Billionaires Crawling All Over Our Democracy

Billionaires Are Crawling All Over Our Democracy by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud

Renegade Economists podcast 355

As broadcast on 3CR Wed August 27th, 2014.
Subscribe to the free weekly podcast here or listen live 5.30pm.

Ferguson court revenues
Washington Post: Many rely on revenue generated from traffic tickets and related fines. According to a study by the St. Louis nonprofit Better Together, Ferguson receives nearly one-quarter of its revenue from court fees; for some surrounding towns it approaches 50 percent.

@earthsharing
Rob Oakeshott – They are crawling all over our democracy, and my worry is unless the audience is onto this and starts to respond to it, we are allowing democracy to be privatised.

Paraphrased as: The billionaires are crawling all over our democracy. We are allowing democracy to be privatised.

Tinkler donation for rezoning

ICAC reveals the pursuit of economic rents, the unearned incomes, the windfall gains that is the end result of rent seeking. Tinkler’s $18,000 donation via the Free Enterprise Foundation.

The Boganaire’s play:
180 hectares called ‘Yabornie’, North Richmond, City of Hawkesbury, $18,000 donation
2000 lots
= $180 p/h
2000/180 = 11 homes per hectare
at an average $330,000 land value = $3.63m p/h
broadly speaking, thats a 36,300% return on investment
The proposed re-zoning would give a $653.4m valuation of the land

The Buildev donation was made in Dec 2010, not long after donations by developers was made illegal.

Tinkler donation for rezoning

The Australian Financial Review revealed on Monday that within six months of the $18,000 donation Mr Bassett voted in favour of a Hawkesbury council residential land strategy that listed the controversial North Richmond development as “high priority”.

In June 2012 Mr Bassett voted for the council to ask the state government to fast track rezoning the project under a so-called state “gateway process”.

Mr Williams told the inquiry that in October 2012 Buildev sold its interest in North Richmond for $12 million.

It is instructive how soon after the rezoning fastracking that the site was sold.

Public Housing, long term renting with April Bragg (Housing for the Aged)

According to the 2006 census, Australia’s public housing stock consisted of some 304,000 dwellings out of a total housing stock of more than 7.1 million dwellings.

Vic Public Housing history
1960 – housing commish built 4500 homes for SEC workers in Churchill, Latrobe Valley
90’s – community gardens incorporated into pub housing estates
200’s – neighborhood renewal in highly disadvantaged areas
2010 – Eliz St Common Ground opened (supportive housing development) The development provided 131 affordable units and coordinated support for people who had experienced long-term homelessness or who were at risk of homelessness.

Begging a crime – Proceeds of crime’ seizure beggars belief … 8 cases over 12 months


Apartments sit idle as East West Link tunnel creeps up

Nearly 100 new apartments are sitting empty in one of Melbourne’s most desirable suburbs, nearly a year after the Victorian government bought them for $90 million.

The government bought all but two of the 175 apartments in the Evo Building in Parkville from off-the-plan investors in September last year, after it became clear that tollways leading to the controversial East West Link tunnel would completely surround the site.

Eight months after the apartments were first advertised in January, 99 remain unleased.

The Linking Melbourne Authority contracted Lilydale Real Estate agent Noble Knight, which is leaking the apartments on to the market at a rate of about 12 per month.

The agents were advertising some of the apartments at $570 per week but the most expensive on the market now appeared to be $495.

The vacancy rate in Melbourne’s inner suburbs is just 3 per cent, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
A government spokeswoman said the gradual release of the apartments was in line with advice from the Valuer General.

Council to Homeless Persons policy manager Sarah Toohey said she would like to see some of the remaining apartments used as social housing.

Check the rents charged by government:

$500 x 52 weeks x 20 years = $520K (potential home owners – thats the formula for valuing a property)
90m/173 apartments = $520,231
so charging about what they paid for them. No controversy there.

We didnt get to cover this interesting article on nursing homes in Coalition ditches another good idea, but I was very interested in the similarities between the nursing home leaseholds discussed by Kohler to Community Land Trusts. If only the public collected the rising land rents, not the nursing home corporation.

Hands Up Dont Shoot

Hands Up Dont Shoot by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud

Renegade Economists show 354

As broadcast on 3CR, Wednesday August 20th, 2014, 5.30-6pm.
Subscribe to the free podcast

#Hands Up Dont Shoot: Kiwi activist Keillor MacDuff (@tekeiller) reports in from Ferguson on the continuing crisis following the tragic shooting of Michael Brown. Economic pressures loom in the background. Dont forget our 123rd annual dinner, Wed Sept 3 with prof John Freebairn.

Show Notes
The opening track is Rob Swift’s Street Crime News (War Games)
The news collage summary was from Blip.tv via the Washington Post. Some of the data mentioned also comes from this post.
Check the scary right wing interpretation, complete with the byline ‘Inside Every Liberal Is A Totalitarian Trying To Get Out’.
#HandsUpDontShoot is becoming a meme of its own, in terms of protest chants.

Putting the Commons in Creativity

The Second Tech Phase: pt2 on Collaborative California, on the need for a fairer internet by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud

Renegade Economists show 353

As broadcast on 3CR Wed August 13th, 2014

Part 2 of the Collaborative California presentation assessing the incredible wealth amassing in the tech sector alongside the accompanying gentrification pressures being used as a diversion from systemic analysis. Part 1 can be listened to via our new Mixcloud page.

This show features Neal Gorenflow (Shareable), Janelle Orsi (Sustainable Economies Law Centre) and Tracey from Fruitvale Station.

Show Notes
References as mentioned in the show:

Our 123rd Annual Henry George Commemorative Dinner – featuring John Freebairn, Wednesday Sept 3rd.

Churchill on Southwark parish and the effect of free food on raising rents.

BART police shooting of Oscar Grant (Fruitvale Station)

LA River discussion with Mayor Garcetti is aware of the lure of capital gains and gentrification pressures. – Impressive economic litercy, I wish more politicians could calculate this into their decision making. But will it result in a change in economic policy?

Garcetti says:

“I refuse to say, let’s keep things bad and affordable. Let’s capture what’s good, but let’s make sure we mitigate what is the bad side of gentrification.”

Does that mean he will advocate for a move towards value capture? This would close the loop between publicly funded infrastructure and privatised windfall gains for those in property.

Twitter’s Geek Driven Gentrification of SF.

Buy a book on economic justice!

Sharing California

Collaborative California – a presentation on the peer to peer revolution. by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud

Recorded at our Collaborative California event last week, this is a presentation on a three week tour I undertook recently. You will hear the audio to film clips recorded with Neal Gorenflo from Shareable, Espen Sivertsen Type A Printers, Tracey from Fuitvale and Ilya from AirBnb Venice Beach.

Also referenced is the Democratising Land Use event. Check the neat video.

Stay tuned for part two (listen here) as we delve into just how far this sharing economy goes and the tensions evolving. Subscribe to the weekly Renegade Economists radio podcast.

Oakeshott – the danger to democracy

its too obvious to continue

its too obvious to continue

Twitter has erupted over former Independent MP Rob Oakeshott’s clarion call on Radio National’s Big Ideas

“In my time in that three years (2010-2013) when I held a little power, six of Australia’s ten richest people came and knocked on my door. They came looking for me, I didn’t look for them.

They are crawling all over our democracy, and my worry is unless the audience is onto this and starts to respond to it, we are allowing democracy to be privatised.

Reform will not happen in Australia’s interests, it will happen in the interests of a select few.”

– Rob Oakeshott, Independent Member of the House of Representatives for Lyne (2008-2013), on Radio National’s “Big Ideas” 7 August 2014.

Thanks to Bryan Kavanagh for the quote that has summed up the feeling one senses for those following the ICAC hearings, where another two politicians have fallen on their sword. Predictably, the property lobby was lurking in the background.

The key element behind corruption is the pursuit of economic rent, the easy money that owners of natural monopolies can make in their sleep. If government’s choose to leave this naturally rising value on the table for the taking, it will lead to such rent-seeking.

Michael Hudson has been prominent in reminding people of the rentier concept. His Insider’s Economic Dictionary details it as:

Rentier: Someone living on a fixed income, such as the French rentes, government bonds. What Keynes called a “functionless investor” in his recommendation for “euthanasia of the rentier” (General Theory, p. 376 1961 Papermacs edition, MacMillan & Company). Property rents and interest are the two major modern forms of rentier income.

Rentier income: The essence of classical political economy was that no outlay of living or embodied labor is needed to obtain rent and interest. This analysis offended the vested interests, which sponsored a post-classical reaction by applying the maxim, “If the eye offend thee, pluck it out.” The ensuing marginal utility theory ignored the wealth addiction that historically has gone hand in hand with rentiers and the tendency for their compound interest demands to approach infinity.

The great tragedy of the modern era is that politicians have to pawn their policies to pay for advertising on what was once known as the public airwaves. Some countries such as New Zealand limit political advertising on the airwaves to what the public purse covers. However, this still costs the public.

A fairer system would see the government include in all radio & TV licensing the requirement for broadcasters to provide a set percentage of time per political party per election in return for their right to enclose the electromagnetic commons. Read more in the Total Resource Rents of Australia – Harnessing the Power of Monopoly.

Sound sensible? Listen to my weekly podcast – the Renegade Economists – for more.

Until the general public can call politicians to account on their inability to address this deep issue, the world of corruption will continue. Try these 3 terms.

Opportunity and Equity