ECONOMICS OPEN THREAD – I

A few people have pointed out that they’d like to contain discussions about economics and the state of the economy rather than have a whole series of threads – sensory overload I think a few have called it.

After considerable thought ( it’s not my original idea)  what I’d like to introduce is a series of weekly threads (one per week) in order to discuss a wide variety of concerns and opinions on the state of our economy and what needs to be done to address the problems as well as explore opportunities.

You don’t need a degree in economics or anything else to join in, in fact, day to day observations and examples will be great.   There are no limits and no stupid questions.

What I’m hoping is that rather that taking rigid positions people simply show a willingness to share and discuss, disagree by all means but the purpose of the thread is to explore areas of interest.

This will help myself and other authors to perhaps research and generate  other discussions that will be of interests to blogocrats as a whole.

I’ll admit up front that I’m interested in observing and participating although not as intensely as in the past due to personal limits.

Opinions (personal and expert) , links to articles or news items, etc can be posted – in fact, the more the better.

Just keep the ideas flowing when you feel the urge. And try and keep it civil.  No long cut and pastes bla bla, you know the rules even if I don’t.

Just go for it when the urge takes you.

Cheers

John Mc

Advertisements

69 Responses

  1. I think this is a sensible move for the time being and very necessary.

    Skilled visas cut to save Australian trades jobs
    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,25190284-5001021,00.html
    March 16, 2009 12:00am

    THE door is being partially closed on immigration, in an aggressive bid to protect local jobs and wages in the face of the global recession.

    The Rudd Government will slash skilled migration this year by 14 per cent, hacking back permanent visas issued from 133,500 to 115,000 – a fall of 18,500.

    It will be the first time in more than a decade Australia’s intake has been cut, and there is no record of a mid-year reduction of this magnitude.

  2. OOPs forgot the blockquote, apologies.

  3. John

    Fantastic thread. Thanks for this 🙂

  4. Thanks John, much appreciated on limiting the economic news for us non-financial types.

    On the subject of visas, I am thinking this is a good move locally as we’re already bleeding jobs due to current downturns in the demand for goods & services. As I understand it, the slowdown in demand is a good thing as we were paying for it with other countries money (i.e private debt to the tune of ~6.5% GDP!!!) and realistically that is not something that can last forever.

    What I am very interested in is the exposure of jobs being shipped overseas, especially in regards to the big institutions like banks (ANZ laying off workers to send our support to India) and the government (NSW govt having China make our policeman’s jackets vs having them made locally). I am well aware that it is cheaper to have people overseas doing this (often equivalent in quality as well), but Australians cannot (and should not) compete with countries where the idea of $4/day is actually a decent wage. Especially not when you have to lay off local employees to do so.

  5. Ben

    I hold exactly the same concerns. I’m hoping as we move along and things take shape the areas you have mentioned can be covered in more detail. Keep your ideas coming.

    Also, I find running a thread like this will allow us to built a really good research and opinion base. I find that this adds to each individuals ability to gain confidence in their growing knowledge. I like the educational aspect of these discussions and I hope we can break away from relying on politicians to inform us of what’s really happening.

    Lets rise above the spin and judge our pollies on their economic merits rather than spin.

  6. No problems Joni. It is a good idea. I’m sure we’ll be able to focus on areas of general and specific concerns as a result of listening through threads like these.

  7. “Last week, the Dow gained 9 percent, rising 597.04 points to 7,223.98. The Standard & Poor’s 500 ended up 10.7 percent, rising 73.17 points to 756.55.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/15/wall-street-cautiously-op_n_175115.html

    A dead cat bounce? Probably! But it demonstrates how quickly things can bounce, albeit off a low base in this instance.

    Obama moves also to pump prime small business.

    “The broad package of measures to be announced Monday includes $730 million from the stimulus plan that will immediately reduce small-business lending fees and increase the government guarantee on some Small Business Administration loans to 90 percent.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/15/obama-to-unveil-proposals_n_175043.html

  8. Nature5

    There’s a real hope that the market has reached bottom and is about to turn. I think it’s really premature and it’s based on hope rather than reality. It will be interest, however, just how this cat bounces from here. The markets are supposed to be a leading indicator as to how investors view future prospects.

  9. Now we’re getting down to the real debate that’s sorely needed in order to address the problems in world markets. Gittins has nailed it.

    Clashing ideologies behind the global financial crisis
    Ross Gittins
    March 16, 2009

    On the face of it, what’s being argued over is people’s beliefs about markets – whether the market can be trusted to get things right, to allocate resources efficiently and to manage itself, or whether the market will always get things wrong, having been manipulated and exploited by the rich and powerful.

    At the intellectual level it’s an argument about whether “market failure” – failure to act in the self-correcting way described in neo-classical economics textbooks – is, in practice, a big problem or a fairly minor one. At one extreme you have people with quite naive faith in markets; at the other you have people who seem utterly unaware that markets have any dynamism about them, that when problems arise markets respond to them.

    But it’s probably more enlightening to see the dispute as being not about the properties of markets so much as about the proper role of government.

    The popular interpretation of the global financial crisis is that, in a situation where financial markets in the United States and elsewhere were largely unregulated, a lot of Wall Street bankers and other fat cats got carried away by their own greed and eventually brought the whole system down on their heads, causing great pain to millions of innocent bystanders.

    My view is that markets need regulating and yes, the central banks, especially the US, intervened in past crises by pumping the money supply and lowering interest rates too low – this, contributed in no small way to the ‘loss of fear’ that people could lose their shirts when the speculative stock and housing markets collapsed. It also led to a major influx of cheaper and cheaper credit being thrown into the system which has fueled consumer spending and credit card debt.

    If appropriate banking and financial regulations were in place, the markets and global economy wouldn’t in the position we’re in today. Much small corrections would have occurred along the way and lending and asset bubbles wouldn’t have been able to get to the levels they have.

    joni: nice blockquote John 😛

  10. Robert Reich makes some valid points about the problematics w/ bailing out insurers like AIG, 170 billion dollars so far…whilst execs are going tp pay themselve 100 million:

    AIG’s arguments are absurd on their face. Had AIG gone into chapter 11 bankruptcy or been liquidated, as it would have without government aid, no bonuses would ever be paid; indeed, AIG’s executives would have long ago been on the street. And any mention of the word “talent” in the same sentence as “AIG” or “credit default swaps” would be laughable if it laughing weren’t already so expensive.

    Apart from AIG’s sophistry is a much larger point. This sordid story of government helplessness in the face of massive taxpayer commitments illustrates better than anything to date why the government should take over any institution that’s “too big to fail” and which has cost taxpayers dearly. Such institutions are no longer within the capitalist system because they are no longer accountable to the market. So to whom should they be accountable? When taxpayers have put up, and essentially own, a large portion of their assets, AIG and other behemoths should be accountable to taxpayers. When our very own Secretary of the Treasury cannot make stick his decision that AIG’s bonuses should not be paid, only one conclusion can be drawn: AIG is accountable to no one. Our democracy is seriously broken.

    (Huffington Post, March 15, 2009 )

    He’s spot on about the American democracy being broken. It’s insanity and theft of the highest order.

    N’

  11. John McPhilbin, on March 16th, 2009 at 9:50 am Said:

    “it’s based on hope rather than reality”

    Of course it is but isn’t it the case that investment, particularly the share market, is ALWAYS based on hope.

    Take the P/E Ratio as the classic example. People are hoping that the predicted earnings will be realised at some stage in the future They are hoping that it will be the reality somewhere down the track because the current ‘reality’ could never justify the prices paid.

    As to whether that ‘hope’ is currently justified on the available evidence, that’s more problematic.

  12. Dissenting Justice:

    Bernanke: Recession Will Be Over in a Few Months
    He actually said by the end of this year – but that’s only a few months away:

    America’s recession “probably” will end this year if the government succeeds in bolstering the banking system, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Sunday in a rare television interview.

    In carefully hedged remarks in a taped interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Bernanke seemed to express a bit more optimism that this could be done.

  13. Nature5

    You’re right in what you’re saying, however, we don’t really know which way things are going to turn in the real economy.
    I think, personally that there’s a long way to go before many of the problems are corrected and the system becomes more balanced.

    See Tony’s pinning his hope on Bernanke being right. Bernanke is the same guy who admitted he didn’t have a clue a few months back and completely misread what was happening. Ever the optimist Tony, keep it up.

  14. nasking, on March 16th, 2009 at 10:33 am Said:

    Robert Reich makes some valid points about the problematics w/ bailing out insurers like AIG, 170 billion dollars so far…whilst execs are going to pay themselves 100 million:

    Absolutely! That’s when you know the system is broken.

  15. Back tracking a little to John’s link re visas. One thing that struck me is, ok we’ve got enough tradies, the SMH at http://www.smh.com.au/national/immigration-slashed-to-protect-jobs-20090315-8yy2.html states:

    Trades in building and manufacturing will be removed, forcing companies to find bricklayers, plumbers, welders and carpenters domestically. Professions still experiencing skills shortages will be immune, such as nurses, doctors, engineers and information technology workers..

    The above could of course be an embellishment by the SMH journos, however the fact remains..WHY does the skills shortage relate to university trained people? I thought that every year very qualified Aussie kids have been denied placements at university. Who would have ever thought that over the past decade that this policy could have lead to a skills shortage.

    A ps re the above quote umm FORCED to find tradies locally.

  16. Min

    Over the Howard Years two major areas have been neglected (1) affordable housing, and (2) vocational training in the trades.

    The costs for both are steep and as we know, the Howard Government were hoping the private sector would pick up the tab. in both cases.

  17. See Tony’s pinning his hope on Bernanke being right. Bernanke is the same guy who admitted he didn’t have a clue a few months back and completely misread what was happening. Ever the optimist Tony, keep it up.

    Yes John, I intend to. By the way, rightly or wrongly, Bernanke is still the Federal Reserve Chairman – a position of huge influence. Arguably, statements like his are self-fulfilling.

  18. Min

    Also, it was also clear the the Howard Government were more interested in focusing on private schools and university education than they ever were in lowly tradies. BAD MOVE. Where were the incentives?

    Minium wage won’t fix skills shortage: Minister
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2005/09/27/1469704.htm

    Minium wage won’t fix skills shortage: Minister
    Posted Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:04pm AEST

    Western Australia’s Education and Training Minister says the Federal Government’s plan to establish a minimum wage for apprentices and trainees will not solve the state’s skills shortage.

    Under the Howard Government’s workplace relations legislation, the new Fair Pay Commission will set minimum wages for trainees.

    Ljiljanna Ravlich says setting a minimum wage level will not increase the number of people taking on apprenticeships and traineeships.

    She also says it will not allow workers and employers to negotiate pay.

    “This idea that a reduction in wages in some ways is going to be attractive to apprentices is simply wrong,” she said.

    “A recent study by the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research found that low wages was a major factor in people not finishing their apprenticeships.”

  19. Tony

    Yes John, I intend to. By the way, rightly or wrongly, Bernanke is still the Federal Reserve Chairman – a position of huge influence. Arguably, statements like his are self-fulfilling.

    ‘Highly speculative’, his comment may punch markets along but if what he’s saying doesn’t eventuate, you can expect another crash. This time, however, all faith in the Fed Reserve will be gone. And that by itself may depress markets for much longer than anyone could imagine.

    False confidence is just as dangerous as misplaced pessimism.

  20. John – “Over the Howard Years two major areas have been neglected (1) affordable housing, and (2) vocational training in the trades.”

    I do think you need to allocate this blame on a more equitable and rational basis. Perhaps the previous federal government should have been more active, but you’ve neglected to advise us that both vocational training and public housing are state government responsibilities.

    States have record revenue, but combined with a hopelessly declining level of public service in their essential areas of responsibility – health & hospitals, secondary education, public transport, roads, public housing.

    These are state responsibilities and they have fallen into hopeless neglect. And it seems unreasonable to blame Howard for this, and by omission, excuse the states.

    Each level of government that is responsible for the problems should be identified and subjected to the same harsh criticism that some reserve for the previous federal government.

    Otherwise you will only excuse the entirely inadequate performance of the state governments.

  21. John McPhilbin, on March 16th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Really? Who knew that Gittins was trying to situate himself and a projective ideology for himself and others in his burnished Lacanian mirror? And to think he manages to do all that while agenda-setting and imagineering everyone else’s ideologies into useful dichotomies before self-declaring his own, central ‘synthesis’ above the fray as gatekeeper of shhhh ‘secrets’, or what what he’d like others’ to take as being his ideology, in another shhh ‘secret’ exercise of self-indulgent altercasting. 😉

  22. Tom

    “I do think you need to allocate this blame on a more equitable and rational basis. Perhaps the previous federal government should have been more active, but you’ve neglected to advise us that both vocational training and public housing are state government responsibilities.”

    Don’t get me started on state governments Tom, especially NSW. Nonetheless the Fed Government didn’t pursue either as important issues – they gave it lip service, but they were happy for the private sector to do it’s magic.

    As for the states? Bloody hopeless. In fact, I mentioned previously that the states posed the biggest obstacle in getting through this crisis. NSW, in particular ,are a disgrace in the way they’ve managed to squander billions and still achieve next to nothing, in fact, everything they touch ends up become a taxpayers nightmare.

  23. John re: Over the Howard Years two major areas have been neglected (1) affordable housing, and (2) vocational training in the trades.

    And a (3) tertiary education.

    There are X number of placements, how many of these go to OS students at the expense of Aussie kids? Yes I do think that we should have OS students gaining skills and expertise to take back to their own 3rd World countries. That was the original idea. However, we now have 1st world OS students replacing our own kids at unis.

  24. And a (3) tertiary education.

    Agree Min

    Over the Howard Years three major areas have been neglected (1) affordable housing, and (2) vocational training in the trades and (3) tertiary education.

    The states, as Tom points out, certainly haven’t helped but then again the Federal Government has a huge stake in how these areas are managed.

  25. That was then, this is now.

  26. Tony

    Federal Reserve chief says US bank system will be stabilised

    NO more US banks will fail, said Ben Bernanke today, but they must unwind their bad assets and build up their capital cushions.

    “But what we can do, should it be necessary, is try to wind it down in a safe way,” Mr Bernanke added, explaining efforts to augment banks’ capital ratios and dispose of toxic assets with government help.

    Much still depended on fixing the crisis-hit US banking system, he said.

    “We’re working on it. And I do think that we will get it stabilised.

    Covered this in ‘Why This Aint No Ordinary Recession
    https://blogocrats.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/why-this-aint-no-ordinary-recession-concern/

    Still far from certain though.

  27. “There are X number of placements, how many of these go to OS students at the expense of Aussie kids?”

    I think the answer is few. Fee paying students from overseas assist to create a genuine higher education industry. It gives it a volume that would otherwise not be there. It provides jobs for more lecturers, tutors, and graduates. It creates courses that would otherwise have insufficient enrollments. These courses are then available for Australians, they have a wider choice.

    Fee paying overseas students are good for our education system.

    What is not good for our system are reserving places for Australian up front, full fee paying students. There should be no places for this. All places should be reserved for Australian kids that win their place on the basis of their ability. That should be the only criteria.

    And while some may reflect on a perceived responsibility of the previous government for neglect of state responsibilities, it was an even earlier federal government that introduced fee based education.

  28. And so Tom..how come there is a skills shortage in Australia re nurses, doctors, engineers and ITs – all of whom need to be university trained.

  29. Well Min, how many overseas full fee paying overseas students have taken the place of Australian students? I think your contention was that they displaced Australian applicants.

    I’m not sure I made a point of suggesting that there were currently adequate funds for the required places. I think the point I made was quite contrary to this.

    The other point I had made was that many seem to enjoy excusing state governments for incompetence and neglect, while blaming the previous federal government for the incompetence and neglect of state responsibilities.

  30. Tom of Melbourne, on March 16th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    What is not good for our system are reserving places for Australian up front, full fee paying students. There should be no places for this. All places should be reserved for Australian kids that win their place on the basis of their ability. That should be the only criteria.

    And there I was thinking that real life gives plenty of examples of the so-called unmeritorious, and even some of the meritorious who find better things to do, going on to yield astounding social value, just as many early winners prove fizzers. Is it that black and white across a broad cohort? No place for genuine interest in subject matter, or purchasing a match between interests and education, in the futures lottery?

  31. Tom. Absolutely no idea how many Australian kids cannot get into uni because of places being taken by OS students. I suspect that it would be extremely difficult to obtain stats in order to prove a causal relationship.

    All I can see is that there are X number of bums on seats and that we have a skills shortage in areas which rely on a university education.

  32. Tom of Melbourne, on March 16th, 2009 at 2:09 pm Said:

    What is not good for our system are reserving places for Australian up front, full fee paying students. There should be no places for this. All places should be reserved for Australian kids that win their place on the basis of their ability.

    I agree! Shouldn’t be places for the ‘rich and thick’ UNLESS they are from distanf lands whose payments can then be used to create more places for the locals.

  33. Min, on March 16th, 2009 at 2:24 pm Said:

    how come there is a skills shortage in Australia re … doctors,

    The Federal Government allocates the number of places all universities can take for medical students from Australia. The universities have no say in that number.

    You may recall that when Howard was first elected he moved to cut the number of medical places and did so. Hence the shortage that we see today. Put simply, they got it wrong.

    The number of overseas medical students has nothing to do with the allocation for Australian students provided by the Government. A University is allowed to accept students from overseas in addition to its Australian student allocation and does so. it’s a valuable and necessary sideline.

    But always be aware that the number of doctors in ‘training’ can always be a misleading number. if you want a large figure, you include the overseas students. if you want a lesser figure then exclude same.

  34. Yes N5, I cannot stand the “buy your way in” policy for dumb people with rich parents. It is elitist.

    Mind you, I’m not in favour of a HECS debt either. I think new graduates feel enough pressure without having a sense of huge debt that they have to repay.

    Seriously for a moment (only) I’d actually be interested in information about some better options to the HECS debt. It seems to be an area where you have a bit of background.

    Tax surcharge?

  35. Nature 5 re: I agree! Shouldn’t be places for the ‘rich and thick’ UNLESS they are from distanf lands whose payments can then be used to create more places for the locals.

    But Nature, do these $s in fact create more places for locals? Back to having to prove a causal relationship.

    You are saying that the ‘rich and thick’s from OS $s create more placement for Aussie kids.

    Just me, but it doesn’t sound to be a very good system.

  36. In simple terms: “The rest of the world won’t consider spending much more on budget stimulus packages until Barack Obama gets the US banking system lending again.”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25191737-5017885,00.html

    THE crisis started with sub-prime mortgage lending in the US. And to rescue the world from the great recession, the US will have to clean up the resulting $US1trillion ($1.5trillion) or so of toxic sub-prime loans from its banks’ balance sheets.

    The rest of the world won’t consider spending much more on budget stimulus packages until Barack Obama gets the US banking system lending again.

    Even Beijing is giving the Americans a tweak, with Premier Wen Jiabao saying he is “worried” about the safety of China’s huge investments in US Treasury bonds given Obama’s widening budget deficit.

    The G20 finance ministers agreed their “key priority” was to restore bank lending, frozen by “uncertainties around the value of the assets held on bank balance sheets

  37. But hang on, didn’t the commentariat observe a few threads back that Higher Ed is already riddled with ‘meritorious’ high socio-economic backgrounds for intakes and incredibly low intakes for people from low socio-economic backgrounds even for Universities located in ‘low socio-economic areas’? I’m not sure how commenters are establishing a bifurcation between a common attributed nexus between poor and thick and rich and thick except through some middle class ‘elitist’ lens. 😉

  38. Yeah Legion, I’ve heard that argument before.

    And I’ve seen the studies that seem to indicate that the most direct correlation between success and failure in tertiary education is the education level and remuneration of the parents.

    If you don’t base selection on merit, what are you going to base it on? Something that is not elated to ability?

  39. And that’s what happens when you invite the poor rich cousins to the party…they think they get a say in how the cake is cut…

    TEXT-Full text of BRIC countries joint communique

    TEXT-G20 statement on financial system

  40. Tom of Melbourne, on March 16th, 2009 at 3:08 pm Said:

    Tax surcharge?

    I’m not sure that’s necessary IF, and it’s a big if, we had a fair, progressive taxation system. Given that those with better qualifications have higher incomes (on average), then they should pay more taxes and in so doing should contribute more to the ‘system’ that provided same.

    A ‘good’ taxation system would harvest income from all high income earners who benefit from the existing social/economic system, regardless of individual education quals. If you do well out of the ‘social/economic system’ then you should pay proportionately more to keep that system sustainable.

    But we know that the higher one’s income the more scope there is to arrange one’s affairs in such a way to pay little or no tax.

    But leaving ‘income’ out of it for the moment, I believe that education should be seen not only as a private investment but more importantly as a societal investment. It’s obvious that a well educated doctor, teacher, nurse etc reaps individual benefit but it is not so apparent that ‘others’ benefit also. Unless one ‘suffers’ at an incompetent’s hands and then it becomes quite obvious. Simply education has social as well as individual benefit, generally speaking. (I’ll make exceptions for accountants, lawyers etc LOL)

    The mother who becomes ‘educated’ might never work for money and never repay the HECS debt but she contributes to her children’s upbringing and to the ‘education’ of all she comes into contact with Thus society as a whole benefits.

    HECS debt is ideologically aligned with the notion of ‘individualism’ which is alive and well and therefore we are likely to see little change in the immediate future.

  41. Re university education: How is a child from a lower socio-economic background who is located in a country area but whose parents earn above the dole supposed to send their kids to uni?

    Oh yes, that’s right uni students who cannot live at home (because the closest uni is 200km away)/whose parents don’t have the $s to support them can always do the pizza run.

  42. I see BRIC held their meeting in Horsham. That’s gotta give a much-needed boost to Western District tourism.

  43. N5, I agree with your observations.

    I think the public ought to provide the overwhelming majority of tertiary education funding from general revenue.

    I like the tax surcharge approach, because I think those that have benefited from the tertiary education system should fund their successors more directly. Not simply fund their own education as per the current system, just having a sense that they are passing the opportunity on.

  44. Oops…don’t know where the second link went…take two on the comparisons of texts and priorities…

    TEXT-G20 statement on financial system

    Horsham…beautiful spot…and every little bit helps when the UK is at risk of privatising its Mint.

  45. Min, on March 16th, 2009 at 3:16 pm Said:

    But Nature, do these $s in fact create more places for locals?

    Min to tease out that question you have to go back decades. The need for many more university places was certainly recognised by Curtin way back in 1940. Menzies also promoted increased university places in the 1960s and then we saw the emergences of CAEs which were much cheaper to operate.

    Then Whitlam arrived and abolished university fees. But participation was rising and costs were going through the roof so we had HECS and then HECS was modified to incorporate tiers.

    To put it simply, the proportion of income coming directly from government began to decline to be replaced by individual payments. Now we are in the situation that if there was no private contribution then the universities simple couldn’t function.

    Overseas students provide a rich source of income which may or may not provide additional places for the locals but sure as hell they at least enable existing places to be economically sustained.

    Now of course we have just had the Bradley Review which will again alter the landscape, but I am far and away from those developments. But here’s a link.

    http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Review/Pages/default.aspx

  46. Hello Nature. I certain understand this.

    As you say: “Now we are in the situation that if there was no private contribution then the universities simple couldn’t function.”

    Pretty crook hey. Meaning that many of our able young people cannot attend university because their parents don’t have the funds. Back to the Menzies era.

    And “Overseas students provide a rich source of income which may or may not provide additional places for the locals but sure as hell they at least enable existing places to be economically sustained.”

    That’s the point isn’t it ‘may or may not provide additional places for the locals’.

    The evidence exists in the number of locals who fail to gain undergraduate admission in spite of having excellent TERs/OPs/UAIs. Just a waste of our own talent.

  47. You’d think the government had ceased all immigration intake. Is Prof Lewis right?

    Migrant cut ‘could cost jobs’
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/migrant-cut-could-cost-jobs-20090316-8zmt.html

    Slashing the skilled migration intake is a short-sighted political move that could cost local jobs and lead to greater skills shortages, an academic says.

    In response to rising unemployment, the Government will cut the skilled migrant intake by nearly 20,000 to 115,000 this financial year.

    Building and manufacturing sectors have been removed from the critical skills list, forcing companies to find bricklayers, plumbers, welders and carpenters locally.

    Employers can still sponsor migrant workers privately or through the 457 visa scheme, provided they can prove local labour is not available.

    Phil Lewis, professor of economics at the University of Canberra, said it was a typical government response to a slowing economy.

    “These policies are very popular largely because it’s very appealing to say when unemployment goes up why would you bring foreigners in,” Professor Lewis said.

    “But migrants actually create jobs, they need houses and the retail sector receives a boom because migrants tend to spend more.”

  48. Well that’s all debatable isn’t it John. Migrant workers on temporary visas need houses, and they spend more (aka plasmas?)…ummm, at the pub?

    And what is the ratio that they spend in Australia compared with the Australian dollars that they send overseas? I don’t know the answer, this is just a question.

  49. ‘How is a child from a lower socio-economic background who is located in a country area but whose parents earn above the dole supposed to send their kids to uni?’

    Min I’m convening three courses this semester – a total of about 250 students.

    They all learn using a mixture of textbooks, online resources and online interaction with each other and with me. In two units they are the only options; in the third students also have the option of attending weekly workshops in conventional classrooms if they choose. Precisely 17 out of 160 students have taken up that option.

    Most of the students are employed, at least part-time. They complete their studies flexibly – sometimes they will suspend them completely for a semester or two, often they will enrol in less than an equivalent full-time load. Study is something that gets fitted into their other commitments as best they can rather than them ‘being a uni student’ for a few years.

    Tertiary education is fast leaving behind the old model of full-time students attending classroom lectures and tutorials. I can’t see it returning any time soon. In some institutions it would already have collapsed completely without the presence of substantial numbers of fee-paying international students.

  50. Min, on March 16th, 2009 at 4:55 pm Said:

    Well that’s all debatable isn’t it John. Migrant workers on temporary visas need houses, and they spend more (aka plasmas?)…ummm, at the pub?

    And what is the ratio that they spend in Australia compared with the Australian dollars that they send overseas? I don’t know the answer, this is just a question.

    Me thinks he’s stretching a bit as well. It’s only a temporary measure anyhow.

  51. John,
    will i have to wait long to sell 300,000 price range,
    i dont mind loosing a little or should i wait a few more months to see.
    There hasnt been a murder for months, this place is boring.

  52. ” what I’d like to introduce is a series of weekly threads (one per week) ”

    Hey great idea John. That will leave you the rest of the week to fill in job applications eh?

  53. Ken Lovell, on March 16th, 2009 at 8:00 pm Said:

    Precisely 17 out of 160 students have taken up that option.

    Ken, I won’t question that figure but simply ask whether this tendency to ‘learn’ in relative isolation is more or less likely to add to the educational experience?

  54. Nature 5 adult student learning has always depended much more on the student than on anything the lecturer did. The old lecture/tutorial model has been demonstrated repeatedly to have poor learning outcomes. All those jokes about boring academics have a solid factual foundation.

    The reason the model persists is that it makes life easy for academics, not because it has good learning outcomes.

  55. This email came to me from the USA. Verrrry interesting. I haven’t changed any of the wording.

    The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April (’08) that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn’t been updated since ’95) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota ; western South Dakota ; and extreme eastern Montana …… check THIS out:

    The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska ‘s Prudhoe Bay , and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels.. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable… at $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

    ‘When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea.’ says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature’s financial analyst.

    ‘This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years.’ reports, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It’s a formation known as the Williston Basin , but is more commonly referred to as the ‘Bakken.’ And it stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada .. For years, U.. S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the ‘Big Oil’ companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves…. and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!

    That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 41 years straight.

    2. And if THAT didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should – because it’s from TWO YEARS AGO!

    U. S.. Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World!
    Stansberry Report Online – 4/20/2006

    Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling?

    They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estimates:

    – 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
    – 18-times as much oil as Iraq
    – 21-times as much oil as Kuwait
    – 22-times as much oil as Iran
    – 500-times as much oil as Yemen
    – and it’s all right here in the Western United States .

    HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy….WHY?

    James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East -more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

    Don’t think ‘OPEC’ will drop its price – even with this find? Think again! It’s all about the competitive marketplace, – it has to. Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists?
    Got your attention/ire up yet? Hope so! Now, while you’re thinking about it …. and hopefully P.O’d, do this:

    3. Pass this along. If you don’t take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you want to complain about gas prices .. because by doing NOTHING, you’ve forfeited your right to complain.
    ——–
    Now I just wonder what would happen in this country if every one of you sent this to every one in your address book.
    By the way…this is all true. Check it out at the link below!!!
    GOOGLE it or follow this link. It will blow your mind.
    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

  56. Ken Lovell, on March 16th, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks for the response.

    adult student learning has always depended much more on the student than on anything the lecturer did.

    Yes. But in my experience, having students confront each other, (or at least having their ideas bought into close and critical examination) was always a powerful ‘educational’ force.

    I wonder to what extent that ‘comfort’ zone is disturbed if students, (adult or otherwise, but particularly older adults) do not actually eyeball each other?

    BTW, in my experience, the ‘content’ of the course was never as important as the ‘person’ taking the course and the way it proceeded.

  57. RBA Statistics

    Lending and Credit Aggregates – D2 (XLS file)

    Excel Viewer 2003 (Open, view, and print Excel workbooks, even if you don’t have Excel installed)

  58. Miglo, on March 16th, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Somebody should mention to the technically recoverable oil set that oil wells, technical recovery, and refineries don’t come cheap, especially not for a nation near bankruptcy; and especially not in a low-carbon emissions world. 😉

  59. Wow, all that oil and they will sit on it .
    So typical, Might is right when it comes to oil.
    I’m not sure i saw information on the quality or dosnt it matter?

    Still that story blew me away.
    —————-

    John,
    think i’ll just sit and wait like before. I doubt much will happen to that prices range from what i have heard today.

  60. With apologies to Ken at: Ken Lovell, on March 16th, 2009 at 8:00 pm..am just catching up. Re: Most of the students are employed, at least part-time.

    But what about science students? Due to the nature of the studies they often have to spend irregular hours in the lab. One cannot just abandon the algae to do the pizza run.

  61. and especially not in a low-carbon emissions world.~Legion

    Isn’t that the email author’s point, when (s)he says:

    HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy….WHY?

    Why are we in a so-called low-carbon-emissions world? Because the climate-change lobby has created the conditions whereby it is in the personal interest of the political classes to play along with them.

    CO2 = Bad. Oil = CO2, therefore Oil = Bad. Green madness.

  62. Somebody should mention to the technically recoverable oil set that oil wells, technical recovery, and refineries don’t come cheap, especially not for a nation near bankruptcy; and especially not in a low-carbon emissions world.

    Probably cheaper than invading Iran though.

  63. Tony, on March 17th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I think the author’s missed point is that they’ve failed to distinguish between technically recoverable resources and economically recoverable resources, which is why the USGS makes that distinction, and doesn’t run with “just imagine if 10% of that were recoverable’. Technically, we could all fly to the Moon, but not many of us actually go there….it’s cost prohibitive. And the mind-blowing link to the Bakken component suggests there’s 204 days’ worth of US oil consumption, completely ignoring the costs of its recovery, just waiting for someone to go there.

  64. Wikipedia: Oil reserves

    EIA World Proved* Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates (*Proved reserves are estimated quantities that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions.)

  65. I think the author’s missed point is that they’ve failed to distinguish between technically recoverable resources and economically recoverable resources

    Assuming some of these resources are technically recoverable, their economic viability will rise and fall along with the $ pbbl oil price, not to mention potential improved extraction technologies, among other things.

  66. True, Tony.

    But there’s a part of me that says some Americans should just be given what they keep clamouring for; if Mid-Western America (a Republican heartland) wants an ‘energy independence’ for America built on 10 years worth of proven oil AND to stump up the costs involved with its recovery, I say that it should be given ’em g’dit! Eweeeeeee, light crude at $16 per barrel sounds like a sweet deal. 😉

  67. Lol Legion. I want me some o’ that too.

  68. I suppose this is the thread suitable for this bit of nonsense news!

    Kevin Rudd’s Cash Bonus for Criminals

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25203254-5007133,00.html

    …and still nothing for SFRs!

    Maybe I should throw a rock at my local Member!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: