typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

More Idiots at APEC. Protesting In Support of Channel Ten Values.

with 38 comments

Whether you’re protesting at APEC, beating up protesters at APEC, or any security agency not directly employed by the NSW Police and therefore have the Deputy Premier and Police Minister’s permission to pretend to be a violent protester at APEC (therefore justifying the use of water cannon, police and paramilitary violence, 30 buses being used as mobile holding cells, etc.) you’ll want to know about these junk-slappers.

The Liberty and Democracy Party are a bunch of Australian igno-douches halfway between 1st year economics and their first graduate jobs in the p.r./marketing/banking sector. But they’re not all poorly educated assholes.

Some of them are just assholes.

Anyway, the whole globalisation, workplace slavery, environmental degradation, planetary pollution, exponentiation of inequality, stealing land, killing villages, two-party police state bound by economic monotheism thing is going so badly (obviously) that these fans of John Laws think their mighty voices, tiny minds and hunger for media ops are needed at APEC.

So get along and check them out. Take urine.

IGNORANT YOUNG NEOFASCIST AGITATOR ITINERARY

Saturday 8th September 2007

9:00am – Meet at the corner of York and Market Street on street level above the post office. This is across the intersection from the North-West corner of the Queen Victoria Building (QVB). There will be a short briefing with any last minute updates.

9:20am – Make our way as a group toward Hyde Park.

10:00am – 11:30am – Take our message of freedom to the people.

It is noteworthy that the original poster promoting this ‘alternative’ protest is a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. They are essentially a propaganda unit for hire lobbying for deregulation of GMOs, nuclear power and waste disposal, taxation of issue-based charities and NGOs, and social injustice. They refer to themselves as a ‘think tank’. This ‘protest’ is conveniently timed to run into the Sop Bush protest also happening in the same area in Sydney on Saturday morning. How convenient it would be if they created an incident requiring that the police use force indiscriminately, while certain journos who are also fellows of the IPA just happen to create context.

B_B_Bernice drew my attention back to something – a turn of phrase that likely sends chills up the spines of those who understand it – Naomi Klein’s latest speech turned to the battle for a different world and sums up modern history in her characteristically blunt and beautiful style:

We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks. Now, most effective we have seen is when the army tanks and the think tanks team up. The quest to impose a single world market has casualties now in the millions, from Chile then to Iraq today. These blueprints for another world were crushed and disappeared because they are popular and because, when tried, they work. They’re popular because they have the power to give millions of people lives with dignity, with the basics guaranteed. They are dangerous because they put real limits on the rich, who respond accordingly. Understanding this history, understanding that we never lost the battle of ideas, that we only lost a series of dirty wars, is key to building the confidence that we lack, to igniting the passionate intensity that we need.

Written by typingisnotactivism

August 29, 2007 at 12:37 pm

38 Responses

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  1. Firstly let me just compliment you on a colourful blog that is uncluttered by the proliferation of comments that you see on some blogs. You occupy a nice little backwater.

    Secondly let me just suggest that you read a little about fascism and come to terms with the distinction between liberal philosophy and authoritarian philosophy. The following would be a good place to start.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism#Economic_planning

    Thirdly let me just ask how an alternate political party can be considered supporters of a two party police state? If the LDP was in favour of a two party system then why would the LDP have hauled itself into existence?

    terje (say tay-a)

    August 29, 2007 at 2:07 pm

  2. I noticed that you found the LDP blog. Hopefully you saw the debate we are having about the merits of free trade. If you have any contribution of substance to make then it would be great to have you involved in peaceful debate.

    John Humphreys

    August 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm

  3. terje (turd – jay),
    1. there are blogs for publicly archiving articles, blogs which are forum-dependent, and blogs which attract people who no doubt see chattery self-reinforcement of mutual insecurities by the usual suspects as some kind of personal validation – frequently bigots who see things like affirmative action and social services as some kind of discrimination against white males.
    2. fascism = benito etc. / neofascism = the new fascism. you have missed the reality of my point and your suggestion is nothing but wordage pissed into the wind.
    3. the unifying element is not the two-party police state but economic monotheism – write a polemic on ideological convergence and get back to me – i promise i’ll read every word. And blogging about yourself hardly qualifies as having ‘hauled (your)self into existence’. Nicely dramatic, though.

    John – i don’t see what is going on in the LDP forum as anything worth participating in for a number of reasons. Using the (turd-jay) numerical listing model, let me explain.
    1. it is not even trying to advance anything positive or of use to anybody beyond those likely to benefit most through an emboldened model of trade and global economics as they already exist, being the global minority who already have sucked so much into their own pockets so far.
    2. it does not qualify as ‘debate’ given the liberal use of unsupported assertions which could only be treated as fact by people who believe economic modelling is a greater provider of truth than reality on all levels.
    3. thanks for the invitation but i really don’t consider the discussion peaceful given that implicit in assumptions described in 2. there is a violence of ignorance, bigotry, and wholesale devaluing of life.
    4. Nothing on the site suggests anything but a wanna-be Heritage Foundation. LDPolytes might as well join them in openly advocating that the real hope for the world lies in the total ownership of every square inch of everything, as opposed to an evolution beyond growing thumbs.

    4000 cops, riot police, paramilitaries, blackhawks and jailbuses that are coming out of every Australian’s pocket don’t need a fucking cheer squad.

    typingisnotactivism

    August 29, 2007 at 4:07 pm

  4. They’re not very friendly, those LDP fellas, are they? What’s this “backwater” no comments dig? We haven’t heard such nastiness since kindergarten. Your restraint is admirable, TINA, if they’d said something like that to us we doubt we would have been able to restrain ourselves from coming back with an insult just as cutting & clever. Like – “Yeah? Well your page is really ugly. You Poo Heads. And you’re fat. So there. Ner Ner.”
    Well you may be copping it on the chin, TINA, but Capital Ideas is offended. We comment on this blog. Don’t we count for anything? Huh? What do we have to do, what do we have to say to make our comments worthy in the eyes of the LDP?

    Capital Ideas

    August 29, 2007 at 6:54 pm

  5. Ok, we’ve had a look. Now we know what we have to do: chants. We have to make up chants. Shit. This could be painful.

    ED: Whose Streets? Our streets! (even though we don’t believe in the redistribution of wealth or provision of public assets and resources) . . . . . . . . . . . . The People – Blindsided, Identities Deleted!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . Sent in by multinational forces, our shit stinks even worse than those horses’. . . . . .

    Capital Ideas

    August 29, 2007 at 6:57 pm

  6. The least well off benefit the most from trade.

    What have you got against the poor?

    t.i.n.a.: i certainly don’t have anything against the poor which is exactly why i call anybody using poor people as a stalking horse for free trade either ignorant or full of cacapoopoo. Robert Zoellick, now head of the World Bank was the US Trade Representative for significant parts of the Doha Round, also a way up dude at Goldman Sachs. Not that that precludes him doing good for ‘the poor’, but does nurture the belief that when he does something which heavily benefits multinationals and rich investors/ owners then that is the intended outcome. He is the gen-u-wine poster boy for free trade=liberated poor people.
    Say for example there are 2 billion living on less than $1 a day, but after ten years of aggressive free trade there’s 1 billion living on a dollar a day. That’s an improvement, right? Maybe not if a large per centage of those people lived subsistence lifestyles with families and communities on ancestral land and capable of dealing with most of their needs (determined by themselves) through barter. Is it better to live this way & need money for very little in life, or to have your land awarded to an industrial agriculture firm growing monocultures which strip the soil while you move out of your hut into a city ghetto and make $20 a day packing boxes. Statistically, an improvement. In reality, a dehumanising drop in wellbeing.

    Mark Hill

    August 29, 2007 at 8:12 pm

  7. CI – I’m a pretty friendly person. However when a perfect stranger leads off by describing me as a neo-fascist asshole then generally my first assumption is not that they are trying to make friends or open doors. However perhaps in some instances no comment would in fact be wiser than an unfriendly comment.

    TINA – Which particular “unsupported assertions” dissuade you from engaging in dialogue?

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 29, 2007 at 10:11 pm

  8. Terje

    Why bother? This is a hate site.

    t.i.n.a.: saw you coming – “bigots who see things like affirmative action and social services as some kind of discrimination against white males”. you do, don’t you? if you think this is a hate site, you’re suffering serious cognitive dissonance. See a realist – you need help.

    pommygranate

    August 30, 2007 at 9:33 am

  9. This is a LOVE site. I love this site.
    In fact:
    ‘What do we want?
    T.I.N.A
    When do we want it?
    Now!’

    & furthermore:
    ‘Hey ho! Hey ho!
    Hot lovin’ T.I.N.A’s the way to go!’

    t.i.n.a.: Aaaaaawww. And there i was about to listen to Alan Jones turned up real loud while peeling Stan Zemanek’s corpse to make a canoe for attacking dipshit nonces in the bathtub. Thanks for the family values Casey ;)

    Casey

    August 30, 2007 at 10:52 am

  10. TINA

    Clearly your example is a massive increase in human well being. Simply chiming in at the end that it isn’t is not a substantive argument (paticularly when you are rejecting raw data out of hand). Perhaps you should survey them and see if they prefer a twenty fold incrase in incomes or not. There is nothing stopping them going back to the land either.

    There is no better way really to increase wages other than to allow for for free trade and maximising capital accumulation absed on comparative advantages.

    I see you are deeply concerned about the environment – go and have alook at John Humphrey’s stuff on trade and ag. Subsidies are terrible for the environment.

    t.i.n.a.: and of course you have missed the point – wages are not the only benchmark of human wellbeing but the people who proclaim to be holding ‘the debate’ have so narrowly defined its parameters and raison d’etre that they consider wages, money, GDP as all that significantly matters. Certain subsidies may be terrible for the environment – subsidising carbon sinks, crop rotation, organic farming, conservation of biodiversity and other endeavours which may not show up as a profit on a 12-month balance sheet would not. But you are demonstrating the expected inability to think beyond what you’ve read in Friedman and anybody still basing their understanding of global socioeconomics on comparative advantage and thinking that means they are clever should just go back to year 9 commerce and see if there’s something useful that they might learn there instead.

    Oh, and as for ‘There is nothing stopping them going back to the land either’ – do you even know what happens when customary law makes way for contract law, freehold for private ownership? Good political future dude. You guys are gonna make everybody sooo much smarter. You should probably save yourself the aggravation and just go enjoy 2 for 1 pots with the ski club.

    Mark Hill

    August 30, 2007 at 12:22 pm

  11. You haven’t really answered the question.

    How many poeple in developing countries want to go back to the way of life of a less developed country?

    How we measure things is not terribly important – what matters however, are revealed preferences.

    Could you elaborate on why comparative advantage is wrong (as opposed to being simply one of mnay theories as to why nations and regions trade)?

    t.i.n.a.: no dear lamp post. you haven’t really heard/ engaged/ understood the answer. And you haven’t questioned the underlying philosophies which have led you to this point of cognitive dissonance. It seems to be a contagion at LDP central doesn’t it?

    Revealed preferences? hilarious. That’s like how the history of imperialism shows that brown people have a preference for being enslaved, while white men have a preference for being slave owners. Comparative advantage therefore would be “hmm… my country is good at producing slave owners and yours is good at producing slaves…Let’s make a deal!“. Comparative advantage is not a ‘why’ of trade, it is a ‘how’. You should at least know that given you seem to want to base your world view on neoconsensus market principles.

    Don’t come back until you have something to put on the table. You should at least be able to understand that one.

    Mark Hill

    August 30, 2007 at 1:56 pm

  12. “Don’t come back until you have something to put on the table. You should at least be able to understand that one.”

    Very well then.

    Could you at least point out where you answered the thrust of the original questions:

    1)How many poeple in developing countries want to go back to the way of life of a less developed country?

    2)Could you elaborate on why comparative advantage is wrong (as opposed to being simply one of mnay theories as to why nations and regions trade)?

    Thankyou.

    Could you also show me how removing trade barriers in Australia or any other nation in the world enslaves anyone?

    You are partially wrong. Comparative advantage is a “why (nations)” [of] trade, or paticular patterns of trade occur. How is a firm-based answer.

    What on earth is the “neoconsensus” – if President Bush is a neocon, then the consensus must be to have protected politically important industries – neither a goal of even the “managed trade” WTO rules or especially the LDP. We are libertarians if you haven’t been paying too much attention.

    Mark Hill

    August 30, 2007 at 3:19 pm

  13. “Oh, and as for ‘There is nothing stopping them going back to the land either’ – do you even know what happens when customary law makes way for contract law, freehold for private ownership?”

    I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me. Perhaps no one really wants to do that?

    t.i.n.a.: Mark comes from the Fillibuster School of Rational Argument, a faculty of The Bloviation Institute. Here they teach aspirant argumentalists that to talk longest, loudest, and last – without actually hearing anything which doesn’t suit their world view – is to dominate/ succeed/ prove something.

    *yawn* go back. read. comprehend.

    Mark Hill

    August 30, 2007 at 3:21 pm

  14. No, all I’ve done is ask some questions – you don’t want to participate.

    This raises worrying questions as to the strength of your arguments.

    t.i.n.a.: Happy to participate but not in a fruitless endeavour. You do not make arguments, you echo assumptions you have read elsewhere. And there is no answering questions when answers already offered go unheeded. And you are either an authentically insincere person or you have set the bar for ‘worrying’ way too low. Comparative advantage is a foundational principle of both active and proposed models for free trade and it is a ‘how’. Consider that.

    Mark Hill

    August 30, 2007 at 4:05 pm

  15. Free tade allows the benefits of specialisation to occur. Why shouldn’t Australia do this fully and encourage others to do so?

    You say I merely echo assumptions. Where? So far this is a baseless assertion.

    Can you answer how many developing countries want to go back to being less developed, or how free trade enslaves people? Can you please stay on topic this time instead of going off on a tangent (what, for example does the concept of revealed preferences as opposed to stated preferences have to do with 19th century colonialism?) or making ad hominem attacks?

    Less importantly, comparative advantage exists with or without free trade. It explains under both siutations why nations bother trading at all given transactions costs, and what the pattern of trade will look like.

    t.i.n.a.: big difference between forcing and allowing. equitability does not seem something you factor into your considerations perhaps because you seem to see global politics as binary. As for saying that I am making baseless assertions, you are just being an echo chamber. I have put forward far more substance in this exchange so far than you have offered and yet you are still emphatically believing you have put forward something tangible.
    Comparative advantage, whereby i am good at growing cotton and food and manufacturing medicines and you are good at making necklaces and blankets so we specialize. Now – I’ve got the food and medicine, you’ve got souvenir trinkets. Who has greater leverage should our trade relationship become a tool for some kind of geopolitical or economically strategic leverage? And when I profess my desire to help your country’s starving because I really care, I send you tonnes of GM grain that could otherwise crash prices on my domestic markets. Etc. USAID is all about making sure that African agriculture is colonised by patented crops. That’s free trade. It’s ultimately a road to dispossession and dominance by massive transnationals with armies of lawyers whose friends helped right the inadequate regulations which were so non-protective of local agriculture that there was little effort needed to bypass them. etc.

    Mark Hill

    August 30, 2007 at 4:55 pm

  16. Are you opposed to trade in general or just specific examples of it?

    What process do you advocate to sort the desirable trade from the undesirable trade? (assuming that you see some trade as desirable).

    What nation, society or culture from history most closely approximates your ideal?

    What value do you place on an individuals freedom to make their own choices in life?

    t.i.n.a.: Whoa whoa whoah. I am a *fingerquotes* “per-son”, not an “information booth”. Not dismissinve of what you’re saying but take a look at those questions. If you were asking any of those with any genuine interest you would ask one because you’d be looking to get some kind of depth in the response. Ask one question that actually has substance and that you’re genuinely interested by the response to rather than just spraying like a flak on ritalin and you might get a sensible answer.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 30, 2007 at 7:09 pm

  17. What process do you advocate to sort the desirable trade from the undesirable trade? (assuming that you see some trade as desirable).

    t.i.n.a.: are you talking about trade involving Australia? All trade globally? Goods, services, intellectual property, everything? one sector particularly? Do you have any criteria by which you would consider trade in a consumer product as undesirable? Do you consider it a waste of time to propose that indirect and/or intangible impacts and/or cumulative non-economic effects have a valid place in this consideration?

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 31, 2007 at 11:58 am

  18. I thought they were pretty good questions and worthy of an answer.

    Predictions of benefits from trade are not based on modelling, though economists certainly use modelling when estimating the impact of policy changes. It is based on the theory of comparative advantage, which has no competing theories and is accepted by economists from across the political spectrum. At it’s most simple, it is just the theory that people can more easily achieve their goals if they don’t have to do everything for themselves, but can interact voluntarily with other humans… each person doing what they’re relatively good at. The most obvious examples are that most people don’t build their own houses, milk their own cows, program their own software, sow their own clothes etc. Instead, people get together to trade these goods for their mutual benefit.

    We all trade. That includes Cambodian farmers, Manhattan stockbrokers and Bolivian students. However, there are some restrictions that prevent people from different countries making mutually benefiticial trade. The benefits of everyday trade don’t change just because the other person has a different passport. Personally, I find nationalism to generally be against the welfare interests of the average person.

    You mention slavery as part of trade. It is perhaps worth clarifying that trade is (by definition) voluntary. Slavery is not an example of trade because the slaves didn’t enter voluntarily and anyway self-ownership is inalienable.

    Mark Hill is correct to note that restrictions on trade are most harmful to developing countries. That is why the developing countries are arguing in the Doha round for more radical reductions in trade barriers, especially for agricultural products. Unsuprisingly, oxfam supports this position too. The impediment to this reform is actually the EU, Norway, Japan and other rich countries. It is correct to complain about the actions of rich countries, but the complaint should be that they are not liberalising fast enough.

    The impact of greater economic freedom is a bit of an academic question in the west where we live in relative comfort. But for the average person in countries like Uganda and Laos the opportunities offered by trade can make a huge difference to their lives. If you haven’t yet done so — I strongly recomend going to these countries and making friends with the locals. Ask them what they want in life. If you are university educated I can get you a volunteer job (accom & vegetarian-only food provided free) teaching short-term at a rural university for poor Cambodians. If you have the time, it is a very rewarding experience and it gives you a chance to really discover the lives and views of the world’s poor. Alternatively, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for non-university graduates throughout the developing world.

    I’m sorry that you see us as ignorant, bigotted & uninterested in life. It is hard to see the positives in people when a debate starts in a confrontational way. However, whether we are bigotted or not I can assure you that we are certainly non-violent. Indeed, non-violence and the voluntary interaction between humans is one of the driving ideas behind my political philosophy (the other being the promotion of human happiness).

    People don’t change their minds, or world-view, after reading a comment on a blog. But if you’re interesting in perhaps exploring some more trade ideas at greater length you might like to look at one of my books called “greening farm subsidies” that was endorsed by the WWF. True, it is also backed by an Australian agricultural group (Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation), but I can assure you that all the people I dealt with in this project honestly thought they were acting in the best interest of all involved.

    http://www.thecie.com.au/pub_green_farm_subs.htm

    t.i.n.a.: You present your case most reasonably but elements of repetition from the pro-free-trade camp are becoming grating. As you’d have seen in an earlier comment there was a clear example indicating an in-principle problem with comparative advantage as a driver in the current globalization regime.

    You conflate nationalism with sovereignty which is understandable. Although Johnny is trying to revive ‘nationalism’ as an aspirational goal it is still one of those cringe-worthy buzzwords that triggers mental images of Hitler. However, sovereignty is different – distinctly so. It is genuinely informed consent, free will, and the deeper greater good which national expropriation in the wake of modern free trade jackboots. This outcome, ironically, bears the nasty elements of the fervour generally associated with nationalism moreso than the national sovereignty which it undercuts.

    It is fine to argue that it is not the sytem that is flawed, but the way that it is implemented. But the trouble in arguing that is the assumption that the system was ever sincerely intended to be implemented any differently. This argument also ignores the reality which is that the system reinforces itself. The major powers that were involved in the first drafts of the WTO ‘agreements’ knew what they were doing. Not only in the self-motivated manner of knowing what they wanted, but in the very practical manner of actually having massive, skilled, experienced, expensive, and specialized teams of legal advisors in addition to their teams of economists and analysts. Now, when countries without that advantage are presented with agreements which they must sign because:
    a.) if they don’t then they will face serious barriers to trade
    b.) these agreements are good for them (trust us)
    c.) there may be other sanctions and redirection of aid if they don’t join the club
    d.) they don’t have anyone with sufficient legal experience or time to review SPS, TRIPS, etc. to realize what they’re really signing up for.
    that is not ‘free’. But that is the foundation of the modern global ‘free trade’ system. An African delegate once remarked that Africa’s trade representatives and ministers have more in common with white investment bankers and company owners than they do with everyday African folk. Why would/how can they commit their populations to agreements that benefit all people a little rather than some people a lot?

    You presume too much in your recommendation regarding travel plans and how they relate to knowledge. That is easily ignored, though it is worth noting that your patronising tone perhaps reaches its peak in that particular paragraph. And you were doing so well.

    You have reassured yourself regarding the non-violence of your group’s philosophies but you will eventually realize that is a mistake. ‘Voluntary’ and ‘non-violent’ are not characteristic qualities at the leading edge of the free trade wave. No need to further demean your writing by self-inflicting qualities I didn’t attribute. ‘Disinterested in life’ is your phrase. Mine was more along the lines of ‘disengaged from the reality of the world’. Promote free trade all you like, but don’t pretend that the model and the outcomes are separate from one another, or that free trade isn’t essentially the cost-benefit outcome of unpopular imperial models – which were inherently linked with and profitable because of slavery. The ‘free’ in ‘free trade’ is certainly ironic. You should know that.

    I may have a look at your booklet but doubt that its arguments will fundamentally differ from what is offered via LDP – flawed arguments based on assumptions and circular reasoning. And you may not have noticed, but the WWF actually endorses just about everything that gets put in front of them. Howard’s Tasmanian Forest Policy? The one that didn’t go far enough & he hasn’t even honoured? About 3 million people in Australia alone stopped listening to them after that. Just by the way.

    Thanks for thinking harder though. You’ll be utilised as an IPA spinster sometime soon for sure, unless of course you take another look at things.

    John Humphreys

    August 31, 2007 at 12:08 pm

  19. Your discussion about comparative advantage has been confused or otherwise when presented correctly proves little. The points about dumping and patents are moot as I will demonstrate below.

    Dumping occurs in markets where subsidies are the most prevalent. Free traders, and to a lesser extent, the GATT/WTO guidelines wish to remove non-tariff barriers or at least convert them into ad valorem tariffs which will be phased out over time.

    How then does free trade encourage dumping if it engenders a pattern of trade, predictable as indicators of comparative advantage suggest, are fixed at least in the short run and can only change slowly over time? Why would there be anything but occasional sporadic dumping which becomes increasingly insignificant as the global market of suppliers grows?

    If USAID is making sure that African farmers are somehow locked into US patents on technology that they cannot practically, ethically or as I would argue have no utilitarian basis to own, then it is not free trade.

    You are doing both free trade and community vigilance over Government largesse to large business a disservice by conflating free enterprise with mercantilism.

    Your arguing style is descending into evading questions by saying they lack substance, but not actually saying why they lack substance.

    t.i.n.a.: keep your tips on ‘arguing style’ to yourself please. You really have too litte to be distributing any. Your… geez, i hate to use this word but it will probably convey meaning… your ‘arguments’ have no substance and are absolutely circular as pro-free-trade rationalisms tend to be.

    Allow me: free trade is awesome, exploitation of people is not awesome, therefore if it exploits people it is not free trade. This is where you should bow.

    If you want to talk about community vigilance over government largesse, that is another matter. The practice described as ‘free trade’ is conflation-dependent, as has been demonstrated with the removal of non-tariff barriers that are characterized as being trade restrictive (human rights, environmental laws, etc.) That is conflation. What you have is confusion.

    If you want to go after government largesse in a manner that not only reinforces your feelings of moral superiority but also risks achieving something worthwhile why not actually do that? John Howard has created masses of bureaucracy that serves simply to limit governmental accountability and transparency. There’s a project, one that would actually have widespread support.

    All that you demonstrate is that you don’t understand the causes and consequences of expropriation which for many countries is the outcome, if not the very aim, of the free trade agenda – albeit nicely dressed in the ‘let’s help poor people’ p.r. camo.

    Mark Hill

    August 31, 2007 at 1:01 pm

  20. TINA,

    I agree entirely that domestic barriers imposed by Australian governments on trade between Australian households are a much greater cause for concern than the relatively minor imposts they make on international trade . In 1996 the average Aussie paid under $8500 in direct and indirect taxes. In real per capita terms the price of our federal government is now 34% higher although few would claim that the services it offers are 34% better. All these imposts represent barriers on domestic trade between households. All of them limit peoples ability to create better lives through mutual exchange. This is why at the centre of the LDPs policy platform is a tax reform policy that would ensure that people on incomes below $30000 per annum would pay no income tax at all.

    t.i.n.a.: but a congruous response to that issue would be to clearly identify which departments and layers created in the last ten years are redundant and have to go, what happens to the people laid off, what synergy should replace the blubber. Are you going to lay off 300 000 civil servants? what happens to/for them? will they have an impact on unemployment figures and provision of social services and how do you plan to mitigate the likely consequences.
    Sure, everybody loves a drop in tax. But does that mean that the ‘user pays’ philosophy will be extended to everything? public health? repairing the sidewalk? the road across the Nullarbor? Or will you redirect $8 billion of public subsidy for BHP back into essential services? Should only services which turn a profit be allowed to exist?

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 31, 2007 at 2:11 pm

  21. p.s. I had a public run in with John Howard in front of the media last Saturday. I asked him directly why he is charging us so much more for government than they did in 1996. He listened, disagreed politely and then did a runner. It is not as if the LDP is ignoring this issue of unlimited big government. Unlike Mr Rudd who thinks we should blame retailers for price hikes but is entirely complicit on the blowout in the cost of government.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 31, 2007 at 2:22 pm

  22. In my book public funding for sidewalks gets a big tick relative to public subsidies for BHP. Although I am somewhat sceptical about the specific figure that you quoted.

    The economy is dynamic not static. We can shed public servants without creating mass unemployment. In general public servants are well educated and quite capable of finding alternate employment. We certainly would not be in favour of the thousands of extra public servant jobs that Howard is currently creating in Canberra.

    Do you support the 34% increase in real per capita federal tax revenue (excluding GST) over the last 10 years? Or do you think you could have spent the money more wisely yourself?

    t.i.n.a.: I think that a big part of the increase in federal tax revenue may have come from the resources sector once they were essentially awarded ownership of outback Australia by a bigoted little prick who had the Native Title Act essentially gutted – so although 34% per capita sounds shocking I don’t necessarily think it’s indicative. But no, I don’t support the ridiculous increases and directions in Fed expenditure over the last decade at all. I do support taxes though – pretty sure I could spend a share of Rio Tinto’s and Alcoa’s profits more wisely than Little Lord Eyebrows has.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 31, 2007 at 2:53 pm

  23. Actually TINA, a figure close to (above) 34% can be derived from the simple compounding of economic growth for ten years assuming 3% real growth. This is a fairly simplified but accurate model of what happened to the economy. The profits of miners have soared as the global market expanded, not since land rights were altered.

    The Government got more revenue as we have become a more prosperous society, but the increase in benefits from Government services has not matched the increase in spending. So the Government squandered a large portion of our increase in prosperity.

    Whereas everyone would benefit immediately if this was never appropriated from them in the first place.

    Again you are making unsubstantiated assertions. How are pro free trade arguments circular? How for example, are the benefits of trade and specialisation under free trade, explained in the Ricardian comparative advantage model, circular?

    How is any argument for free trade against human rights? Or the environment considering the devastating impact of subsidies?

    If I am ignorant then enlighten me. How are resources expropriated under free trade? More specifically you are talking about foreign direct investment, which has large spill-over benefits for the host nation in terms of technology transfer and increases in labour quality. What are the consequences that I don’t know about?

    Free trade does help the poor, particularly poor foreigners. That isn’t PR camo, it is the truth. You can’t refute this; you can merely sledge the point. How about a refutation?

    t.i.n.a.: you are seriously not aware of countries having environmental and other laws challenged as trade restrictive? If you’re talking about ‘free trade’, you are talking about the regime advanced by the binding agreements to which all members of the WTO are Parties. If you want to talk about free trade without being aware of this sustained international debate then you need to go and read some case studies. It’s nothing you’ll understand from discussion if genuine understanding is what you’re after.

    I explained why your arguments were circular and they are increasingly so here. A number of people well-placed to know better than you obviously do regarding the intersection of mining interests and land rights would disagree most vehemently with your assertions regarding Australian aboriginality and federal policies. I would be inclined to agree with them given what they have lived.

    Maybe you need to take a step back. Simply explain without glib reference to models what you mean by ‘free trade’.

    Mark Hill

    August 31, 2007 at 4:29 pm

  24. Free trade is trade where the terms of trade are determined by the two counter parties without coercion (by the state or other). It includes the option to not trade if you don’t like the terms.

    Coercion in this case meaning the threat of physical violence against the person or their property. Trade meaning two people or parties exchanging what they own (which often includes labour).

    I’m assuming that you believe in and accept the notion of property rights. Your reference to native title would suggest so.

    t.i.n.a.: that is not the common understanding of free trade. ‘Coercion’ comes in forms other than somebody standing at the table with a gun to another person’s head. While that’s an effective metaphor for many elements of global trade, it is not the actual reality. It is easy to create a nonsense, dismiss it, and appear vindicated to non-critical observers. Much trade, and associated agreements and their implications, is agreed and signed off on by trade or foreign ministers who don’t necessarily have the concerns or needs of the distant, lowly majority at the front of their agenda. Argue against this by saying that “well, in democratic societies people can choose change”. Well, not really. New Zealand is an interesting case study, which you probably won’t look at in The Collapse of Globalisation.

    And if you think that Native Title was
    a. about ownership
    b. a near sufficient replacement for real land rights
    c. any kind of complete system as opposed to a partial import from Canada lacking appropriateness for Australia’s circumstances in the form executed
    then you might want to do some reading on that recent and not-so-recent history as well before making mistaken assumptions about fairly major issues.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 31, 2007 at 8:11 pm

  25. You seem to be living a contradiction but perhaps you can clarify things for me. You said that you don’t agree at all with the direction of federal expenditure. And yet you seem to advocate government funding of hospitals. The Howard government has presided over an absolutely massive increase in health expenditure. The magnitude of the increase in public health expenditure under his government is staggering. It seems that you and John Howard are both of the same statist ilk on health care or else perhaps I’ve missed something.

    t.i.n.a.: it was clearly a generality referring to the types of services governments can and should direct taxes, as opposed to those which they shouldn’t, so in that you think you’ve missed something you are correct. To clarify with some further examples with no pedanticity needed regarding which level of government said funding need come from.

    Governments in Australia should not spend tens of millions on self-promotional disinformation campaigns which they claim are needede to better inform the public. Taxes should not be used to ensure that there are wages for at least four layers of flak between every minister and the media/public. Taxes should not subsidise long-established commercial enterprises unless they can demonstrate that they provide a significant social or environmental benefit that they could not otherwise provide. For example – BHP gets massive subsidisation as do many resource companies by government funding of roads. Sure that helps things tick over – bigger, faster, more, more, more. But what if public money came with conditions other than ‘make more money’. Like a PPP arrangement whereby public moneys are partnered with BHP moneys to build a desalination plant on the Australian Bight with necessary infrastructure to take water to Marathon Dam in preference to the continued draining of the valuable and irreplaceable resource that is the Artesian Basin.

    SBS and ABC do provide a genuinely valuable community service and if taxes make them able to function without having to cater to a lowest common denominator – cool! User pays public health – abominable option as clearly evidenced even anecdotally from the U.S. Using taxes to build a safety net so that all people can access a reasonable standard of appropriate health services is fundamental, and a government that wields every policy and every spending choice like it’s playing either battleship or stratego is obviously going to bugger that up. Basic human infrastructure – roads, parks, public transport, etc are all things that capable and motivated governments can and should direct money towards. These are ‘examples’, illustrating a ‘principle’.

    Oh wow. I just reread the last line you wrote. You can read, type, and spell so it’s obvious you know that’s shit. One must assume that you’re being a patronising dingleberry. So wrong, and yet so right. Yes, you really have missed something.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    August 31, 2007 at 8:22 pm

  26. Well I agree with your list of things that tax money should not be spent on. So that’s something. And I don’t entirely disagree on the list of things that they should spend public money on, although the ABC and SBS are stand out exceptions (I don’t much subscibe to the idea of government run megaphones).

    I was not assuming anything about native title other than the conclusion I stated. Which is that you do seem to believe that property rights exist (morally even if not always legally) which is not true of all socialists I encounter online. And if I was being bold I might even assume that you agree (in some instances at least) that the majority should not appropriate the property of a minority just because the majority think they deserve it or can use it more wisely. Or perhap’s thats stretching the assumption.

    t.i.n.a.: Well if that’s referring to the obvious disdain for Johnny Jackboot’s NT (more like empty) solution – sure. But if you need to think in terms of -isms then you’ve absolutely picked the wrong one. I look at Bolivarian Socialism in Venezuela and think that so far the good that it is doing is revolutionary and thoroughly outweighs any actual downsides. It will be interesting to see how things develop under Chavez and the trick will be to filter the media-wash from those who proclaim him to be Satan as much as from those who proclaim him to be god. It’s what South American nations need – some pride and sovereignty and the clear ejection of US clients. But it’s not an a pproach that would work here anymore than wearing eskimo coats in summer would make sense. Most socialists here are just clustering round the concept of group identity and some kind of outspokenness unti they graduate and find a different set of mass-consumed ideals that similarly won’t conflict with their social groupings, i.m.h.o. I don’t think -ismic pigeonholes set in concrete help to further understanding if they become an aim more than a device. If anything I’m a hypocritical environmentalist.

    And as far as the idea that SBS and ABC are government megaphones – it is the way in which they have been interfered with that is wrong, and that is what should be rejected. Not the public funding. The government has no humility, in that they (Coonan, Howard, whoever) think that the strings attached to public funding should reflect their own ideological position. The closest it will come to an intelligent argument to support this is in saying that as it is taxpayer’s money, and taxpayers elected the government to do their bidding and promote certain values, it is only right that the government emphasize those values when passing public money along. But this is not democracy – this is majoritarianism: an approach whereby all decisions reflect the position of the magical 51+% as determined by whoever won the last election. Democracy, however, means a multitude of voices and viewpoints. Rather than governments doing their best work just by reflecting their notion of majority will, it’s when governments facilitate a voice or a platform for those less heard, or less able to speak, that culture and information really gain breadth and substance beyond typical and destructive dichotomy. That is a valuable outcome.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    September 1, 2007 at 8:00 am

  27. I didn’t presume anything about you. I just said that if you haven’t spent time with poor people in developing countries, then I suggest you do.

    Whatever we call it (nationalism, sovereignty), I don’t think it’s appropriate to make trading bans based on a person’s nationality. If trade works for two people within Australia and for two people within New Zealand… there is no reason to think that trade between an Australian and a Kiwi will be any worse.

    The Doha round was aimed at reducing agricultural trade barriers and developing countries (understandably) want this outcome. Most APEC countries have been arguing in favour of Doha goals. It makes little sense to be angry at APEC or to be angry at the idea of people from different countries interacting and trading voluntarily.

    I’m not going to spend much time defending the WTO because I think it has been fairly unsuccessful (most trade liberalisation has occured bilaterally or unilaterally) and I’m concerned about the growing elements of trade management and some of their dodgy rules (specifically the anti-dumping rules). But if they can get Doha to bring down ag protection, then that would be better than doing nothing.

    t.i.n.a.: nationalism and sovereignty are thoroughly different animals. One is about a fear-based monotheistic and manufactured moral superiority, the other is about autonomy and self-determination. What the developing countries in Doha largely wanted was lowering of Western barriers, particularly US and EU, that would in some way begin to balance the massive lowering of their own. Some of them also wanted greater recognition of customary laws and protection for traditional knowledge threatened by foreign i.p. regimes, as well as an end to dumping by US mainly on world markets in a way that undercut their own agriculture.

    I think it’s ingenuous to characterize free trade as being from an Aussie to a Kiwi, as the most significant issues tend to be around the lack of equitability in the trade relationships between the big players and the majority of the world’s population in developing countries. But let’s take that example – let’s say that there is a kiwi who has all the sacred soapstone, for example, in New Zealand on their land. And i have the exclusive contract for supplying Coca Cola to the Pacific Region. I make them the sole New Zealand distributor for Coke for three years in return for all that sacred soapstone now.

    Goods for goods… But what about the intangible values that soapstone may have had? Perhaps parts of it were used in ceremonies handed down from generation to generation? Perhaps it was all located on one property but had been distributed and used amongst the community who weren’t given any say in its conservation? Or perhaps a few powerful decisionmakers were so greedy to turn a profit through selling Coke all over New Zealand that they cut everyone else out of the decision process because they could? It’s not a perfect example, and it’s not in anyway a complete manifestation of the issues that arise from assuming that trade is the way to some consensual utopis – but it’s valid. And if anything shows that what might seem reasonable when stated in a seemingly neutral and well-intentioned manner can fall apart quite readily on inquiry.

    John Humphreys

    September 1, 2007 at 12:42 pm

  28. Yes but if one agent in New Zealand has the necessary exclusivity of property rights over soapstone to cause the problem you have described it matters little whether they trade it with an Aussie for coke distribution rights or with a fellow kiwi for lots of wool. Either way the cultural issue you describe remains a problem and in fact it stems from the prior ownership structure not the act of trading. If the deal with an aussie is to be prohibitred then surely the same deal with some Kiwi needs to be prohibited on equal grounds. This is little different to Australia having a free trade deal with Afghanistan whilst at the same time banning the sale of heroin in Australia (a ban I happen to disagree with but you get the picture hopefully).

    t.i.n.a.: interesting but coming unstuck. Bottom line is that we are all flawed. We are human. All of us in greater or lesser degrees are creatures not necessarily given to the pursuit of wanton pleasure but certainly with real potential to be thoughtless and destructive in the pursuit of our own aims. We can deny that this is an aspect of global humanity, but to do so we have to be blind to both history and current affairs. Technology, for example, has evolved far quicker than our understanding of our relationship with technology, its impacts on culture, and the broader implications of massive rapid advances in technology for societies and individuals both locally and globally. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that it is a good idea. Even where perfectly harmonious structures of control, communication, and authority (collective, hierarchical, individual, whichever) are in place within a sovereign state – where cultural, conservation-related, intergenerational, survival, etc. concerns are fairly successfully co-mingling, that relationship of issues kept in check in the ongoing processes of local and traditional trade provides no guarantee nor authentic reflection of what will happen when trade is given a massive shot of steroids by external Parties with new agendas, cargo ships, teams of lawyers and investment bankers, friendships with the World Bank directorate, and ministers of the government of, on this example, New Zealand. The people who benefit most from deregulated international trade are the people who can turn the biggest profit between the buying and selling of an item. This generally concentrates wealth with people who weren’t short of it previously and is an irrefutable fact that can’t be bypassed by the sales-pitch of benevolent trade deregulation as a pathway to a better world for those most in need of one.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    September 1, 2007 at 6:44 pm

  29. TINA,

    You said that democracy means a multitude of views and viewpoints. What a refreshing sentiment. Such a pity it does not accord at all with the hostility and intolerance you showed in your opening passage towards the prospect of a few fellow Aussies who want to voice their support for free trade. However sticking for the moment with the positive sentiments you might like some of the democratic reforms proposed by the LDP.

    1. Citizen initiated referendums by which the public can readily repeal laws that parliament has enacted.

    2. Sunset clauses of 20 years on all parliamentary laws that have less that 75% of parliamentarians in support, thus ensuring that laws passed with marginal majorities will be reviewed.

    t.i.n.a.: shit T., don’t let hostility and intolerance bother you -firstly, you’ll sound like a hi-bran lo-substance small l liberal, and secondly, you’ll miss out on the Hansonesque media opportunity that’s just waiting for any small party happy to wear both as badges of pride on their way to grabbing Pauline Hanson’s increasingly disenfranchised base.

    I don’t agree that either of these are good ideas or doorways to democratic reform. Even moderate brainstorming of bigger picture consequences possible from mob mentality and concerted media campaigns, the fact that some laws strongly opposed by one side of the house have actually turned out to be great, the loss of business certainty in a climate where virtually all laws and therefore associated regulations can suddenly be up-for-grabs with the knock-on effects likely for employees and their families. That’s not even thinking very laterally or far ahead. Your suggestions are enough to stir a pot, but not to make a meal.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    September 1, 2007 at 9:50 pm

  30. TINA,

    We are digressing from the original point which was that the LDP thinks free trade is a good idea and you prefer some partial but currently non-specific ban on trade. You have not yet really articulated any detail about what trade you would ban (other than alluding to New Zealand soapstone) or the process by which such decisions would be made or the criteria that would be used. Are you just against economic freedom in general or can you actual articulate the specific aspects of freedom that you wish to prohibit and the specific merits of such prohibition?

    What you have done is list some generic outcomes you don’t like (eg rich people making money) and you have pointed out two obvious truths which were that humans are flawed creatures and that the world is an imperfect place. These don’t really amount to much. The personal insults don’t either.

    Regards,
    Terje.

    t.i.n.a.: Wow, i didn’t really consider those to be insults. After a longish exchange that was actually developing by reference to substantive examples, you are abandoning the discussion by reverting to trivialisation of the issues raised. This suggests to me that your position is untenable and although you may have realized that – as indicated by your resort to dismissive pedantry – you won’t acknowledge it. I am not calling for a ban on trade. I oppose your calls for freer trade, which is to oppose what I believe to be your position: calling for further deregulation of global trade and thereby further expropriation of the regulatory systems of sovereign states and justifying said calls by waving the world’s ‘poor’ like a flag.

    The LDP argues explicitly that deregulated trade regimes benefit poor people most of all, i refute this in saying that trade actually most benefits whoever stands to make the most money in between buying and selling. Though this rebukes a fundamental claim that has been made in this exchange, you dismiss this as some petty gainsaying of a truism. Perhaps the utopian outcome of trade is a forecast on which you don’t concur with whichever LDP peer made said proposal. There is no point in my further articulating anything; if by this point in time you think that you are arguing for freedom while I am arguing against it, and if you think I have a particular concern about antipodean soapstone then this whole discussion is a waste of time. You are either being deliberately petty and thereby missing legitimate points for discussion, or you genuinely have comprehensional difficulty in which case it would be better that you seek help before making any further attempt at communication. Seriously.

    Terje (say tay-a)

    September 3, 2007 at 10:01 am

  31. TINA: I oppose your calls for freer trade

    So your starting position for a better alternative to free trade is the status quo? In the case of current protectionism such as for example US and EU agricultural subsidies I fail to see how the status quo is a good thing.

    TINA: The LDP argues explicitly that deregulated trade regimes benefit poor people most of all

    Which I obviously agree with. Those that will suffer the most from any move away from free trade are the worlds poor. This is not to say that the rest of the worlds people will not also be worse off. Trade is not a zero sum game.

    TINA: You are either being deliberately petty and thereby missing legitimate points for discussion

    Actually I am trying exceedingly hard to elucidate what points you have to make. Thus far I have not seen any evidence that you have a well reasoned position. What you have is a small collection of anecdotes about what you think sucks in the world and a series of rhetorical devices for dismissing arguments you don’t wish to hear.

    t.i.n.a.: Yo, Terje – you are either a deliberate waste of time or, as previously suggested, incapable of grasping basic concepts which demonstrate the shortcomings in your proclamations. If you have to be such a second-rate Devine as to quote out of context or cherry-pick, at least make an effort. Here are simple statements you have chosen to ignore or acknowledge oout of context rather than actually address. You’re right in that you are an excessive try-hard, but if you were actually trying to ‘elucidate’ anything, you wouldn’t use words like ‘elucidate’ as though you actually understand them. If you were trying to get clearer on anything you might have picked readily grabbable examples as below and attacked them logically, or engaged them, or shown understanding while still raising your own doubts. Instead, you have been a petty douchebag. Good luck with pissing in the gene pool. You and LDP will live to make other people stupider.

    “The LDP argues explicitly that deregulated trade regimes benefit poor people most of all, i refute this in saying that trade actually most benefits whoever stands to make the most money in between buying and selling.”

    “Even moderate brainstorming of bigger picture (of proposed policies) from mob mentality and concerted media campaigns, the fact that some laws strongly opposed by one side of the house have actually turned out to be great, the loss of business certainty in a climate where virtually all laws and therefore associated regulations can suddenly be up-for-grabs with the knock-on effects likely for employees and their families. That’s not even thinking very laterally or far ahead.”

    “Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that it is a good idea. Even where perfectly harmonious structures of control, communication, and authority (collective, hierarchical, individual, whichever) are in place within a sovereign state – where cultural, conservation-related, intergenerational, survival, etc. concerns are fairly successfully co-mingling, that relationship of issues kept in check in the ongoing processes of local and traditional trade provides no guarantee nor authentic reflection of what will happen when trade is given a massive shot of steroids by external Parties with new agendas, cargo ships, teams of lawyers and investment bankers, friendships with the World Bank directorate, and ministers of the government of, on this example, New Zealand. The people who benefit most from deregulated international trade are the people who can turn the biggest profit between the buying and selling of an item. This generally concentrates wealth with people who weren’t short of it previously and is an irrefutable fact that can’t be bypassed by the sales-pitch of benevolent trade deregulation as a pathway to a better world for those most in need of one.”

    “These are ‘examples’, illustrating a ‘principle’.”

    Terje (say tay-a)

    September 3, 2007 at 2:41 pm

  32. Interesting debate.

    I’m far from the most educated person on the subject. But from what I do know, free trade offers more benefit to more poor than not. You are probably quite right in saying “free trade does NOT benefit the poor most of all”, I quite happily agree that the already rich probably do become quite a lot richer. But I would argue, from a Utilitarian point of view- that free trade does in fact produce a “net benefit” or “net happiness”. That isn’t to say that it’s okay for 1,000 people to lose $1 if 1 person gets $2,000. But in the case of free trade that doesn’t seem to be the case, either. The power disparity may be widening, though and I do believe that power disparity is a constant threat to true freedom.

    I’m really under-informed about economic issues. I am traditionally from the “left” but have moved more towards libertarianism as a philosophically consistent political view. I’m not yet a member of the LDP, but this debate definitely has helped me understand the issue more from both pro- and anti- points of view and it does make me want to become more informed on the issue.

    t.i.n.a.: I wouldn’t actually recommend the LDP as any source of economic enlightenment. Check out anything by Joseph Stiglitz, Jorgen Randers, Clive Hamilton, Naomi Klein, Jean Ralston Saul. That’s six good places to start. At least then when you do get chatting with someone with an agenda, however well-intentioned, then you will also be aware of what they aren’t thinking about – cultural values, Western biases, environmental and social values, overall wellbeing as opposed to statistical wealth. Even take the easy option before you read any books and just watch The Yes Men. It’s not definitive or comprehensive, but it’s a hell of a lot more enlightening about ‘free trade’ than anything you’ve read here.

    Saben

    September 3, 2007 at 6:01 pm

  33. TINA,

    Given the conversation that you’ve just had with Mark, Terje and John, do you still think it’s a good idea to advise people to ‘bring urine’ when they go and check out the LDP’s demo?

    I mean: do you REALLY want people to launch their wee at these guys?

    t.i.n.a.: gee, such a tough question. such a tough, irrelevant question.

    Jeremy

    September 4, 2007 at 8:22 am

  34. Hamilton was filmed with a ivroy coloured grand piano behind him on a recent SBS documentuary decrying “conspicuous” consumption. Klein has no idea about the issues but plenty of catchy slogans.

    As for Stiglitz:

    “An Open Letter to Joseph Stiglitz, by Kenneth Rogoff, Economic Counsellor and Director Research, International Monetary Fund”

    http://www.imf.org/external/np/vc/2002/070202.htm

    Far too voluminous to repost on someone else’s blog. Saben, you might want to check out the actual WTO, IMF etc websites before you let TINA decry them for you. The LDPs position is that Australia should unilaterally liberalise our trade and foreign investment rules, and encourage others to do so. So we don’t think the WTO has done enough nor is it moving fast enough. Nor has Australia developed strong free trade links with SE Asia.

    TINA, what exactly are “Channel Ten Values”?

    t.i.n.a.: and make sure not to read two opposing points of view because your head might explode. Stiglitz must have nothing to offer if somebody from the IMF has written an open letter to him. Clive Hamilton, a widely respected economist, deep thinker, and author somehow is insubstantial because you saw him on a TV show where the director positioned the camera in such a manner that there was an expensive musical instrument behind him? Wow. That truly dismisses all the critical thought, analysis, political modern history, climate change-related material, etc. that he has put out there, doesn’t it? Good job. Oh, and Naomi Klein “no idea”, “catchy slogans” – you, little one, are an intellectual dwarf. You further demonstrate this by your need to ask “what exactly are “Channel Ten Values”?”. Maybe one day you’ll understand values, and then you might have some, and then you might work it out. Gotta recommend that you go out there today and read something that you disagree with, but recognise that you can let yourself understand it without necessarily becoming ‘tainted’ with whatever pox you see present in all things that aren’t reassuring reflections of your own beliefs. See ya.

    Mark Hill

    September 4, 2007 at 9:54 am

  35. t.i.n.a.: I wouldn’t actually recommend the LDP as any source of economic enlightenment. Check out anything by Joseph Stiglitz, Jorgen Randers, Clive Hamilton, Naomi Klein, Jean Ralston Saul. That’s six good places to start. At least then when you do get chatting with someone with an agenda, however well-intentioned, then you will also be aware of what they aren’t thinking about – cultural values, Western biases, environmental and social values, overall wellbeing as opposed to statistical wealth. Even take the easy option before you read any books and just watch The Yes Men. It’s not definitive or comprehensive, but it’s a hell of a lot more enlightening about ‘free trade’ than anything you’ve read here.

    Sorry, but none of the above authors take responsibility for their policy prescriptions. They sure get to frame their policies in feel-good language, in flowery emotions, in good intentions and a happy future, but the very evidence of the economic development in the last few centuries shows that a government which keeps its hands off free markets is the best we can hope for.

    And when it comes to any of those goals listed above (happiness, the environment, overall wellbeing) they are all more easily reached via free markets and property rights.

    The rest of the subjects are rather vague. How the hell does talking about “Western biases” or “cultural differences” define what the role of government ought to be ?

    Is it simply that people on the left blindly follow these guys when they suggest socialist central planning simply because they show they have good intentions ?

    t.i.n.a.: great argument. how could i have been so blind and deaf? we as a species really have no better possible path to further advancement of humanity than tobuy and sell things and own stuff. bra-fucking-vo dude.

    Jono

    September 4, 2007 at 2:57 pm

  36. You have changed the goalposts. You are no longer discussing what trade does. You are arguing from authority and name-dropping. The LDP is simply defending the concept of humans voluntarily interacting, and by logical extension, trading goods and services with each other. You dispute the impacts of this, particularly on the poor. You have kept on claiming that we haven’t produced something substantive, but neither have you – but analysis of the impacts of trade liberalisation are clear. The static gains are outweighed by the internal dynamic gains in each nation which liberalises its own barriers by 9:1, net prices fall, employment rises and so does industrial output. These benefits accrue more heavily to less industrialised nations, but you think this is inequitable because the poor nations need trade more. How else are they going to be lifted from poverty but for internal reforms that make them more internationally competitive anyway?

    You have characterised Stiglitz as an intellectual giant and called me a dwarf while calling Ken Rogoff basically, “some dude”. You could make a small fort from the irony, it is so thick. Hamilton is a hypocrite. That does dash all of his “deep thought” which is simply neopuritannicalism. it is particularly bad when he has absolutely no worries about the impact of his anti-consumptionist views on the workers in industry, particularly the workers in developing and less developing nations. He is a well respected economist? Who by? Certainly not other economists. Such a view merely changes facts to fit a worldview. What substantive, quantitative arguments has Klein made against trade? If I am so ignorant, enlighten me. Unless you think you are too well read to debate the issue, it seems you are bluffing, show us the lay down maziere. What are Channel Ten values by the way?

    t.i.n.a.: the absence of human and planetary concerns from your arguments which simply echo textbooks is a defining element of the weakness in your outlook. Your logic and information is just fucktarded, even when you make an effort. You are still harping that Clive Hamilton is a hypocrite because he was videoed near a piano by a tv crew. You proclaim your knowledge of Naomi Klein’s work, but ask what work she has done around trade – when she started writing about its impacts and processes about ten years ago beginning with No Logo which you obviously haven’t read the back of.

    The open misere? You’ve got it. You’re playing a losing hand. But let’s give you a hint – tv stations express their values most evidently through their news programs, right? Go ahead and watch Channel Ten News a few times, see if you can work out what their values are and how differently they try to frame the world than everybody else. That’ll answer your question. Of course, being an intellectual giant you could have probably worked that out yourself. Hell – why do you keep asking questions, considering that you know everything?

    Mark Hill

    September 5, 2007 at 11:40 am

  37. “Gotta recommend that you go out there today and read something that you disagree with, but recognise that you can let yourself understand it without necessarily becoming ‘tainted’ with whatever pox you see present in all things that aren’t reassuring reflections of your own beliefs.”

    Wow. You are so right.

    “It is noteworthy that the original poster promoting this ‘alternative’ protest is a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. They are essentially a propaganda unit for hire lobbying for deregulation of GMOs, nuclear power and waste disposal, taxation of issue-based charities and NGOs, and social injustice. They refer to themselves as a ‘think tank’. This ‘protest’ is conveniently timed to run into the Sop Bush protest also happening in the same area in Sydney on Saturday morning. How convenient it would be if they created an incident requiring that the police use force indiscriminately, while certain journos who are also fellows of the IPA just happen to create context.”

    Not very open or actively minded though. Not accurate in your sledging either.

    t.i.n.a.: yes, mmm, couldn’t agree more. but you really showed me. wow. great ‘sledging’. bam. ouch. gee.

    Mark Hill

    September 5, 2007 at 11:51 am

  38. TINA, do you support the LDP’s policy of unilaterally removing Australian trade barriers? This is something that the developing world has been crying out for. Surely we can all agree on the merit of this.

    t.i.n.a.: hi DSM, i’m sure your intentions in thinking that are good. Given that your intentions are good, if you think a bit down the track, then you’ll see why we can’t all agree on that ‘policy’.

    Let’s imagine that policy is in place. Canada wants to send us a bunch of wheat that might be heavily contaminated with a GMO that hasn’t been satisfactorily tested or approved for release here. Brazil wants to send over a load of timber illegally harvested from the Amazon. Indonesia wants to send sea containers loaded full of bags, belts and knick-knacks made by the unpaid children of political prisoners. One company in India can sell us soccer balls at half the cost of their Indian competition because they don’t have any costs arising from care for their workers. These are just a few examples that readily spring to mind based on your comment. Any restriction or regulation which you want to put in place to somehow limit or temper such transactions is a trade barrier. No, I don’t think unilaterally removing trade barriers is a good idea. I think at best it’s a half-baked one intended to generate a buzz from its simplistic mixture of naive benevolence and shock value.

    drscroogemcduck

    September 5, 2007 at 5:52 pm


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