Kohler civil war divides inter-generational immigration debate

It is amazing to watch. We noted recently how it is now Australia’s young turk economic commentators that are now at the forefront of defending mass immigration despite it smashing the prospects of their own generation via crazy house prices, lower wages and crush-loading of the built and natural environments. The big five include:

  • “Racism” Rob Burgess who libels anyone with the One Nation brush that dares mull immigration cuts;
  • “Sell-out” Greg Jericho who has openly repudiated all discussion of migrants for fear of racism;
  • “Domainfax” Jess Irvine who recycles official propaganda with greater efficiency than a fax machine;
  • Adam Creighton who really should know better and according to our sources does.
  • And, “Ignorant” Chris Kohler who has declared stupid anyone who questions mass immigration.

Pitted against these five generational apostates are now virtually the entire older generation of economic commentators who will all lose if immigration is cut given they are of the propertied and privileged class. The big four includes:

  • Terry McCrann who says mass immigration today is an “overall negative”;
  • Ross Gittins who has condemned it for many years as environmentally and labour market destructive;
  • Alan Kohler who says it should be cut if we can’t lower house prices;
  • Judith Sloan who composed the original PC report outlining the net negatives, and
  • The Pascometer whose ceaseless hollow defenses of more people augur the precise opposite.

The public academic debate is also now split along age lines in the same way.  Those pro-mass immigration are again young including Guardian hack Tom Westlandlake and Australian National University demographer Liz Allen. Whereas the most prominent proponents favouring a cut include grey beards Bob Birrel and Jonathon Sobels.

There are outliers. Young commentary in favour of cuts includes Carrington Clarke and Crispin Hull. And there are some old dogs that favour high numbers too, such as immigration extremist Peter Martin, though his better, Tim Colebatch, does not.

But the generational division is as stark as it is unexpected with the young determined to trash their own (and the nation’s) interests while the old have an attack of guilt or good parenting.

Nowhere is this more apparent that at the Kohler dinner table. Chris Kohler has previously described concerns about Australia’s rapid population growth (immigration) as “ignorant”, and claimed that Australia needs lots of population growth “to keep the country healthy”.

Now, at the same time as his father, Alan Kohler, penned an article in The Australian decrying mass immigration for pushing-up the cost of housing and eroding living standards, Chris Kohler has pinned the blame solely on NIMBYs preventing middle-ring suburbs from being turned into apartment complexes. From Domain:

So-called ‘nimbyism’ is stunting the growth of Australian cities and remains at the glowing centre of the housing affordability debate.

Now an astronomical price tag has been associated with the zoning laws guarding against suburban development by the Reserve Bank of Australia, in a report set to fuel a gear shift in conversation about the future of Australian cities.

Home buyers in Sydney must hand over $489,000 above the marginal cost of their property – what the house costs to build and how the market would otherwise value the land – not because of a physical land shortage, but an “administrative” scarcity of land channelled through restrictive zoning laws…

The “zoning effect”, as it is named in the RBA report, isn’t restricted to houses, with about $400,000 added to the price of an average apartment in Sydney, and over $100,000 in Melbourne and Brisbane.

With a reluctance from NIMBYs in middle-ring suburbs to see increased development, while housing affordability supposedly becomes the fastest-rising national concern for Australians, something is about to give…

Suburbia will soon become more crowded, and with a clear and eye-watering price now associated with resistance, zoning laws are likely to be relaxed to allow it.

We all know the need to boost profits at Domainfax but this is pretty awful, Chris. Australia’s housing affordability problem may be about a ‘lack of supply’ but it is also about force-fed demand through FHB incentives, tax concessions and mass immigration, which is the primary driver of Australia’s population growth:

Take a look at the above Productivity Commission chart. Notice how Australia’s population would barely increase to 27 million only by 2060 if we had zero net overseas migration (NOM), versus more than 40 million people under current settings?

Demand side measures including immigration are the primary reason why you cannot afford a Melbourne home, not because of a ‘lack of supply’, which is running at record levels:

Moreover, do Sydney and Melbourne residents really want their children and grandchildren to be forced to live in expensive high-rise apartments in congested cities? They can get that in Hong Kong but why would we want it?

If you don’t believe us, then check out Infrastructure Australia’s latest report, which showed that no matter what Melbourne and Sydney do to cope with the migrant influx, public transport’s modal share will barely increase, road congestion will dramatically worsen, and access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space will all deteriorate as Melbourne’s and Sydney’s populations balloon to 7.3 and 7.4 million people respectively by 2046:

Certainly, Australia’s housing supply system is busted, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. But where is the logic in force-feeding hundreds of thousands of migrants into the broken supply-side each and every year, in the process making the housing situation and broader living standards so much worse?

Take note, young turks, it is only you that now stands in the way of cheaper houses and better living standards for your generation.

Comments

  1. You have got to publish graphs to show what percentage of Norway, Japan, South Korea, and Australia are foreign-born along with the unemployment rates.

    Hope it opens the eyes of young voters who want a job.

  2. Chris Kohler is the business editor at domain. What do you expect him to write?

    Look at his recent piece bemoaning a class system due to housing – not a single mention of immigration.

    https://www.domain.com.au/money-markets/how-the-housing-boom-created-a-new-class-system-in-australia-20180304-h0wwdm/

    Australia’s wealth will become increasingly concentrated following the recent burst of wealth creation, and the amount of financial assistance able to be provided throughout the economy will differ greatly. Hopeful first-home buyer Christopher Best and his wife wonder how far help from their parents can push the needle, given the now astronomical home prices. The newlyweds are aiming for a modest two-bedroom property on Melbourne’s outskirts, somewhere like Cranbourne, but despite both working full time in marketing and social media management for four years, are “nowhere near being able to put together a deposit”.

    “Any help from our parents would be a very significant gesture and we’d be extremely grateful, but honestly the prices are so astronomical I wonder how anyone whose parents aren’t ‘Silicon Valley rich’ can really help out. “A 20 per cent deposit for a lot of places is now $160,000 … An enormous gift of, say, $10,000 — a fantastic gesture — is barely going to move the needle.”

    • Stephen Morris

      “Australia’s wealth will become increasingly concentrated”

      This is a worldwide historical phenomenon.

      Taking an historical perspective, the Modern Era of the past 150 years was an economic, social and political aberration. See:

      https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/03/links-9-march-2018/#comment-3064575

      We are in real danger of entirely losing the Modern Era and its ideals of:

      a) egalitarianism;

      b) democratic accountability;

      c) national self-determination and subsidiarity;

      d) widespread home and land ownership;

      e) public ownership of strategic monopolies, essential services and critical databases; and

      f) equal opportunity of education and access to elite professions.

      Anyone who values these ideals should be fighting for Democracy, genuine Democracy.

      Without Democracy the Future will be the Past. We are being refeudalised, and the window of opportunity to prevent it is closing rapidly.

  3. Now people here can no longer blame the “selfish” boomers – it is the younger generation shooting themselves in the foot.

    • Exactly, and in a way they deserve their fate. But most of them don’t know any better because they have been so systematically brainwashed by teachers and the media. Older folk at least have a chance of knowing better, and damwell should be getting guilt attacks now about what has been done to the youth.

      Along with the leftist brainwashing about one-world utopia, is civilisational self-loathing which requires “us” to atone for our “oppression” of “other races everywhere”, and also requires us to atone for our “rape of the planet”. Hence the other pillar of the racket, “save the planet” urban planning.

      The vested interests that are the “Bootleggers” corollary to the “Baptist” progressive leftists, are not so much “business interests” per se; it is “rentier capitalist” interests in property and finance. Tragically, actual wealth creating sectors are dying along with the prospects for the young. This has to end in the mother of all busts, probably worse than the 1890’s bust that Australia’s collective memory prefers to ignore.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      These problems have been a lot longer in the making than the yoof have had any meaningful political power.

      • Your elision of points and shifting of issues is a masterclass in equivocation.
        The problems have been around a while. The point is the youth are happy to perpetuate their difficulties.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Indeed. How wicked of me to prefer looking at the causes rather than the symptoms.

    • The youngsters are just too dumb to realise who’s stiffing them. It doesn’t change the fact.

  4. The whole immigration debate is getting absurd.

    The annual immigration rate of 200k will be manageable if we build several Canberra-sized cities along the Nullarbor Plain. But that will require decentralization, a fundamental shift from how things have been done here. We could establish several special economic zones, 100km apart along the Nullarbor Plain, with desalination plants, etc.

    It will be beneficial long-term, but hey, we are talking about Australia after all. Long-term thinking is not in the DNA.

    • AUS is already 28% foreign-born. Is that not enough immigration? Norway is 11% foreign-born and gets by fine. Heck, Norway is the best nation on the planet.

      • My point is the vested interest has been opposed to decentralization because there will be less tickets to clip for rentiers in a decentralized world – and I don’t see it happening any time soon.

        Without this, 200k per year intake is disingenuous. In short, those who advocate Big Australia on the one hand do not want to decentralize on the other hand.

      • And Norway is suffering negative effects from that 11%, only the terminally PC don’t admit this. Their economy has so far been strong enough to absorb those negative effects, but Australia’s economy is nowhere near as strong (and it all comes down to high-value “primary” income) in the first place.

    • Dumpling, excellent points. The affordable rapid-growth regions of the USA show that it is possible to have your cake and eat it. High immigration, affordable housing, infrastructure expansion, economies of scale, economic competitiveness, capital investment going into productive channels. The ability to simply endlessly replicate city-suburbs, is key.

      You are absolutely correct that it is rentier capitalism driving the status quo: it is selective distortion of evidence to claim that “cramming” = urban productivity. The half-truth that dense urban cores are “more productive than low density suburbs” is a wholly flawed basis for planning straightjackets like we have. FIRST; the high productive urban cores EVOLVED even as there was considerable suburban growth. SECOND, in the UK where they have practiced cramming instead of horizontal expansion since 1947, they have ended up with a productivity GAP; it is evident that this kind of planning has a negative effect on overall productivity. THIRD, many factors that affect productivity, are entirely related to having plenty of space at low cost; production lines and distribution warehouses require space, for example – and new participants to evolving clusters need affordable premises where the clusters are evolving. Silicon Valley evolved on low cost exurban land that was lightly-regulated at the time (it is heavily regulated now). “Productivity” is NOT solely related to consumption and wealth-transfer “services” in city centres, whole economies HAVE to be made up of a lot more than that. FOURTH; the whole economy depends on “primary income” – and it is absurd to assume that your economy will be a massive Hong Kong, Manhattan or central London. Australia has agriculture and resource extraction; but these are low value; how about “value added” primary income which is ENTIRELY a matter of suburban industry?

    • sydboy007MEMBER

      Where does the water come from to support these cities in the desert?

      We’re siphoning off the great artesian basin at increasing rates, faster than replenishment.

      Do we set up a few dozen desal plants along the great ozzie bight and pipe it in? Turn all of SA into wind farms to power them.

      Besides virtue signalling how wonderfully progressive one is, what benefit is there to high levels of immigration today? What is unique about Australia that we need to run population growth higher than the Philippines?

      • Where does the water come from to support these cities in the desert?

        Don’t worry, magicthe market will fix it. Just ask Phil.

      • SupernovaMEMBER

        During the last significant draught the city of Goulburn’s water supply, from the nearby Pejar Dam ran dry, resulting in H2O having to be urgently trucked in from Sydney and Southern Highlands dams. This same scenario is often repeated across inland cities of Australia on a rather regular basis without significant media coverage. Apart from lack of jobs, this lack of secure water supply would have to be one of the main reasons why decentralisation is limited in Australia.
        Additionally, the lack of H2O solutions are too financially expensive to resolve such as converting cities sewerage into drinking water using “reverse-osmosis”, but it remains one of the few workable solutions.

      • How many millions of gallons of water flow into the oceans every day from Australian rivers? Human inventiveness is better than this. Anyway who says we need to utilise “desert”? Even as a percentage of existing arable land, Australia is one of the lightest-populated countries in the world. If its being farmed now, it sure can have cities built on it. “Food security” is pointless for a nation that has been a helpless price-taker for the export of the great majority of its production.

    • sydboy007MEMBER

      meh, as has been shown medicare costs blowouts are due to the huge number of imported doctors that do their time in regional areas then move to the bigger cities and then bulk bill their way to a decent lifestyle, and then we import more doctors to live outback and the cycle continues.

      • My post said nothing about Medicare. Nor did his post. The immigrant was saying that we should not be importing bus drivers. How does Norway get by when it is only 11% foreign born?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        How does Norway get by when it is only 11% foreign born?

        How does Switzerland get by when it is 25% foreign born ?

        You still haven’t explained why it matters.

  5. Kormanator_T800

    >”But where is the logic in force-feeding hundreds of thousands of migrants into the broken supply-side each and every year?”
    Too keep house prices high. It is simple. The economy is not being run for the benefit of your average Australianl: rather it is being run for the benefit of those who lobby hard and make large donations to political parties. Look at things this way and it makes much more sense.

    • +100. It is one of the tragedies of Left/Right politics, that the Left has generally been far too ignorant to differentiate between value-creators in business, and crony, vampire, rentier “capitalists” who do nothing but grab the biggest possible share of the wealth that was truly created elsewhere in the economy. Piketty’s famous book is a case in point. He actually sneers at suggestions that the way wealth is “got” needs to be distinguished in devising the taxes that will reduce inequality. Other economists reviewing his data suggest that most of the increase in inequality identified in recent decades, stems from inflating urban land prices. Piketty himself seems to have ignored the significance of this even though it was under his nose in his own data.

      Guess why certain people in the top 0.1% have been lavish funders of “conservation” activism right from the Club of Rome days? You can bet they know damwell what they are doing, and know damwell that their eco-fundamentalist useful idiots (“Baptists” to their “Bootleggers”) haven’t a clue what are the economic-rent “side effects” of their policies.

      • SupernovaMEMBER

        ….and the main reason the land prices are inflated directly comes from the availability of easy cheap credit…..which has become the biggest money printer of all time. Stop the ability of both governments and banks to print money and productivity would once again become valuable.

      • Sorry, Supernova – but urban land prices are gougingly high in real terms in developing countries where there is NO mortgage credit at all available to most people. If you do a bit of research into this, it is amazing just how much “saving your arse off” substitutes for “easy credit” when you have no options. It is also the chief reason that there are illegal slums all over the place in developing countries – corruption in the government control of land ownership and use. We call it “urban planning” but the effect is the same.

        There are also counter-examples in the other direction in the first world in that dozens of US cities maintained median multiples of 3 right through the Fed’s loosest period, and during 10% per decade population growth. As long as the market can convert superabundant rural land to urban use in response to demand, there is no reason at all for urban land prices to inflate any more than there is reason for the price of TV’s to inflate, in response to either credit or demand.

    • Stephen Morris

      This is an inevitable consequence of (non-democratic) elective government.

      People get only ONE vote – for a politician – every three or four years. They will vote for the one thing that is MOST important to them. Sometimes the candidate offering that one thing will also offer other things that the voter supports, but almost invariably a voter is faced with the choice of “Oh! I like this even if I don’t like that.”

      It gets worse. Knowing the invidious position of the voters, politicians focus on well-organised special interest groups, offering them what they want (even if it is generally opposed by the rest of the population). People will vote FOR their special interest, but unless opposition to a special interest is their most desired policy they will not vote AGAINST it.

      And it gets worse. The politicians themselves are dependent on political donors and – worse still – they make all decisions with one eye on the million-dollar-a-year directorship they may expect to receive provided they’ve played the game on behalf of their patrons.

      And so we have it, an utterly corrupt system of government that exploits the many to benefit the few.

      And they call it “Liberal Representative Democracy”.

      George Orwell would be groaning in his grave.

  6. Leith asked on the previous posting, “…Why aren’t we being given a choice on the matter?…”

    We are,, but the biggest problem is that the choice is being falsely framed in terms of whether “we” are racists who vote for “Nazis”.

    It is not just “business interests” who are responsible for these lunatic policies, it is the modern utopian progressive Left who gets to brainwash the youth. Hence the “mystery” why “young commentators” are the strongest boosters of their own systematic betrayal. Partly they believe the myths and lies about how much “better” a “one world” multi-culti utopia will be, and how much “better” an urban economy based on apartment blocks and trains will be; and partly they believe that “us evil white imperialists” need to atone for our fathers sins against the planet and its “other races”.

    The growth rates of the followings of truth-speakers and provocateurs on “the right”, like Paul Joseph Watson, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, etc are an indication that there is hope yet.

    • Stephen Morris

      “Why aren’t we being given a choice on the matter?…”

      It’s a problem of the corrupt system of elective government (as explained in the preceding comment).

      The solution is Democracy. Genuine Democracy.

      Focus your attention on that.

      With Democracy, all things are possible.

      Without Democracy, things will inevitably get worse, and worse, and worse, and . . . .

    • you got it Phil – what puzzles me is why so few (it seems) are able to see – and call out – the bleedin bloody obvious

    • The growth rates of the followings of truth-speakers and provocateurs on “the right”, like Paul Joseph Watson, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, etc are an indication that there is hope yet.

      Good grief. A conspiracy theorist, a poster boy for homophobic persecuted conservative syndrome and a professional troll are 3/4 of your shining lights ?

      At least Peterson appears to have some principles. Certainly the odd man out in that lineup.

      • Who are YOUR favourite “truth speakers”? Doubtless I could have a field day ad hominem attacking them too.

      • It’s hardly ad hominem when it’s just a description of what they do. Every “argument” they make is built upon a smorgasboard of fallacies, so it’s not like there’s any logical structure to their ranting that can actually be addressed anyway.

        Peterson is an entirely different matter. I don’t agree with his socially conservative philosophy, and hence many of the conclusions it drives, but I can recognise and respect he’s someone with generally noble goals, real knowledge and enough intellectual integrity to consider alternative viewpoints.

        He is man driven by the desire to help others, not simply attack and belittle that which is different.

        Those other three muppets are oxygen thieves in comparison.

    • Peterson is a clinical psychologist who is critical of all ideology including Conservatism. Just because Conservatives love the way Peterson deconstructs and criticises Marxism, does not make Peterson a Conservative.

  7. The fastest way for an ambitious young economist to get ahead today is to defend tooth and nail the vested interests, particularly of the FIRE sector. That should not be surprising. Not surprising at all. They’re not Young Turks, they’re young guns for hire. Mercenaries wanting to get ahead fast.

  8. We need to expose the subtle but all powerful hand of business interests. This includes funding – directly and indirectly. Migrant Council, Liz Allen, Grattan Institute, Salt, MSM etc.

    • Oh, those lizards were on full display last night. Cooing, coaxing, cajoling, arrogantly telling you that you’re a simpleton and you don’t understand it … It was nauseating and infuriating to the greatest extreme!

    • Anyone found any peer-reviewed research from Dr. Allen? Strangely the ANU site crashes when I try to look at her biography.

      • >Liz’s doctoral research explored the individual, family and neighbourhood contributions to child excess weight and screen time among two Australian cohorts.

        In other words – she stayed at home and talked to the neighbours to the left and neighbours to the right of her (2 cohorts) about how the young generation these days does nothing but play games on their iphones (screen time component study of the PHD)…

  9. The Oldies have enough, have no debt and can give a little back. The young Turks have bought st Peak Debt and will be wiped out when their jumbo mortgages turn on them. Their self interest means they can only support one outcome. Compromised Economists, all.

  10. “…and with a clear and eye-watering price now associated with resistance, zoning laws are likely to be relaxed to allow it.”

    Not likely. Did Kholer even read the RBA report? Selective rezoning to higher densities is NEVER going to result in lower land costs as commentators like Phil, Hugh Pavletic and Issi Romem have so clearly pointed out when there is no freedom to expand at the fringes. Only a truly competitive land market can deliver affordable land prices. No competive land market can exist when there is no freedom for an urban area to expand at its fringes.
    Only if rezoning was done en masses could there be a hope of land values not inflating to reflect the newly allowed use. But this has never been tried before and is unlikely to be tried given the political fallout.

    But alas it cannot be expected that Chris will bite the hand which feeds him.

      • Timon is right. Your “positional goods” argument is only correct about the rent-extractive powers of urban land owners WHEN the overall supply of land for urban use is rationed. In fact as transport systems evolved from the 1880’s onwards, urban land rent gradually transitioned from being monopolistic / extractive, to being “differential” or derived from “option values”. Even CBD land has its prices disciplined by the knock-on effect of competitive land prices from ex-fringe, inwards.

        If you compare New York land prices to London’s when New York was still freely sprawling for dozens of miles in several directions, but London had a land-rationing planning system imposed in 1947, New York land prices were orders of magnitude lower, especially when taking into account the theoretical price-boosting mechanism of skyscrapers being built and workforce numbers concentrated.

        Same thing applies to Central Houston now: it is far more of an economic power-house than the CBD’s of any Australiasian city, yet even Auckland NZ has higher site prices. Why is it taking so LONG for the “experts” to recognise all the evidence?

      • Stephen Morris

        The difference between London and New York – or between Houston and Sydney – is constitutional.

        The Westminster system promotes proximity bias. The US constitutional separation of powers minimises it.

        As explained in the links, the question one should ask is not, “Why is land so expensive in and around Sydney (and indeed all the State and Territory capital cities)?”

        The questions one should ask are:

        a) “Why is an increasing proportion of Australia’s population squeezed into the State and Territory capital cities?”

        b) “Why are cities like Newcastle or Mackay or Townsville not vast metropolises?” and

        c) “Why does the proportion of the population in and around the capitals increase even as the population increases (contrary to the ‘critical mass’ hypothesis of city formation)?”

        Physical proximity is a positional good. (It derives value through creating negative externalities borne by the owners of competing positional goods.) To that extent, its supply cannot be increased.

        More generally, any attempt to prove the “correctness” of planning policies in this manner is defeasible. It depends on shared prejudices (often unacknowledged by those holding them).

        An approach to indefeasible policy formation (subject to minimal assumptions) may be found here:

        https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/02/weekend-reading-24-25-february-2018/#comment-3055954

        It results in (genuinely) democratic processes which – when applied to the specific issue – may result in an altogether different preference from the “correct” one determined defeasibly. Specifically, we find that when allowed to vote on the matter, people tend to vote against the destruction of their environment in the name of “efficiency”.

      • Stephen, it is simply not rational to ignore the difference between “differential” land rent and monopoly or extractive land rent, the difference being “whether rural land (superabundant in quantity relative to urban requirements) is available to the market to add to urban supply”.

        Take ANY relatively alike cities apart from their conditions of land supply and the difference will be stark. For example, ANY UK city versus a US city which does not have land rationing. Or can you ALWAYS come up with excuses about why “the difference” OTHER THAN the urban land rationing???

        You can have a city with stagnant population that has lost industry over the decades, and an unpleasant climate, and a growth boundary – and far higher urban land prices and median multiples than a city without a growth boundary, 10% population growth per decade, and strong real economic growth – and you argue that the “positional goods” theory is the decider re the land values? Absurd!

        Of course there is some truth in the “positional good” theory but there is orders of magnitude difference in the “positional good” power between a city with “differentially derived” land rent versus the ones that are extractively derived. In so far as urban land values are “too high” in Sydney and Melbourne, the cause is NOT that population is being concentrated in those “urban areas” per se, it is that those urban areas do not have the elasticity of land supply to nullify the extractive powers of land rentiers. If either Sydney or Melbourne regional government had urban growth policy settings like Houston, the city concerned would have sustained median multiples of between 3 and 4, and grown even FASTER, at the expense of the other cities assuming they had not adopted similarly enlightened policies. On the other hand, if all cities had enlightened urban growth policy settings, growth would probably have been apportioned about the same, only with median multiples remaining between 3 and 4, and growth in productivity and real incomes would have been greater.

        The UK illustrates a nation where ALL cities are land-rationed, and Australia is probably similar now. The USA is the only country where some cities are land-rationed and others are not, and there are massive, important lessons to be learned from it. There is no example of a country where all cities are not land-rationed.

      • Stephen Morris

        I did qualify that earlier comment with “to the extent that residential land is a positional good”. It is not entirely a positional good.

        But the question remains NOT, “Why is land so expensive in and around Sydney (and indeed all the State and Territory capital cities)?”

        The question remains :

        a) “Why is an increasing proportion of Australia’s population squeezed into the State and Territory capital cities?”

        b) “Why are cities like Newcastle or Mackay or Townsville (established towns on the coast with good ports and prosperous hinterlands) not vast metropolises?” and

        c) “Why does the proportion of the population in and around the capitals increase even as the population increases (contrary to the ‘critical mass’ hypothesis of city formation)?”

        The biggest “land release” of all would be to enable the 99% of Australia people refuse to live in, to become attractive. Even excluding the less desirable non-coastal areas, there is much, much, much, much more land available in locations distant from the capital cities than there is on the periphery of the capital cities.

        That is the issue.

        And it’s not as if the capital cities are especially productive. They generally rely on industries which enjoy no comparative advantage and depend on subsidy from those regions which do. That is underlying pathology of Australia.

        p.s. Don’t worry about the UK. They’re selling the parks to squeeze in more people:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-43348103

        The Lords’ demenses are being returned to them. Refeudalisation continues apace.

      • It will be interesting to watch what has happened to land prices in Switzerland given “a national referendum on spatial planning was passed by the large margin of 62–38, effectively putting a moratorium on all new greenfield development in Switzerland.” in 2013 (https://nzinitiative.org.nz/reports-and-media/reports/different-places-different-means/). https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/urban-sprawl_tug-of-war-over-scarce-building-areas/34680302

        The Swiss with their form of direct democracy certainly does not stop people voting against their own interests. They know not what they do!
        The Swiss can now expect urban land rent extraction and greater inequality in a generation.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        It’s been ten years since I was living in Zurich, but from what I understand prices have increased fairly significantly from what was already a pretty high base.

      • Stephen Morris

        The Swiss with their form of direct democracy certainly does not stop people voting against their own interests.

        There are some comments which leave me cold with terror.

        When one considers the harm – the outright brutality – that has been perpetrated over the centuries by people who imagined they knew best what was in other people’s “own interests”.

        I look forward to seeing the Charter from Heaven under which Timon was granted this Monopoly on Wisdom. I yearn to gaze upon the signature of The Almighty subscribing the Grant of Omniscience to a mere mortal.

        Having lived myself on of the Swiss-Italian border (500 metres on the Italian side), I have some understanding of the Swiss and their predicament. They, like many people, prefer higher density living if it is within sight of the rural landscape. Our family lived in an 8 story apartment block – but it looked out upon a river which ran below a forest-clad mountain on which was perched a 1000 year old church.

        If you asked any of the residents to swap that for a detached house in bleak desert of suburbian sub-division, I think I know where they would tell you to get off!

  11. We’re going to need bigger and more ports to import all the stuff we don’t make that our new friends will want to buy and consume. At some point it’s possible that even the rich immigrants won’t be able to afford to live here. Getting out of the city will be top of my list. There will be other parts of the world that are not as crazy and might like us as immigrants. This all does show how loony the ABC are now when they won’t even consider a managed immigration scheme, and only see pill them in and we’ll cope somehow, and btw you’ll be worse off, but you will live longer if you look at their interactive post today. It why I can’t watch the ABC.

  12. The thing to understand about the Kohlers is that dad toiled for years as a financial hack journo and built his own business into a popular blog that he sold to News. Along the way, his (not obviously talented) son got a job with dad and transferred to permanent employment with News when the deal was done.

    I’ve done those deals myself- i.e. buy dad’s business with the understanding the son comes with it. Young Kohlers great qualification to write his economic opinions are founded on being born to Alan. Is it any wonder his scribblings are so unchallenging?

  13. kiwikarynMEMBER

    The Millennials are pro-immigration because they have been brought up to value kindness and be social justice warriors. They truly believe that its a good and rewarding thing to sacrifice your own standards of living so that someone in a poorer country can move here and have a better life. They’re so earnest and sweet, I am not sure what kind of hard knocks in life it is going to take to beat this out of them.
    Generation X are pro-immigration because they’ve swallowed the furphy that we need more people in order for them to be able to retire on a pension. They think they wont get one in 20 years if we don’t let millions of people in to work and pay taxes. As they are currently bearing the brunt of the burden of taxation, they look forward to receiving some of it back in the future – its their “entitlement”. Trying to explain that allowing immigration to collect taxes is one big ponzi scheme (after all, who is going to fund the pensions for the millions of immigrants in 30 years time?) falls on deaf ears. They know what they know, and won’t listen to anything else.