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Open mike 23/02/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 20 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

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Step right up to the mike…

20 comments on “Open mike 23/02/2010 ”

  1. Hilary 1

    Raj Patel’s list of 10 things that aren’t as cheap as people assume.

    http://rajpatel.org/2010/02/05/cheaponomics/

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    Intresting piece about one possible reason for the slowdown in new job creation…

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1003.lynn-longman.html

    In his 1962 collection of essays, Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman argued against any application of antitrust law aside from breaking up labor unions and guilds like the American Medical Association that threatened to encumber the work of the capitalists. In his book, Friedman also developed a more palatable term for laissez faire: “free market.” Another leader of this movement, future Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, focused on rehabilitating the efficiency argument that monopolists like Rockefeller and Morgan had once employed to justify their near- total domination of their industries….

    …Beginning in Reagan’s first term, antitrust enforcement all but ended. Throughout the 1980s, the opponents of antitrust sometimes buttressed their arguments by stoking fears about the supposed dangers posed to American manufacturers by their Japanese rivals. But for the most part such arguments proved unnecessary, as the government had already largely retired from the field, leaving corporations largely to their own devices. By the time Reagan left office, laissez faire had become conventional wisdom. The Clinton administration was more activist, cracking down on price-fixing schemes and bringing a high-profile antitrust action against Microsoft. But for the most part it accepted the new corporate consolidation guidelines that the Reagan team had devised. Waves of mergers and acquisitions came and went with few calls to reexamine our thinking about antitrust. In no small part this was because the economy as a whole seemed to be performing quite well; not only did prices for many goods fall, but for a short while toward the end of the Clinton years there was actually a shortage of workers in America. As the twentieth century drew to a close, the United States was in the midst of the longest period of sustained economic growth in its history.

    But as we’ve seen, the great burst of business activity in the 1980s and ’90s was to a significant extent the result of actions taken by the federal government during previous decades of anti-trust enforcement. Indeed, many of the companies we most associate with the ’90s tech boom—Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Genentech—were actually founded in the 1970s, went public in the ’80s, and eventually grew big enough to force establishment behemoths like IBM to revolutionize their management philosophies and business models in order to compete. It is this dynamic—of radically innovative start-ups growing in size and eventually challenging the status quo—that drives most jobs creation. And it was precisely this dynamic that the pro-consolidation policies launched in the Reagan years would eventually upset. By the time the 2000s rolled around, industry after industry had been consolidated; the “innovation by acquisition” trend was in high gear; antitrust enforcement was reaching a new low in George W. Bush’s administration; and a plethora of global capital, unable to find enough attractive growing companies to invest in, started flowing into subprime mortgages and other financial exotica. The rest, as they say, is history.

  3. Armchair Critic 3

    Snuffle, snuffle. “Oops, I did it again”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10627936

  4. Bill 4

    Because Rolling Stone has f.a. web presence and because Matt Taibbi writes so..well colourfully, on the banks’ rape and pillage of us all in this wonderful 21st C and bearing in mind that John Boy wants NZ to be a back room operation for Blobal Banksters Inc, I thought I’d ping up a link to his latest Wall Street Bailout Hustle

    Hope you enjoy.

    To appreciate how all of these (sometimes brilliant) schemes work is to understand the difference between earning money and taking scores, and to realize that the profits these banks are posting don’t so much represent national growth and recovery, but something closer to the losses one would report after a theft or a car crash. Many Americans instinctively understand this to be true – but, much like when your wife does it with your 300-pound plumber in the kids’ playroom, knowing it and actually watching the whole scene from start to finish are two very different things. In that spirit, a brief history of the best 18 months of grifting this country has ever seen:

    • Zorr 4.1

      Matt Taibbi is one of the great investigative writers. Every article of his should be a must read for anyone wanting history lessons in the great fuck up that is the American (and, by extension, our) economy.

  5. BLiP 5

    It would appear that according to the Beehive’s very own version of Alf Garnet being an ACT Minister is only a part-time occupation. He’s currently got an ad running in a Tongan newspaper claiming that he is:

    currently resident in Auckland, New Zealand, where he practises as a barrister. He is a licensed law practitioner in the Kingdom of Tonga, and holds a current practising certificate. He visits the Kingdom regularly to appear in the Supreme Court and to advise Tongan clients.

    To give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he can’t advertise the fact that he’s an MP and the practise is still being run by his Associates but, if so, why are the contact details for New Zealand? And, then of course, it has to be remembered that Garrett is spending a lot of time over in Tonga representing Commander Lupeti Vi, head of the Ports Of Tonga Authority, at the Royal Commission Inquiry into the Sinking of the Princess Ashika.

  6. randal 6

    hey hooton.
    the polls dude the polls.
    72% of new zealanders dont beleive the prime minister is telling the truth?
    and
    62% believe they will be worse off after the tax cuts.
    huh!
    and is not believing the prime minister the same as believing he is a liar?

    • prism 6.1

      Not 100% but just a leaning that way. They are beginning to realise that he is King John the Clueless of Charmalot and is adept at thinking six impossible things before breakfast.

  7. Why, if we have the technology to perform secure online banking and a large percentage of us do, hasn’t that technology been adapted to vote online towards binding referenda ?

    Even those who don’t have regular internet could truck down to a permanent polling station to vote if they felt it was important enough ?

    • Zorr 7.1

      It seems to me that you are suggesting a move towards a more streamlined system for referenda that are also binding?

      If so, there is a big difference between an effectively run democracy and mob rule. If referenda became so commonplace and binding, all you would have is a country run by 51% of people on any issue. No direction or leadership, just whatever the mob wills. This would also leave very little time for education of the masses on the issue at hand or any other number of problems due to system overload for most.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        This

        As much as I think online voting needs to be implemented for national and local elections putting them in place for binding referendums will screw up society really badly. Most people don’t have the information to hand to make a rational decision regarding the running of the country and so tend to emotionalise that decision. Representative democracy isn’t perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better than what we would have if we had binding referendums.

        • pollywog 7.1.1.1

          The trick would be to have limited informed selection on referenda before they get to public vote and educate the public on the issues…. a simple pros and cons list then let us decide.

          …but dost thou really have so little faith in the common man ?

          🙂

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1

            No, I think that if they have the correct information available to them then they will choose correctly. The problem occurs when a lot of the information available to them is the wrong information and the fact that they don’t know the difference (Doing so in all matters would be far beyond the ability of any one person). The AGW “debate” is still going on in the public eyes due to the proliferation of wrong information – a debate that ended in the scientific community years ago.

      • pollywog 7.1.2

        “If referenda became so commonplace and binding, all you would have is a country run by 51% of people on any issue.”

        as opposed to a country run by the wealthy/privileged for themselves ?

        propose referenda, let it go to committee for approval then drawn from a ballot for public consumption and only enacted with a 2/3 public majority ? The problems aren’t so great that they could be overcome with some healthy checks and balances thrown in to make sure the process doesn’t get exploited by the few.

        Can you envision a time when self rule would be commonplace ? and how would we even initiate the process if those who have most to lose control that process ?

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1

          Can you envision a time when self rule would be commonplace ?

          Yes, actually, I can but, not ATM – we have more to learn first.

  8. BLiP 8

    Twenty seven civilians killed by a US missile strike – US General says “oops, sorry ’bout that”.

    Never mind, there’s always the gas reserves to think about, eh? Fuckers.

  9. NickS 9

    And once again the “sceptical” environmentalist Lomborg is shown to be full of crap:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/lomborg_gets_spanked.php

    Might still have to get Cool it though (second hand), just to go with The Lomborg Deception

    Also reading through the comment son Pharyngula I can see a Lomborg fanboi at it again, salivating over the Himalayan glacier errors as though that invalidates all the myriad errors found by Friel in Lomborg’s books. Plus then there’s all the lovely stuff Kare Fog’s dug up

  10. Descendant Of Smith 10

    Majority rule is an evil system and does nothing to protect minorities – even when that minority is quite large.

    In thinking about democracy though shouldn’t the election of those to govern for their term be more about the division of labour than the allocation of power. All citizens cannot be expected to know everything about everything, though all should be free to have input.

    Isn’t the point to pay people to govern wisely, consulting and considering all viewpoints and making decisions that benefit all the community ( including the future) – not to blithely hand over power for them to spend three years doing what they want.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Isn’t the point to pay people to govern wisely, consulting and considering all viewpoints and making decisions that benefit all the community ( including the future) not to blithely hand over power for them to spend three years doing what they want.

      The former is what representative democracy is supposed to be. Unfortunately, it’s become a power game between the elites – the latter. The latter is especially true of National as they tend to be authoritarian to begin with.

      • Mac1 10.1.1

        Draco, I wrote in a similar way on a thread at Red Alert about the Nats’ authoritarianism based on a passage from Noam Chomsky, “What We Say Goes”. Page 59.

        He says on the subject of democracy, page 47.
        “In fact, what’s called ‘undemocratic’ by the United States is extremely interesting. For example, when Evo Morales in Bolivia made moves towards nationalization of Bolivia’s resources, he was condemned as authoritarian, dictatorial, attacking democracy. But did it matter that he was supported by about 95% of the population? Is that what ‘dictatorial’ means? We have a particular concept of democratic, which means “do what we say’. Then a country is democratic, or is becoming democratic. If a country does what the population wants, it’s not democratic. It’s shocking that people can’t see this.’

        There are parallels between the US position when this was written in 2007 and current National views of democracy? “Do what we say’.

        He quoted Thucydides, “Large nations do what they wish, while small nations accept what they must.” Which can be writ small and applied to people within a nation. And secondly, he quoted Adam Smith, the “principal architects” of state policy, the “merchants and manufacturers” make sure their own interests are “most particularly attended to.” (page 41).

        A huge concurrence with what you are saying, and in my view, hugely descriptive of NZ today. Cheers.

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