrictive that the company is not prevented from recouping costs and making a fair profit, but there need to be checks and balances.

pax
16-06-2007, 06:40 PM
Why do you think Telstra had such an advantage in the first place? Because it was originally a government monopoly. Now there is free competition (apart from the crass ACCC) so Telstra provides a much better service than when it was a government monopoly.

You are also forgetting new technology. There were companies that virtually monopolized the typewriter market; where are they now, since word processors and printers became affordable?

If it wasn't for the ACCC, there would be no competition in landline based telecomms whatsoever. Telstra would be free to price out it's competitors as it attempted to do when broadband was originally deregulated (when Telstra charged more for wholesale access to it's lines than it charged retail customers).

If Telstra gets it's way on FTTN, the ACCC will be sidelined and Telstra will roll out the new network charging a minimum of $80 per month for broadband. The new network will replace the old, so you can forget about your current 24Mb broadband for $30 a month. Call that a step forward?

In an unregulated market you have this ridiculous situation where tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure must be duplicated by competitors in order to compete! How many phone lines and power lines do you want hanging from your roof? How many water and gas pipes? The competition that exists right now in Australia only exists because government regulations force companies (usually ex-Government owned services) to open their infrastructure to competition at a fair price.

Kevin Bonham
16-06-2007, 07:06 PM
The myth of the caring left v heartless conservatives is blown away by a recent book, Who Really Cares (http://www.arthurbrooks.net/), by Prof. Arthur Brooks. Strangely enough, Brooks himself had been raised in a socially liberal environment and was so surprised by the outcome that he had to recheck his data before he would accept it (http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/ThomasSowell/2006/11/28/who_really_cares?page=full&comments=true). But the data showed;


‘Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood; religious people give more to homeless people on the street.’

This doesn't surprise me at all, simply because some religious people believe that they must be charitable because they will go to Hell if they are not.

Also the conclusion that the working poor give more than welfare recipients doesn't surprise me because welfare in America is often temporary in nature, and because people on welfare may have poorer money-management skills and hence less really disposable income than the working poor.

Furthermore, Brooks notes the influence of strong family structures on generosity. Most likely a person who has a strong family structure feels safer giving on the assumption that they will be helped by their family if they themselves become needy.

Finally as Brooks again notes many "liberals" see charity as a role for government. Those who have redistributionist views may indeed believe they are already being taxed as much as they would otherwise give away, since they believe that much of the money should come from the very rich. So there is a political conflict when they are asked to give money - they think "the government should be paying for this". (Such views are probably far too idealistic, but when it comes to explaining why different people respond differently to charity, that's beside the point.)

I'm not saying this to say that altruism is good and to defend the left for failing to display it. My own view is that altruism is an optional extra and that good political design provides for the survival of all in undemeaning conditions irrespective of the incidence of altruism, and beyond that removes barriers to wealth accumulation, recognising that people will probably give more if they have more to spare, and that unnecessary coerced redirections are expensive and inefficient.

eclectic
16-06-2007, 07:26 PM
This doesn't surprise me at all, simply because some religious people believe that they must be charitable because they will go to Hell if they are not.

it could be said that even the :evil: himself is showing charity by offering a really warm bed to those unable to find permanent accommodation elsewhere

:rolleyes:

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 09:35 PM
It's a false dichotomy to use the USSR as 'proof' that all social policy is bad policy.

So many in the Leftacademia worshipped the Soviet Union. After Reagan won the cold war, they are now resorting to revisionism, claiming that the fall of the USSR was inevitable. But in Reagan's day, the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith were praising the Soviet economy and saying that the USSR was here to stay.


Or when you assume the only alternative to unfettered free market is complete government control.

For any given exchange, it is either free or unfree.


Think about the consequences of unfettered free market education.

Think of the proven consequences of unfettered government-controlled education, where parents don't matter and kids are subject to the latest educratic fads.


Here is your false dichotomy! Nobody is proposing zoning for groceries.

Here is your misunderstanding. I was pointing out how bad groceries would be without competition, and thus how we should not be surprised at how bad government schooling can be, given a similar lack of competition.


I don't think anybody even has a problem with private schools. I'm just making the point that with no regulation and no government services the poor are screwed.

Not necessarily. Private benefactors, e.g. the Catholics provided schooling at low cost well before the government. And they still educate to a higher standard and at lower cost than government schools. Or if you want the government to get involved, let the government pay money to the consumers (parents) not the producers (schools). This works well in Western Eur (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-1_11_06_JS.html)ope.


And free market health care works so well in America.

It would if it were tried. But the Americans suffer precisely because of government interference in health care. This has disconnected patients from the real cost of medical care, as Thomas Sowell explains (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell042800.asp).


Pharmaceuticals is a perfect example of the ultimate monopoly. A company discovers a new treatment for a disease.

And it costs about $800 million to develop a new drug (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell040904.asp)! If that cost is not met somehow, then new drugs just won't be developed.

MichaelBaron
16-06-2007, 10:06 PM
I don't know if it is your intention Michael, but the above sounds incredibly patronising. I have seen no evidence that trades people are any less adept at money management than accountants or lecturers, or that they are more likely to be frivolous with money.

And you make it sound as though accumulation of wealth is all that life is about. I put it to you that choosing to enjoy life responsibly is just as valid as working yourself into the ground to pay for a massive house with river views.

1) It is common knowledge that Educated people are better at money management that the ones without education (i do not mean formal university qualification but education in general). I can recall Seeing Some articles in the Money section of the age discussing this phenomena Some Time ago. So, Yes - I have seen formal evidence :)

As far as informal evidence is concerned - I have been a Member of an Investors Club before. I joined it while a uni student so obviously i hardly had much money to invest at the time. I simply wanted to learn more about it. Curiously enough, I was not the only low income earner there. However, there were few if any high income earners in the club from the "working-class" background.

2) I am not trying to sound patronising. Nor i am trying to "build a wall" between the classes. I am simply stating my opinion on the currect finanicial climate! I am not advocating saving at all cost! It is a choice that every individual has to make for himself and his family.

In fact i was not even referring to a house, I was duscussing the value of investing into education :). We should remember, that our lifestyle and spending habbits may impact not only us, but also our families! Neverthless, I obviously do not have a problem with people prioritzing things as they wish. It is just that if they end up in financial hardships as a result - that should be blaming themselves only, rather than aus government etc.

Capablanca-Fan
16-06-2007, 10:16 PM
If it wasn't for the ACCC, there would be no competition in landline based telecomms whatsoever.

This is based on the fallacious anti-trust idea (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell111299.asp), which confuses protecting competitors, instead of protecting competition as a process. It is a load of nonsense. Telstra had a monopoly when they were government owned.

To illustrate the fragility of free market monopolies in the face of new technology, Sowell writes (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell063003.asp):


In the late 1980s, all the electric portable typewriters made in the United States were made by Smith-Corona. But this 100 percent "control" of its market, did not produce monopoly profits. In fact, Smith-Corona ended up filing for bankruptcy, as the spread of computers decimated the typewriter market.


Telstra would be free to price out it's competitors as it attempted to do when broadband was originally deregulated (when Telstra charged more for wholesale access to it's lines than it charged retail customers).

And how much technology is NOT being developed by them now, because the ACCC bureaucrats would not allow them to charge enough to make a profit. Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors, wrote (http://www.polyconomics.com/searchbase/06-12-98.html):


No one will ever know what new products, processes, machines, and cost-saving mergers failed to come into existence, killed by the Sherman Act [US equivalent of our ACCC law] before they were born. No one can ever compute the price that all of us have paid for that Act which, by inducing less effective use of capital, has kept our standard of living lower than would otherwise have been possible.


If Telstra gets it's way on FTTN, the ACCC will be sidelined and Telstra will roll out the new network charging a minimum of $80 per month for broadband. The new network will replace the old, so you can forget about your current 24Mb broadband for $30 a month. Call that a step forward?

Yes, if the new broadband is much quicker. Here is a case to back up Greenspan: if the ACCC gets its way, consumers won't have the choice of paying more for much faster broadband, because it would not be profitable to build it. So the consumer loses.


In an unregulated market you have this ridiculous situation where tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure must be duplicated by competitors in order to compete!

See what I mean? The ACCC protects poor businesses, not the consumer.


How many phone lines and power lines do you want hanging from your roof? How many water and gas pipes?

Here's another example of government cock-ups: for decades, they banned home water tanks. Now there is a water shortage, so now they are subsidizing them.


The competition that exists right now in Australia only exists because government regulations force companies (usually ex-Government owned services)

Herein lies the problem: the government getting involved in the first place.


to open their infrastructure to competition at a fair price.

"Fair price" has no meaning.

pax
16-06-2007, 10:30 PM
So many in the Leftacademia worshipped the Soviet Union. After Reagan won the cold war, they are now resorting to revisionism, claiming that the fall of the USSR was inevitable. But in Reagan's day, the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith were praising the Soviet economy and saying that the USSR was here to stay.
So? Who here is "leftacademia" who were ever praising the Soviet Union? You seem to be debating this topic against some leftist figment of your imagination. How about sticking to the arguments people are actually making?!?


For any given exchange, it is either free or unfree.

There are degrees of regulation. I accept that your view is that the government should not regulate any exchange ever. But there are many degrees of regulation, and to say that some exchanges need to be regulated is not the same as advocating a Soviet style police state!



Think of the proven consequences of unfettered government-controlled education, where parents don't matter and kids are subject to the latest educratic fads.


Public schooling in Australia is, on the whole, excellent. There is bureaucratic meddling, but on the whole teachers do a very good job. Care to cite any country with totally privatised education where every child has the sort of opportunities that they have in Australia?



Here is your misunderstanding. I was pointing out how bad groceries would be without competition, and thus how we should not be surprised at how bad government schooling can be, given a similar lack of competition.

There is plenty of competition in the private sector. What's your point here exactly?



Not necessarily. Private benefactors, e.g. the Catholics provided schooling at low cost well before the government. And they still educate to a higher standard and at lower cost than government schools. Or if you want the government to get involved, let the government pay money to the consumers (parents) not the producers (schools).
Catholic schools are heavily government funded. But the point is that children should not have to depend on 'benefactors' for an education.



It would if it were tried. But the Americans suffer precisely because of government interference in health care. This has disconnected patients from the real cost of medical care,

My nephew had a brain tumour diagnosed at age four. What happens to him in a privatised system if he has no insurance? The cost of his treatment was astronomical (probably in the millions) - as it would have been in any medical system. In Australia, Medicare paid the vast majority of his essential expenses and he received the best quality care and was treated by the best surgeons in Australia. What happens in your world, Jono? Is he dependent on the charity of you and your Christian mates?

pax
16-06-2007, 10:36 PM
1) It is common knowledge that Educated people are better at money management that the ones without education (i do not mean formal university qualification but education in general). I can recall Seeing Some articles in the Money section of the age discussing this phenomena Some Time ago. So, Yes - I have seen formal evidence :)

That's a sweeping generalisation, and it is patent garbage. There are thousands of small business (and big business) people out there with nothing more than high school education (some less than that) - and most of them are very smart with their money. I'd trust them over an academic any day. Kerry Packer was a high school dropout.



As far as informal evidence is concerned - I have been a Member of an Investors Club before. I joined it while a uni student so obviously i hardly had much money to invest at the time. I simply wanted to learn more about it. Curiously enough, I was not the only low income earner there. However, there were few if any high income earners in the club from the "working-class" background.


Share investing has got very little to do with sound money management.

pax
16-06-2007, 10:44 PM
Herein lies the problem: the government getting involved in the first place.


That is just ludicrous. So in this fantasy world of yours where nobody pays tax, and the government doesn't build anything, who maintains the roads? Toll booths on every corner? What gauge are the railways? Who is responsible when a town loses power? Who do I call when my house is on fire?

What if it actually just wasn't profitable to build a power network or a telephone system or a railway? What if nobody had enough capital to start on such massive projects? If it isn't profitable I guess it isn't worth having?

So I guess you'll be campaigning for Ron Paul in 2008?

pax
16-06-2007, 11:01 PM
Yes, if the new broadband is much quicker. Here is a case to back up Greenspan: if the ACCC gets its way, consumers won't have the choice of paying more for much faster broadband, because it would not be profitable to build it. So the consumer loses.

Under the Telstra proposal, consumers will not have a choice of keeping their current arrangements. The FTTN will replace the copper, making the entire ADSL2+ infrastucture obsolete. The only choice then will be to pay Telstra's prices of $80/$100 a month for access. There will be no competition, because it is not profitable to build that sort of infrastructure for 50% of the market. Telstra's proposal is essentially "we will build the infrastructure, but only if we can have our monopoly back".

MichaelBaron
16-06-2007, 11:40 PM
That's a sweeping generalisation, and it is patent garbage. There are thousands of small business (and big business) people out there with nothing more than high school education (some less than that) - and most of them are very smart with their money. I'd trust them over an academic any day. Kerry Packer was a high school dropout.



Share investing has got very little to do with sound money management.

Kerry Packer etc. are drops in the ocean. And again, i was not referring to formal qualifications (some people are self-educated) but to ones knowledge base! Most business people obviously have good knowledge base!

Share investing is simply one of the aspects of money management (same as investing in real estate etc.)
As i mentioned earlier everyone is entitled to make his choices. But if government would not make superannuation compulsory for all employers and simply removed state pensions, some people would end up starving!

Again, i am not trying to defend capitalism. Capitalism is cruel. However, if someone earns 100,000 a year but "does not have money" to send his kids to private school - it tells me something about this person and his priorities.

I have seen people spending $100 a night on drinks alone...on a regular basis. Fine, it is there choice. I respect that. However, if they do make such a choice..they should not complain that their kids are not getting enough support.

P.S. Another issue that we can touch: why should $1000000s of tax-payers money be spent on people who acquire their sicknesses through exessive drinking (since their choices in life is their responsibility).

Or what about people who require surgery for being obese and their obesity is caused not by some hereditory desease but through exessive eating and lack of exercise?

What about people who smoke their lungs away?

Ok....I am getting worried...i am starting a touchy topic here :hmm:

pax
16-06-2007, 11:46 PM
Again, i am not trying to defend capitalism. Capitalism is cruel. However, if someone earns 100,000 a year but "does not have money" to send his kids to private school - it tells me something about this person and his priorities.


Are you serious? $100k can be gone in a flash on a mortgage on a very modest two bedroom house in Sydney.

Are you telling me that somebody who chooses a government school for his children has a problem with his priorities?

Igor_Goldenberg
16-06-2007, 11:58 PM
No Mr Goldenberg, like most ex Russians who migrate to the West you are completely enchanted by the consumer choice of western individualism.
The West has coerced you with her seductive charms and illusionary freedoms. You preach the mantra of the free market, the ideology of individual choice, seemingly oblivious to the stark reality that before markets are people.


Can you imagine their lives? Western people
People raised on a diet of Junk mail, junk food and every other form of disposable commodity. Blinded by the mass hysteria of shopping malls, infomercials and sporting events. Made deaf through commercial media.

Unlike some other "enligtened" societies we have a choice not to succumb to advertising

Barely able to read and write they are forced to accept a mantra of the markets 'eliminate the weak'.

Its all bullshit Mr Goldenberg. The markets eliminate the poor. A society divided between the haves and the have nots. Winners and losers. Yet the only way people seem to win is to exploit all those who lose. Its the winners who are able to capitalise. The losers are left broken.
Market indeed helps to eliminate the poor (and the poverty), while socialism perpetutes it. After all, how many people in Australia are really poor?

Everybody raised in the west has a healthy cynicism for the market, they learn their lessons young.
That seems to contradict first part of the post.
Anyway, that healthy cynicism fg7 mentioned proved the merits of a free choice

Igor_Goldenberg
17-06-2007, 12:01 AM
In Australia for example Some trades people make very good money (80-100k) a year and their income is similar to the income of university lecturers, accountants, marketing officers etc. However, many of them are failing to accumulate any wealth out of their substantial income due to the lack of money management skills/careless life-style

These people earn enough to send their kids to private schools, but how often do they prioritize education over fancy holidays in Bali and outings at the local pub?:hmm:
I think in reality those trades people are much better at accumulating wealth then other professionals mentioned above (as well as quite as likely to send their kids into private school, of which I have seen many examples)

Igor_Goldenberg
17-06-2007, 12:06 AM
As far as informal evidence is concerned - I have been a Member of an Investors Club before. I joined it while a uni student so obviously i hardly had much money to invest at the time. I simply wanted to learn more about it. Curiously enough, I was not the only low income earner there. However, there were few if any high income earners in the club from the "working-class" background.


Many of them don't need the club and they have quite a few income producing assets.

Igor_Goldenberg
17-06-2007, 12:10 AM
Monopolies can exist in two cases:

1. They provide cheap and high quality goods and services. (in this case it's not a problem)

2. There are specific artificial barriers that stop would-be competitors from entering the market. Those barriers are enforced either by brute force in a mafia like society or government interference.

MichaelBaron
17-06-2007, 12:38 AM
Are you serious? $100k can be gone in a flash on a mortgage on a very modest two bedroom house in Sydney.

Are you telling me that somebody who chooses a government school for his children has a problem with his priorities?


1) if you earn 100K a year you should be able to afford decent housing.

2) Not all government schools are bad (e.g. some government schools like Melb High. or MacRobertson Girls School require students to sit an entrance exam to get in) but generally speaking private schools are undisputably better than public schools in Australia!

The simplest proof is the respective year 12 scores in private and public schools!

Besides, why would someone pay for private education if public education would be good enough.

Somebody who can afford private school for his kids but choses an ordinary (again some public schools like Melb High school are special cause they require an academic scholarship to get in) public schools instead definitely has a problem with priorities. Kids should come first!

One of many reasons I am in love with Asia and admire Asian culture so much is the attention that Asian parents pay to their kids' education! And this is why Asian economies are going to rock!!!

pax
17-06-2007, 09:22 AM
1) if you earn 100K a year you should be able to afford decent housing.


Sure, you just might not be able to afford much else.



2) Not all government schools are bad (e.g. some government schools like Melb High. or MacRobertson Girls School require students to sit an entrance exam to get in) but generally speaking private schools are undisputably better than public schools in Australia!

The simplest proof is the respective year 12 scores in private and public schools!

That is no proof at all. Private school students are indisputably at a higher socioeconomic level on the average, which automatically skews year 12 scores higher regardless of the quality of the education. Many private schools also artificially manipulate their scores, by, for example preventing failing students from doing their final exams.



Besides, why would someone pay for private education if public education would be good enough.


There are many reasons other than quality of education. Facilities for sports, music drama, etc. Social networking. Discipline.



Somebody who can afford private school for his kids but choses an ordinary (again some public schools like Melb High school are special cause they require an academic scholarship to get in) public schools instead definitely has a problem with priorities. Kids should come first!


Kids can come first *and* go to public schools. My public school education at an ordinary non-selective school didn't prevent me from finishing among the top students in the state, from going to University, from getting postgraduate scholarship to Cambridge. My school had a good music programme, a good chess team, I was involved in drama and debating.

I agree that parents should do their best for their kids that they can. But that may involve a decent state school rather than private. It may involve foregoing private fees so that they can afford music lessons and sports clubs and so on.



One of many reasons I am in love with Asia and admire Asian culture so much is the attention that Asian parents pay to their kids' education! And this is why Asian economies are going to rock!!!

Many successful Asian kids (for example ones doing PhDs at my Uni) do so on the back of a pretty ordinary local education and just working their bejeesus off.

pax
17-06-2007, 10:13 AM
Monopolies can exist in two cases:

1. They provide cheap and high quality goods and services. (in this case it's not a problem)

2. There are specific artificial barriers that stop would-be competitors from entering the market. Those barriers are enforced either by brute force in a mafia like society or government interference.

3. The product is unique and one company holds intellectual property that prevents competition.

4. Capital infrastructure costs are so high that it is not profitable for more than one company to enter the market.

5. Geographical constraints prevent competition e.g airports, roads, railways.

There are probably more that I haven't thought of.

MichaelBaron
17-06-2007, 11:02 AM
Sure, you just might not be able to afford much else.



That is no proof at all. Private school students are indisputably at a higher socioeconomic level on the average, which automatically skews year 12 scores higher regardless of the quality of the education. Many private schools also artificially manipulate their scores, by, for example preventing failing students from doing their final exams.



There are many reasons other than quality of education. Facilities for sports, music drama, etc. Social networking. Discipline.



Kids can come first *and* go to public schools. My public school education at an ordinary non-selective school didn't prevent me from finishing among the top students in the state, from going to University, from getting postgraduate scholarship to Cambridge. My school had a good music programme, a good chess team, I was involved in drama and debating.

I agree that parents should do their best for their kids that they can. But that may involve a decent state school rather than private. It may involve foregoing private fees so that they can afford music lessons and sports clubs and so on.



Many successful Asian kids (for example ones doing PhDs at my Uni) do so on the back of a pretty ordinary local education and just working their bejeesus off.


Congratulations on your high academics achievements:clap: . However, did the achievements come due to the fact that you went to a government school, or despite the fact that you were in a public school? Surely, If you would attend a private school, your achievements would be no less outstanding! If a child is extremely gifted - even the public school system can not kill his talents :).


Prior to getting started with university jobs, I used to teach at TAFE. When i started with my teaching I discovered that.

So let me share my impressions of the Australian learning culture at this level:

a) many Australian-born students could not crunch even basic numbers without a calculator (something that migrants from both Europe and Asia find extremely entertaining)
b) parties were taking place the night before the exam
c) If a student coming from an Asian background would find himself "at risk" he would instantly get worried. I am not saying that all of the Asian students were so keen to study, but they were certainly concerned about their grades.

With the Australian students, it was often a case of "cool" "who cares if i fail" attitude.

This "cool" "lets take it easy and have fun" culture was extremely transparent.
In many public schools (once again there are some very good public schools but these are few and far between) this culture appears to be very common.

I am not saying that students should not come to uni, tafe, school etc. to enjoy. But for God's sake, while being entertained- they should also have some knowledge passed on to them and they should also be encouraged to achieve academically!

If a Chinese boy comes home and tells his parents that he failed some subject. You may pity him. However, while his life my get "tough" and he will be forced to study day and night, he will do his best to improve.

What about the Aus parents? Some are of course very concerned about their kid's academic progress but not all. A friend of mine (who was teaching at school before joining a uni) was telling me how once, he decided to call parents of the kids in his class who were "underperforming" to alarm them that they need to spend more time with their children monitoring their progress (mind you it was a public school). To his great surprise, attitude of many parents was no different from the attitude of the kids. The most common responses that he was getting were "Cool" "Sure, mate" and "ya i will talk to him/her".

So what is the bottom line?
I feel that today, Asian cultures have a lot of values that we should really be embracing!

pax
17-06-2007, 11:11 AM
Congratulations on your high academics achievements:clap: . However, did the achievements come due to the fact that you went to a government school, or despite the fact that you were in a public school?

Neither. I felt that the standard of teaching was, on the whole very good. I certainly didn't feel like I was 'fighting against the system'.


Surely, If you would attend a private school, your achievements would be no less outstanding! If a child is extremely gifted - even the public school system can not kill his talents :).

Maybe that is the case, I don't know. I was in a private school in year seven, and in public from eight to twelve. I can tell you that I suffered some terrible treatment from other students at the private school, and that did not help my academic progress. It wasn't until I went to the public school that I began to really excel academically.

I'm just trying to point out that choosing a school is a complex decision. Many factors come into play, and it is by no means automatically true that private schools are better for the kids or for the family as a whole.

Igor_Goldenberg
17-06-2007, 12:23 PM
3. The product is unique and one company holds intellectual property that prevents competition.
The question of the patent is a tricky one, and sometimes patent law do infringe on the free market. Again the patent has to be enforced by the government


4. Capital infrastructure costs are so high that it is not profitable for more than one company to enter the market.

Then this particular area does not require more hen one company. If particular product is not profitable then consumer do not want it enough to justify production.


5. Geographical constraints prevent competition e.g airports, roads, railways.

Seems to be the same as #4, hence reply is the same.

Igor_Goldenberg
17-06-2007, 12:28 PM
One of many reasons I am in love with Asia and admire Asian culture so much is the attention that Asian parents pay to their kids' education! And this is why Asian economies are going to rock!!!
No, this is why their kids are going to be very successful in Australia, but no reflection on Asian countries economy.

It also negates an argument about people being born into different conditions in a free market economy, as those kids will clearly overcome many kids from more affluent families.

pax
17-06-2007, 02:43 PM
The question of the patent is a tricky one, and sometimes patent law do infringe on the free market. Again the patent has to be enforced by the government
Corporate secrets can have the same effect even without a patent..




Then this particular area does not require more hen one company. If particular product is not profitable then consumer do not want it enough to justify production.

I agree! But the point is that the government may need to regulate to prevent price gouging. For example, if the Sydney Harbour Bridge were privately operated regulation is required to stop the owner from charging a $30 toll each way. Similarly if we really want broadband to be accessible to all Australians (and not priced out of reach), then there needs to be regulation to prevent the monopoly holder of the local loop from pricing out all competition and half of the potential customers.

Igor_Goldenberg
18-06-2007, 12:00 AM
Corporate secrets can have the same effect even without a patent..
That would be a healthier case. Make the same invention, and you are in the business!


I agree! But the point is that the government may need to regulate to prevent price gouging. For example, if the Sydney Harbour Bridge were privately operated regulation is required to stop the owner from charging a $30 toll each way. Similarly if we really want broadband to be accessible to all Australians (and not priced out of reach), then there needs to be regulation to prevent the monopoly holder of the local loop from pricing out all competition and half of the potential customers.
Tollway is a very common example in economy study. However, in a completely free market Sydney Harbour Bridge charging $30 would lead to a second bridge being built (or a tunnel under there Harbour:) )

Capablanca-Fan
18-06-2007, 01:41 AM
So? Who here is "leftacademia" who were ever praising the Soviet Union? You seem to be debating this topic against some leftist figment of your imagination. How about sticking to the arguments people are actually making?!?

You must have a short memory. But here is a clue. Many of the former Soviet-worshippers are now calling for the despot Hugo Chavez to come to Australia and tell us his "truth".


There are degrees of regulation. I accept that your view is that the government should not regulate any exchange ever. But there are many degrees of regulation, and to say that some exchanges need to be regulated is not the same as advocating a Soviet style police state!

It is a step in that direction. Government meddling almost always drives up overall costs to the people as a whole.


Catholic schools are heavily government funded.

A relatively recent development. IMO it was a mistake to accept government funding, because what government funds, it controls.


But the point is that children should not have to depend on 'benefactors' for an education.

Right, so instead they depend on money coerced from tax dollars. FYI, mass schooling existed long before the government got its paws into it.


My nephew had a brain tumour diagnosed at age four. What happens to him in a privatised system if he has no insurance?

If it were truly privatized, unlike America, insurance would be affordable. What happens to him in many countries with government-controlled health systems? Simple: he is put on a waiting list and dies before he can get treatment. This happens to many patients in Britain and Canada. In the latter, many go to the supposedly evil American health system to be treated more quickly (OK, this suffers from government interference, but not nearly as much as Canada).


The cost of his treatment was astronomical (probably in the millions) - as it would have been in any medical system. In Australia, Medicare paid the vast majority of his essential expenses and he received the best quality care and was treated by the best surgeons in Australia.

That is a good thing. It is still fallacious to assume that he would have received no treatment otherwise.


What happens in your world, Jono? Is he dependent on the charity of you and your Christian mates?

This is more reliable and efficient than an impersonal government bureaucracy. Health care rationing is quite common in this case -- long waiting lists are one symptom.

Capablanca-Fan
18-06-2007, 01:55 AM
3. The product is unique and one company holds intellectual property that prevents competition.

And the problem is, what? If companies can't profit from what they develop, then why should they bother to develop new products at all? Consider again the drug companies: countries which have price caps on pharmaceuticals are not the ones developing most of the new drugs.


4. Capital infrastructure costs are so high that it is not profitable for more than one company to enter the market.

If this allegedly monopolistic company "gouged" customers (to use the favorite meaningless term of the Left) too much, then it would become profitable for another company to climb the barriers to entry.


5. Geographical constraints prevent competition e.g airports, roads, railways.

Historically, railroads enjoyed monopolies only when there was government power. And government owned railroads usually lose money, e.g. America's Amtrak. And in NZ, it was the government which stopped a private company building another airport to service Auckland.

pax
18-06-2007, 07:53 AM
If it were truly privatized, unlike America, insurance would be affordable. What happens to him in many countries with government-controlled health systems? Simple: he is put on a waiting list and dies before he can get treatment. This happens to many patients in Britain and Canada. In the latter, many go to the supposedly evil American health system to be treated more quickly (OK, this suffers from government interference, but not nearly as much as Canada).

There are no waiting lists in Australia or Britain (or Canada as far as I can tell) for people diagnosed with urgent life threatening conditions. Yes, there are waiting lists for non life-threatening conditions and people are free to buy insurance to bypass such waiting lists if they so choose.

pax
18-06-2007, 08:02 AM
If this allegedly monopolistic company "gouged" customers (to use the favorite meaningless term of the Left) too much, then it would become profitable for another company to climb the barriers to entry.


That's garbage, Jono and you know it. There is no guarantee that what is massively profitable as a monopoly will be profitable under competition, especially where capital investments in the tens of billions are required to get off the ground.

Igor_Goldenberg
18-06-2007, 09:21 AM
There are no waiting lists in Australia or Britain (or Canada as far as I can tell) for people diagnosed with urgent life threatening conditions. Yes, there are waiting lists for non life-threatening conditions and people are free to buy insurance to bypass such waiting lists if they so choose.
A friend of mine with terrible knee pain (he can't walk, sleep or do anything) was put on waiting list for weeks, because it is not classified as life threatening. He had to go to a private hospital (without having a private insurance) to have a surgery done. BTW, the bill did not send him bankrupt (and he bought a private health insurance, as well as my family).

While government meddling in the business (in this case - medical care) might improve specific aspect, it is likely to make overall standard worse.

Don't forget - government does not create wealth, it simply takes money from people, churns it and spits back, in the process inevitably wasting a good portion of it and misallocating another.

While I do not like the idea of redistribution, direct redistributing (e.g Social Security) is not as bad as indirect redistribution (meddling in education, medicine and other industries, subsidies, etc.)

Igor_Goldenberg
18-06-2007, 09:33 AM
That's garbage, Jono and you know it. There is no guarantee that what is massively profitable as a monopoly will be profitable under competition, especially where capital investments in the tens of billions are required to get off the ground.

What about airline business? It is well known that it's one of the most capital intensive, requiring huge initial outlay with very questionable margins. On top of that there are often numerous government levies.
There is even a joke:
Q:How to become a millionare?
A:Become a billionare and go into airline business.

Despite that, we can see attempts to create new airlines (sometimes succesfull, sometimes not) quite often.

pax
18-06-2007, 09:50 AM
What about airline business? It is well known that it's one of the most capital intensive, requiring huge initial outlay with very questionable margins. On top of that there are often numerous government levies.
There is even a joke:
Q:How to become a millionare?
A:Become a billionare and go into airline business.

Despite that, we can see attempts to create new airlines (sometimes succesfull, sometimes not) quite often.

Capital outlays for an airline are miniscule compared to end-to-end telecommunications, water or power.

pax
18-06-2007, 09:56 AM
A friend of mine with terrible knee pain (he can't walk, sleep or do anything) was put on waiting list for weeks, because it is not classified as life threatening. He had to go to a private hospital (without having a private insurance) to have a surgery done. BTW, the bill did not send him bankrupt (and he bought a private health insurance, as well as my family).

Sounds like a perfect example of public and private services working well in competition with each other. Everybody has a minimum health cover which will ensure they are treated immediately for life threatening illnesses, other illnesses are covered but may have a waiting period. Anyone can choose to pay for private treatment if that is their preference. In Jono's world, nobody gets any treatment for anything (life threatening or not) unless they can pay.

pax
18-06-2007, 10:07 AM
That is a good thing. It is still fallacious to assume that he would have received no treatment otherwise.

You didn't answer the question. Who pays the bills if he has no insurance? Maybe his parents are unemployed and cannot afford insurance, maybe they are irresponsible and didn't pay for any, or didn't pay the bills on time at the worst possible moment.

arosar
18-06-2007, 10:33 AM
Do you dream of a time when copyright will be illegal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj8ZadKgdC0

AR

eclectic
18-06-2007, 01:31 PM
Do you dream of a time when copyright will be illegal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj8ZadKgdC0

AR

now that really IS from the twilight zone!

;)

Igor_Goldenberg
19-06-2007, 09:30 AM
Capital outlays for an airline are miniscule compared to end-to-end telecommunications, water or power.
I don't think so. Also water, power and (to a lesser extent) telecommunication provide much more stable revenue stream.

Igor_Goldenberg
19-06-2007, 09:33 AM
Sounds like a perfect example of public and private services working well in competition with each other. Everybody has a minimum health cover which will ensure they are treated immediately for life threatening illnesses, other illnesses are covered but may have a waiting period. Anyone can choose to pay for private treatment if that is their preference. In Jono's world, nobody gets any treatment for anything (life threatening or not) unless they can pay.

The "minimum health cover" is not free, it's paid by our taxes. Given the amount of money saved in taxes, people can buy better private treatment/insurance and still have some money saved.

pax
19-06-2007, 09:43 AM
I don't think so. Also water, power and (to a lesser extent) telecommunication provide much more stable revenue stream.

You don't? Just look at the capital value of Telstra compared to Virgin Blue. Even compared to Qantas, Telstra is much larger. But the point is that an airline can start small - it only needs a few aircraft and access to some airports. In a totally unregulated telecommunications market a competitor in landline telecomms need to duplicate Telstra's entire local loop network. That would cost well in excess of ten billion dollars.

Edit: And water and power only provide steady revenue in a monopoly market. In a totally unregulated cut-throat competitive market there is no way to guarantee revenue as the big players would quickly (and temporarily) slash prices to destroy the little guy. Much like the way Qantas destroyed Compass and Impulse.

pax
19-06-2007, 09:45 AM
The "minimum health cover" is not free, it's paid by our taxes. Given the amount of money saved in taxes, people can buy better private treatment/insurance and still have some money saved.

Not everybody pays taxes, Igor. What about the unemployed, the disabled, children, the elderly? They aren't paying tax, so they won't save any money when you abolish Medicare and stick them with massive health insurance bills.

Igor_Goldenberg
19-06-2007, 10:39 AM
Not everybody pays taxes, Igor. What about the unemployed, the disabled, children, the elderly? They aren't paying tax, so they won't save any money when you abolish Medicare and stick them with massive health insurance bills.

See my post #87 about direct and inderect redistribution. Treat Medicare as insurance and give people the money equal to the cost of Medicare directly (through tax reduction and welfare increase).

Igor_Goldenberg
19-06-2007, 10:43 AM
You don't? Just look at the capital value of Telstra compared to Virgin Blue. Even compared to Qantas, Telstra is much larger. But the point is that an airline can start small - it only needs a few aircraft and access to some airports. In a totally unregulated telecommunications market a competitor in landline telecomms need to duplicate Telstra's entire local loop network. That would cost well in excess of ten billion dollars.

Edit: And water and power only provide steady revenue in a monopoly market. In a totally unregulated cut-throat competitive market there is no way to guarantee revenue as the big players would quickly (and temporarily) slash prices to destroy the little guy. Much like the way Qantas destroyed Compass and Impulse.

Are you talking about market capitalisation or value of assets owned?

Telco companies also can (and often do) start small. In case of Telstra their local network was essentially build by government with taxpayers money in the first place. It is often when government has to impose regulation to fix problems caused by their own regulation.

BTW, Optus did build their own landline cable network.

pax
19-06-2007, 10:57 AM
Are you talking about market capitalisation or value of assets owned?

Telco companies also can (and often do) start small. In case of Telstra their local network was essentially build by government with taxpayers money in the first place. It is often when government has to impose regulation to fix problems caused by their own regulation.

But landline telecomms cannot start small without the cooperation of the existing monopoly.



BTW, Optus did build their own landline cable network.

Optus have a tiny local network, and that much is only possible because Telstra are forced by regulation to give them access to the exchanges.

pax
19-06-2007, 10:59 AM
See my post #87 about direct and inderect redistribution. Treat Medicare as insurance and give people the money equal to the cost of Medicare directly (through tax reduction and welfare increase).

You prefer massive government handouts to state supported healthcare?

So what happens to the kid with cancer whose parents didn't have insurance (whether through neglect or whatever)?

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 02:29 PM
In a totally unregulated telecommunications market a competitor in landline telecomms need to duplicate Telstra's entire local loop network. That would cost well in excess of ten billion dollars.

Or else, they could invent new technology that would make Telstra's obsolete. Or, if protectionism is removed, foreign companies could compete. The main thing is, consumers win in free competition.

People have been paranoid about big companies for many decades. E.g., the noted leftist economist John Kenneth Galbraith whinged about the monopoly that General Motors had over the automobile market. Yet soon they were in trouble because Japanese car manufacturers overtook them.


Edit: And water and power only provide steady revenue in a monopoly market.

Once again, government monopoly protects itself, but is lousy towards consumers. The current water shortages are entirely due to government stuff-ups. They first banned water tanks, reducing the supply, then refused to build dams. The water shortage continues because of price caps.


In a totally unregulated cut-throat competitive market there is no way to guarantee revenue as the big players would quickly (and temporarily) slash prices to destroy the little guy.

Frankly, I don't care about the "little guy" if what you mean is an inferior business. I care about what's best for the consumers.

You are talking about so-called "predatory pricing". Yet there is no clear example of this working in practice. After all, if a big company charges under the market rate, they are losing money. So they must bet on recovering their costs later when the other companies fold, and have to hope that competition doesn't return. But when the big companies are trying their predatory pricing, the consumer is winning. So it is crass for the government to try to regulate it.

I am not a fan of Wikipedia but they have quite a good section on criticisms of the notion of predatory pricing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing#Criticism):


Proponents of the theory that predatory pricing is irrational[citation needed] argue that it must be a larger firm that engages in the practice, in order to be able to withstand the losses longer than its competitors. However, a larger firm will lose more money when it drops its prices below cost, because it has a larger market share with which to begin.

Opponents of the theory argue that this doesn't address the scenario where a large company attempts to break into a new market. Furthermore, it will not be able to recoup these losses because when it raises its prices to high levels, it provides a strong incentive for another firm to re-open the market and undercut it.[2]

In addition, the competitors of a firm that engages in predatory pricing know that the predatory pricer cannot keep down their prices forever, and thus they need only play chicken in order to remain in the market.

Thomas Sowell explains why predatory pricing is unlikely to work:


Obviously, predatory pricing pays off only if the surviving predator can then raise prices enough to recover the previous losses, making enough extra profit thereafter to justify the risks. These risks are not small.
However, even the demise of a competitor does not leave the survivor home free. Bankruptcy does not by itself destroy the fallen competitor's physical plant or the people whose skills made it a viable business. The major assuption made here is that the shutdown competitors can spring back into business immediately after prices rise enough to make business profitable again. If the bankrupt business's equipment is sold, and the employees are now employed elsewhere, new competition will face the normal barriers to entry in the market.[3]

Critics of the predatory pricing theory support their case empirically by arguing that there has been no instance where such a practice has led to a monopoly. Conversely, they argue that there is much evidence that predatory pricing has failed miserably. For example, Herbert Dow not only found a cheaper way to produce bromine but also defeated a predatory pricing attempt by a government-supported German cartel, Bromkonvention, who objected to his selling in Germany at a lower price. Bromkonvention retaliated by flooding the US market with below-cost bromine, at an even lower price than Dow's. But Dow simply instructed his agents to buy up at the very low price, then sell it back in Germany at a profit but still lower than Bromkonvention's price. In the end, the cartel could not keep up selling below cost, and had to give in. This is used as evidence that the free market is a better way to stop predatory pricing than government regulation such as anti-trust laws, though it should be noted that in this example the item — bromine — is a commodity as opposed to a value-added product, and that neither branded items such as athletic shoes or automobiles nor services such as dentistry or health care could be purchased and resold in the same way.

In another example of a successful defense against predatory pricing, a price war emerged between the New York Central Railroad (NYCR) and the Erie Railroad. At one point, NYCR charged only a dollar per car for the shipment of cattle. While the cattle cars quickly filled up, management was dismayed to find that Erie Railroad had also invested in the cattle-shipping business.[4]

Thomas Sowell argues:


It is a commentary on the development of antitrust law that the accused must defend himself, not against actual evidence of wrongdoing, but against a theory which predicts wrongdoing in the future. It is the civil equivalent of "preventive detention" in criminal cases — punishment without proof.[5]

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 02:35 PM
You didn't answer the question. Who pays the bills if he has no insurance? Maybe his parents are unemployed and cannot afford insurance, maybe they are irresponsible and didn't pay for any, or didn't pay the bills on time at the worst possible moment.

Even in America, hospitals are now forbidden to turn away emergency patients. And in medieval Jewish communities, doctors would perform medicine on the needy free of charge, but the recipients were expected to do something in return. For a contrast with Britain's government-funded healthcare and the extremely ungrateful patients the entitlement mentality produces, see Theodore Dalrymple's book Life at the Bottom.

Your questions could be applied to quite a lot of things. What if he squanders all his money and can't pay his rent or buy food? Should the government step in every time? Or should he learn his lesson? In any case, private charity does a far better job than an impersonal government bureaucracy.

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 02:52 PM
There are no waiting lists in Australia or Britain (or Canada as far as I can tell) for people diagnosed with urgent life threatening conditions. Yes, there are waiting lists for non life-threatening conditions and people are free to buy insurance to bypass such waiting lists if they so choose.

You are wrong about Britain and Canada. That's why some Canadian hospitals send patients to America for many treatments and diagnoses. An article in the Canadian Press in 18 July 2003 was titled: "Send cancer patients to US, Alberta MDs urge", talking about the jump in waiting time for breast cancer patients to receive treatment to two months. But the basketball star Shareef Abdul-Rahim jumped the queue of 1000 waiting for an MRI scan for his knee, simply because of who he is.

In Britain, each year, 7000 are waiting for hip replacements, up to 20,000 need coronary bypasses and 10,000-15,000 need chemotherapy for cancer. So the definition of "elective" is quite broad. And because the costs of medicine exist even if the government manipulates the prices, there is widespread rationing, often based on age discrimination or other factors such as being well connected politically, e.g. some Times headlines include: "Too old to be cured of cancer" and "Kidney patients die as costly dialysis machines lie idle", "For dogs, a scan can be arranged within 24 hours. Humans wait in pain, dogs don't".

Igor_Goldenberg
19-06-2007, 03:35 PM
You prefer massive government handouts to state supported healthcare?
"state supported healthcare" is a nice word for a massive government handout. Piad directly to people it would be more efficient.


So what happens to the kid with cancer whose parents didn't have insurance (whether through neglect or whatever)?
I think it a very patronising approach, assuming that people don't know what is right for them. I doubt parents, having means to do so (see above) would neglect their children.
And what happens to a kid who's parent fail to take him to a doctor(whether through neglect or whatever)?
Maybe government ahould watch our every step and spoonfeed us to make sure we do not neglect our needs?

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 04:06 PM
I was in a private school in year seven, and in public from eight to twelve. I can tell you that I suffered some terrible treatment from other students at the private school, and that did not help my academic progress.

Sorry to hear that. But your parents punished the private school by voting with their feet. If the same had happened at a state school you were zoned in, there would be no recourse. There can be horrific bullying at state schools, and there is no financial incentive to do anything about it. A voucher system puts more control in the hands of the parents, which is why the teachers' unions detest the idea.

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 04:13 PM
I have seen people spending $100 a night on drinks alone...on a regular basis.

Similarly, many people whinge about the high price of petrol, and rail against the "greedy" oil companies for "price gouging". Never do they rail against the "greedy government" that takes off more in excise taxes than "big oil" makes in profits. Nor do they mind paying far more per litre at the same petrol station for coca cola or even bottled water, to say nothing of coffee.


P.S. Another issue that we can touch: why should $1000000s of tax-payers money be spent on people who acquire their sicknesses through exessive drinking (since their choices in life is their responsibility).

Or what about people who require surgery for being obese and their obesity is caused not by some hereditory desease but through exessive eating and lack of exercise?

What about people who smoke their lungs away?

Ok....I am getting worried...i am starting a touchy topic here :hmm:

Actually, people like that are in more danger from government-controlled health care. Because the real costs of medicine have to be met somewhere, government bureaucrats have an incentive to ration health care away from those they deem to have brought their problems upon themselves.

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 04:22 PM
But it's not correct to talk about "being unemployed" as if it was a crime that needed deterrence,

Agreed, it is not a crime. I oppose paying people who will not work, not those who cannot work. And even Hayek supported a genuine safety net. It was certainly warranted in NZ when Roger Douglas privatized a lot of government-owned departments, and many willing workers found themselves out of a job.


Any welfare programme sufficiently extensive to allow for all needy cases will always support a few freeloaders who don't really need it.

Similarly, a government powerful enough to give you everything you want would also be powerful enough to take anything it wants.


But why anyone capable of getting a job would freeload off the current labyrinthine dole system in Australia when there are plenty of jobs around that are easier work for more money is beyond me. I suspect there are more people falling through bureaucratic cracks and not getting the dole when they deserve it, than there are genuine bludgers getting it who could easily find work elsewhere.

Probably true. Those who genuinely cannot work are those less likely to cope with the bureaucracy. This is another reason to prefer private charity than an impersonal bureaucracy.


Payroll tax is an example of the sort of tax that would be abolished in my system.

Is your system published anywhere, like Nimzovich's? ;)


It also pays wed women to have babies (Howard's ridiculous baby bonus). No-one should be paid to breed.

As I said, Howard's government is not conservative enough for me. I still think they are better than the alternative though. You noted yourself that it's easier for capable workers to find a job now than work through the bureaucracy. Today's low unemployment, low interests, constant economic growth are a credit to Howard. Rudd would be unable to control Gillard and the Unions who want to run the country again.

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 04:46 PM
[Who Really Cares (http://www.arthurbrooks.net/) by Arthur Brooks]

My point with citing this is that leftists for decades have praised themselves as being more "compassionate", without the slightest empirical evidence. What usually passes for "evidence" is this: when conservatives oppose the left's favoured government programs, leftists fallaciously argue that the conservatives lack compassion for those that the program would ostensibly help. But now Brooks, although starting with a left-leaning perspective himself, found that the actual empirical data indicate that the conservatives are actually more compassionate. All leftists can do is try to explain away the data (BTW, I am not saying that KB is doing so or accusing him of being a leftist).


This doesn't surprise me at all, simply because some religious people believe that they must be charitable because they will go to Hell if they are not.

Not Christians, because the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). So they are charitable because they are saved; they are not charitable to earn salvation.


Also the conclusion that the working poor give more than welfare recipients doesn't surprise me because welfare in America is often temporary in nature, and because people on welfare may have poorer money-management skills and hence less really disposable income than the working poor.

Good point. Thomas Sowell often points out that income levels are likewise temporary (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell102204.asp), so the income "inequalities" often touted by the Left are actually the same people in different stages of their lives (i.e. 50yos usually earn more and have more assets than 20yos).


Furthermore, Brooks notes the influence of strong family structures on generosity. Most likely a person who has a strong family structure feels safer giving on the assumption that they will be helped by their family if they themselves become needy.

This is evidence in favour of strong families.


Finally as Brooks again notes many "liberals" see charity as a role for government. Those who have redistributionist views may indeed believe they are already being taxed as much as they would otherwise give away, since they believe that much of the money should come from the very rich. So there is a political conflict when they are asked to give money - they think "the government should be paying for this". (Such views are probably far too idealistic, but when it comes to explaining why different people respond differently to charity, that's beside the point.)

It does show that governments can reduce charitable giving. One of my friends lived in Sweden for several years, where there is a big government and high taxes, and noted the low level of charity there.

Conversely, Reagan's tax cuts did not result in a "decade of greed" but in a big increase in charitable giving. This is much more efficient, because there is less waste than in a government program, and the donors also have an incentive to see that their money is being used efficiently.


I'm not saying this to say that altruism is good and to defend the left for failing to display it. My own view is that altruism is an optional extra and that good political design provides for the survival of all in undemeaning conditions irrespective of the incidence of altruism,

Which is what capitalism does! Adam Smith said one was far more likely to get one's dinner from the self-interest of the butcher, baker etc. than from their charity.


and beyond that removes barriers to wealth accumulation, recognising that people will probably give more if they have more to spare, and that unnecessary coerced redirections are expensive and inefficient.

Indeed so.

pax
19-06-2007, 06:09 PM
You are wrong about Britain and Canada.

I have first hand experience of the British system. It's far from perfect, but if you need a life saving operation tomorrow, you get it.

pax
19-06-2007, 06:11 PM
I think it a very patronising approach, assuming that people don't know what is right for them. I doubt parents, having means to do so (see above) would neglect their children.

Most wouldn't do it deliberately, but it could simply be a matter of choosing to pay the rent and put food on the table over health insurance.

pax
19-06-2007, 06:18 PM
Or else, they could invent new technology that would make Telstra's obsolete. Or, if protectionism is removed, foreign companies could compete. The main thing is, consumers win in free competition.

If you know anything at all about telecomms, you would know that there is no silver bullet. That is, if you want high speed connections in every house, you have to have a cable. Wireless does not, and can not cut it (it hits theoretical limits way before).



Frankly, I don't care about the "little guy" if what you mean is an inferior business. I care about what's best for the consumers.


I don't mean inferior business, simply smaller companies and newer companies.



You are talking about so-called "predatory pricing". Yet there is no clear example of this working in practice.


Garbage. There are many examples, from failed airlines in Australia to small grocery and petrol businesses.



In addition, the competitors of a firm that engages in predatory pricing know that the predatory pricer cannot keep down their prices forever, and thus they need only play chicken in order to remain in the market.


But this is just the point. The large, established companies have the resources to play the game for longer. New players can only possibly compete if they are backed by some conglomerate from another sector.

pax
19-06-2007, 06:20 PM
Your questions could be applied to quite a lot of things. What if he squanders all his money and can't pay his rent or buy food? Should the government step in every time? Or should he learn his lesson? In any case, private charity does a far better job than an impersonal government bureaucracy.

In this particular example, "learning his lesson" involves dying of cancer. So yes, actually, the government should step in.

Capablanca-Fan
19-06-2007, 07:08 PM
If you know anything at all about telecomms, you would know that there is no silver bullet. That is, if you want high speed connections in every house, you have to have a cable.

I don't, unless people in the house concerned pay for their own.
Wireless does not, and can not cut it (it hits theoretical limits way before).


I don't mean inferior business, simply smaller companies and newer companies.

I.e. those which charge more, so are worse for consumers.


Garbage. There are many examples, from failed airlines in Australia to small grocery and petrol businesses.

Then name them, and demonstrate first that predatory pricing was involved, then demonstrate that consumers were harmed if it was.


But this is just the point. The large, established companies have the resources to play the game for longer.

Yet there is ample evidence that they can be defeated in this game, e.g. the Herbert Dow case -- and note that the attempted predatory pricer was aided and abetted by government control.


New players can only possibly compete if they are backed by some conglomerate from another sector.

You must tell that to J.K. Galbraith's favorite example of General Motors, or the US Justice Department's example of IBM, which were outcompeted by new companies. Or Smith-Corona, which had a virtual monopoly on US-made typewriters (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell063003.asp) ...

Kevin Bonham
19-06-2007, 07:30 PM
Is your system published anywhere, like Nimzovich's?

:lol: Probably is if I go back far enough, but it would be somewhere suitably obscure, like a student zine article, and in a barely recognisable style. You'll have to make do with the internet politics thread version.


You noted yourself that it's easier for capable workers to find a job now than work through the bureaucracy.

Actually that's not quite what I said. I said that it was easier for those capable of getting a job to do it, but capacity to do a job and capacity to get that job are not necessarily the same thing or even close to it.

Also, while work is not particularly scarce, many skilled workers wind up on short-term or part-time work that rates as "employment" from the government perspective, but may in fact be underemployment - in some cases severe. Things are nowhere near as rosy as the stats suggest.


Today's low unemployment, low interests, constant economic growth are a credit to Howard.

I think they are more a credit to relatively benign global conditions over the same period - and to the extent that credit should be apportioned locally, Keating deserves some of it. (As does Howard's treasurer, the guy he shows no signs of ever allowing to become PM. :lol: )


Rudd would be unable to control Gillard and the Unions who want to run the country again.

I disagree with this. If Rudd wins this election he will have massive authority to shape the country almost at will during his first term in office. He has already shown that he is willing to get stuck in when there is corrupt union behaviour going on, eg his immediate disposal of Mighell from the party.


Not Christians, because the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). So they are charitable because they are saved; they are not charitable to earn salvation.

Firstly you're again defining as "Christians" only those who agree with you on a point, whereas the study referred to would certainly not have sat its subjects down and asked them for an essay on the meaning of Eph. 2:8-9 before deciding whether to class them as Christians.

Secondly whatever the party line on why people are saved (which is obviously there just to stop secular or religiously half-hearted do-gooders making the cut no matter how altruistic they may be), any "Christian" who stopped being charitable would, on the Bible account, pretty quickly also stop being saved, so the threat is always there even if the Bible claims the threat is not the reason.

And thirdly, even though most believers don't say they do good things to avoid the risk of hellfire, their say-so is not necessarily an accurate reflection of their conscious or subconscious motives.


It does show that governments can reduce charitable giving. One of my friends lived in Sweden for several years, where there is a big government and high taxes, and noted the low level of charity there.

Conversely, Reagan's tax cuts did not result in a "decade of greed" but in a big increase in charitable giving. This is much more efficient, because there is less waste than in a government program, and the donors also have an incentive to see that their money is being used efficiently.

I would need to see figures on the extent to which charity filled the gap in the latter case, or diminished in the former, to comment on which system is really more efficient.


Which is what capitalism does!

Laissez-faire capitalism with no welfare net whatsoever does not necessarily provide for the "survival of all in undemeaning conditions".

pax
19-06-2007, 09:46 PM
I don't, unless people in the house concerned pay for their own.

Fine, but there is no network to connect to unless some company has invested 10 billion in the infrastructure. Unless you are proposiang that individual consumers pay individually for a line all the way to the exchange?

pax
19-06-2007, 10:01 PM
Then name them, and demonstrate first that predatory pricing was involved, then demonstrate that consumers were harmed if it was.

Predatory pricing was involved in the demise of compass and impulse. Consumers were hurt to the extent that prices went back up again immediately after the companies went bust.

This is a more recent discussion of predatory pricing in the airline industry.
http://tpareview.treasury.gov.au/content/subs/159_Submission_VirginBlue.pdf

Telstra and broadband supply was a classic example. As both a wholesale and a retail supplier, it engaged in predatory pricing by selling retail at *lower* than it was selling the same connections as wholesale. It would have hurt consumers by eliminating all the competition in the broadband sector if the ACCC hadn't stepped in.

Capablanca-Fan
20-06-2007, 12:17 AM
Fine, but there is no network to connect to unless some company has invested 10 billion in the infrastructure. Unless you are proposiang that individual consumers pay individually for a line all the way to the exchange?

No, that there will be an incentive for a company to build the most cost-effective line they can if they will profit from it.

Governments getting involved will more likely result in political favoritism rather than the best deal for consumers.

Capablanca-Fan
20-06-2007, 12:36 AM
Predatory pricing was involved in the demise of compass and impulse. Consumers were hurt to the extent that prices went back up again immediately after the companies went bust.

They would have to go up quite a lot to counterbalance the benefits of consumers' proven massive savings while "predatory pricing" was going on. Meanwhile the "predatory pricer" is taking a great risk, greater because they have a larger volume that is discounted. And there is no guarantee that the equipment of the busted company can't be bought by a new competitor.


This is a more recent discussion of predatory pricing in the airline industry.
http://tpareview.treasury.gov.au/content/subs/159_Submission_VirginBlue.pdf

Very self-serving, proving my point that it's businesses who can't compete who whinge about "predatory pricing", not consumers. And the article had to admit that "the Supreme Court has said that predation rarely occurs and is even more rarely successful", then try to explain it away. Then "While consumers benefit from the short period of price discounting following new entry, they are worse off over the long term due to the lack of sustained competition." The first part is empirically verifiable, but the second part is just what Thomas Sowell said: trying to punish a company for something they might do in the future. The article even admits that new airlines bought the equipment of the defunct ones, and thus re-introduced competition.

Since it was Virgin Blue submitting this article, they were unlikely to admit that the real reason for difficulties of airlines is that airlines are an intrinsically money-losing proposition. That's why Warren Buffett jokes about a help-line he will call if he gets the urge to buy airline shares, and the joke Igor relayed about how to become a millionaire.


Telstra and broadband supply was a classic example. As both a wholesale and a retail supplier, it engaged in predatory pricing by selling retail at *lower* than it was selling the same connections as wholesale. It would have hurt consumers by eliminating all the competition in the broadband sector if the ACCC hadn't stepped in.

How do you know that consumers would have been hurt? The ACCC is an expensive economically-ignorant taxpayer-funded bureaucracy that has interfered with the free market, and hurt consumer choice, because of a mistaken understanding of "competition" (as shown by Sowell and others).

It's absurd: a company charges more than a bureaucrat decrees is "fair", and it's "price-gouging"; when it charges less, it's "predatory pricing". But in pax's socialist world, consumers must be protected from themselves.

Capablanca-Fan
20-06-2007, 12:43 AM
:lol: Probably is if I go back far enough, but it would be somewhere suitably obscure, like a student zine article, and in a barely recognisable style. You'll have to make do with the internet politics thread version.

OK then. Good that you oppose payroll taxes anyway. Do you have a summary of what taxes you'd support and what you'd expunge?


I think they are more a credit to relatively benign global conditions over the same period - and to the extent that credit should be apportioned locally, Keating deserves some of it. (As does Howard's treasurer, the guy he shows no signs of ever allowing to become PM. :lol: )

And I agree about Keating. I am by no means a Liberal ideologue who gives no credit to Labor when due. Hawke/Keating were far better than Fraser, who lasted so long merely because he was the anti-Whitlam.


I disagree with this. If Rudd wins this election he will have massive authority to shape the country almost at will during his first term in office. He has already shown that he is willing to get stuck in when there is corrupt union behaviour going on, eg his immediate disposal of Mighell from the party.

That was definitely to his credit. But the Left wing of his party will want their cut of the action, and I am not prepared to risk that by voting for them.


Firstly you're again defining as "Christians" only those who agree with you on a point, whereas the study referred to would certainly not have sat its subjects down and asked them for an essay on the meaning of Eph. 2:8-9 before deciding whether to class them as Christians.

You were the one who brought up the supposed fear of Hell as a possible motivation, and I pointed out that this was misplaced when it came to biblical Christians (which is a pleonasm).


I would need to see figures on the extent to which charity filled the gap in the latter case, or diminished in the former, to comment on which system is really more efficient.

Really? Government programs are notorious for waste, because bureaucrats have entirely different incentives from private donors.


Laissez-faire capitalism with no welfare net whatsoever does not necessarily provide for the "survival of all in undemeaning conditions".

I don't know who advocates this. Hayek was well known for supporting a safety net.

Kevin Bonham
20-06-2007, 01:21 AM
OK then. Good that you oppose payroll taxes anyway. Do you have a summary of what taxes you'd support and what you'd expunge?

Ideally I'd get rid of all taxes except for income tax set at what I considered appropriate levels. Not being an expert on tax enforcement I have no real idea how many compromises might need to be made to this aim. But to the extent that any other taxes were imposed that would be the aim: to effect sufficient redistribution from the at-least-reasonably-well-off to support a solid basic welfare net.

I also mentioned before on this board that I don't think people should pay income tax on their first say $15K. (Actually I tried $20K but someone suggested that, say, 5% on the first $5K beyond $15K was unlikely to bankrupt anyone.) I think it's quite amazing that there are people on the dole or on student allowance who are paying income tax out of a government benefit.


That was definitely to his credit. But the Left wing of his party will want their cut of the action, and I am not prepared to risk that by voting for them.

I'm sure they'll want it. But he will always be able to ask them "how much do you want to stay in government?"

I do think that unionism is an area where Labor is extremely vulnerable to scare campaigns, some of which may contain grains of truth. In a piece written just after the 2004 election I said that Labor should forget debates about whether unions had 60% or 50% say in the party and start debates about whether it should be 20% or zero.


You were the one who brought up the supposed fear of Hell as a possible motivation, and I pointed out that this was misplaced when it came to biblical Christians (which is a pleonasm).

Nothing to addd to my comments above on this.


Really? Government programs are notorious for waste, because bureaucrats have entirely different incentives from private donors.

No argument about the waste issue, but I'd want to know what total money value of aid was being distributed after the waste by the government and by private sources in each system. eg If tax cuts result in cuts in government welfare but also in a richer economy, do people contribute enough extra to charity in that richer economy to fully compensate for the cuts in welfare?


I don't know who advocates this. Hayek was well known for supporting a safety net.

Rand was totally opposed to it - in her view the state should provide only the police, the military and the courts.

ER
20-06-2007, 01:26 AM
Rand was totally opposed to it - in her view the state should provide only the police, the military and the courts.

Anything about psychiatric institutions? :)
Cheers and good luck!

Capablanca-Fan
20-06-2007, 02:58 AM
Ideally I'd get rid of all taxes except for income tax set at what I considered appropriate levels. Not being an expert on tax enforcement I have no real idea how many compromises might need to be made to this aim. But to the extent that any other taxes were imposed that would be the aim: to effect sufficient redistribution from the at-least-reasonably-well-off to support a solid basic welfare net.

That is a lot better than what we have now. I would go further and favour a simple flat income tax, which could probably be filled out on a post card. This would also avoid so much wasted time ploughing through tax forms so complex that many people now need accountants to help them. Note also, JFK, Reagan and GWB showed that cutting tax rates could increase the total tax revenue (cf. Arthur Laffer's curve), so even a "solid basic welfare net" could be supported.


I also mentioned before on this board that I don't think people should pay income tax on their first say $15K.

A tax-free threshold is common proposal among flat-tax proponents too.


(Actually I tried $20K but someone suggested that, say, 5% on the first $5K beyond $15K was unlikely to bankrupt anyone.) I think it's quite amazing that there are people on the dole or on student allowance who are paying income tax out of a government benefit.

That's crass.


I'm sure they'll want it. But he will always be able to ask them "how much do you want to stay in government?"

And they will reply, "what's the point of being in government if we can't implement our policies?"


I do think that unionism is an area where Labor is extremely vulnerable to scare campaigns, some of which may contain grains of truth. In a piece written just after the 2004 election I said that Labor should forget debates about whether unions had 60% or 50% say in the party and start debates about whether it should be 20% or zero.

Good thought.

Igor_Goldenberg
20-06-2007, 09:54 AM
Rand was totally opposed to it - in her view the state should provide only the police, the military and the courts.
In ideal state - maybe, but we know that ideal state does not exist. This model would still have higher level of sustainability that socialism.

On the safety net:
First we have a direct redistribution of money through Centrelink.
Secondly, we have so called "services" provided by the government. In a nutshell, government collects money from us and pay this money to a 3rd party to provide us some service. That 3rd party is a beneficiary, everyone else loses. To disguise this fact, it is combined with redistribution (it is payed from taxes that vary from person to person, thus benefiting people who pay low or no tax).

If government levied everyone $1000 (irrespectably of how much we earn, or earn at all), and from that amount provided Medicare, nobody would vote for it.
If government gave everyone $1000 (on top of whatever welfare they receive or tax pay), then compulsory acquire $1000 from everyone to provide Medicare, most of us would object to the second part.
So a clever government disquise it by funding Medicare from taxes, thus combining subcidy and redistribution in one package.

Same applies to education and other industries that receive government subcidies.

I don't object much to a redistribution system, especially bearing in mind that Australian system is well targeted and effective in comparison to other countries.

But the subcidy component (which is nothing but corporate welfare) can be abolished outright with a great benefit to everyone.

Igor_Goldenberg
20-06-2007, 10:01 AM
Most wouldn't do it deliberately, but it could simply be a matter of choosing to pay the rent and put food on the table over health insurance.

On my arrival to Australia I spent some time as a welfare recipient. It was more then enough to pay the rent and put food on the table (and even buy a table!).
If on top of that I received the amount equal to the cost of medical insurance in the abcence of Medicare, I would be able to buy a medical insurance.

Kevin Bonham
20-06-2007, 04:05 PM
Anything about psychiatric institutions? :)

Good question. I'm not sure what Rand's view on that was; I suspect that if pressed she would have accepted the incarceration of the dangerously mentally ill as a state duty.

(By the way I am not a Rand fan although I agree with her on a number of things. I do, however, regard her views as the essence of true pure capitalist political philosophy, with versions that incorporate a safety net all representing a (justified IMO) degree of watering-down.)

Something I didn't cover in my comments on taxes was the issue of levies for specific activities (eg taxes on activities that pollute to cover the expected costs of remedial action.) I am not necessarily opposed to these but they need to be matched to the costs of specific activities and not applied for other reasons.


That is a lot better than what we have now. I would go further and favour a simple flat income tax, which could probably be filled out on a post card. This would also avoid so much wasted time ploughing through tax forms so complex that many people now need accountants to help them.

I am not in favour of taxing the poor at any rate (and this includes via GST). Beyond that I would be prepared to consider arguments for and against a flat income tax kicking in at a certain level.


And they will reply, "what's the point of being in government if we can't implement our policies?"

Yes, but the Left is desperate, and will easily settle for not very much.

In Tassie we have a very successful Labor government that is somewhat "right of centre" economically. Any time the Left kicks up a fuss, the other factions just tell it to go jump. A small number of Left diehards quit the party and support the Greens now and then, but not enough to make any difference.


On my arrival to Australia I spent some time as a welfare recipient. It was more then enough to pay the rent and put food on the table (and even buy a table!).

Yes, I don't think the amount of unemployment benefit paid in Australia is that bad - it is possible to live off it in a small flat with a modest lifestyle at least outside of certain areas - my concern with it is that the conditions placed on it these days are incredibly onerous and often based on jumping through artificial hoops (people are forced to apply for jobs they have no chance of getting). It will be very interesting to see how Labor reform the system if they get in, but I don't expect them to make much noise about this in the lead-up to the election as it is a vote-loser.

Capablanca-Fan
20-06-2007, 11:51 PM
I think KB is right about the bureaucratic hoops for Australia's welfare applicants, which seem to be more about reducing their dignity and appeasing those who would denounce all of them as "dole bludgers".

All the same, one problem with the welfare state I mentioned before: creating a poverty trap. If it is better financially to live off government benefits than with the wages in some jobs, then why seek work at all?

Dr Nancy Pearcey points out:


“Though welfare had done some good for those who needed only a temporary boost to get back on the feet, it had also created a permanent underclass – the chronically poor, whose poverty was related to social pathologies such as alcohol addiction, drug abuse, fatherless homes, and crime…

In fact, government aid can actually make things worse. By handing out welfare checks impersonally to all who qualify, without addressing the underlying behavioural problems, the government in essence ‘rewards’ antisocial and dysfunctional patterns. And any behaviour the government rewards will generally tend to increase.

As one perceptive nineteenth century critic noted, government assistance is a ‘might solvent to sunder the ties of kinship, to quench the affections of family, to suppress in the poor themselves the instinct of self-reliance and self-respect – to convert them into paupers”.


And see Dr Theodore Dalrymple's book Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass (http://www.manhattan-institute.org/life/) for the horrific problems of the permanent poor he sees created by the British welfare state. He argues "that long-term poverty is caused not by economics but by a dysfunctional set of values, one that is continually reinforced by an elite culture searching for victims."

Kevin Bonham
21-06-2007, 12:30 AM
All the same, one problem with the welfare state I mentioned before: creating a poverty trap. If it is better financially to live off government benefits than with the wages in some jobs, then why seek work at all?

But what sort of escape from the poverty trap is a job that pays less than the dole? Such jobs are frequently dead-end low-skill efforts that swap one poverty trap (the dole) for another (working poverty). Working poverty can be especially hard to escape since a person stuck in it can be too busy working to break out of it.


“Though welfare had done some good for those who needed only a temporary boost to get back on the feet, it had also created a permanent underclass – the chronically poor, whose poverty was related to social pathologies such as alcohol addiction, drug abuse, fatherless homes, and crime…

I find it highly dubious that welfare itself creates this underclass. It would exist anyway, those with jobs remaining chronically poor because of the costs of feeding their habits, and those without either turning to crime (perhaps more readily), relying on charity or begging (again no solution) or else succumbing.

I know people on high five-figure salaries who are "poor" because of their addictions.


In fact, government aid can actually make things worse. By handing out welfare checks impersonally to all who qualify, without addressing the underlying behavioural problems, the government in essence ‘rewards’ antisocial and dysfunctional patterns. And any behaviour the government rewards will generally tend to increase.

I'm not sure that necessarily follows either. It would be necessary to consider to what extent "behavioural problems" existed independent of social structure and to what extent they were caused by it - if a society without adequate welfare leads to greater economic desperation then it may cause these problems to be more likely to emerge in the first place.

(Incidentally while I'm not an expert in these areas, neither is Dr Pearcey - in fact with her PhD in philosophy and undergrad in philosophy, German and music she appears to be even less qualified than me!)


As one perceptive nineteenth century critic noted, government assistance is a ‘might solvent to sunder the ties of kinship, to quench the affections of family, to suppress in the poor themselves the instinct of self-reliance and self-respect – to convert them into paupers”.

Quenching the affections of some families is far from a bad thing. A person is better off alone and on welfare than in a really bad family environment.


He argues "that long-term poverty is caused not by economics but by a dysfunctional set of values, one that is continually reinforced by an elite culture searching for victims."

The elite culture bit is interesting but I would be curious to hear of any economic system that has really eliminated long-term poverty through any non-fatal and non-incarcerative method.

pax
21-06-2007, 09:42 AM
You must tell that to J.K. Galbraith's favorite example of General Motors, or the US Justice Department's example of IBM, which were outcompeted by new companies. Or Smith-Corona, which had a virtual monopoly on US-made typewriters (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell063003.asp) ...

All very good examples of small players becoming big players in manufacturing industries. The conversation, if you recall, was about telecommunications, power, transport and other infrastructure businesses where the initial capital outlay required is several orders of magnitude higher.

Igor_Goldenberg
21-06-2007, 10:01 AM
But what sort of escape from the poverty trap is a job that pays less than the dole? Such jobs are frequently dead-end low-skill efforts that swap one poverty trap (the dole) for another (working poverty).If welfare (and tax) has a flat structure and effective marginal tax rate is lower (I prefer flat rate no more then 30%), then welfare is not such a poverty trap.
Working poverty can be especially hard to escape since a person stuck in it can be too busy working to break out of it.Full time job is not likely to be on the poverty line, amd part-time job leaves time for skill improvement and searching for a better job. As far as empirical evidence goes, Clinton's welfare reform in 90-s was a huge success (despite initial scare compaing by doom-sayers)

I find it highly dubious that welfare itself creates this underclass. It doesn't. It just makes it bigger.

pax
21-06-2007, 10:07 AM
If welfare (and tax) has a flat structure and effective marginal tax rate is lower (I prefer flat rate no more then 30%), then welfare is not such a poverty trap.

Whether tax is flat or not has little to do with it, since someone coming off welfare is extremely unlikely to be above the lowest tax band. What does make a difference is a decent minimum wage and a decent tax free threshold (paying tax below welfare income levels is absolutely crazy).

Igor_Goldenberg
21-06-2007, 12:47 PM
Whether tax is flat or not has little to do with it, since someone coming off welfare is extremely unlikely to be above the lowest tax band. What does make a difference is a decent minimum wage and a decent tax free threshold (paying tax below welfare income levels is absolutely crazy).
effective marginal tax rate means combination of tax, welfare reduction and whatever else that defines how much your net income increases with gross income increase.
If you lose 30c in welfare, 20c in rent assistance and pay 15c in tax for a dollar earned, your EMTR is 65%
And yes, tax-free threshold below welfare level is a joke.

pax
21-06-2007, 03:05 PM
effective marginal tax rate means combination of tax, welfare reduction and whatever else that defines how much your net income increases with gross income increase.
If you lose 30c in welfare, 20c in rent assistance and pay 15c in tax for a dollar earned, your EMTR is 65%
And yes, tax-free threshold below welfare level is a joke.

I totally agree, but doesn't this suggest that a non-flat welfare structure is better?

Igor_Goldenberg
21-06-2007, 04:09 PM
I totally agree, but doesn't this suggest that a non-flat welfare structure is better?
I am not sure what you mean by "non-flat welfare structure"?
One way to approach tax/welfare (and EMTR)it is to view welfare as a "negative" tax. Suppose if you earn 30K the tax is zero. If you earn less, you get 30% of the difference as welfare, if you earn more - pay 30% of the difference.
In this case your EMTR is always 30%.
Currently it's much higher almost for everyone, especially for those on welfare/lower income.

The actual numbers might be different, of cource.

MichaelBaron
21-06-2007, 04:13 PM
I have not touched the Expenditure reports on the Aus Budget for some years now, but I can recall working with them in the mid 90s.

At the time, a significant share of the taxes was going towards "dubious causes". Some of the government-funded projects that i had to look at....I wish i would never found out about :). It made me feel extremely negative about paying my taxes.

I feel that revenue generation and the tax structure and rates is only part of othe problem. An even more significan issue is "How should the government distribute its tax revenue between the different articles within the budget". I am not quite sure that higher taxes will neccessarily lead to improvements in social wealfare or that lower taxes are going to impact our social benefits that much.

Capablanca-Fan
21-06-2007, 05:17 PM
If welfare (and tax) has a flat structure and effective marginal tax rate is lower (I prefer flat rate no more then 30%), then welfare is not such a poverty trap.

Yeah, 25-30% is good, with a tax-free threshold. And if company tax was at the same level, it would be fair to declare all franked dividends tax-free. So again the tax return would be far simpler, and avoid this enormously unproductive and time-wasting activity of wading through the ATO forms, or paying an accountant to do so.


Full time job is not likely to be on the poverty line, amd part-time job leaves time for skill improvement and searching for a better job.

Good point. Most minimum-wage jobs these days are not held by breadwinners, but young people starting out in work. And most of these workers do not stay on minimum wages for long. Even these jobs provide important skills, such as following instructions, pleasing customers, showing up on time, which are transferable skills to higher-paying jobs.

Raising the minimum wage sounds so caring, and good intentions is all the Left think about. But conservatives care about the incentives and results of a policy, and again, opposing a policy does not entail lack of care for those whom the policy will ostensibly help. The problem is that minimum wage laws will not result in workers being as productive as this decreed wage, and more importantly, can't force employers to hire workers who are less productive than this minimum. It's a basic principle of economics, a corollary of the law of supply and demand: if the price is set higher than the market will pay, then there will be surpluses of unwanted goods. In this case, the "good" is labour, and a surplus of unwanted labour is generally called unemployment.

Therefore, minimum wage laws and welfare poverty caps can't help but result in unemployment.

For pragmatic reasons, I supported welfare in NZ during the Rogernomics and Ruthanasia reforms. Too many people used to a government job for life saw their positions being made redundant. And since it was the government who caused the mess in the first place with the expansive public service, it was the government who owed it to those messed up by their flawed policies and the necessary (but probably unnecessarilyfast) restructuring to fix them.


As far as empirical evidence goes, Clinton's welfare reform in 90-s was a huge success (despite initial scare compaing by doom-sayers).

Correction: it was the reform of the Republican Congress, which Clinton fought until he could no longer, and now he takes the credit for it.

Capablanca-Fan
21-06-2007, 05:35 PM
A Government of Idiots? (http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=11473)
By Hal G.P. Colebatch
American Spectator
22/5/2007

Argues that the present government has been very good for Australia, with growing prosperity (giving some credit to the economic skills of Hawke/Keatin). But the loony Left in Labor, including many fans of the Venezuelan dictator Chavez, would likely ruin it. Indeed, the Deputy Leader Gillard and shadow treasurer Tanner are from the Left. Even Rudd himself is economically illiterate, calling himself a "Christian socialist" (an oxymoron). Queenslanders thirsting in the drought would not forget that Rudd was also the one who canned the Wolfdene Dam project (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21002760-7583,00.html)which would have caught much of the rain that falls here.

pax
21-06-2007, 05:45 PM
Therefore, minimum wage laws and welfare poverty caps can't help but result in unemployment.

The current evidence in Australia doesn't back this up at all. We have a relatively strong minimum wage and fairly substantial welfare and unemployment is at record lows...

Kevin Bonham
21-06-2007, 06:42 PM
A Government of Idiots? (http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=11473)
By Hal G.P. Colebatch
American Spectator
22/5/2007

The piece makes some valid points amid all the blatant pro-Howard gushing. I criticised Rudd's attempts to compare Howard with Hayek at the time (especially as Howard is not consistently committed to free-market capitalism anyway) and there is a ring of student-politics style tryhard leftism about that kind of attack by Rudd.

And yes, Whitlam was in many respects a poor PM whose deification by his own party defies rational understanding. But many might have expected Hawke's government to be economically dubious on the grounds of his union roots; for the most part it was not so bad and it was certainly better than the Fraser one that preceded it.


Queenslanders thirsting in the drought would not forget that Rudd was also the one who canned the Wolfdene Dam project (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21002760-7583,00.html)which would have caught much of the rain that falls here.

That kind of project kill-of is present and common on both sides of politics, eg the recent EPBC wind farm refusals triggered by present but extremely low risks to orange-bellied parrots.

Capablanca-Fan
21-06-2007, 07:09 PM
The piece makes some valid points amid all the blatant pro-Howard gushing. I criticised Rudd's attempts to compare Howard with Hayek at the time (especially as Howard is not consistently committed to free-market capitalism anyway) and there is a ring of student-politics style tryhard leftism about that kind of attack by Rudd.

That's interesting. And that Hayek also supported a safety net. This Howard-gushing commentator wondered whether Rudd confused him with Rand, who as you pointed out, didn't believe in one.


And yes, Whitlam was in many respects a poor PM whose deification by his own party defies rational understanding. But many might have expected Hawke's government to be economically dubious on the grounds of his union roots; for the most part it was not so bad and it was certainly better than the Fraser one that preceded it.

I totally agree. Fraser lasted as long as Whitlam was the only alternative, but really they were not much different. And wasn't Hawke a lawyer for the unions as opposed to a trade unionist himself?


That kind of project kill-of is present and common on both sides of politics, eg the recent EPBC wind farm refusals triggered by present but extremely low risks to orange-bellied parrots.

What, greenies don't even want green power? I wonder about wind farms though; they seem like a very expensive source of electricity.

Capablanca-Fan
21-06-2007, 07:10 PM
The current evidence in Australia doesn't back this up at all. We have a relatively strong minimum wage and fairly substantial welfare and unemployment is at record lows...

Of course, nothing to do with Howard's employment law changes ...

Kevin Bonham
21-06-2007, 07:43 PM
That's interesting. And that Hayek also supported a safety net. This Howard-gushing commentator wondered whether Rudd confused him with Rand, who as you pointed out, didn't believe in one.

Quite possible - if so Rudd is still off mark as Rand is even less like Howard than Hayek is.


And wasn't Hawke a lawyer for the unions as opposed to a trade unionist himself?

Hawke was the president of the ACTU! You don't get much more unionist than that!


What, greenies don't even want green power?

Dams aren't really "green power" because they involve inundating land and changing freshwater ecosystems, which can easily cause extinctions (eg - albeit an extreme case - some of the species recorded from Lake Pedder prior to its damming have not been recorded since, and one fish is now extinct in the wild from there and only surviving in captive and translocated populations.)

I'm not sure how much green agitation there was over the windfarms. Bureaucrats will often jump in on behalf of very low-probability risks without needing green activists to lift a finger. There was also some belief the Minister may have had his own motives for quashing the project.

Kevin Bonham
21-06-2007, 07:45 PM
Of course, nothing to do with Howard's employment law changes ...

I suspect Howard does deserve some credit for red-tape cutting in this area. But favourable global conditions and the casualisation of the workforce (producing hidden underemployment) are also factors to be considered.

pax
21-06-2007, 09:47 PM
Of course, nothing to do with Howard's employment law changes ...

Not the recent ones, no..

pax
21-06-2007, 09:49 PM
That kind of project kill-of is present and common on both sides of politics, eg the recent EPBC wind farm refusals triggered by present but extremely low risks to orange-bellied parrots.

I thought that the wind-farm kill offs were Campbell's ministerial discretion, and nothing to do with EPBC?

Kevin Bonham
21-06-2007, 10:42 PM
I thought that the wind-farm kill offs were Campbell's ministerial discretion, and nothing to do with EPBC?

He used the Act to justify killing them off, essentially.

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 08:21 AM
Kevin, have you ever considered running for political office yourself?

pax
22-06-2007, 08:23 AM
He used the Act to justify killing them off, essentially.
Yes, despite no recommendations to that effect from conservation bodies..

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 08:26 AM
Not the recent ones, no..
Interesting how Howard's detractors explain away today's low unemployment, but will use this same low unemployment to justify the poverty trap of minimum wage laws and welfare.

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 08:32 AM
All very good examples of small players becoming big players in manufacturing industries

And good examples of supposed monopolies crumbling under innovative companies.


The conversation, if you recall, was about telecommunications, power, transport and other infrastructure businesses where the initial capital outlay required is several orders of magnitude higher.

A question of degree, that's all. Look at the current private equity plays on even Qantas, which has a huge capital cost for its operations.

Government monopolies on telecommunications have been tried, and they are pathetic. Long waits for a new telephone are not too distant memories. Government-run transport is often inefficient and a drain on taxpayers.

pax
22-06-2007, 09:54 AM
Interesting how Howard's detractors explain away today's low unemployment, but will use this same low unemployment to justify the poverty trap of minimum wage laws and welfare.

Interesting how opponents of minimum wage laws explain away today's low unemployment, but still try to claim that minimum wage laws and welfare inevitably cause unemployment.

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 09:55 AM
I have not touched the Expenditure reports on the Aus Budget for some years now, but I can recall working with them in the mid 90s.

At the time, a significant share of the taxes was going towards "dubious causes". Some of the government-funded projects that i had to look at....I wish i would never found out about :). It made me feel extremely negative about paying my taxes.


The amount of government waste is staggering. And it is not because we have bad government. I am sure Australian government (and I am not referring to current Howard governemnt, but also to the government of the past, with, maybe, few exceptions) is much more efficient that most of the other countries. It is dictated by the nature government. The only solution (which is still partial) is to reduce the government revenue. It can be done by abolishing most unproductive taxes (on the other hand, productive tax is an oxymoron) and reducing rates on a more reasonable taxes.

Some might argue that excessive expenditure of 90s was due to Labour government, but it would be a red herring. Coalition at one point in time reached a record level of taxes collected/GDP ratio, thus proving to be a big spender as well.


I am not quite sure that higher taxes will neccessarily lead to improvements in social wealfare or that lower taxes are going to impact our social benefits that much.
Very good point. I am sure it won't.

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 03:13 PM
Kevin, have you ever considered running for political office yourself?

What, apart from the ACF? :D

My career as a political candidate consists solely of a narrowly failed "joke candidate" bid for the now-abolished Tasmania University Union position of International Solidarity Officer in late 2001.

This position had been proposed by "socialist youth organisation" Resistance, who intended to use it as a way of abusing union funding to build links with resistance movements (read: semi-terrorist thugs) overseas (same thing that killed the old AUS in the 80s). Unfortunately because uni students are generally gullible twits who say "yes" to any idealistic notion put before them, and they didn't realise it was a Resistance motion, the motion passed and the position was created.

I therefore ran for the position (complete with fluoro pink pamphlets) on a platform that if elected I would use the position to vote against everything Resistance stood for, campaign against Resistance, send letters of support to multinational companies (etc) and having had a year of fun at Resistance's expense I would then have the position abolished.

I was looking forward to fighting the Resistance candidate and I certainly would have thrashed them. Alas, Resistance were too disorganised to find a candidate for the position they themselves had created and I ended up up against a couple of closet Young Liberals who had been beaten in the main election and were trying to win this one not because they cared about "international solidarity" but as a way to get back onto the SRC. This made almost as big a joke of the position as I would have and took the wind out of the sails of my campaign.

Nonetheless I persisted, beating one of them and losing on preferences by 20 votes (out of about 400) to the other. As Hunter S Thompson once noted following a similar defeat, "I'd probably still be in jail if I had won."

Beyond that - I wouldn't rule out local council at some stage in the distant future (my mother was deputy mayor and I couldn't possibly be worse than some of the dingbats who get in there at present) but state or federal office - forget it. Not only would my antipathy to all existing parties make me unelectable but my philosophical views both past and present would make me the easiest person on earth to run an effective scare campaign against.

I am, however, open to being drafted to contest the presidency of the United States in 2008. :D

Basil
22-06-2007, 03:20 PM
A most enjoyable post.

MichaelBaron
22-06-2007, 03:23 PM
Kevin, have you ever considered running for political office yourself?

Running for a political office involves joining either Lib or Labour party. I doubt if an individual could have a realistic "go" at any elections other than local council elections.:lol:

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 07:25 PM
Running for a political office involves joining either Lib or Labour party.

Or, in my state, Green - but I think I have burnt all bridges with them permanently! :D


I doubt if an individual could have a realistic "go" at any elections other than local council elections.:lol:

Well, there's always the Tasmanian Legislative Council! (10 of 15 independent, although one of those is ex-ALP and many of the others are closet Liberals). Actually since I support its abolition, I'd hardly be a likely candidate for it either.

It is easier for independents to get elected in Australia than is often assumed. There are currently sitting independents in every lower house (including federal) except Tasmania and ACT. In several states they are over 5% of the total.

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 07:44 PM
Thanx for the reply.


I am, however, open to being drafted to contest the presidency of the United States in 2008. :D

Were you born in America then? ;)

Capablanca-Fan
22-06-2007, 07:47 PM
It can be done by abolishing most unproductive taxes (on the other hand, productive tax is an oxymoron) and reducing rates on a more reasonable taxes.

Payroll tax must be the most ridiculous of them, a fine on employing someone!


Some might argue that excessive expenditure of 90s was due to Labour government, but it would be a red herring. Coalition at one point in time reached a record level of taxes collected/GDP ratio, thus proving to be a big spender as well.

You are probably right, but would you please elaborate. There is a difference between tax rates and tax revenues. Reducing tax rates has often resulted in increased tax revenues.

Kevin Bonham
22-06-2007, 08:41 PM
Were you born in America then? ;)

No, but my brother was!

(They'd have to change the Constitution I suppose, and that takes time. Ah well, there's always 2012.)

Igor_Goldenberg
22-06-2007, 10:05 PM
Payroll tax must be the most ridiculous of them, a fine on employing someone!
I also view it the most harmful, even though it's nature is not much different from the income tax

You are probably right, but would you please elaborate. There is a difference between tax rates and tax revenues. Reducing tax rates has often resulted in increased tax revenues.I was talking about the percentage of GDP collected as tax, not an absolute amount. It means that most of the tax cuts just repelled the effect of bracket creep.
I am not sure that Labour would fare better, though.

Capablanca-Fan
23-06-2007, 02:17 AM
It means that most of the tax cuts just repelled the effect of bracket creep.
I am not sure that Labour would fare better, though.

Yes, bracket creep is insidious, and IIRC what Reagan called taxation without legislation. Flat tax eliminates this evil, which is probably one reason our political masters won't try it, despite its success in many countries formerly under the Communist yoke. I think only the Australian Democrats take bracket creep as a problem, but that lot are on the way out, deservedly.

pax
23-06-2007, 08:05 AM
Yes, bracket creep is insidious, and IIRC what Reagan called taxation without legislation. Flat tax eliminates this evil, which is probably one reason our political masters won't try it, despite its success in many countries formerly under the Communist yoke. I think only the Australian Democrats take bracket creep as a problem, but that lot are on the way out, deservedly.

To be fair, Costello has addressed bracket creep at the top end with substantial increases in the top two thresholds. The tax-free threshold however remains at a ludicrous $6000.

Capablanca-Fan
23-06-2007, 10:25 AM
To be fair, Costello has addressed bracket creep at the top end with substantial increases in the top two thresholds. The tax-free threshold however remains at a ludicrous $6000.

I agree, actually. And our superannuation scheme is miles ahead of America's absurd pyramid scheme they call "social security".

Igor_Goldenberg
23-06-2007, 10:43 PM
To be fair, Costello has addressed bracket creep at the top end with substantial increases in the top two thresholds. The tax-free threshold however remains at a ludicrous $6000.
6000 tax free threshold is indeed ridiculous.
Costello just lessened the problem created by the government. The brackets can at least be automatically indexed, but in this case politicians won't be able to take credit for tax reduction.

pax
24-06-2007, 07:51 AM
6000 tax free threshold is indeed ridiculous.
Costello just lessened the problem created by the government. The brackets can at least be automatically indexed, but in this case politicians won't be able to take credit for tax reduction.

The effective tax-free threshold for low-incomes is actually a bit higher, due to the low-income tax offset. But that just makes this crazy extra level of complexity that is completely unnecessary.

Capablanca-Fan
24-06-2007, 11:33 AM
The effective tax-free threshold for low-incomes is actually a bit higher, due to the low-income tax offset. But that just makes this crazy extra level of complexity that is completely unnecessary.

Agreed. IIRC one top judge called our current tax laws a "disgrace" because the Tax Code is longer than the Sydney telephone book. They should be replaced by a flat-rate tax of 25-30% for both individuals and companies, with a tax-free threshold of at least $10k. It is likely that the booming economies of the Baltic and many Eastern European countries is due to their simple tax system that results in less time-wasting on compliance with the complex forms, and less incentive for tax avoidance. Also, there would be much less need for taxpayers to support the huge ATO bureaucuracy, because with a simpler system, it could be greatly reduced.

Of course, politicians would not like it, because it would reduce their power to punish and reward through the tax system.

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 10:09 PM
Don't forget that many lefties would happily put a label "right-wing" to anything they don't like. For example, Hitler and Pauline Hanson were labelled as a right wing while they were socialist (of extreme kind) with nationalistic streak.

Yeah? Well convince me. Name some of those lefties who do that labelling.:hand:

cheers Fg7

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 10:12 PM
Fascism is one extreme form of socialism.

A ridiculous assertion.

cheers fg7

firegoat7
01-07-2007, 10:22 PM
OK, I am using capitalism to mean free market, where the government does not interfere in the buying and selling of goods and labour between genuinely free agents.

This definition is not good enough. Capitalism is not 'free market'. Capitalism is not exchange of goods. All societies exchange goods.:hand:

Capitalism is a very real system of living that has been dated historically and continues to operate now.

According to your logic, Judas would be justified in selling Jesus Christ to the Romans because he was a genuine 'free agent' taking advantage of his capitalist position.


Of course who is a genuine 'free agent' anyway. You make it sound like people have a choice with their life circumstances. :wall:

cheers Fg7

Capablanca-Fan
02-07-2007, 12:31 AM
This definition is not good enough. Capitalism is not 'free market'. Capitalism is not exchange of goods. All societies exchange goods.:hand:

But not all do so at a price freely agreed upon.


Capitalism is a very real system of living that has been dated historically and continues to operate now.

And it has produced the most prosperous economies in history. What would you prefer? The equality of poverty produced by socialism?


According to your logic, Judas would be justified in selling Jesus Christ to the Romans because he was a genuine 'free agent' taking advantage of his capitalist position.

You are merely a misologist. How can capturing someone have anything to to do with freedom for the capturee?


Of course who is a genuine 'free agent' anyway. You make it sound like people have a choice with their life circumstances. :wall:

You make it sound like we are the victims of cold determinism, which only the elite can rescue us from by government control of our lives.

Capablanca-Fan
02-07-2007, 12:33 AM
Fascism is one extreme form of socialism.


A ridiculous assertion.

Try looking at Mussolini's background as one of Italy's leading socialists.

MichaelBaron
03-07-2007, 12:57 PM
"Fashism is an extreme form of socialism" emm...:hmm: Despite being a life-long anti-socialist, I do not accept this definition.

1) Socialism (in its pure form) is an economic model while Fashism is a socio-economic model.

2) Socialism (again in theory anyway) is aimed at establishing a society of equal opportunities where there resources and fruits of labour are distributed more or less equally. Fashism is based on the dominance of the "Elite" over the rest of the population.

3) Socialism can be non-violent and humane. In fact, Socialist goals and objectives are in some ways similar to the proclaimations of the Bible, Koran etc. Fashism is based on the concept of "survival of the fittest"

4) From its early days (See Hitler's book "Mine Kampf") Fashism was based on the concept of a force-regulated society. Socialism (i am talking about an economic model here, not the "ugly illigitimate childrent of the socialistic system" such as USSR, Angola or Cuba) is a people's society.

In a nutshell, while i dislike socialism as an economic model and find it completely impractical and impossible to fulfill in a pure form, I would not go as far as linking it to fashism

Basil
03-07-2007, 01:31 PM
Another accurate and cogent post, Mike.

Capablanca-Fan
03-07-2007, 04:26 PM
"Fashism is an extreme form of socialism" emm...:hmm: Despite being a life-long anti-socialist, I do not accept this definition.

As I pointed out before, Mussolini was a leading Italian socialist, while the Nazis were the National Socialists.


1) Socialism (in its pure form) is an economic model while Fashism is a socio-economic model.

Fascism can certainly be called a nationalistic branch of socialism.


2) Socialism (again in theory anyway) is aimed at establishing a society of equal opportunities where there resources and fruits of labour are distributed more or less equally. Fashism is based on the dominance of the "Elite" over the rest of the population.

In both, the government controls the economy rigidly. And in socialism, there is an elite that controls the forced redistribution.


3) Socialism can be non-violent and humane.

Not if people want to keep their own property and income.


In fact, Socialist goals and objectives are in some ways similar to the proclaimations of the Bible, Koran etc.

Not at all. There is nothing in the Bible about the government forcibly redistributing wealth and controlling prices and wages. Rather, the Bible has examples of individual employment contracts and a flat tax.


Fashism is based on the concept of "survival of the fittest"

Communism was also based on such principles. Stalin just loved Darwin, according to his biographer Yaroslavsky.


4) From its early days (See Hitler's book "Mine Kampf") Fashism was based on the concept of a force-regulated society. Socialism (i am talking about an economic model here, not the "ugly illigitimate childrent of the socialistic system" such as USSR, Angola or Cuba) is a people's society.

Socialism also can't work without government force. That's why it has only succeeded in voluntary communes like the Kibbutzim, and even there its major shortcomings are causing many to abandon them.


In a nutshell, while i dislike socialism as an economic model and find it completely impractical and impossible to fulfill in a pure form, I would not go as far as linking it to fashism

All that means is that not all socialists are fascists, which no one argued anyway, not that fascism didn't have strong socialist roots.

Basil
03-07-2007, 05:04 PM
Socialism (in its pure form) is an economic model while Fashism is a socio-economic model.Fascism can certainly be called a nationalistic branch of socialism.
I don't think so, Jono. As far as the traditional plane of 'left to centre to right' is concerned, socialism belongs on the far left while facism belongs on the far right. I appreciate this plane is of limited use except for the purposes of a snapshot. And as Axiom avers, the two ends wrap around and touch, although I'm not convinced except in the instance of tying extremisms for the sake of it.

More importantly IMO, is the quoted text from Mike (above and elsewhere) where he illustrates the intrinsic differences between a common and selfless goal (socialism) as opposed to endemic control and subversion of another group (fascism) where equality is the furtherest thing from the central ideal.




3) Socialism can be non-violent and humane.Not if people want to keep their own property and income.I think this is begging the question. The definition, and adoption, of socialism has already determined that your cited goal of ownership is not a consideration.

MichaelBaron
03-07-2007, 05:26 PM
Jono, your logic is interesting. If some self-proclaimed socialist (e.g. Mussolini) eventually transforms his country into a fashist state, how does it bring socialism and fashism together? Does it mean that capitalism can also be linked to fashism (as both Romania and Norway were capitalist economies in the 1930's before fashist regimes took over).?

Igor_Goldenberg
03-07-2007, 05:32 PM
Those two form of governance might proclaim different intentions (or might not).
If, however, we look at the outcome, the similarities will be staggering.

Igor_Goldenberg
03-07-2007, 05:40 PM
I don't think so, Jono. As far as the traditional plane of 'left to centre to right' is concerned, socialism belongs on the far left while facism belongs on the far right. I appreciate this plane is of limited use except for the purposes of a snapshot. And as Axiom avers, the two ends wrap around and touch, although I'm not convinced except in the instance of tying extremisms for the sake of it.

More importantly IMO, is the quoted text from Mike (above and elsewhere) where he illustrates the intrinsic differences between a common and selfless goal (socialism) as opposed to endemic control and subversion of another group (fascism) where equality is the furtherest thing from the central ideal.


As far as I remember, the proclaimed goal of fascists was as "selfless" as socialists. And we look at difference between left and right as difference between right of individual and a society (e.g. those to the right give more weight to the individual and those to the left more to a society in general), then we'll see that fascism in particular and socialism is general are not too far apart.

The main difference between German fascism and Soviet socialism is self proclaimed nationalist streak of Nazis.
Nationalism is obviously bad... in context of socialism. But what is good in that context?

Capablanca-Fan
03-07-2007, 07:18 PM
I don't think so, Jono. As far as the traditional plane of 'left to centre to right' is concerned, socialism belongs on the far left while facism belongs on the far right.

No, calling fascists "right" was originally a deceitful invention of leftists to equate the free market with them. See my post 18 (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=157462&postcount=18) where I cited Reagan's view that the main thing is up or down: up to economic freedom or down to totalitarianism. Both fascism and socialism involves strong government control of the economy and often of politics as well, while free market means that the government doesn't interfere in buying or selling between free agents.


More importantly IMO, is the quoted text from Mike (above and elsewhere) where he illustrates the intrinsic differences between a common and selfless goal (socialism) as opposed to endemic control and subversion of another group (fascism) where equality is the furtherest thing from the central ideal.

I wonder how "selfless" socialism is. As Thomas Sowell said, "Envy plus rhetoric equals 'social justice'." And the socialist leaders get to control the economy according to their own elitist vision.


I think this is begging the question. The definition, and adoption, of socialism has already determined that your cited goal of ownership is not a consideration.

What about those who didn't want socialism, like many in Chavez' Venezuela, the new utopia for Australian Leftists who no longer have the Soviet Union to adulate?

Capablanca-Fan
03-07-2007, 07:26 PM
Those two form of governance might proclaim different intentions (or might not).
If, however, we look at the outcome, the similarities will be staggering.
That's the trouble, as Thomas Sowell pointed out in The Vision of the Anointed. The Left preen themselves on how noble their intentions are, but ignore the actual results of their policies. Conversely, conservatives often predicted these results from rational analysis of the incentives of the policies.

Sowell gives heaps of examples, such as "the war on poverty" producing welfare dependency, overemphasis on "criminal rights" leading to increased crime, increased "sex education" resulting in an explosion of children having children. I.e. the problems they were ostensibly meant to solve actually got worse after the policies were introduced in the 1960s, but the problems were actually on a downward trend before these policies.

Basil
03-07-2007, 07:34 PM
Those two form of governance might proclaim different intentions (or might not).
If, however, we look at the outcome, the similarities will be staggering.
No argument at all. However the existence of their similarities shouldn't be a a short-cut to grouping their ideals. It is only the outcomes that are similar - their methodology and ideology are completely different, and that is the point that was being argued.

The existence of the outcome similarities is what many advocates of socialism fail to grasp.

Kevin Bonham
03-07-2007, 07:38 PM
See my post 18 (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=157462&postcount=18) where I cited Reagan's view that the main thing is up or down: up to economic freedom or down to totalitarianism.

That sort of view is basically just a ploy by inconsistent Republican types (pro-economic-freedom, anti-personal-liberty) to make it sound like economic liberty is the be-all and end-all of freedom, when it isn't.

Fascists are typically very much against personal freedoms outside of economics, while on economic issues they are not especially illiberal, but rather inconsistent on the whole (tending to support economic freedom to the extent that it supports the state and oppose it otherwise - eg industrialism).

Stalin is an example of a "socialist" who took a similar approach to personal liberty as the worst of the fascists did. Authoritarian socialism and authoritatian fascism actually differ more in their economics than in any other aspect - although a hardline capitalist may not see much difference.

The Political Compass site deals with this rather nicely here (http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2) .

Basil
03-07-2007, 07:55 PM
No, calling fascists "right" was originally a deceitful invention of leftists to equate the free market with them.
I disagree entirely. I call the fascists 'right' for starters - and I've got a big clue ;)

The left end of the spectrum wraps itself up in an ideology of social justice and equality. The idea is that no matter one's privilege at birth or fortune in life, a great big squashing machine comes along and reallocates from the wealthy to the less well off. The socialists attempted to make a big balsa wood aeroplane with tomes of dribblings to excite the likes of fg, and a zillion people (read peasants, bleeding hearts and acadmics) thought it sounded great. In short, true people power where the leaders selflessly governed according to this ideology [/close giggle]

The right end of the spectrum claims that some people are more valuable, more privileged, and righteous. The extreme right empowers to the state to ratify this position and act in accordance with it.

They are complete opposites: pure equality in everything vs total inequity ab initio.


See my post 18[/URL] where I cited Reagan's view that the main thing is up or down: up to economic freedom or down to totalitarianism. Ronald Reagan's views are not something I hold close - he was a bloody actor! I could run economic circles around him. But I will check the post out.


Both fascism and socialism involves strong government control of the economy and often of politics as well
Indeed. The difference is that one is exercised with a myopic utopia in mind (socialism), while fascism is just insidious elitism!


I wonder how "selfless" socialism is.In practice it's not. However, the point I feel you've missed today is that Michael and I arguing not as to socialism's emanation, but as to its ideal. It's ideal is great - except it doesn't bloody work - like most leftist politics no matter how mute. The only difference, in this country for example, is that the left is quite soft and can't do too much damage - although they'll give a good hard, idealistic tilt - the poor sods don't know what they're doing.

Igor_Goldenberg
03-07-2007, 08:06 PM
That sort of view is basically just a ploy by inconsistent Republican types (pro-economic-freedom, anti-personal-liberty) to make it sound like economic liberty is the be-all and end-all of freedom, when it isn't.

Fascists are typically very much against personal freedoms outside of economics, while on economic issues they are not especially illiberal, but rather inconsistent on the whole (tending to support economic freedom to the extent that it supports the state and oppose it otherwise - eg industrialism).

Stalin is an example of a "socialist" who took a similar approach to personal liberty as the worst of the fascists did. Authoritarian socialism and authoritatian fascism actually differ more in their economics than in any other aspect - although a hardline capitalist may not see much difference.

The Political Compass site deals with this rather nicely here (http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2) .

Indeed, while fascism was almost as oppressive as socialism in terms of individual liberties, it allowed more economical freedom, even though I would not put Hitler to the right of center as compass did.

BTW, I do not think bottom left (left libertarian) corner of that diagram is possible for a simple reason: if government has a total control of the money, it will spend it as it sees fit, thus individual will not be able to fund their personal individual choices.

Kevin Bonham
03-07-2007, 08:14 PM
BTW, I do not think bottom left (left libertarian) corner of that diagram is possible for a simple reason: if government has a total control of the money, it will spend it as it sees fit, thus individual will not be able to fund their personal individual choices.

Typically the personal choices in question are the sorts that do not need to be funded - though I suppose someone with a very expensive drug habit would be an exception to that.

Capablanca-Fan
03-07-2007, 11:49 PM
The right end of the spectrum claims that some people are more valuable, more privileged, and righteous. The extreme right empowers to the state to ratify this position and act in accordance with it.

While free market advocates starting with Adam Smith and continuing with Thomas Sowell are contemptuous of elitism and big business. They believe that the government should prop up neither business owners nor their employees.


Ronald Reagan's views are not something I hold close - he was a bloody actor! I could run economic circles around him. But I will check the post out.

You may be right, but Reagan had more clues than a lot of people give him credit for. When he said early in his presidency, "I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written....", many people mocked him claiming that the Soviet Union was here to stay. Now the Leftintelligentsia claim that Reagan didn't win the Cold War; the USSR's collapse was inevitable. They weren't saying so back then! Leading economists John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Samuelson, Sovietologists Stephen Cohen and Serawyn Bialer, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., author Gore Vidal were among the many who thought the Soviet Union was strong and Reagan misguided.

Well before his presidency, he toured the country for General Electric, and talked to both workers and bosses. So he gained much first-hand knowledge of how government bureaucracy was harming so many people.

And as an actor, he saw first hand how huge tax rates discouraged economic activity—some would not make many films because they would hardly make any net gain after tax, while others chose off-shore tax havens. So he saw the Laffer Curve in action well before he had heard of it formally.

And the first action when he became president was to lift the Carter price controls on petrol. Although the price controls resulted in long lines of cars waiting for petrol, if the stations were even open, there were howls of protest that petrol would become unaffordable if price controls were lifted. But Reagan had predicted, thanks to his understanding of free market economics, that lifting price controls would make it economical to reopen capped oil wells, and also encourage conservation. The shortages disappeared almost overnight, and before long, the price was lower than the previous cap.

In his radio broadcasts before he became president, he would articulately explain these problems. This is clear from a recent book of his speeches, transcribed from his own hand, called Reagan's Path to Victory. Dinesh D'Souza's biography is excellent too.


Indeed. The difference is that one is exercised with a myopic utopia in mind (socialism), while fascism is just insidious elitism!

That's a fair point.


In practice it's not. However, the point I feel you've missed today is that Michael and I arguing not as to socialism's emanation, but as to its ideal. It's ideal is great — except it doesn't bloody work — like most leftist politics no matter how mute.

That's for sure, because they don't understand human nature as it really is.


The only difference, in this country for example, is that the left is quite soft and can't do too much damage - although they'll give a good hard, idealistic tilt - the poor sods don't know what they're doing.

However, leftists reign in the taxpayer-funded (of course) ABC. And maybe they have no intention of remaining soft, given by their current adulation of Hugo Chavez.

Capablanca-Fan
03-07-2007, 11:55 PM
The Political Compass site deals with this rather nicely here (http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2) .

Interesting:


In our home page we demolished the myth that authoritarianism is necessarily "right wing", with the examples of Robert Mugabe, Pol Pot and Stalin. Similarly Hitler, on an economic scale, was not an extreme right-winger. His economic policies were broadly Keynesian, and to the left of some of today's Labour parties. If you could get Hitler and Stalin to sit down together and avoid economics, the two diehard authoritarians would find plenty of common ground.

Although the site makes the same mistake (or pointed out a mistake) addressed here of equating free market with advocacy of big business:


Paradoxically, the "free market", in neo-con parlance, also allows for the large-scale subsidy of the military-industrial complex, a considerable degree of corporate welfare, and protectionism when deemed in the national interest.

Reagan rejected corporate welfare and protectionism for example.

pax
09-07-2007, 04:09 PM
Agreed. IIRC one top judge called our current tax laws a "disgrace" because the Tax Code is longer than the Sydney telephone book. They should be replaced by a flat-rate tax of 25-30% for both individuals and companies, with a tax-free threshold of at least $10k. It is likely that the booming economies of the Baltic and many Eastern European countries is due to their simple tax system that results in less time-wasting on compliance with the complex forms, and less incentive for tax avoidance. Also, there would be much less need for taxpayers to support the huge ATO bureaucuracy, because with a simpler system, it could be greatly reduced.

Of course, politicians would not like it, because it would reduce their power to punish and reward through the tax system.

Bringing up an old reply here, but it is pertinent what with it being tax time and all.

I think the most disgraceful aspects of our tax system are the extraordinary tax deductions for the wealthy.

The biggest culprit is negative gearing - this enables very high income earners to pay next to no tax by deducting their property "losses" from their income (in fact these are not losses at all since the properties are earning substantial capital gains). Negative gearing also substantially contributes to the inflated price of housing.

Salary sacrificing for superannuation contributions is also a problem at the higher income and contribution levels. People close to retirement use this dodge by sacrificing high percentages (close to 100% in some cases) of salary into super - and paying %15 tax instead of their normal tax bracket. In some cases they can even access the super funds immediately.

Laptops are also a funny example. You can salary sacrifice one laptop per year without attracting fringe benefits tax. But you get this deduction even if the laptop is entirely for personal use. If it is actually for work use, you can also deduct the depreciation, meaning an almost free computer if you are on a top tax rate.

On the whole, I think the tax system would be better if a whole lot of deductions were abolished. Even charitable donation deductions could conceivably be removed and replaced by government matched contributions direct to the charities themselves. A bonus on abolishing deductions is that it would mean that tax returns would no longer be necessary for many people..

Capablanca-Fan
10-07-2007, 01:51 AM
I think the most disgraceful aspects of our tax system are the extraordinary tax deductions for the wealthy.

I think the most disgraceful aspect is the time-wasting due to its complexity. The second most disgraceful aspect is the unequal treatment under the law, by which some people, the "wealthy" are taxed at a much higher rate than others. A flat tax would mean equal treatment for all.

Actually, it is not the "wealthy", because wealth is not the issue; only income is. The discriminatory tax rates merely penalize those trying to earn wealth.


The biggest culprit is negative gearing - this enables very high income earners to pay next to no tax by deducting their property "losses" from their income (in fact these are not losses at all since the properties are earning substantial capital gains).

Oh yes they are losses, by definition. The capital gain doesn't come in, if at all, until the property (or shares) are sold.

A flat tax would make negative gearing less worthwhile anyway. It's only the high tax rates for the "wealthy" that make NG effective in the first place!


Negative gearing also substantially contributes to the inflated price of housing.

Nope, supply and demand do. When State Governments sequester land, there is less land to build houses upon, so the prices increase in response to the reduced supply.

The first home buyer grant probably hasn't helped either. If everyone were given a free $1 to buy their first ice-cream, would anyone be surprised if the price of ice-cream went up by that amount? After all, that free money costs the buyers nothing, so there is no incentive to keep prices down.

The abolition of NG has already been tried, and it was a disaster, with rents skyrocketing.


Salary sacrificing for superannuation contributions is also a problem at the higher income and contribution levels. People close to retirement use this dodge by sacrificing high percentages (close to 100% in some cases) of salary into super - and paying %15 tax instead of their normal tax bracket. In some cases they can even access the super funds immediately.

Not too often though. Mainly we need to wait till 60. The new super rules are a great improvement. It is most unlikely that the government will be able to fund old-age pensions in the future, with fewer working people per beneficiary. So encouraging people to save so they can be self-sufficient in retirement is sound. Australia's superannuation system is streets ahead of the US "social security" pyramid scheme.


On the whole, I think the tax system would be better if a whole lot of deductions were abolished.

That I can agree with. A flat tax could have a lot of deductions eliminated, vastly simplifying the system.


Even charitable donation deductions could conceivably be removed and replaced by government matched contributions direct to the charities themselves.

How would this work? Seems like another layer of bureaucracy.


A bonus on abolishing deductions is that it would mean that tax returns would no longer be necessary for many people.

That would be a good outcome.

pax
10-07-2007, 09:37 AM
Nope, supply and demand do. When State Governments sequester land, there is less land to build houses upon, so the prices increase in response to the reduced supply.

Negative gearing makes property more attractive to investors, which drives up the prices for first home buyers. If negative gearing were abolished or at least significantly restricted, property prices would decrease (and yes, rents would likely increase). I am not aware of any other country that has such generous negative gearing provisions as Australia..



The first home buyer grant probably hasn't helped either. If everyone were given a free $1 to buy their first ice-cream, would anyone be surprised if the price of ice-cream went up by that amount? After all, that free money costs the buyers nothing, so there is no incentive to keep prices down.


That's not quite accurate. If only 50% of icecreams are sold to 'first icecream buyers', then giving $1 to all the first icecream buyers would only tend to increase prices by 50c - therefore the first icecream buyers come out winners.

I do agree though, that there needs to be a good look at increasing land release to improve the supply.

pax
10-07-2007, 10:02 AM
I think the most disgraceful aspect is the time-wasting due to its complexity. The second most disgraceful aspect is the unequal treatment under the law, by which some people, the "wealthy" are taxed at a much higher rate than others. A flat tax would mean equal treatment for all.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the principle that people with a higher income pay a higher proportion of their salary as tax than people with a low income. In fact, you yourself support that principle by supporting a tax-free threshold!

I actually think that a flat tax could work if the tax-free threshold were high enough. Suppose the threshold were $20,000 and the flat tax rate 35%. Then the net tax paid would be as follows (current net tax paid is in parentheses):

$20,000 0% (11%)
$40,000 17.5% (18%)
$60,000 23% (22%)
$80,000 26% (25%)
$100,000 28% (28%)
$150,000 30% (32%)
$200,000 32% (35%)

It's pretty remarkable how similar these numbers are right up to the $150,000 mark. I don't know how much tax revenue would be lost at the top and bottom ends if such a system were adopted, but much of that could be clawed back by getting rid of many of the tax deductions I have mentioned.

Capablanca-Fan
10-07-2007, 10:33 AM
Negative gearing makes property more attractive to investors, which drives up the prices for first home buyers.

Negative gearing doesn't need to be used for property, but is applied to interest costs for any loan used to purchase assets that produce taxable income.


If negative gearing were abolished or at least significantly restricted, property prices would decrease (and yes, rents would likely increase).

Is that what you want?


I am not aware of any other country that has such generous negative gearing provisions as Australia.

Again, make the tax brackets flatter, and there will be less incentive for negative gearing.


That's not quite accurate. If only 50% of icecreams are sold to 'first icecream buyers', then giving $1 to all the first icecream buyers would only tend to increase prices by 50c - therefore the first icecream buyers come out winners.

Fair comment. Still, government grants tend to be at least partly swallowed in increased prices. This is a big reason for high costs of uni education in the US.


I do agree though, that there needs to be a good look at increasing land release to improve the supply.

:idea:

Capablanca-Fan
10-07-2007, 12:04 PM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the principle that people with a higher income pay a higher proportion of their salary as tax than people with a low income.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the principle that if you earn 10x more, you pay 10x more, not 50x more! And as I've pointed out, tax revenues can increase when tax rates are decreased, as shown in America with the tax rate cuts of JFK, Reagan and GWB; cf. the Laffer Curve (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/bg1765.cfm). '

"Soak the rich" might be good demagogery, appealing to envy, but it is poor economics. Fact: the poor are not poor because the rich are rich.


In fact, you yourself support that principle by supporting a tax-free threshold!

No, the tax-free threshold is an exemption from the proportionality principle, not a support for the "progressive" soak-the-rich principle. The exemption from the general principle can be justified as an act of mercy, as well as a pragmatic view that the income produced from taxing low-income people may not be cost-effective compared to the time wasted by them in filling out tax returns and the government in checking them.


I actually think that a flat tax could work if the tax-free threshold were high enough. Suppose the threshold were $20,000 and the flat tax rate 35%. Then the net tax paid would be as follows (current net tax paid is in parentheses):

$20,000 0% (11%)
$40,000 17.5% (18%)
$60,000 23% (22%)
$80,000 26% (25%)
$100,000 28% (28%)
$150,000 30% (32%)
$200,000 32% (35%)

It's pretty remarkable how similar these numbers are right up to the $150,000 mark. I don't know how much tax revenue would be lost at the top and bottom ends if such a system were adopted, but much of that could be clawed back by getting rid of many of the tax deductions I have mentioned.

Your proposal seems better than the current system. It would have to be costed, but such costings should not simplistically consider only the arithmetic effects but also the economic effects of lower tax rates. I.e. there will often be greater economic output if people can keep more of what they earn, so there can be more tax revenue as a result.

Note also, with lower tax rates, negative gearing will be less worthwhile.

I propose having a $10k [edit] tax-free threshold, and setting income and company tax to the same value 25-30%. Then it would be fair to declare all fully franked dividends as tax-free, simplifying the tax return.

pax
10-07-2007, 12:36 PM
I propose having a $10 tax-free threshold, and setting income and company tax to the same value 25-30%. Then it would be fair to declare all fully franked dividends as tax-free, simplifying the tax return.

$10, how generous. Your first hamburger and fries is completely tax-free :) (I know, I know, you meant $10,000).

Your suggestion requires substantially more careful costing than mine, since it massively slashes tax revenue. Yes, there may be some offset from increased economic activity but there is no guarantee that this would be anywhere near the level of revenue lost. But I guess since you are abolishing government funding of education, health and welfare you can easily afford it. ;)

Why would tax-free dividends be fair? Share investors who earn $100,000 from dividends should pay the same tax as employees who earn $100,000.

Capablanca-Fan
10-07-2007, 12:44 PM
In the parent bragging rights, Pax brought up the small amount of the baby bonus, while KB wrote in this thread about opposing paying people to have babies.

Although you wouldn't get this impression from many leftists, the government generates no wealth. So if the government is to give money to anyone, it must forcibly take money from someone else. George Bernard Shaw pointed out, "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

But leftist also oppose the baby bonus. It's most likely because it preserves the family as an autonomous decision-making entity, who might not follow the preferred path of the anointed (http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?issueID=37&articleID=484). The anointed would rather have day-care subsidized, because they believe that the State knows best about taking care of children, cf. "It takes a village to raise a child"—Hillary Klinton. But this means that one-income poorer families subsidize the child care of two-income richer families. A childcare voucher would allow the parents to make the choice, whether to supplement the income of a stay-at-home parent, pay something towards Gran's cost of looking after the kids, or pay a childcare centre. But the Anointed want the tax system to herd people into their way of doing things.

A similar principle applies to education. The Anointed don't want school vouchers, because it would give the parents the choice to send their kids to the schools the parents think are performing. Rather, the Anointed want kids to be thrown into the mass-education system to be educated their way, and damn parental wishes.

Capablanca-Fan
10-07-2007, 12:54 PM
Your suggestion requires substantially more careful costing than mine, since it massively slashes tax revenue. Yes, there may be some offset from increased economic activity but there is no guarantee that this would be anywhere near the level of revenue lost.

There is no guarantee, but ample historical precedent.


But I guess since you are abolishing government funding of education, health and welfare you can easily afford it. ;)

That would be the best, because governments don't do very much very well. Much of the government money in these areas merely feeds the ever-increasing bureaucracies, not the people it is ostensibly meant to help.

But if the government must spend on such things, then it should be vouchers to consumers, so the various organizations must compete for their patronage, with the improvement this nearly always brings.


Why would tax-free dividends be fair? Share investors who earn $100,000 from dividends should pay the same tax as employees who earn $100,000.

See why Keating brought in dividend imputation—a very fair system that avoids double taxation of dividends. I.e. before this system, a company would be taxed, and dividends paid over from after-tax profits. Then when the shareholder, who is legally a part-owner of the company, received the dividends, he would be taxed again on them. So he was taxed twice: as an individual, and as a company owner. Dividend imputation imputes the tax already paid by the company to the shareholder (impute means "credit to the account"). Australia and NZ are way ahead of the US on fair treatment of dividend income.

If the company tax equaled the personal income tax, then to a good approximation, dividend imputation would amount to tax-free dividends. So they could simply be declared so, and this would simply tax returns.

Interest should also be tax free, because economists have long recognized that interest is not income, but compensation for deferring the spending of one's money.

pax
10-07-2007, 12:58 PM
In the parent bragging rights, Pax brought up the small amount of the baby bonus, while KB wrote in this thread about opposing paying people to have babies.

Wow, you have quite a way with your sweeping generalisations. I don't know the "annointed" you refer to are, but it doesn't resemble anyone on these forums.

Regarding your reference to me above, I'll just point out that I was not arguing that the Baby bonus is too low. I was merely pointing out that those that see the Baby bonus as an incentive to have children are extremely misguided, since the costs of raising children are greater by orders of magnitude than any government assistance.

Capablanca-Fan
10-07-2007, 02:50 PM
Wow, you have quite a way with your sweeping generalisations.

Not really. Nothing compared to leftist generalizations:


I don't know the "annointed" you refer to are, but it doesn't resemble anyone on these forums.

I have explained before: see Thomas Sowell's book The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?issueID=37&articleID=484). His main point is that the "anointed" think they know best for everyone, and preen themselves with their good intentions. The "benighted" care more about incentives and results, but the anointed claim that they are lacking in compassion, when in reality they doubt that the policies of the anointed will actually benefit those they are ostensibly designed to help. Here is the origin of the leftist myth that free-market proponents "lack compassion", although leftist "compassion" usually means generosity with other people's money.


Regarding your reference to me above, I'll just point out that I was not arguing that the Baby bonus is too low. I was merely pointing out that those that see the Baby bonus as an incentive to have children are extremely misguided, since the costs of raising children are greater by orders of magnitude than any government assistance.

That is true. Same goes for paying solo mothers to have children, even by a string of different boyfriends.

PS: another reason for high costs of home ownership is the greedy state governments gouging stamp duty. So they have a vested interest in keeping house prices high by restricting land use.

Kevin Bonham
21-02-2009, 11:31 AM
*bump*

The offer discussed in Post 1 of this thread from ABC-TV's "The Insiders" is open again but they have given more notice this time.

The terms are:

* The show would involve people discussing issues of the day, vox-pop style, no in-depth analysis required. Basically whatever is on the Wednesday night news might be covered - could be the stimulus handouts, could be bushfires, could be Tassie job losses, could be Malcolm Turnbull's leadership (etc)
* We would meet and play some games at or around the big board in Salamanca on Thursday during lunchtime.
* They want at least four players, ideally six.
* I am willing to be one of them, or to sit out if there is an unusual rush of interest.
* There will be an opportunity to discuss this at our AGM Monday night but numbers will need to be confirmed to me (in person at the AGM or by PM or phone) by mid-Tuesday.

Again, if we can't get enough people together, no big deal.

Southpaw Jim
21-02-2009, 08:07 PM
I could be tempted, and it's only 5 mins walk from work. Have they given you any idea of the time involved? Less than an hour?

Kevin Bonham
21-02-2009, 08:17 PM
I could be tempted, and it's only 5 mins walk from work. Have they given you any idea of the time involved? Less than an hour?

They said "an hour at most".

Kevin Bonham
25-02-2009, 01:29 AM
Insiders thingy cancelled again as the unexpected postponement of our AGM has removed the best opportunity to see if enough people are interested at short notice.

Desmond
25-02-2009, 09:39 AM
I have seen this segment on Insiders a few times. It is quite light-hearted and entertaining. Would encourage people to participate should the opportunity arise again.