Australia Day links 26 January 2017

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:







Unconventional Economist


  1. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Captain Cook was a complete failure when it comes to Australia, a nice guy who was honest. He was given Dutch maps of New Holland ( nearly all mapped ( the Dutch names changed years later) ) to find The Great South Land to the south and while in the area record the transit of Venus. He went back to England professing his failure on both counts but was told to Shut TF up as no sponsorship money would be forthcoming for the next voyage if that got out. So they( not him) made up the story that he discovered Australia. They should have known that the Dutch government had been giving their captains plaque’s to claim New Holland for the Netherlands whenever they set foot.
    Also Sydney.s settlement was never primarily intended as a convict settlement, the English had just lost in America and needed a naval base in the Pacific. If a local jail is full today why would you go to extreme costs to put the inmates in a spaceship and send them to Mars, a 3 month journey. If London jail was full, why not just build another a bit further out, a lot less trouble. They did send convicts though, consisting of a lot of expendable Irish dissidents, as the higher the population the better the naval base.
    Why destroy our own history?

    • How did losing the US effect a British Pacific base? At the time they were 13 states all along the Atlantic coast. The immediate interior was French territory, either side of the Mississippi, and west of that was Spanish

    • Well, Caesar Augustus Trump has certainly had an impact.

      He’s half the links in Europe and Asia here, let alone all the American links….

      Three days in, and up comes the wall.

      Ted Cruz looms to have learned, trolling people effectively, setting himself up for prez in 2024 after Trump’s two terms.

      It looks as if they should start planning Trump as the fifth head on Mt Rushmore at this rate.

      • Trump’s a legend.

        America needs an adult in charge.

        He may increase manufacturing jobs, although at an expense. In the 70’s we were protectionist and had our choice of valueless kingswoods. Overtime it may be the same sort of thing for the USA.

        But hey, they’ll have manufacturing jobs…

        And besides, they’ll probably have a lower dollar to help export their manufactured (expensive) goods.

        Soon he’ll build a wall/fence/gate along the southern border.

        Recently, he said he wanted Chicago to do something about their murder rate, otherwise he’ll send in the Feds, to control the streets.

        He’s and adult, dictating what he wants.

        Seriously, he’s a legend. A dictator. But a leader.

        He’s taking charge.

      • True. Trump comes across as an uncouth fool. So the shine may fade real quick, especially with every mistake or unintended consequences.

        But, he is the exact opposite of the namby pamby 20 and 30 year olds that got trophies for showing up and were constantly told they were great.

        It grinds against their narrative, against their PC narrative.

        These ye olde timers like trump, were raised different. They don’t take crap and give you a clip over the ear when you stuff up.

        He’s bringing back old fashioned no-nonsense action.

        It’s confusing and makes the namby pambies heads spin.

      • It’s confusing and makes the namby pambies heads spin.

        You forgot to tell those damn kids to get off your lawn.

      • Dr Smithy

        True story! When I jumped fences or was on someone’s lawn. .. and got told off, I hung my head and walked off.

        Somehow we respected the old buzzards back then; or were afraid, because when they threatened you, they meant it.

        It’s how it was, and it’s how Trump is.

        Trump has told the Mexicans to get off his lawn.

      • WingNut

        I agree. He’s thin skinned and will feather his nest.

        His policies may not work.

        But he’s leading. I didn’t think he’d be so quick, and didn’t realise how quickly these executive orders could take effect.

        His thin skin will get him in trouble and maybe send someone into harms way (war).

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      The British tried to send convicts to North Africa first, which is much closer. The mortality rate after 1 year was so bad (over 90%) they decided it is more humane to send them to the other side of the globe.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      It was cooks skill combined with new fangled chronometers that allowed him to produce such accurate maps, far superior to anything the dutch were producing at the time.

      As for his greatest failure, that was his sailing past Sydney Harbour, after spending some considerable time trying to a find fresh water source in the unimpressive botany bay.

      In his journal, Cook noted what appeared to be the enterance to a large inland waterway (Entry to Sydney Harbour) but didn’t investigate.

      18 years later with the arrival of the first fleet to Botany Bay on the 24 of January and not being able to find a fresh water source (drought year), Arthur Phillip considered Cooks journal entry and headed for Sydney, finding in his own words, the greatest natural deep water harbour in the world.

      I often wonder if Cook had of entered and partly charted Sydney Harbour in 1770,….Would a “First fleet” have been organised a decade earlier and be twice the size and numbers.
      What would Australias population be today if Cook had decided to have a look?
      35 million?,…50mil?

      That is quite a failure!

  2. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Divers have been finding European cannon predating Cook up and down the East Coast of Australia, No news move along.
    Why destroy our own history?

    • There are displays in the National Library of printed Dutch maps charting the Australian coast line dating from around 1650, quite interteresting stuff.

    • Joyce way off the mark on housing crisis … The Age

      Barnaby Joyce shows, yet again, how out of touch he and the Liberal Party are with reality (“Joyce’s advice for those Sydneysiders who can’t afford a home”, January 25). These politicians on their cushy salaries and perks have the temerity to tell us that if we can’t afford a house in Sydney or Melbourne, we should either get a better job (Joe Hockey) or move out of the city (Barnaby Joyce). … read more via hyperlink above …

      • In a way Joyce is half right. There is no point in making Sydney bigger and bigger and bigger at the expense of the rest of Austrlia. More land, more people just distorts our economy even further. The house price problem is caused by massive macro-economic distortions in the economy. Nothing good will come of any housing policy unless and until those macro-economic distortions are corrected.
        Unfortunately Joyce does not see fit to even begin to address those problems even though they favour his own regional base. I’ve told the story several times. Joyce was ‘got at’ by somebody at the time of the Gillard election – clear as day.
        Somebody rules this country and it isn’t the parliament.

      • Hugh…. et al….

        When you say demographia what your actually saying is – Wendell Cox

        Wendell Cox is an American urban planner and academic, known as a leading proponent of the use of the private car over rail projects. He is the principal and sole owner of Wendell Cox Consultancy/Demographia, based in the St. Louis metropolitan region and editor of three web sites, Demographia, The Public Purpose and Urban Tours by Rental Car. Cox is a fellow of numerous conservative think tanks and a frequent op-ed commenter in conservative US and UK newspapers.

        Cox generally opposes planning policies aimed at increasing rail service and density, while favoring planning policies that reinforce and serve the existing transportation and building infrastructure. He believes that existing transportation and building infrastructure reflect what people prefer, while his opponents argue that his positions are based more on a belief that road transport and low density are inherently superior.

        Cox is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, senior fellow for urban policy at the Independence Institute (Denver) and holds similar titles in a number of additional conservative think tanks.

        Cox has also emerged as an opponent of smart growth, especially urban growth boundaries, impact fees, and large lot zoning, claiming they have a tendency to raise housing prices artificially and suppress economic growth.

        He has authored studies for conservative think tanks such as the Cato Institute, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation,[1] and the Reason Foundation,[2] and for industry groups such as the American Highway Users Alliance, a lobbying and advocacy group for automobile-based industries.[3]

        Skip here – Its just another right wing think tank ™ that passes itself off as a non ideologically driven academic group doing retrospective analysis wrt city/urban planning, nothing could be further from the truth. It is an ideologically driven policy formation private ongoing business concern where everything [data] is forced to fit the right wing ideology and anything that cannot be forced is ignored or obfuscated.

        Mr Cox does not have the financial acumen [or feint it] to discern the fundamental drivers in C/RE and substitutes it with an pre ideological disposition which then is used to ascribe its view of reality on any data. The guy is a dead set gun-for-hire not unlike the agency and agents describe in the book “Merchants of Doubt”.

        Disheveled…. the Mac’Caazypants part is his works actually help the FIRE sector gin up enormous unearned profits and which enabled the GFC….. duh….

    • Hugh,
      I note you haven’t commented on Morrison’s patently idiotic post field trip conclusion that supply is the key problem:

      “In Australia in particular, while we’ve had strong growth in house prices, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, that has been driven by classic economic fundamentals, not as a result of speculative bubbles or financing issues,” Mr Morrison told Bloomberg.
      To resolve the problem there needs to be an increase in land release, planning and approvals”

      Perhaps he should pop into Ireland on the way back and see how well this hypothesis fits their experience:

      From the definitive 2012 An Taisce report:
      “In 2008, at the onset of the economic collapse, Ireland had enough zoned land to almost double the national population to 8 million, with some 42,000 hectares having residential zoning, almost all of it greenfield land. This does not take account of the thousands of hectares of land zoned for mixeduse, industrial, retail, commercial and other uses. Zoning vastly inflated the value of land turning green fields into ‘fields of gold’, providing an easy
      conduit to cheap credit and facilitating property speculation. This fed the financial crisis and the creation of NAMA. The simple act of a local council changing the colours on a development plan map could result in a multi-million euro land deal overnight.

      The reality is that much of the land zoned by councils would never have been, could never have been, and will never be built on. But this did not deter councils across the country from completely abandoning their fiduciary responsibilities and acting wholly contrary to national planning policy… The loopholes in planning law which allowed for this chronic over-zoning were well known throughout the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era but were not closed until the enactment of the Planning & Development (Amendment) Act 2010. A significant High Court case in 20005 taken by former chair of An Taisce, Michael Smith, revealed the complete absence of any legal obligations on the part of councils to act in the national interest.

      This loophole was compounded by the introduction of the Planning & Development (Amendment) Act 2002 which essentially amounted to a developer’s charter. As a result of the 2002 Act, the zoning of land could for the first time be included in Local Area Plans (LAPs), and the Minister of the day had no power to intervene to stop over-zoning or bad planning practice”

      Yet it’s all the local councils fault isn’t it? And the solution is to further deregulate planning to free up more supply as Morrison says isn’t it?
      This is the comical crap that has been promoted by the developer lobby in the comments on these pages since the inception of this blog.
      The developer lobby does not care about housing affordability for FHB’s.

      • Sweeper’ … regarding Morrison, your comment ‘patently idiotic’ sums it up.

        One goes to the UK to learn what NOT TO DO with respect to urban issues.

        As the Dem Surveys iluustrate year after year (13 to date) middle North America is where the performers are.

        It is up to you Aussies to deal with your own politicians. We have more than enough of the gutless halfwits in New Zealand.

      • Hugh….

        “middle North America” is an economic dead zone where noone wants to move too, hence the retrospective price of RE.

        The stampede to better jobs and life styles is why other regions facilitate high RE prices [demand], do you see hot international capital flowing into these dead zones…. no…. as there is no yield on investment…

        Disheveled…. the best bit is your exemplar of Texas being all that is, being inundated with people that don’t share your world view by inducing people from say Calif and their non traditional or conservative views…. couple of election cycles and…. mig-i cackle…

  3. boomengineeringMEMBER

    God save the queen, which queen? Up to 4 Dutch settlements in Aust before Philip.
    Join the Republican’s
    Who destroyed our history?

    • You know very well! “The winner always writes the history”
      (eg: The Dutch called their domestic terrorists of WW2 “The Resistance” – as did the French. Do we think that would be the name today if Germany had won that conflict?)

  4. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Janet, Napoleon said that, Lord Kitchener invented modern concentration camps not Germany.
    Hugh. New Zealand not immune to history tampering, Portuguese helmet found in Auckland harbour, museum hid it away.
    Holland and Zeeland parts of the Netherlands hence New Holland and New Zealand.
    Who destroyed our history

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Who destroyed our history? St Mal says it was Bill Shorten.

      Does anyone know why the date in Jan26 instead of Feb 7 when we became a colony? Or Jan 18 when the fleet actually arrived?

      Probably too close to Xmas and Valentine’s day. Hey, when were greeting cards invented?

  5. Breaking news!

    Nine News Australia
    ScottMorrisonMP says his trip to the UK has found supply is the major problem for housing affordability.

    • Bastard should just stay home and read Hugh and Leith!!! Wonder how much the bloody trip cost to find that out??? Eff me!!!!

      • Please show how supply is relevant in price wrt RE as RE is all about location location location…. w/ a huge financial fat tail….

        Has everyone been on Ketamine pre and post GFC[?], completely oblivious to what occurred in America alone if not all the PIIGs in Europe [massive over supply where prices keep going up]. Land does not drive RE prices anymore, its “Financially” driven and industry enabled from asset evaluations to illegal capital flows.

        Now if people had the share of productivity that they had pre 70s, there would been no credit expansion to cover the short fall [enabled by bad risk metrics] and the resulting creation of long tailed risk sold on for a quick profit [securitization].

        Disheveled…. people with their heads stuck in the antiquarian view of reality back in the 17th – 18th – 19/20th century’s might as well be using old testament optics to describe the universe…

    • Someone needs to ask ScoMo whether he intends to make housing affordable by bringing down prices. Of course he doesn’t need to go to London to find out how to do it – all he has to do is revisit government policies here which have pushed up and continue to push up prices, but where’s the fun in that?

  6. worth a read…..

    It is the uber class the world over who do invariably pick up one (or even more) extra nationalities and passports to have that exit door ready, and invariably to minimise taxes too. It is places like the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and NZ which actively facilitate their tax avoidance and money laundering.

    Billionaires like Peter Thiel get citizenship abroad so they can run from the problems they create

    • What kinda socialist are you Gunna ;)…. Peter Thiel made – profit – and that is all that matters….

      disheveled…. it is the core fundamental which holds the universe together e.g. profit = good – dawg said so….

    • Bit of a nonsense article. Funny how the same groups that welcome all sorts from war torn and corrupted regions reject prominent intelligent successful wealthy newcomers. I don’t get it.

      Anyway, Thiel is probably just seeking backdoor entry to Australia 😉

      • Funny how the same groups that welcome all sorts from war torn and corrupted regions reject prominent intelligent successful wealthy newcomers. I don’t get it.

        Funny how the same groups that welcome all sorts of successful corruption beneficiaries and tax avoiding magnates without ever thinking about where the money comes from and what the actual economic benefit is, want to slap ordinary people wanting to actually work at creating a better life for themselves here into detention centres….

        ….and of course even funnier how absolutely nobody wants to identify and articulate what the actual economic role of immigration actually is and really get down to the nitty griitty of quantifying what its return to Australians amounts to, as well as whether we could get as good a return in some other way.

        Just sell those passports for SIVs……..(if they are rich it must be right, right?)

      • Read this piece with real interest when OJ linked it , and asked MB readers ( that were city dwellers ) , what their thoughts were…Not much response..Which was quite telling…

      • I missed it when OJ put it up.

        The parts that stood out to me were the comments about doing it because they had the money to. Someone who barely gets by has a different set of concerns to someone with time to think and many spare millions of dollars.

        Another thing was the comment that if the state of society wass a concern to you as a super-rich person, do something about it. You’ve got the resources and influence to push for changes to improve things.

        As someone who lives in Melbourne, grew up in the country, and is statistically closer to the bottom end of society, my concern lies with the the fragility of the logistical chain. If a strong solar flare blew the electrics on navigation and communications satellites we’d be in a pickle. I don’t think the gov would know what to do and since the media can only do hype and drama they wouldn’t assist in that situation. I’ve no idea if social media would be a good or bad force in that type of scenario.

        And as to human behaviour. The last time I was up in Cairns after a cyclone I remember the supermarkets being out of chips and snacks. There was plenty of rice and tinned goods left. I don’t know if that means anything, but it always makes me smile when I think about it.

        Not much wisdom there, but that was some of what I was thinking as I read it.

    • Aussie1929MEMBER

      The argument that banks should not be allowed to create money has an honourable history. The Bank Charter Act 1844(UK) was enacted because banks’ issue of notes in excess of gold was causing economic chaos, particularly through reckless lending and imprudent speculation. I am once again reminded that the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.

      • Aussie1929MEMBER

        Or is The Bank Charter Act 1844 imperial? If so, it would also apply to the commonwealth of australia. Just like The Imperial Acts Application Act 1980(VIC) Section 8. Then scroll down to Division 3 and it’s the first dot point down the left of the screen that has the number 12. (can anyone annotate it correctly for me?)
        It applies throughout the Commonwealth of Australia, “And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures, before any conviction or judgement against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied. All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm.” It a nutshell, Acts and Statutes shouldn’t contradict the constitution of an imperial country. Slowly, the laws have so much red tape, it feels like living in a tangle of cords that linger behind the TV unit we always prefer not to think about.

  7. Comments are being shutdown today at the Calculated Risk Blog. This is an indicator of the increasing polarisation of US society by politics and the fact that the internet has become for a lot of people merely a vehicle for self validation.

    They were the first blog I followed when I sensed the GFC coming and saved me a lot of money. The commenters there have stayed mainly the same all this time and the changes in their attitudes over time have shocked me. The intolerance on all sides to letting others have their say without interruption or insult on that and other blogs I follow fills me with forboding.

    • Try having a different view around here. I’ve been called racist, small minded, inarticulate and dumb. I’m none of those. Fuck this blog and it’s group think idiots.

      January 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm
      LOL Ric! And we all thought you could only spell “green”..

      • I owe you an apology Ric, although I named you my comment was meant for the OP, Jacob. Fucked it up, sorry!

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      FWIW I’ve been a regular visitor at a whole range of blogs/imageboards since I hit the net back in the mid 90s and I’ve never seen anything like what I see today – and that’s even on non-political or non-economic focussed sites.

      I very much appreciate the ability to comment on MB but if I had a blog/website myself I would turn off comments from day one and rely on viewing stats to tell whether it was interesting or not.

      • For me, it’s the comments that make sites interesting.

        That’s because, often what’s presented by a site is unbalanced and or PC leftist or marketing / propaganda.

        I enjoy the unfiltered ramblings in comments. It helps challenge or confirm my thoughts.

  8. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Ronin 8317, Thanks, That reminds me, slave traders from Morocco took white slaves from southern England and Western Europe long before Black slaves were taken by whites.

  9. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Some of the first settlers ( New Holland) would have been German as the Dutch ships carried a lot of other nationalities.

  10. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Wouldn’t be a day of mourning for Dutch involvement, They took yams from South Africa and taught the Australian Aborigines how to cultivate and were generally intergrationalists. That’s why when Grey while exploring asked an aboriginal boy what his name was he replied Villem. A lot of dutch words were found in aboriginal language apart from blond hair and blue eyes.
    Who is destroying our history

    • Have a good chat with the Indonesians or the South Africans about Dutch integration. They loved it (not)

      While there may have been the odd Dutchman survive a shipwreck and procreate on the WA coast, there have been plenty of genetic studies of the aboriginal populations there demonstrating sweet FA input to the locals.

  11. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Gunna, the English installed apartheid, before that all colors in school were equal
    Some Indonesians hated them and some loved them.

    • “….which sparked the Boer War. Following independence from England, an uneasy power-sharing between the two groups held sway until the 1940’s, when the Afrikaner National Party was able to gain a strong majority. Strategists in the National Party invented apartheid as a means to cement their control over the economic and social system. Initially the aim of apartheid was to maintain white domination while extending racial separation.”

      So (1) South Africa was already independent of English law making and (2) It was the Dutch descendents – the Boers- who instituted apartheid and (3) “Who is destroying our history” ?!

      • Sorry, Jannet,
        Every gross simplification brings about equally sized mistakes.

        Picking an article based around use of computers by a bunch of computer students and use of their grossly simplifed view intro page that serves only as a backdrop to their computer study is as far from good choice.
        Apartheid cannot be sumed up in once sentence as they chose.

        “With the rapid growth and industrialisation of the British Cape Colony in the nineteenth century, racial policies and laws became increasingly rigid. Cape legislation that discriminated specifically against black Africans began appearing shortly before 1900.”
        quote on wikipedia, from Vivian Bickford-Smith’s book “Ethnic Pride and Racial Prejudice in Victorian Cape Town (African Studies)”

        Afrikaaners were fertile ground for what was inherent well within Crown’s purview and made a mistake by constitutionalising it.
        Apartheid has multiple facets. Rabbit-proof fencing even today fences the ‘vermins’ on the outside in many parts of the world.
        What irony today’s date bring

    • Yeah…..

      , the English, who controlled vast swathes of Africa From Egypt, through to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, then over to Nigeria and Sierra Leone down to Zimbabwe and Botswana for racist ideology implementation, chose South Africa to bring in apartheid

      • Yep, the ccrown is historically known to be integrating and assimilating into the host culture.

        Apartheid has multiple facets. Dutch settler may have adapted it, evolved it and constitutonalised it but claiming that they invented it is, how should I moderately say this, like Santa Klaus wishes.

        Or as Sir Nigel Powers famously said: “I hate people whom hate other people, and Dutch”

  12. CSIRO/The Conversation article above: Western Australian wheat production has just had another bumper year breaking records again.

    And in regard to yields, just getting better

    “The area sown to wheat in Western Australia (WA) over the past 20 years has remained relatively stable at between four to five million hectares but over this same period production has increased strongly with improved yields.. As a result we are seeing production of 8-10 million tonnes per annum.”

    These scientists should read Dorothy Mackellar, Australia has always faced extremes of weather – and it is Australia Day!

    “I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror
    The wide brown land for me!”

    • That is why scientists look at the trends and not individual years/figures. By your metric Australian housing prices are great and the economy has never been better.

      • Skippy,

        you seem a bit harsh today wrt science and wisom.

        Aren’t science and religion like siamese twins,
        one’s existence is almost defined in denial of the other one
        and each stem frome one same quest for answers.

      • No….

        Engineers of all stripes are not scientists, they apply in some cases science to forward a project, nuance is applicable here….

      • Never said they did, and I should know. The point I was trying to explain to MnM is that science doesn’t cherry pick the way the rest of professions/disciplines do to buttress their opinion; like economics or law. You’re a wee trigger happy today.

  13. Has anyone told Barnaby Joyce ?

    ‘Denials of a housing crisis are now simply lies’ … comment … Shamubeel Eaqub | Radio New Zealand News'denials-of-a-housing-crisis-are-now-simply-lies

    Opinion – Every government policy to make housing affordable since the early 1990s has been a failure, and it’s time the political classes actually delivered on their responsibilities, writes Shamubeel Eaqub.

    Housing in Auckland is extremely unaffordable.

    The latest Demographia International Housing Survey confirmed what we know – house prices in Auckland have risen much faster than incomes. So much so, that Auckland is the fourth least affordable city in a survey of 92 cities around the world. … read more via hyperlink above …

    Demographia in the news …

    • “Opinion – Every government policy to make housing affordable since the early 1990s has been a failure…”

      And the reason it has been a failure is that no government policy to make housing affordable has involved allowing house prices to fall.

      • Maybe, Hugh, but Christchurch has been besieged by earthquakes which would scare people off. In any case, it is a small city, nothing like Melbourne, Sydney or even Auckland, and if prices in Christchurch are falling, it wouldn’t be due to government policy.

      • md … I actually live in Christchurch.

        Thank heavens for the responsive smaller adjoining local authority areas of Waimakariri and Selwyn.

        Note the ‘consent responsiveness’ graph within the New Zealand Section of this years Demographia Survey (Fig 10 Page 26 at ) .

        If it wasnt for these well run smaller local government units, Greater Christchurch housing would have shot through to Auckland median multiples of 10 … instead of declining yoy from 6.1 to 5.9 median multiple. Rents have fallen about 8% yoy.

        Greater Christchurch is shaping up to become New Zealand’s ‘Opportunity City’.

        House prices NOW at about a median of $400k are about half those of Auckland at north of $800k .

        You dont have to be too clever to figure out where all this is heading !

  14. Well I’m mighty impressed by the choice of Australian of the Year – Professor Alan Mackay-Sim – a biomolecular scientist!

    This is a great day for bringing the cause of reason and science to the fore, and I applaud the choice standing up!

    Stands in contrast to another advanced nation that is going out of its way to silence scientists and reason, as Carl Sagan once predicted.

    “Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time – when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

    There’s still hope!

      • @The Traveling Wilbur….

        Main stream economics is religion in the guise of scientism – see crappy models and axioms….


        Are you to say the only method of determining ethics is via metaphysics – ????? – aka deductive reasoning ™ …..

        About: Modern Economics as Metaphysics and Abstract Nonsense

        Disheveled… If one can not reconcile trial and error, but compound it by path dependency, I can only question any ascribed “wisdom” to it….

    • ‘I described the isolation of Australian social sciences from behavioural biology and suggested that this weakness had given free rein to utopian ideologies. Human nature is slow to change. It is a conservative force. As such it is an obstacle for ideologues who desire transformational social change. The last thing a utopian wants to discuss is how society reflects human instincts. Better to avoid the subject altogether to create a parallel universe where imagination, passion and interests might collude.[…]’

      Australia operates as a social science nation with pretensions to actual science. No wonder Orwell is #1 on Amazon – the postmodern left’s disregard for objective fact plays a huge role I’m sure. Some very confused millenials reaching for 1984 to explain their own cognitive dissonance.

      • Frank Salter is basically arguing that the Islamic worldview is right and the (modern) western worldview is wrong (actually, “broken” is probably a better word).

        Curious that the people most likely to quote him have a pretty negative view on Muslims.

      • Is this the same Frank Salter who is an advisor to One Nation?
        How does he argue the Islamic view correct and the Western one broken?
        Can you flesh this out as a cursory reading certainly doesn’t lend itself to this interpretation unless enforcement of an homogenously ethnic society is the Islamic view?
        I haven’t managed to consult the glossary. I leave that for the really smart people.

      • Frank Salter is basically arguing that the Islamic worldview is right and the (modern) western worldview is wrong (actually, “broken” is probably a better word).

      • How does he argue the Islamic view correct and the Western one broken?

        To be fair, it is hardly a view unique to Islam. It’s shared by most religions (and religious people). But western society is no longer defined and run by religion.

        In amongst the Conservative Persecution Syndrome noise, he’s basically arguing biological determinism and racial“cultural” purity. Or, more colloquially, ‘god wills it’ and ‘drive out the infidels’. Pretty much the antithesis of contemporary, secular, egalitarian (to varying degrees), western society.

        It is a profoundly degrading and demeaning view of humanity, that we are no better than animals, incapable of overwhelming our base desires, destiny defined by our genes. Conservatives love it, however, because it aligns with their hierarchical, hereditary, class-based, elitism.

      • In other words, its a retarded view of the world. Western civilisation is superior on any objective viewpoint due to its secularism, having civilized irrational forces of religion (not completely) and adopted reason and basic human compassion as its core beliefs.

        Its ironic, the forces against the West and within the West (i.e not just Christian conservatives, or Islamists, but also the SJW extremists on the left, or anyone with an irrational view of the world around them) have dispensed with the one thing that actually saves humanity, and that’s empathy/compassion, even though they use “what they feel (aka alt facts)” as the core of their ideology.

      • Alternative facts= newspeak. The Trump supporters have chained their hopes and street-cred to a narcissistic con-man, and that requires supressing facts. How RP et al still argue for this guy is beyond me (unless they think WWIII will solve their problems, in which case I hope they at least have the spine to be on the frontline).

      • Jason: This was on Steve Keens twitter feed:
        Michael Hudson: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan -Public Investment, Private Profit

        Hudson argues Dems are anti Russia. Reps are anti China. John pilger argues Dems under obama have been preparing war against China. He did a documentary on it trailer is here: (please note I am not sure if this doco is pro china, i just want to make it clear (my stance) that i dont think china is ready to be a major power, unless they miraculously embrace democratic principles.)
        Regardless of which psycho gets in, everytime there is any kind of tech disruption there is trade war, and a battle of the empires. (That is what WWI & WWII were about). Were are fucked either way.
        I have always thought the wars in the middle east were for oil. But also as training ground for perfecting the future of warfare: (drones). Plebs are cannon fodder and guinea pigs.

        The only hope i have is the protest movements of 60s coming back somehow, they managed to stop the war in Vietnam, change is always bottom up not top down.

      • Seeing the general militarization of police and security forces since 9/11, particularly in English-speaking countries, I think it is too late for protests. The UK is already Orwellian (Investigatory Powers Act passed without a peep) and Australia/NZ will toe the line. Thomas Paine´s dream has become a 21st century nightmare. Maybe Godel was right after all.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Hi CB. Couldn’t resist following through on Yuan or two more headlines for you to use now that particular Genie is out of the bottle. All yours if you want ’em. Please enjoy, either way:

      The power of Yuan
      It takes Yuan to know Yuan
      Yuan-stop shop
      Yuan love Yuan pride
      Yuan flew over the cuckoo’s nest
      Yuan is the lonliest currency
      Yuan more time
      Make me Yuan with everything
      Save us Obe Yuan you’re our only hope
      Yuan step at a time
      TV Yuan
      Yuan fierce beer coaster
      Knowing Yuan’s place
      Yuan step away from you
      Three, two, Yuan.
      Yuan can’t win for loosing
      Yuan’s blood is up
      Yuan fine day
      The odd Yuan out
      A live Yuan
      No Yuans listening
      No Yuans noticed
      No Yuan is going to fix this
      No Yuan knows the troubles I’ve seen
      A Yuan horse town
      Yuan ugly son of a gun
      A Yuan hit wonder
      A Yuan trick pony
      A Yuan way street
      Yuan in a million
      Yuan sick puppy
      Yuan on the arm


    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Oh come on, he’s gorgeous. Mostly because he’s going all in and doubling up.

      That man is a winner. Until he’s not.

    • ‘When Eric Wu came to Australia from China in 2002 as an international student he “didn’t have much” after tuition fees and living costs.

      Now he is 43 and, with his wife, has a portfolio of nine properties worth $4.82 million. If he sold his portfolio today, including his home, he’d walk away with more than $1.5 million after paying out his loans.’

      Over 14 years, with that amount of leverage and risk, to be $1.5m in the black……..not worth it.

      • So I did a little analysis – there is no way this guy is $1.5 million in the black. For a start if he were to liquefy his properties, he would need to do some rudimentary renovations and engage the services of RE agents – this could cost as much as 200 – 300k. Also it is almost certain that he is negatively geared – he gets $3160 a week rent from the properties, which is $167,000 a year, but agents will take 8% in management fees ($15k) and there are the costs of insurance, rates and utilities, not to mention repairs (especially if he has a bad tenant). This also assumes that he has all properties tenanted at all times. So his income would be closer to $130k. The interest on his debt would be $144k ($3.2 mill @ 4.5%), which does not include his principle costs. If anything goes wrong for this guy (rise in rates, unemployment, sickness), this could go south very quickly. Yes this is risky indeed and only works in this current climate – I would be advising anyone I could find against this strategy, but this guy is apparently a savvy investor hero

      • bzunica, he doesn’t only make money from his rents. He also has a mortgage business, with presumably a large chunk of his customers Chinese.

        But yes, he is a savvy investor hero – he went against what many of we commenters would advise, yet he has come up (dare I say it) trumps.

    • In his defense, he got the fundamentals right. Buy and hold in a country that backs housing harder than anything else. In an environment of greedy boomers sending rates to 0% and home prices being unindexed.

      It’s MB that has been wrong this whole time 🙂

    • Aw, for fu*k sake, he also runs a fu*kin finance-mortgage business. He’s basically getting paid to think property when running his business, talks the talk every day, speaks to people spruiking every day. You really expect a PAYE income earner in another sector can do the same? unless they throw away their job for 100% in the property sector.

      • Well spotted, Azaros. Funny how they sort of buried that bit right down the bottom of the article – “Working as a nurse, and now having started a business as a mortgage broker…”

        And the headline screams out, “From student to multi-millionaire property investor.” It wouldn’t have the same impact if the headline was: “Mortgage broker owns lots of properties,” does it?

        And what a coincidence – Chinese New Year is almost here, and who better than a Chinese, clearly marketing to Chinese buyers, can capitalise on all those buyers about to descend onto our shores?

      • Have you seen the almost identical themed advertorials dressed up as newsworthy articles in Fairfax (on the 20th) and now today 26th in News Limited talking about the influx of Chinese investors for the Chinese new year? Both pieces borrow for comments and material provided by Juwai and the CEO Charles Pittar.

  15. The Traveling Wilbur

    Did I miss the declaration of National Grumpy Day or something? It’s a holiday, enjoy!

    Happy 457 visa day Australia!

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      I spent time yesterday teaching seven-year-olds how to pronounce Australia correctly. This was so in the future they can say “those bastards sold Australia out” without butchering the pronunciation. Is that worthy?

      I wasn’t allowed to teach them bastard though. The mums clamped down on that one. That’s un-Australian.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        Good on you MB. Thinking of others’ futures first is as good a way as you can to spend Australia day. As to whether it’s worthy, don’t know about that one.

        Depends whether you were teaching them in the preferred way (Mandarin) or not. Or-stray-lee-un in Cantonese isn’t the go. 😛

  16. This I a repost of something I added to the links on Tuesday.

    Brian Eno is, as always, on top of things:

    “Most people I know felt that 2016 was the beginning of a long decline with Brexit, then Trump and all these nationalist movements in Europe. It looked like things were going to get worse and worse. I said: ‘Well, what about thinking about it in a different way?’ Actually, it’s the end of a long decline. We’ve been in decline for about 40 years since Thatcher and Reagan and the Ayn Rand infection spread through the political class, and perhaps we’ve bottomed out. My feeling about Brexit was not anger at anybody else, it was anger at myself for not realising what was going on. I thought that all those Ukip people and those National Fronty people were in a little bubble. Then I thought: ‘Fuck, it was us, we were in the bubble, we didn’t notice it.’ There was a revolution brewing and we didn’t spot it because we didn’t make it. We expected we were going to be the revolution.”

    He draws me a little diagram to explain how society has changed – productivity and real wages rising in tandem till 1975, then productivity continuing to rise while real wages fell. “It is easily summarised in that Joseph Stiglitz graph.” The trouble now, he says, is the extremes of wealth and poverty. “You have 62 people worth the amount the bottom three and a half billion people are worth. Sixty-two people! You could put them all in one bloody bus … then crash it!” He grins. “Don’t say that bit.” (Since we meet, Oxfam publish a report suggesting that only eight men own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people in the world – half the world’s population.)

    Eno himself is a multimillionaire, largely because of his work as a producer.He wouldn’t be one of the 62, would he, I ask. “I certainly wouldn’t be,” he says with a thin smile. “No, I’m a long way off that.”

    He is still thinking about the political fallout of the past year. “Actually, in retrospect, I’ve started to think I’m pleased about Trump and I’m pleased about Brexit because it gives us a kick up the arse and we needed it because we weren’t going to change anything. Just imagine if Hillary Clinton had won and we’d been business as usual, the whole structure she’d inherited, the whole Clinton family myth. I don’t know that’s a future I would particularly want. It just seems that was grinding slowly to a halt, whereas now, with Trump, there’s a chance of a proper crash, and a chance to really rethink.”

    Too hard to pick a favorite track, for the fans of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ he does something similar on ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’.

    Underworld also go down the ‘Bolero’ path with ‘Rez Cowgirl’. Someone took the time to overlay it onto footage from ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, with stunning results. Warning: It will probably want to make you flee the city.

    • I like his statements, mostly because they mirror my own which I’ve been screaming incoherently at unwilling listeners since Brexit. If only more people “got” the fact that they are living in a thought bubble though. There’s still plenty of clueless “leftists” who will continue to pitch the working class into the well.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        You are on to it. What confuses the issue (and you) is that the people who now are the ‘movement’ keep picking leaders who ‘we’ know are going to screw them over. And they keep picking them even though they’ve been screwed at least once already. That is what confuses the people watching who are smart enough to realise *they* were the ones in a bubble (like you and me). It’s non-sensical and typically mammalian behaviour. And that’s why it still can’t be made sense of.

        And Skip I know everything I want to know about Skinner, monkeys and electricity. So, please, don’t.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Bananaby sold said property sometime around 2013 to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Yes, appearance. That, and to make a tidy profit.

      Shoulda paid back the money for the car he drowned.

  17. Australia day should simply be on the last Monday in January. It would therefore be a long weekend every year and nobody could complain about the date. It sucks when it is on a Wednesday, Tuesday or Thursday as you have to a take at least a day off to make a long weekend.

  18. Let me decode the Australian’s story “Centrelink debt scare backfires on Labor”.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “at least two-thirds of those publicly claiming to be victims of Centrelink found to owe significant debts to the taxpayer.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: We’re not telling you whether they owed anything like the amounts that they were first alleged to owe. But in view of the bugs in the algorithm and the difficulty of correcting them online, it’s a safe bet that most of them didn’t.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “a third of the people used to fuel a media campaign against the government were not subject to the automated system.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: Two thirds were, in spite of the relatively short time that the automated system has been operating.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “Labor could not guarantee yesterday that all the so-called victims, whose names it had supplied to the media, were ‘innocent’.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: Of course not, because our story later describes them as self-identified, not Labor-identified.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “a number of those who claimed to have been wrongly targeted had in fact accepted that the debt was owed”.

    WHAT WAS MEANT: We didn’t ask whether that simply meant that they had confirmed their total earned income when invited to, and then immediately got hit by the “divide by 26” bug.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “with some even having entered into repayment programs.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: If you get a false debt letter (or don’t get it, and consequently hear about it from a debt collector), you have to pay first and argue later.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “One claimant… Another… A woman…”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: We cherry-picked the cases that suited our narrative.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “Of the 34 self-identified cases subject to the new system, almost 60 per cent had been found to have been overpaid for failing to declare other income or employment.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: We didn’t ask how many of these cases were SUBSEQUENTLY adjusted (or should have been) because Centrelink and the ATO had recorded the same employer under two different names, or wrongly counted exempt income.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “The remaining number of aggrieved welfare recipients had not bothered to contact Centrelink.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: We didn’t ask now many of them had letters sent to out-of-date addresses when current addresses were available in the ATO data, or how many couldn’t access the website or couldn’t get through by phone. And never mind how many people hadn’t informed Centrelink of their new addresses simply because they were no longer Centrelink “customers” and had no plans to become “customers” again.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “in response to claims it had an error rate of 20 per cent.”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: That “20 per cent” figure actually comes from Centrelink and refers to the percentage of recipients of the initial “polite letter” who are not sent a subsequent debt letter. It tells us NOTHING about the percentage of debt letters that are wrong.

    WHAT WAS SAID: “they received an overpayment because they had not declared all their income… entire jobs were not reported…”

    WHAT WAS MEANT: We didn’t ask how much of this was SUBSEQUENTLY found to be undeclared EXEMPT income or double-counting of jobs by the government. (Cf. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”)

    • All this fuss over 52 public complaints. 52. Millions of payments. Thousands of debt advice letters. 52 complaints. 52.

      “The analysis reportedly found that a third of the 52 people publicly claiming to have been harassed by Centrelink with inaccurate debt notices generated by the automated system were actually subject to a manual system.

      Of the 34 others subject to the new system, more than half were found to have been overpaid for failing to declare income or employment.

      A number of those who had claimed to be falsely targeted have already accepted the debt was owed and some have begun making repayments, according to the Department.”

      The last week of ‘outrage’ provoked by fake news.

      • ’52’ is a sample that doesn’t pretend to be representative, let alone exhaustive.

        Your other quotes have already been decoded.

        What we really need is a random sample of those who are currently paying up in silence, to see what percentage actually owe what they are paying.

  19. So affordable housing in regional towns heh? Well what about Kyneton lol…

    Well see for yourself..

    Median price is still 450k.

    It’s an hour out of Melbourne.

    I just don’t get the asking prices… Is there something special about the town? Domain did an article about hipsters moving in, so it must be the next HOT spot 😛

    • Nice and close to Malmsbury. Used to live on the street the firetrucks went along to get to the Parkville centre. Average was around one callout a day (2 trucks). And this was 5+ years ago, before they discovered that it made life much more difficult if they wandered around on the roof smashing things.

      • I was trying to look into the commute from Kyneton to Melbourne would be like on the v-line? Do you know what it’s like?

      • Not bad, second only to Geelong in terms of frequency; as in good for the peak hours (30 minutes or less) both directions and regular (~1 hourly) outside that. It runs on a separate track to the electrified metro too so it’s a pretty nice journey into Southern Cross. If I had to pick a place on that line to commute from though I would go Woodend or Macedon (not Mt Macedon, way to expensive).

    • Very nice part of the world (roughly the Ballarat – Bendigo – Nagambie – Melbourne rectangle) but like everywhere (are you reading this Barnaby?) stupid debt money has pushed prices to insane levels for long enough to normalize them. Don’t be fooled – it will not last.

      Why not rent some space in a garage somewhere, or door-knock around for a surplus farm shed or a big private shed to tinker with your cars out that way to get to know the vibe and wait it out.

      btw, Castlemaine is the streetcar capital of Aust.

      • Thanks Rage, I’ve not spent much time that way. I recall being in Bendigo as a kid with my mum for an Ice Skating event. She was a big Skater back in her hey day.

        Anyway I did see this place which had the right vibe for me.

        However $750k out that way seemed high.

        I like your suggestion re: rent a garage to tinker with cars out that way. It’s not a bad idea really. I have had similar ideas in NSW and was looking at Newcastle region and almost went through with a property that had a warehouse out back but shit canned the idea due to the zoning of the land being Industrial 1 and that meant potential problems in future if I wanted to develop further.

        Next time I’m in Melbourne I’ll head out that way to check it out. I’ve been looking all over, Frankston, Reservoir, Lilydale, Keilor Downs etc.. It seems no matter what prices are stupid. If you’re going to move that far out you may as well like the place. I see a lot of dumps that are affordable but the trade off doesn’t feel worth it.

        RE: Castlemaine – sounds like my kind of town, I was just pulling apart some carburetors 😀 Triple Mikuni’s to be exact, look and sound like this.

        Oh yeah!

  20. I imagine our coming Chinese overlords will be even less receptive than Barnaby to aboriginal concerns.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Correct. Barnaby however, being wholly owned by Gina the Hutt, will be safe from any purge when those nice Chinese roll on in.

      • Ha, Gina the Hutt I like it. Think I’ll use that 1. She does represent a giant slug. Why can’t the Greens pass that Gina is a slug? They wasted it on Trump. Now that would be something I could rally behind. She’s a corporate fucking Mining magnate ffs, she should be everything The Green’s oppose, but no… Wankers.

  21. TailorTrashMEMBER

    ” Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

    Nice to think if Thomas Gray was around in 2017 he could be found in Dunkin Dougnuts ……..

  22. boomengineeringMEMBER

    When I mention up to 4 Dutch settlements only West coast can be proven, Hut River 1629 and Gilt Dragon survivors Ledge Point 1656 ( intergrated with the Nanda tribe) are just two of between 200 and 500 dutch survivors.
    One settlement extremely hard to verify was 100 miles from Darwin which had farms women and kids just before the year 1700 which lasted 15 years before going back to Indonesia. Rumor has it the Aust govt got rid of the evidence.
    Another was in central Aust which explorers said had Dutch houses, later refuted to be made up ( who knows the truth).
    But conjecture has it formed by Gilt Dragon survivors
    Also when the first fleet sailed into Botany Bay a crew member is heard to have said look at the Dutch houses on shore, this so called settlement I think would be impossible to verify or even to imagine.

  23. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Djenka, Also The Dutch were the first permanent settlers in South Africa holding power between 1652 and 1806 before apartheid They were kind to the locals at that time.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      From above
      “Finally, our dearest Bernie, when misinformed politicians radically disrupt labor markets by setting artificially high base prices, like your proposed $15 federal minimum wage, then businesses simply stop consuming labor completely and instead replace that labor with this “Big Mac ATM Machine.”

      Unlike Australian car Manafacturing which has to compete with foreign automated manafacturing, Our Hamburger consumption is a totally local affair and our elected representatives could easily just simply ban or tax to death, these job destroying “Products”.
      Those self service screens at Woolies, Bunnings and McDonald’s are an inconvenience!, on top of their employment reducing effects, lets just fuckem off!
      We don’t allow vending machines to sell Heroin, Guns and Explosives,…nor should we allow them to force our fellow citizens into serfdom.

      All Economic relationships are Political relationships and Everything is Negotiable.

      None of this shit is enevitable.

    • When we were living in New Zealand during the leaky building saga and was talking to a family member who was a builder about the issue and it’s complexities (shit products, poor workmanship, training deregulation etc) said “where were the MBA in all of this?”. Reply: “so long as you paid your fees, the MBA don’t give a shit. They are no guarantee of quality.”