Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Sustainability and economics

In many opinions, Western society has been in decline for decades (if not centuries) but we do seem to be heading towards the abyss at an ever increasing speed. Australia is probably a reasonable reflection of what is happening elsewhere (at least if the drivel in newspapers and on television is any guide. There is little real political choice when it comes to elections as all party hacks scramble for the 'middle ground' In Australia there is virtually nothing to choose on economic policies between the Liberal/National coalition government and the Labor opposition. Both also have almost identical policies on defence (which would better be described as aggression). They both endorse any action required by the US. Despite claimed financial constraints, unlimited funds are always found for military adventures. Politicians are happy to send young men to fight, even if the wars are unwinnable – such as Afghanistan and the current Middle East debacle. The whole IS fiasco is a result of the actions of the US, Britain and Australia. Following the intervention in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq and the destabilisation of Libya and Syria the world has been embroiled in terrorist activities. The whole system of western governments is dominated by economics. All activities are reduced to a dollar value. The chase for ever-increasing GDP and all other financial indicators locks us in to a perpetual spiral of booms and busts). There may be a few years of growth between the cycles such as between the 1930's depression and the recent so-called Global Financial Crisis – brought about by corporate greed and political stupidity. Continual economic growth is not possible, but no politician is brave enough to admit it. Steady State Economics presents a different view of how we could run the world, instead of chasing the illusion of perpetual growth. It offers the concept of an economy that is completely sustainable. A community with a size and structure that doesn't grow, but remains stable to match the limits of the natural environment and its resources. Steady State Economics presents a different view of how we could run the world, instead of chasing the illusion of perpetual growth. It offers the concept of an economy that is completely sustainable. A community with a size and structure that doesn't grow, but remains stable to match the limits of the natural environment and its resources. Greed and self-interest led to the last global financial meltdown. It was an inevitable result of Government policies, big business demands, and mass gullibility. It will happen again (and again) unless Governments, industrialists, commercial interests and individuals choose a different path from the God 'growth'. The same greed resulted in a pathetic and useless outcome from the climate change talks in Copenhagen. It has also brought us the fiscal nonsense of 'quantitative Easing', derivatives trading and the crooked financial advisers favourite con of 'margin lending'. Traditionally, economics taught in our universities has been based on an assumption that continuous growth is the only way to generate a better life for everyone on the planet. It argues that growth will raise living standards, lift people out of poverty whilst the cycle of supply and demand will solve environmental problems and the depletion of world resources. The classic view is that exponential growth is good and fast growth is even better. Advocates of steady-state economics dispute this view. One of the first was John Stuart Mill in the 19th century and he has been followed by people like Herman Daly who maintains that the economy is a subset of our ecosystem. The global ecosystem is finite, a closed system which cannot grow. Matter neither enters nor leaves it. The ecosystem also provides the economy’s resources and a sink for its wastes. Continuous growth forces a collapse in the ecosystem which then becomes unable to support the economy and the community. Some who question the current economic system, note that the ecology of the planet is increasingly under pressure, with natural resources such as forests, fish stocks, minerals and soil being depleted at alarming rates. Land for food production is increasingly scarce and pollution levels are making water and air unusable or unsafe.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Australia should pull all troops out of the Middle East

How dare the Americans criticise Russia for bombing terrorists in Syria when US-led coalition forces deliberately targetted a hospital in Afghanistan. Enough is enough, the Australian Government should immediately withdraw its support for military action in the Middle East which is doing nothing but increase tensions, resentment and even hatred for our western so-called civilisation. The most effective way to counter the radicalisation of Muslim youths is to stop killing people in the Middle East. Australians have no business being there, The rise of ISIL can be directly related to the war in Afghanistan, the overthrow of Saddam Husein and the destabilisation of Libya and Syria. It is the fault of our Government, the US and UK. We will all be paying a terrible price for years to come. Quit apart from the human pain caused by generating this conflict, the financial cost is horrendous. Australian can easily save more than $15 billion a year by scaling down our military extravagances. A realistic look at Australia's defence requirements, taking likely threats into account would demonstrate where significant savings could be made. We currently do not have as defence department or a Defence Minister, they are rather a War Department and Minister. A strategic look at our defence requirements is what's needed for the Government to get a grip on reality.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Campaign to establish a national free range egg production standard

To help encourage all State Ministers for Fair Trading to approve an effective national standards to define free range egg production Consumer Group Choice has launched a campaign designed to raise awareness see here

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Australian back-down on Syria

The Australian Government has come to its senses and recognised that our absurd policy on the Middle East had to change. There is no way that our military action can be sustained - or justified. Comments by Julie Bishop suggest that rather than bomb the crap out of Syria, Australia may now work with the Syrian Government to address the problem of ISIL That's what we should have been doing all along, especially as ISIL is a creation of the military action of the US, Australia and the UK in Afghanistan and Iraq.Russian support for the Syrian regime forced our Government's hand and will also change US policy. Once Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow to talk about ways to ensure that Russian and Israeli fighters avoided conflict, the US and Australia had to follow suit or face up to the prospect of having jets shot out of the air. Our politicians have a lot to answer for.The Assad regime is the legitimate government in Syria, It makes no difference what thugs think in the US, Australia or the UK. In many views, the biggest war criminals in the Middle East have been George W Bush, John Howard and Tony Blair.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Australia's new Treasurer looking for spending cuts rather than tax increases

It's great that Australia's new Treasurer has a realistic approach to the country's financiaol position. Scott Morrison's recognition that the Government has an expenditure problem rather than a revenue problem is refreshing. For far too long, Governments have simply looked at raising taxes to fund their excesses. At Budget time it has been easier to work from the status quo and increase the dollars to be spent – simply to satisfy departmental bureacrats who always want their empires to expand. A better approach is to start with a blank canvass and work out the goals required before determining the actions needed and the related costs. The annual defence budget for example is around $30 billion but there seems to have been little examination surrounding the actual direct threats to Australia. Expenditure appears to have been allocated on the basis of hysteria, the self-interest of our military hierachy and the bizarre notion that we have to fight a costly and unwinnable war in the Middle East at the behest of the US. A rational look at each major expenditure item in Australia's budget is long overdue and will almost certainly result in significant savings which will reduce the need for tax increases.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Eggs could soon be imported from China

The free trade agreement with China could soon see restrictions lifted on the importation of shell eggs. and as China is about to become the biggest egg producer in the world, it could decimate some of the big producers here in Australia. China egg production gets into full swing The establishment of large scale battery farms has pushed egg production in China to 40 per cent of the world total. In turn increased interest in egg-based foods, such as dairy products, pre-packaged foods and bakery have all boosted per capita consumption to amongst the highest in the world, says the latest report from Access Asia.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Australian Government's tax woes

Hopefully the Australian Federal Government won't succeed in bullying State Premiers to agree to increase and extend the GST.It would grossly unfair for it to charged o0n fresh food and medical costs. The solution to the Government's financial problems is fairly simple – Slash unnecesary spending. Withdraw all our troops from the Middle East (that will also be a great step in countering the radicalisation of Muslim youths. Cut our so-called Defence budget and Department by 50% and slash the travel and other entitlements for politicians and senior bureaccrats aslso by 50%. That would result in annual savings of around one billion dollars and help to get the Budget back on track.