Renegade Economists Podcast 71

Karl FitzgeraldCommentaryLeave a Comment

01/11/09:11/365 Melt
Creative Commons License photo credit: D&J Huber

The Melting Social Contract:

This show wades through recent economic trends, explaining why the boom bust bubble occurs and how this effects our ability to act as normal, respectable human beings. Also the Holocaust in Gaza and how desperate students have become to avoid paying fees.

Show Notes

  • South Pole summer
  • Why Economic Growth fails us – all benefits of progress captured in higher land values, non-landowners miss out.
  • Why credit creation is irrelevant – uncertainty prevails when we are all spending so much on rent/ mortgages.
  • But why does the current economic system curtail the synergy between the individual and the community? Listen and understand!
  • Stop the Holocaust in Gaza rally – those chants!

Articles covered:

The taxman cometh? IRS urged to tax virtual worlds, economies
By Jacqui Cheng |
The Internal Revenue Service should start taxing the fledgling virtual economy in Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other virtual worlds according to Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson.

Second Life threatened by and speculation
The Land Use Fee (also known as a Tier Fee) is a monthly charge in addition to membership fees (i.e., US$9.95/month Premium Membership). Land use fees are billed based on the peak amount of land held during your previous 30 day billing cycle.

British Gas implicated – War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields
The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority. The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

SHAC
“We may continue to squat in university properties and we may take other forms of action. We’re still looking for a rental affordability outcome from all universities and organisations that have a social responsibility.”

The Colombian student, who did not wish to be named, said he did not have anywhere to go and would use the money he had saved for course fees to pay for a hostel while he hunted for accommodation.

An Italian model who swears she has never had sex plans to sell her virginity for one million euros, or £792,000.
said she would use the cash to buy a house in Rome and pay for acting classes.

San Diego Student Natalie Dylan to pay her college fees by auctioning her virginity to pay for a masters degree in Family and Marriage therapy has seen bidding hit £2.5million ($3.7m).

Meanwhile over at the Heritage Foundation, family values make a comeback:
Reducing Poverty by Revitalizing Marriage in Low-Income Communities: A Memo to President-elect Obama  by Robert Rector

From east to west, a chain collapses
Millions to lose their jobs as world’s largest importer of waste hit by collapse in demand for packaging

160,000 collectors in Beijing make a living from the detritus of urban life – plastic sheeting, office printouts, bottles, radiators and scraps of cardboard. Recycling has become a global industry and China is the largest importer of the world’s waste materials, taking in as much as a third of Britain’s recyclables for example.

Across the scrap trade, prices have halved or worse in a matter of months.

A 2007 World Bank report estimated total cost of China’s air and water pollution at around 5.8 per cent of GDP.

Surfrider Foundation: Catch of the Day.
Surfrider Foundation teamed up with Satchi & Satchi LA to create “Catch of the Day.” Simply and brilliantly, they collected actual trash from beaches around the U.S., packaged it like food, and left it on display at farmer’s markets.

South Australia’s Four-Month Plan to Phase Out Plastic Bags
And the good news is that as of January 1, 2009, the four-month phase out plan to eliminate the use of plastic bags in South Australia has officially started. From January first onwards, retailers will begin to phase out stocks of lightweight plastic bags in preparation for the enforcement of the ban.

Native Title Reform
The Age yesterday revealed that a confidential draft report recommends that traditional owners be compensated for activities such as mining, major public works, and carbon sequestration as a result of reforestation and restoration of wetlands on jointly managed land.

Barapa Barapa chairman Wayne Webster said he was concerned that joint management of national parks would be tokenistic and the state would retain control. “The department (officers) are not going to give up their careers for a blackfellow — they make too much revenue, it’s their gold,” he said.

Sprawl
A REPORT comparing the public transport systems of 52 cities internationally, commissioned by the State Government, has found that only North American cities have worse access to services than Melbourne.

And the Public Transport Standards Review, completed by respected transport analysts Booz and Co, has found Melbourne’s public transport system performs worse than some Australian capitals in principal areas as well.

The report was completed as part of a government transport statement, released last month, and found eastern European cities invested 137 per cent more in public transport per head of population than Melbourne.

Only North American cities spent less on public transport per person than Melbourne, according to the report.
–  26 per cent slower than the car.

Expect fireworks between Ferguson and new Rudd appointee
Alex Mitchell (Crikey) writes:

More information has come to hand about John Pierce, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s newly appointed head of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

PIerce – NSW Treasury Secretary  1997 – 2008….. It also saw the dramatic increase in privately-owned tollways and privately-built and operated state schools. But his epitaph will be the Cross City Tunnel which was so misconceived it eventually fell into administration.

Environmental activist Lynda Newnam points out that the NSW Treasury 2004-2005 annual report shows how Pierce received taxpayer-funded largesse from his political masters. It states:

August 2004 to January 2005 – to respond to long term budget pressures from an ageing population and trends in expenditure growth.
based at the Boston University where he accessed research on long-term fiscal policy.

Despite all this talent being concentrated in one brains trust, the NSW economy slipped into the doldrums, resulting in a $1 billion revenue black hole and investors took fright at the government’s incompetence and the State’s high taxes.

With mineral resources, energy and the multi-billion dollar tourism industry in his department, Pierce will be relishing his appointment and so will industry leaders.

But Pierce’s new minister, Martin Ferguson, MP for the Victorian seat of Batman, is a forthright left-winger of the old school so there are bound to be fireworks between the free marketeer and the state intervener. Which is precisely what Rudd wants.

Small Banks like the Independent Bank of Michigan are using the money to look after themselves rather than lend it.
“It’s a matter of logic — when you are in a perilous position, like many of them are, you try to bolster your balance sheet,” said Alan S. Blinder, a monetary policy economics professor at Princeton. “But this is a real flaw in the program.”

Some banking experts are even questioning if the bailout may be doing more harm than good, in some cases, by giving banks like Independent a cushion as they struggle to fix their problems, rather than forcing them to sink or swim on their own. It could also delay mergers of weaker banks with healthier ones.

MUSIC

Saul Williams – Anti-War Freestyle Rap

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