Rafe’s Roundup 31 August

STOP PRESS. Impending sock crises in Lower Neutral Bay averted by timely Father’s Day gift. PM Rudd and President Obama still undecided on the future of Syria.

Posts of the week. Its about productivity, stupid!

Culture. AbbottAbbott fights the good fight in 1994.

In the quest to solve social problems, government reaches into our schools, our workplaces and even our bedrooms. Government tells us what we should think, whom we should like and how we should feel. But it has by and large given up trying to touch our hearts and make us realise that we Australians are a great people with a great destiny. The best that this government can do to lift people’s gaze above the humdrum is tear a corner off the flag, undermine the Crown and attack the very constitution itself. This is the opposite, the absolute opposite of nation building, because it is guaranteed to tear Australians apart rather than bring us together.

Yet there is no mystery in Australia’s needs or voters’ wants. There is no secret about what governments should do. As Edmund Burke said, governments are human contrivances to satisfy human wants. People expect governments to work—and I hope honourable members opposite recognise these lines—`for the betterment of mankind, not just here but wherever we can lend a helping hand’, as Ben Chifley said in his `light on the hill’ speech. There are some things which only individuals can do; there are other things which only governments can do; and there are many things which people can do better, provided governments help. So let people run their own lives and let government do what individuals cannot.

Jane Austen as an Australian Austrian. Planning, rational choice, prudence and good housekeeping.

What was the ideology of the cowboys?

The Western genre has long been associated with right-wing and libertarian politics, and is said to promote individualism and free-market economics. But in a new look at the Western, Ryan McMaken shows that the Western is in fact often anti-capitalist, and in many ways, the genre attacks the dominant ideology of nineteenth-century America: classical liberalism.

Learning from mistakes? Not yet! France on the skids. Where would they be without nuclear power?

Sport and recreation. A tale of two pitchers. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times“.

Environment and Energy. Living the green car dream. Buy for 48K sell for 8K and still on the hoists. A bit like the renewable energy program around the world.

You call that a hurricane?

Health and beauty. Peptides on line! Pictures. The joy of mudpacks.

Around the town: Small business; Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Quadrant on line, at the IPA, Mannkal Foundation, Centre for Independent Studies and the Sydney Institute. Gerard Henderson’s Media Watchdog. Bradman gala dinner.

Education. Stephen Matchett’s Campus Morning Mail. Kevin Donnelly.

For nerds. Nice profile of Ludwig von Mises. Heterodox economics newsletter. A portrait of the nerd as a young man. h/t Orgs and Marks.

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10 Responses to Rafe’s Roundup 31 August

  1. Bruce

    Rafe – I reject your characterisation of Tony Abbott as ‘AbbottAbbott’. He is AbbottAbbottAbbott666 & 2/3rds.

    We will hear much of Mr AbbottAbbottAbbott666 & 2/3rds over the next three years from certain people with names like Marr and Adams and Kingston and Hardy. Unless of course they do the right thing.

  2. Eyrie

    Oh good, “New Scientist”. Jo Nova called it “No Scientist” which seems closer to the mark.

  3. Rafe

    Bruce, in reply to the suicide stats, someone demonstrated that Australia does better in cricket under non-Labor leadership. Link appreciated, can’t recall where I saw it.

  4. Rod Clarke

    Thanks for the reading Rafe – much appreciated. I am just back from a few weeks travelling in many different types of economies using many different types of currencies…their is nothing like it to realise that it is the Productivity behind the currency that gives money its value in exchange.

  5. GlendaH

    That piece on Austen is well worth a read. Ditto France.

  6. Token

    Nice lead about the socks. AJ will be stealing that on Monday…

  7. Bruce

    C’mon guys, give me some credit for black humour. The NS link (a classic!) was inspired by this recent one.

    For the record I cancelled my NS subscription years ago when they went completely wacko over global worming. And I sadly let go my Economist subscription last month too, after persisting and hoping they’d get better. Ah…that would be a big no. I read today they’re greasing for Rimmer.

  8. In all the many westerns which portrayed the classic struggle between open range cattlemen and farmers, only one, to my knowledge, ever put the conservation case of the cattlemen. That was The Westerner, of 1939. The cattlemen are still the bad guys and still lose in the end, but the conservation value of cattle moving freely on open range is at least briefly explained, as is the downside of of paddock grazing and intensive farming on typical rangeland.

    There is right and wrong on both sides, but when Henbury Station, still 70% wilderness, was abandoned to weeds and neglect (aka fantastically expensive regeneration till we get bored) it was a heartbreaking moment. It really showed that conservation is just not consistent with environmentalism. That such a magnificent property is supposed to sit idle as a carbon sink or some such thing for Qantas beggars belief. Needless to say, the original government subsidised buyers are in receivership and the up-for-sale property is a hot potato wrapped in such Gillardian verbiage as “It will be up to a purchaser to do their due diligence… and negotiate going forward.”

    Compared to the modern environmentalist, cowboys and sod-bustin’ farmers are all good guys.

  9. Jim Rose

    rafe, just saw elisym. I wonder what P.T. bauer would have made of it.

    the society with law and order was rch. society with no security of property rights was poor.

  10. Jim Rose

    an Elysium world was discussed by chance a few months ago by Bryan Caplan: asking what if artificial intelligence researchers “produce and patent a perfect substitute for human labor at zero [marginal cost]” and the technology was widely available.

    Caplan argued that the human owners of land, capital, and other non-labor assets capture 100% of all output. Humans who only have labor to sell, however, will starve without charity or tax-funded redistribution.

    Elysium sounds similar to the world of replicators in star trek.

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