Renegade Economist Podcast 85
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As broadcast on April 15th, 2009 via the almighty www.3CR.org.au.
Radical reactions: we talk to Mosese Waqa (Pacific Islands Network) on the Fiji coup. We provide the full extended interview detailing the 4 coups, australian vis chinese diplomatic styles and future war games. Close to 55 minutes in 2 parts. Compelling listening for anyone interested in the Pacific. Wash your dishes to Mo:
Please note – all writing in italics is commentary on the articles, the stuff we wished we could have said but time kept on slipping.
Take Back the Land’s campaign ‘Take Back the Housing’ asserts that housing is a human right, and, therefore, our right to housing supersedes others rights to a profit.
Let’s use the tax system to speed this up! Switch taxes off wages and onto natural resources, with land as the anchor to this new system. Speculators will be ushered out the door, removing the ponzi-like profiteering of ‘flipping’. (och I wish we had more time to say that!)
77% of oz households have an empty bedroom – p7, Good Weekender Magazine as part of The Age (Sat April 11th)
One man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard.
Already by this time, local fishermen in the coastline of Somalia have been complaining of illegal vessels coming to Somali waters and stealing all the fish. And since there was no government to report it to, and since the severity of the violence clumsily overshadowed every other problem, the fishermen went completely unheard. But it was around this same time that a more sinister, a more patronizing practice was being put in motion. A Swiss firm called Achair Parterns, and an Italian waste company called Progresso, made a deal with Ali Mahdi, that they could dump containers of waste material in Somali waters. These European companies were said to be paying Warlords about $3 a ton, where as in to properly dispose of waste in Europe costs about $1000 a ton.
Using True Cost Economics, the polluting company would realise that dumping is uneconomic. Firstly, an environmental bond of significant proportion should be required by the licensor to ensure materials properly disposed of. Secondly, the true cost of safely storing these multi-generational ticking timebombs would prohibit their use. What a tragedy the EU are pawns of business rather than friends of the community. Democracy is effectively dead.
Kohler: the BrisConnections bolt from the blue
So that nice young Nicholas Bolton, champion of the benighted BrisConnections mums and dads, turned out to be a cad and a bounder — a bolter, in fact.
In defence of Bolton Stephen Mayne
Listed infrastructure vehicles were Australia’s biggest contribution to the Wild West of the global financial crisis. It was Nicholas Moore’s baby but who would have thought another Nicholas almost half his age would find himself administering the last rites.
As for the claimed $200 billion-plus infrastructure program that the state and Federal governments hope to roll out over the coming five years, let’s hope the government bond market can keep absorbing $2 billion a week because the financial engineers are no longer a viable option.
Secret police enforce airport parking monopoly
GoAuto publisher John Mellor writes:
The naming of Melbourne Airport by the ACCC for suspected gouging of its patrons with parking fee increases — up from $12 for two hours to $18 — highlights the extent the airport will go to raising revenue from motorists.
The fact that this private company generates 21 per cent of its revenue from parking, compared with seven per cent at Sydney Airport, has the ACCC justifiably concerned that Melbourne Airport has been using its monopoly position and regulatory powers to direct traffic to its car parks.
In Melbourne, airport management has basically shut down any parking on any public roads within the airport area — and beyond — to stop drivers from waiting to meet incoming passengers in any place other than their high-priced car parks.
To reiterate the dangers of privately funded and owned infrastructure we raise your awareness of the above as a classic georgist issue. Monopolisation of prime locations and licences gives the operators of Melb Airport (of which Macquarie is an owner) the ability to charge $18 for a on hour park. We discussed on an earlier show how Karl (yes that’s me) was hit with an $8 extra parking fee at the 61 minute mark. Embarrassed as hell picking up my father-in-law for the first time whilst scratching for cash, my knowledge of the greater economic forces at t play enhanced a tirade of emotion. After we finally go tout of there I had visions of the baggage operators being given the ‘go-slow’ when planes are 30 minutes late, stretching out the parking time to over an hour and thus enabling the executive remuneration scheme to be massaged at our chump ass expense.
Tax Day Protests Against the War Economy and Paying for War
Brooklyn, NY ¬ On Wednesday, April 15, at post offices, federal buildings, and public squares around the country, last minute taxpayers and passers by will be met with signs demanding “Taxes for Peace Not War!” Handouts will explain what the government tries to obscure: the obscene amount of U.S. tax dollars being spent on war at the expense of jobs, infrastructure, human needs programs¬even a healthy economy.
The Obama administration’s promises to end the war in Iraq¬eventually¬but leaving 50,000 “advisers” in the country sounds more like continued occupation of a sovereign country. The expansion of war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan brings daily reports of more civilian deaths piled onto the thousands already killed by U.S. actions in the region. Obama’s 2010 budget includes further increases for the Pentagon, which is already funded at levels higher than any time since World War II¬hardly an indication that the U.S. is on the road to peace.
Admirable but more infrastructure will only make land more unaffordable, prolonging the recessionary pain. Why not use Land Value Capture to fund infrastructure?
Check the related slick art campaign by Toilet Paper.com
A new way of making movies – Pirate My Film
Max Keiser, the infamous podcaster, Financial visionary is about to launch a new service based upon pre-selling an idea to get it made. A reaction to the raft of new copyright law Keiser insists that this will shake the foundations of Hollywood again.
As an indie film maker myself I am quite interested o see how this idea will work out. It has already created noise on the internet. I personal think this a great idea an it fits in quite nicely with the physical and mental DNA idea.
Culture is the primary and ultimate opensource software platform. Our heritage, our everything, is drawn from an infinite pool of genetic cultural accidents.
Thought experiment _ If we replace “ideas” with “Strands of DNA”, and think of culture as an evolutionary system. Owning and withholding strands of DNA would most definately result in the devolution of mankind. It wouldn’t make sense to expect people to pay to use a certain part of a genetic structure and if that was the case what would be the price of an eyeball. Its fair to say that, we would live in a world of disease ridden idiots and ultimately genetic pirates. People who copy and distribute the DNA people want and need would be made criminals by unreasonable laws.
Culture is our intellectual and spiritual DNA and to hold back strands that could enable us to evolve is simply absurd.
Nature is the ultimate creative force, who does it pay? It pays itself, it feeds back into itself, creating more diversity through better design. Nature, as culture, is selfishly unselfish, it is a system of favours, a system of mutual appreciation and ultimately a matrix of a trillion trillion trillion moments of piracy.
Max Keiser’s pirated concept is to adopt the ‘can’t beat em, join em’ mantra – pirated film makers to share in the ad revenue of pirated sites such as the highly successful www.mininova.org. AKA rents being enclosed from another prime location. That’s fine (and totally agree with the concepts stated above as per our old interview with copyleft expert David Bollinger). Under our system, the mininova’s of the world are convinced to pay a little in resource rents back to the guardians of the internet’s infrastructure & the electromagnetic spectrum in return for no company or indirect or income taxes.
Material We Wish To Have Covered
The Market Mystique
And the financial system wasn’t just boring. It was also, by today’s standards, small. Even during the “go-go years,” the bull market of the 1960s, finance and insurance together accounted for less than 4 percent of G.D.P. The relative unimportance of finance was reflected in the list of stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which until 1982 contained not a single financial company.
It all sounds primitive by today’s standards. Yet that boring, primitive financial system serviced an economy that doubled living standards over the course of a generation.
Poor home demand pushes land value down by half
“The value of residential development land fell by half last year as demand plummeted for new-build homes, underscoring losses made across large estates of land amassed by housebuilders during the property boom. The value of land fell by 15% on average during the last quarter of 2008, taking the market down by 50% for the year. The largest quarterly fall was in London, particularly in the market for land designated for new upmarket homes.”
$500K homes now selling for $200,000
LAKE ELSINORE, California (CNN) — Mary Ann and Derrick Lepley bought a home for nearly $300,000 less than what the previous owners paid.
“Dow 36,000″ and your pension
So in 2007 the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation — which stands behind corporate pensions — switched from bonds only to lots of stocks, buying in at, natch, the peak of the market. Oops. And this is big stuff: the Bush administration may have left us all a gratuitous loss of hundreds of billions.
Why did this happen? I’m sure we’ll find some nasty stuff, but at least part of the reason was that the Bush administration, like many conservatives, was under the spell of the following pseudo-syllogism:
1. The stock market captures the essential spirit of capitalism.
2. Capitalism roolz!
3. Therefore, stocks will go up.
The most influential disseminator of this fallacy is the Wall Street Journal, which as far as I can tell has cheered on every bubble since the 1920s, always dismissing the skeptics as fools and promoting the dumbest bull-market arguments available. I don’t have time to search for it right now, but I think there was an editorial circa 2000 saying precisely that anyone who questioned the bull market of the time was anti-capitalist.
And now the cost for that attitude is falling on you and me.
Goldman Sachs makes surprise profit
Goldman Sachs reported a net loss of $2.12bn in the fourth quarter than ended on November 28 [EPA]
Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, has reported a profit of $1.66bn for the first three months of this year, beating forecasts that it would suffer a significant fall.
Please can someone explain how much of this profit was due to the change in accounting /booking assets? With no more mark-to-market valuations on $900 properties, how much of this profit has been Enron’d????