Holden to stop building cars in Australia in 2017

 
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
In terms of no easy privatisations remaining, look at the railways - true privatisation is virtually impossible. All they can do is break them up and spin off parts into subsidised franchises or new government bureaucracies, only fully selling a few pieces like freight operators. With that arrangement comes all sorts of new inefficiencies and boundaries that need to be negotiated, industry regulatory bodies, clearing houses, more paperwork, more management, and legal fees.
waxyzebu

Similar story with Australia Post and Centrelink, it will probably actually cost them money to privatise because of the complex nature of the services they deliver.

Australia Post will likely need big hunks of cash to continue to deliver any kind of universal service obligations - especially to rural and remote areas.  I read in Canada recently that they have decided not to deliver mail to large parts of the country and instead you have to go to the post office and pick it up yourself.  I can't see them going for that here - I think the Nationals would cry blue murder (and Hockey's already shown how frightened they are of them) so it will probably have to be heavily subsidised.

Same thing with Centrelink.  The insurance industry has been crying out since Howard to get their hands on it - but even Howard baulked at that because he knew it was going to cost them a fortune to pay out all those public servants.  In addition it will probably cost them lots of money to continue to deliver the services because it will be cost plus margins from therein - so we're look at a privatisation purely for ideological reasons but I still think they'll go through with it because it's a way to get rid of public servants en masse.

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
One way of warding off that sort of unrest would be to ramp up the totalitarianism - I believe that is the path our rulers have chosen. How far down that path they'll take us remains to be seen, but it means more laws, more security forces, more surveillance, more interference in our lives by the State, and less freedom to speak and act as we please. Rule by an iron fist can be very peaceful - for a time. That is, until the People realise they are being lied to, ripped off, and become desperate. So, if economic conditions worsen (I think it's reasonable to assume they will), just watch as the war for our minds is taken to new levels in an increasingly desperate effort to keep us under control. We're easily controlled with the likes of debt at the moment, but that control is fragile and already slipping.
waxyzebu

There's no history of revolutions in this country - we don't even do things like civil dissent very well.  The closest we've gotten to revolutions are things like the Rum Rebellion and Eureka Stockade.  During the thirties there were some strange proto-fascist revolutionary movements in the countryside like the "White Knights"; a friend of mine's dad knew people who involved and they existed up until the sixties - they had a lot of hidden weapons and secret meetings and such so I'm told.  They were determined to lead armed revolution against dangerous people like Jack Lang (!) but it all came to nought.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect that people in Australia will ever dissent too much against the plutocracy, regardless of how badly they're treated - we're always told to trust in the government and most people don't like to trouble themselves with thinking about politics, do they.  Also, by and large we've had a really good run of luck since the war with very few interruptions to our economic success story.  Our peaceful, un-exciting existence might all change in an instant if we had a really lousy economy... maybe you shouldn't underestimate the capacity of people to get cranky if they lose their jobs or homes?  Don't know.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

There's no history of revolutions in this country - we don't even do things like civil dissent very well. The closest we've gotten to revolutions are things like the Rum Rebellion and Eureka Stockade.
don_dunstan


But there is some history of a strong, pre-revolutionary labour movement and industrial action, and the military has been used to break strikes. It's pretty much dead now, but worsening economic conditions could see it revived.


I don't think it's reasonable to expect that people in Australia will ever dissent too much against the plutocracy, regardless of how badly they're treated - we're always told to trust in the government and most people don't like to trouble themselves with thinking about politics, do they.

Desperation can change all that, as touched earlier in the thread.

If people's hopes and dreams come crashing down, they might start thinking about things that they previously avoided. Just because Australians haven't had to do much serious thinking about politics and economics in the past doesn't mean they won't in future. It also doesn't mean they'll end up backing the right horse when the time comes, but that's another story.

If there was a fear that the People might start thinking and acting for themselves, I'm sure the plutocratic propaganda would be ramped up to ensure they think and act in the "right" way, along with other efforts on the part of the State mentioned in my previous post. A lack of organised revolutionary activity would probably render the brainwashing quite effective, but maybe not forever. At the moment, a lack of pain and hardship enables brainwashing and control to occur with minimal effort. Add a generous dose of pain and hardship to the equation and the outcome would be different, but no-one knows where we would end up. There are too many variables to predict it accurately.


Our peaceful, un-exciting existence might all change in an instant if we had a really lousy economy... maybe you shouldn't underestimate the capacity of people to get cranky if they lose their jobs or homes? Don't know.

That's my point. We are perhaps heading towards uncharted territory. We've always managed to pull ourselves out of the gutter in the past, but if it really is different this time, the way we react might also be different. These are merely possibilities, but as far as I am concerned, just about everything being discussed in this thread points in that general direction. What we don't know is how far it will go.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I take the point about heading into uncharted territory but I just don't think there's a national psyche around being revolutionary.  I think as a nation we tend to resign ourselves to trying to change things through the political duopoly - which in itself is a really pointless exercise since most policies are bipartisan.  However it's just what we do.

People get sucked into that traditional Liberal vs Labor stuff without seeing the bigger picture - that they're actually two heads of the same beast.  It's why there's such vigorous suppression of any kind of organised parties outside of that duopoly.  Compare our situation to places like the UK or Germany where there's a proliferation of minor parties necessary to make government - we don't have anything like that kind of diversity here - although it was refreshing to see that Adam Bandt was re-elected in his lower house seat for the Greens (even though I would never vote for them myself!).

Anyway - back to the topic at hand more generally.  I don't think there's any argument that our living standards will probably fall in the coming years because of our failure to keep pace with any kind of internationally competitive elaborately transformed manufactures. My feeling is that both sides were counting on a continuous stream of Chinese (or other foreign) money coming here to keep propping up the economy - especially the real estate ponzi-scheme - but in the meantime we'll have a situation where highly educated people end up doing barista courses to keep paying their mortgages and that's the real challenge of the future - jobs.  People need steady employment so they can keep paying off their mortgages and save for the future and it's precisely the evaporation of that kind of thing we've seen in the last two decades.

Where will it all end up - well who knows.  As you alluded before there certainly has to be an adjustment in the enormous expense of property ownership in this country (nine times yearly median required for the average Sydney house).  The problem is that so much of our economic success is predicated on residential property speculation that this probably can't be done without a lot of pain, especially considering the push in the last five years to get people to shovel their superannuation into the residential real estate pyramid...
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

I take the point about heading into uncharted territory but I just don't think there's a national psyche around being revolutionary. I think as a nation we tend to resign ourselves to trying to change things through the political duopoly - which in itself is a really pointless exercise since most policies are bipartisan. However it's just what we do.

People get sucked into that traditional Liberal vs Labor stuff without seeing the bigger picture - that they're actually two heads of the same beast. It's why there's such vigorous suppression of any kind of organised parties outside of that duopoly. Compare our situation to places like the UK or Germany where there's a proliferation of minor parties necessary to make government - we don't have anything like that kind of diversity here - although it was refreshing to see that Adam Bandt was re-elected in his lower house seat for the Greens (even though I would never vote for them myself!).
don_dunstan

It seems I'm willing to entertain more extreme possibilities than you, but we are on the same page.


Given how corrupt our One Big Political Party (with two heads) is, I'm happy to see more variety as a matter of general principle. Getting that variety to deliver real results for ordinary people is, as we have seen, a challenge. There are plenty of political parties here representing a variety of economic positions, even interesting ones that are socially on the right but economically leftist... but life has been made difficult for them and they face an uphill battle getting exposure and votes... unless, perhaps, someone starts throwing money at them, which does seem unlikely.


Anyway - back to the topic at hand more generally. I don't think there's any argument that our living standards will probably fall in the coming years because of our failure to keep pace with any kind of internationally competitive elaborately transformed manufactures. My feeling is that both sides were counting on a continuous stream of Chinese (or other foreign) money coming here to keep propping up the economy - especially the real estate ponzi-scheme - but in the meantime we'll have a situation where highly educated people end up doing barista courses to keep paying their mortgages and that's the real challenge of the future - jobs. People need steady employment so they can keep paying off their mortgages and save for the future and it's precisely the evaporation of that kind of thing we've seen in the last two decades.

Where will it all end up - well who knows. As you alluded before there certainly has to be an adjustment in the enormous expense of property ownership in this country (nine times yearly median required for the average Sydney house). The problem is that so much of our economic success is predicated on residential property speculation that this probably can't be done without a lot of pain, especially considering the push in the last five years to get people to shovel their superannuation into the residential real estate pyramid...


The education industry is becoming more of a profit generating system and employer than something that actually delivers results for its customers, as I said before. "Highly educated" people making coffee or otherwise earning less than they were "promised" is already common in the US and I see no reason why it won't become more common here. The trouble is, it's not sustainable, nor is much of what we have come to depend on. There will always be windows of opportunity for people who happen to be in the right place, with the right degree, at the right time, but such opportunities are always limited.

None of this bodes well for the housing market, except for the scenario of having the entire national housing stock in the hands of a few locals and wealthy foreign investors.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It seems I'm willing to entertain more extreme possibilities than you, but we are on the same page.


Given how corrupt our One Big Political Party (with two heads) is, I'm happy to see more variety as a matter of general principle. Getting that variety to deliver real results for ordinary people is, as we have seen, a challenge. There are plenty of political parties here representing a variety of economic positions, even interesting ones that are socially on the right but economically leftist... but life has been made difficult for them and they face an uphill battle getting exposure and votes... unless, perhaps, someone starts throwing money at them, which does seem unlikely.
waxyzebu

That's where I think Clive Palmer has surprised everyone. I must admit I was really happy to see that he got as many votes as he did even though there's lots of things about him I don't like... anything to shake up the duopoly, anything at all, has got to be a good thing. The other thing that makes me think his intrusion into politics is extremely unwelcome is the fact that the Murdoch press led a really vicious personal smear campaign against him in the last few weeks of the campaign. That only makes me want to vote for him more.

...

Your point about the education industry is really pertinent as we've discussed before.

All the talk of 'clever country' bulldust has lead us to a point now where we have the same kind of unemployment problems that we had symptoms of in the 1970's and 80's except that now many unemployed are really highly educated AND under-employed or unemployed. I distinctly remember Hawke on the telly in the 80's telling everyone how good things were going to be when we all had degrees and manufactured robots... or some such fantastic rubbish like that.

There was no strategy inherent in the scheme to educate the masses and now (as you've said before) universities are simply degree-factories with no regard to how employable their graduates are upon leaving. I was speaking to someone a while ago with a law degree who now works in retail management and they were telling me that the industry is saturated with people because of the proliferation of law schools throughout the country and that fact that the industry can't possibly employ the number of graduates being pumped out - especially from the smaller, regional universities and those schools with mediocre reputations. If you can't get into a top-notch school then forget about it, you might as well do something else. Even then with a degree from a formidable university like Monash or Melbourne you'll struggle unless you know the right people.

Lots of lawyers end up doing the paper-shuffling/contract writing for big corporations or simply leaving the field because they can't find work to do with their training. It's a similar story with pharmacy, information technology, social-work, psychology, accounting and sciences and to a lesser extent the areas of traditional high demand like engineering, nursing and teaching. Go back thirty years and all the talk was of how much better things would be with a services economy and we'll all be highly-educated millionaires... in reality all we did was expand the education sector to become a huge industry in its own right while jobs continue to go off-shore or evaporate unless you're in finance or real-estate (for the moment anyway).
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

That's where I think Clive Palmer has surprised everyone. I must admit I was really happy to see that he got as many votes as he did even though there's lots of things about him I don't like... anything to shake up the duopoly, anything at all, has got to be a good thing. The other thing that makes me think his intrusion into politics is extremely unwelcome is the fact that the Murdoch press led a really vicious personal smear campaign against him in the last few weeks of the campaign. That only makes me want to vote for him more.

...

Your point about the education industry is really pertinent as we've discussed before.

All the talk of 'clever country' bulldust has lead us to a point now where we have the same kind of unemployment problems that we had symptoms of in the 1970's and 80's except that now many unemployed are really highly educated AND under-employed or unemployed. I distinctly remember Hawke on the telly in the 80's telling everyone how good things were going to be when we all had degrees and manufactured robots... or some such fantastic rubbish like that.

There was no strategy inherent in the scheme to educate the masses and now (as you've said before) universities are simply degree-factories with no regard to how employable their graduates are upon leaving. I was speaking to someone a while ago with a law degree who now works in retail management and they were telling me that the industry is saturated with people because of the proliferation of law schools throughout the country and that fact that the industry can't possibly employ the number of graduates being pumped out - especially from the smaller, regional universities and those schools with mediocre reputations. If you can't get into a top-notch school then forget about it, you might as well do something else. Even then with a degree from a formidable university like Monash or Melbourne you'll struggle unless you know the right people.

Lots of lawyers end up doing the paper-shuffling/contract writing for big corporations or simply leaving the field because they can't find work to do with their training. It's a similar story with pharmacy, information technology, social-work, psychology, accounting and sciences and to a lesser extent the areas of traditional high demand like engineering, nursing and teaching. Go back thirty years and all the talk was of how much better things would be with a services economy and we'll all be highly-educated millionaires... in reality all we did was expand the education sector to become a huge industry in its own right while jobs continue to go off-shore or evaporate unless you're in finance or real-estate (for the moment anyway).
don_dunstan


Clive is lucky because he can bankroll himself. He doesn't need to worry about the demands of lobby groups or members to get funding as much as other minor parties who struggle to run local campaigns due to a lack of funds. For better or worse, having a lot of cash lying around makes a big difference.... usually for worse, I guess, given who tends to have it and who doesn't.

Education is becoming more of a religion rather than a realistic means to an end, and it too makes increasingly false promises to its followers. I need look no further than the people who sit beside me at work with masters degrees when a fourth form School Certificate would suffice... For a better example, we can once again look to America. The lobby must have a bit of clout, too. No-one is saying that education isn't important in broad terms, but a dash of pragmatism might help.

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