The 100 years from 1870 is described as the innovation century in which there more more inventions, starting coincidentally with the light bulb, than in the rest of mankind's history. For the most part their roll out into society was slow enough to dampen the impact of the invention, electricity wasn't connected fully in Australia until 1989. But for me there was one event that stood out and that occurred on on the 4th of October 1957 just before my birthday.
To keep up with global food demand, the UN estimates, six million ha of new farmland will be needed every year. Instead, 12 million ha are lost every year through soil degradation. Australia lost 36 million ha of agricultural land in just the four years from 2005 till 2009. Some of this lost land has occurred because of urban sprawl which is swallowing up some of our best soils close to cities that used to supply the fresh fruit and vegetables. A scathing report by the Royal Commission has gone as far to accuse the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) of negligence and being "incapable of acting lawfully," apparently because they overestimated the amount of water returned to the river by a factor of ten. The many warning signs all around us are continually ignored by politicians obsessed with economic theories that defy even the basic laws of mathematics.
Australia is mostly a big desert
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world and also the driest inhabited continent on earth, with the least amount of water in rivers, the lowest run-off and the smallest area of permanent wetlands of all the continents.
Its ocean territory is the world's third largest, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometers.
One third of the continent produces almost no run-off at all and Australia's rainfall and stream-flow are the most variable in the world.
Australia also has some of the oldest land surface on earth and, while rich in biodiversity, its soils and seas are among the most nutrient poor and unproductive in the world. This is due mainly to the country's geological stability, which is a major feature of the Australian land mass, and is characterized by, among other things, a lack of significant seismic activity.
Only six per cent of the Australian landmass is arable. As a result, agricultural yields are low compared to other nations: German farms produce over nine metric tonnes/ha compared to Australia's two tonnes.
Australian soils are highly dependent upon vegetation cover and insect biomass to generate nutrients and prevent erosion. It is the native vegetation's long root systems that help break down the sub soil and bring nutrients to the surface, while insects, bacteria, and small animals, reduce ground litter and add nitrogen.
Land clearing, water extraction and poor soil conservation are all causes of a decline in the quality of Australia's soils, now the collapse of insect populations adds another blow. 
What causes land-degradation in Australia
The two most significant direct causes of land degradation are the conversion of native vegetation into crop and grazing lands, and unsustainable land-management practices.
Other factors include the effects of climate change and loss of land to urbanization, infrastructure and mining.
However, the underlying driver of all these changes is rising demand from growing populations for food, meat and grains, as well as fibre and energy. This in turn leads to more demand for land and further encroachment into areas with marginal soils.
Market deregulation, which has been a trend since the 1980s, can lead to the destruction of sustainable land management practices in favor of monocultures and can encourage a race to the bottom as far as environmental protection is concerned. The 2016 State of the Environment report noted that:
”Current rates of soil erosion by water across much of Australia now exceed soil formation rates by an order of magnitude or more. As a result, the expected half-life of soils (the time for half the soil to be eroded) in some upland areas used for agriculture has declined to merely decades.”
Our soils are losing their fertility
The carbon content of Australian soils, which is a measure of fertility, is now some five to 10 times lower than when measured in 1845. The UN has warned that there could be as little as 60 harvests remaining before the world's soils in places like Australia reach the limits of agricultural production.
To keep up with global food demand, the UN estimates, six million ha of new farmland will be needed every year. Instead, 12 million ha are lost every year through soil degradation. Australia lost 36 million ha of agricultural land in just the four years from 2005 till 2009. Some of this lost land has occurred because of urban sprawl which is swallowing up some of our best soils close to cities that used to supply the fresh fruit and vegetables.
Despite this, agricultural products accounted for 15 per cent of Australia’s total exports in 2015-16, and the gross value of farm production was more than $63 billion largely because we currently have around two ha of arable land per person, one of the highest rates in the world.
Murray Darling Basin
However 40% of that production came from the Murray Darling irrigation area which had high production based on historic over-allocation of water, something that has now come back to bite us. A scathing report by the Royal Commission has gone as far to accuse the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) of negligence and being "incapable of acting lawfully," apparently because they overestimated the amount of water returned to the river by a factor of ten.
With our highly variable surface water supply, groundwater resources are critical for many Australian communities and industries. In some cases, groundwater is the only reliable water supply available to support towns, agriculture and the resources sector. Australia is a very dry country so groundwater is extensively used right across the continent.
Perth relies heavily on the Gnangara Mound aquifer for its water supply, but the water table has been dropping for the past 40 years or more because of reduced rainfall, increased extraction, and decreased recharge.
The Great Artesian Basin, underlying about 1.7 million square kilometres of Australia, contains about 65,000 km3 of water, but it is a “Fossil water”, being up to 2 million years old, so extraction is far faster than replenishment.
It is not widely understood that vegetation and many streams and rivers are supported by the availability of groundwater, either as discharge into streams and rivers or through groundwater uptake by plant roots directly.
In the Northern Territory, Palm Valley has an average rainfall of only 200mm, but spring fed pools allow its unique flora to survive. The same applies for the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, a one-square-kilometre expanse of nationally important wetlands near the proposed site of the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, which would probably be destroyed if Adani is allowed to extract the water it needs.
As the pressure in the Great Artesian Basin has declined and the water table drops, mound springs (where groundwater is pushed to the ground surface under pressure) have begun to dry up in South Australia and Queensland.
Associated paperbark swamps and wetlands are also being lost and it gets more and more expensive to extract the groundwater for irrigation and other commercial applications. On average, rates of groundwater extraction across Australia have increased by about 100 per cent between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, reflecting both our increased population size and the associated commercial usage of groundwater stores.
We are also putting these resources at risk from pollution. Already there have been many incidences of ground water being polluted by petroleum products, chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, salt and even nuclear waste. However the main aquifers are being put at risk from fracking, acid leaching of minerals like uranium and underground coal gasification.
Converting the aquifer’s recharge area into farmland is likely to increase the level of nitrogen compounds while the large blasting used in open cut mining is fracturing rock formations deep underground, allowing contamination of water from above or intermingling with salty water.
Growth economics deaf to reason
All of which explains why scientists have been warning us for years that we cannot continue to grow without doing great damage to our fragile nation, but they are continually ignored by politicians obsessed with economic theories that defy even the basic laws of mathematics.
Underground Coal Gasification was trialed and was proved to have failed in three sites in Queensland with the operator gas company Linc Energy charged with five counts of wilful and unlawful environmental harm. They faced penalties of up to $9 million but were declared bankrupt, leaving the Qld government with a clean up bill of $80m.
Despite this, a similar plant at Leigh creek has been given the green light after a failed challenged by the Adnyamathanha people in the Supreme Court of South Australia. The chairman of Leigh Creek energy claimed that Linc energy was a great company and that there was no environmental damage. Well he would have to say that since he was also chairman of Linc before they went broke.
Australia may have the world’s highest debt to GDP ratio. We have the lowest ranking in the region (61st) for income security. Our social expenditure is behind Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy's. The OECD has ranked Australia second last in government funding of public education.
The treasurer, Scott Morrison, has just informed us that we have had 25 years of economic growth and the economy is now growing at its fastest pace in four years, meaning we may well set a new record for the longest period of sustained growth.
Well that’s great for the treasurer, he may even get the coveted treasurer of the year award, but for many people growth, fuelled mainly by population increases and their spending on housing, bears no relation to their wellbeing.
There are almost 2.5 million either unemployed or underemployed. Homelessness increased by 20% in the last 5 years, house prices have risen 147% but incomes have only risen 57%. A whopping 720,000 households spend more than 30% of their income on mortgage payments and 850,000 households are at risk of financial hardship and poverty, creating what is now recognised as “Housing Stress”.
Our major cities have sections zoned for densities far higher than would be allowed in Hong Kong and with open space at 0.1m2 per person. Private debt to the banking system, mainly from mortgages, is $1.7trillion - that's 1.7 followed by 11 zero's - which possibly makes Australia the nation with the world’s highest debt to GDP ratio of 123%.
Those are just the visible signs. Using growth as a means of qualifying economic performance is an absurdity, as it reveals nothing of importance.
In terms of expenditure on research, Australia ranks 18th out of 20 OECD countries. Australia's spending at 0.441 per cent of GDP in 2013 was ahead of only Greece at 0.391 and the Slovak Republic at 0.369. That year Japan's expenditure was 0.754 per cent, the US 0.795, and Germany 0.917% of GDP. Recent funding cuts to the CSIRO will see about 36 agricultural and bio-security researchers at the infectious diseases health unit laid off. This is our only facility capable of handling outbreaks like Ebola or Zika. The cutbacks to climate research coincided with an increase in spending on wind turbine noise and coal seam gas research suggesting government intervention on research priorities.
Our record on education is worse. A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) , which looked at government funding of public education, ranked Australia second last, putting Australia among only a handful of countries where less than half the cost of tertiary education now comes from the public purse, with a higher than average amount directed at private schools. The report also singles out Australia for putting more costs onto university students, part of a policy of both coalition and labor governments, which used full fee paying O/S students to bolster University funding. Overseas student numbers were bolstered by the linking of immigration with study, a process that promises the proliferation of “Mickey Mouse” courses and wide spread cheating. Private educational facilities have been described as the biggest rort in Australian history, one that targeted the most vulnerable in our community and created an estimated $16.3 billion in VET FEE loans by students.
Australia also has the highest proportion of international students, with 17.3 per cent of the campus population coming from abroad. In contrast, the US has just 3.4 per cent of overseas students. Almost all these students are full-fee paying. The figures underscore the degree to which Australian universities are hostage to the international student dollar.
The OECD also collects a wide range of data on government and private spending on social programs. Its latest report shows the Australian government's social expenditure (includes age pension, veterans' pension, disability support pension, unemployment benefits, study and carers' allowances, and other payments) is 19.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which puts it at 13th in the OECD nations behind even Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, (28%), countries considered to have lower GDP growth than Australia.
We also have the lowest ranking in the region (61st) for income security, which measures older people’s access to money and their capacity to spend it independently and the highest old age poverty rate in the region (35.5 per cent), while our pension coverage (83 per cent) and welfare rates (65 per cent) are below average.
Scarcely anything to be proud of.
 Candobetter.net Ed. "both coalition and labor" inserted after clarification with writer on 9 August 2016.
"Australia's GDP per capita went backwards in the June quarter, sliding by 0.2 per cent. Reports that it increased depend on the use of "population creep". GDP increased by 0.2 per cent, but that was only due to population growth, and GDP per capita, which is a far more accurate guide to living standards than GDP, declined.
Not surprisingly, then, real net national disposable income per head, which is the best measure of living standards, slid by 1.2 per cent in the three months to June. The Fairfax economist Peter Martin says this is the fifth consecutive slide in real net disposable income per head, which is now 5 per cent below its peak in 2011." (The Hon. Kelvin Thomson, Federal Member for Wills, 3rd September 2015).
Our economic growth rate is lower than the US, the European Union, Britain and Greece.
But the geniuses who have dug us into this hole want us to keep digging. They say that flat growth means we should ratify the China Free Trade Agreement. The fact is that we have recently entered into the Korea and Japan Free Trade Agreements, and yet our real income per capita is declining. The fact is that in the past decade we have entered into Free Trade Agreements with the US, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Chile, Japan and Korea. If Free Trade Agreements are good for us, why are we going backwards?
For the past thirty years Australia has been undergoing an experiment. Free market liberalism. Its hallmarks have been globalisation, privatisation, deregulation, free movement of goods and free movement of people. Its advocates said it would strengthen the Australian economy, and make us resilient to external shocks.
But far from making our economy more diverse and resilient, we have become narrow and vulnerable. The economist Saul Eslake has expressly described our economy as vulnerable to external shocks.
We have much higher levels of unemployment than we did thirty years ago. We have much higher levels of youth unemployment, much worse long-term unemployment, and serious problems of underemployment. We have much larger foreign debt and much larger budget deficits. The distribution of wealth between rich and poor is becoming less equal. And the social problems generated by frustrated ambition - drugs, crime, mental health problems, homelessness - are on the rise too.
If Bilateral Trade Agreements were the way to go, this would not be happening. But it is. Much of our manufacturing has disappeared offshore, and much of our research and development with it. The hi-tech industries have largely passed Australia by. We put our eggs in the mining basket, and are now paying the price.
The flat GDP also shows the folly of rapid population growth. In the past decade we have trebled our net annual migration and claimed that this would drive economic growth, but it is a con job. "Population creep" is used to make the figures look better, but GDP per capita doesn't improve at all. In fact we have higher unemployment, skills shortages and infrastructure backlogs. Population growth reduces productivity per person, the very thing that economists claim to be desperate to increase.
And the third thing the flat GDP does is show what nonsense Joe Hockey has been talking about the economy for the last two years. When they were in Opposition the Liberal Party said there would be no excuses. Now there is a list of excuses as long as your arm. Then at the G20 Conference in Australia last year he trumpeted that there would be an extra 2 per cent global growth! And this year he ridiculed as "clowns" commentators who expressed concern about the direction of Australia's GDP.
Who is wearing the red nose now?
Source of article: Press Release from Kelvin Thomson, Federal MP for Wills
Experimental costumed reading of The Minister for Future Planning, subtitled, Is Australia for Sale, by Jill Quirk and Sheila Newman. This satire on Australian growth lobby economics, written several years ago (2005) shows remarkable predictive capacity. If these predictions remain on course our future is blood-chilling. Reading done in front of static camcorder due to improvised situation. The video ratio reflects the date of the production. This comedy was written in 2006 and models, with some exaggeration, what is actually happening in Australia as regards immigration policy, economic policy and rights of citizens. Quirk and Newman are looking for other people to act and film this dialogue or part of it. Please contact them on [email protected]. The script is available for any others who might like to produce this or assist a new production. Please put your feedback here in the form of comments.
- Australian GDP growth has averaged roughly 3.2% per annum since 1901 and has been relatively steady for the last 30 years
- Australian population growth has averaged roughly 1.6% per annum since 1901 and has been relatively steady for the last 30 years
- GDP growth per capita has averaged around 1.032/1.016 = 1.6% per person per annum since 1901.
- Australia's annual population growth was roughly 4 times the OECD country average in 2012 due to a longstanding policy of mass migration
- GDP is defined as the final market value of all goods and services produced in the Australian economy over a given period of time, and is the main measure of economic growth in the economy. This totally ignores what Economists call Externalities. Engineers call these Unknowns. If an Unknown is essential for design, the design cannot proceed
- A recession is a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters
- Therefore if GDP growth is stabilised at a lower rate of 1.6% per annum instead of 3.2% per annum, trade and industrial activity could be stabilised at a lower rate of expansion without causing a recession
- This is analogous to a truck driving down a road. If it's travelling at 3.2%, slamming the brakes on is analogous to a recession. The faster you're travelling the harder it is to slow down, and the more wear and tear on the truck. Speed amplifies volatility. Volatility is difficult to manage when it causes impacts like rapid rises in unemployment, etc.............
- A consequence of an industrial or commercial activity which affects other parties without this being reflected in market prices, such as the pollination of surrounding crops by bees kept for honey.
- The cost or benefit that affects a party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit.
- Neoclassical welfare Economics asserts that, under plausible conditions, the existence of Externalities will result in outcomes that are not socially optimal. Those who suffer from external costs do so involuntarily, whereas those who enjoy external benefits do so at no cost
What Economists can't cope with is Externalities. These can be defined as:
From an Engineering perspective, growth of the world economy over the last 100 years using Economic criteria that virtually ignores Social and Environmental Externalities (ie the adverse consequences of growth) is analogous to an Engineer designing a building and calling the strength of the concrete an Externality. It's like advising that the design is OK, but we don't know whether the building will collapse - and we don't really care. So why is it that Politicians take the advice of Economists? Well you might ask. Are they both grossly negligent or do they have an excuse? "GROSS NEGLIGENCE. Lata culpa, or, as the Roman lawyers most accurately call it, dolo proxima, is, in practice, considered as equivalent to dolus or fraud itself, and consists, according to the best interpreters, in the omission of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to take of their own property."
In the recent past we've seen half-cocked Economic plans for a Carbon Tax. This is an attempt to deal with the single Externality of global warming. But what about all the other Externalities that have never been addressed? Why not deal with the root cause of most of them?
In Australia a root cause (ie the weak concrete) of ALL negative social and environmental Externalities is extreme population growth, and this is clearly being used by Australian politicians to drive extreme GDP growth. If population growth was zero, the negative Externalities directly due to population growth would be eliminated and the remaining Externalities would be related to HOW the stabilised population behaves. This is like stopping the construction of any more buildings with the wrong concrete and focussing on repairing what we already have.
Who would you trust to design a building; a Politician, an Economist; or an Engineer - whose objectives include using the right concrete?
Need for coherent plan, public inquiry, petition
We have a Nation to Renovate. We need the vision, and the common sense, to question the status quo.
It is clear that neither Politicians nor Economists can draw this conclusion and prefer business as usual - The Ostrich Mentality. Externalities like the consequences of extreme population growth don't even get a mention in public policy debate with politicians.
We need a Public Inquiry to determine the optimum rate of population growth using terms of reference that have never been used before.
We need to all print copies of the link to the petition, go from door to door to ask people to sign, or simply put the link into their letter boxes with your own explanation of why they should sign.
Definitions of Dictatorship:
- A country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator
- Absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control
Definitions of Poverty:
- The state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Synonyms: privation, neediness, destitution, indigence, pauperism, penury. Antonyms: riches, wealth, plenty.
- Deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities, etc.: poverty of the soil. Synonyms: thinness, poorness, insufficiency.
- Scantiness; insufficiency: Their efforts to stamp out disease were hampered by a poverty of medical supplies. Synonyms: meagerness, inadequacy, sparseness, shortage, paucity, dearth. Antonyms: abundance, surfeit, sufficiency, bounty, glut.
If population growth is the primary driver of the social, environmental and economic outcomes of a country, including extreme GDP growth, then "absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control" over the rate of population growth is the act of a dictator.
This is analogous to a tin pot dictator whose regime rapes and pillages, depositing the proceeds in a Swiss bank account while the population of the country live in poverty in a degraded environment. In this analogy the Swiss bank account is the accumulated assets of the super-rich, the degraded environment is there for all to see, and the poverty is not just measured in dollar terms. In this context the government orchestrates rape of the environment and the people because its operatives choose to believe the assumptions fed to them by Economists - who call everything they cannot understand irrelevant "externalities".
Whilst most politicians may not be direct recipients of the booty (apart from paid employment and defined benefit pensions); they are responsible.
Isn't it bizarre that a tin pot dictatorship like Australia is run based on a simple, numerical measurement called GDP Growth, whose real consequences neither economists nor politicians seek to understand? Naturally the super rich might encourage government to achieve a threshold value of GDP value each year. But so-called eminent economists have no right to claim strategic advisory authority over something they admit is riddled with assumptions that they do not understand!
In fact; growth in GDP appears to be directly correlated with growth in most measurable forms of poverty.
All the major political parties have stated policies supporting Australia's extreme rates of population growth - which is the primary driver of GDP growth. Consecutive Prime Ministers of Australia have been, and continue to be, the dictators of population growth; by stealth, without consensus; and at their absolute discretion.
A Charter for a Free Press in Australia
"The Australian Press Council agreed on the following Charter in 2003 and encouraged other organisations (including the ABC) to adopt it.
Freedom of opinion and expression is an inalienable right of a free people. Australia is committed to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration provides: "Everyone has the right of freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
In a truly democratic society open debate, discussion, criticism and dissent are central to the process of generating informed and considered choices. These processes are crucial to the formation of values and priorities and help in assessing and finding solutions to social, economic and political problems.
A free press is a symbol of a free people. The people of Australia have a right to freedom of information and access to differing opinions and declare that the following principles are basic to an unfettered flow of news and views both within Australia and across the nation's borders.........."
(Refer to http://candobetter.net/?q=node/3613 for proof of the ABC's undemocratic failure in this area.)
Australia is an Extreme Pro-Growth Dictatorship where the rate of GDP growth is not merely "assisted" by legitimate tweaking of interest rates or legitimate adjustment of policy settings. In Australia, GDP growth is deemed, by successive autocratic regimes, to be an end in itself that can be achieved by ongoing dispossession of the people of Australia; in exactly the same way that the dispossession of the Aborigines commenced in 1788.
“ Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state ”
Isn't it time for Australia to recognise that this longstanding process is undemocratic - and take the necessary steps?
You would think that in an Australia where the Productivity Commission (see below) is banging on about how health care for an aging population is going to be a huge slice of our economic pie that my friend would be sitting pretty. Not so.
Setting the tone for scary policies: "An Aging Australia" Productivity Commission Report
The news about people working until they are 70 years old and being made to sell their houses back to the bank comes from another rather Orwellian report by the Australian Productivity Commission. The Commission seems to want to blame a lot of its suggestions here on the aging population and the costs of health care. (The reference is An Aging Australia, available at this URL: http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/129749/ageing-australia.pdf).
The report has a narrow economic basis whereby GDP = Numbers of Workers X Productivity X Terms of trade. There is no overt consideration of resource depletion, although you can tell it is lurking namelessly. The report presents as an excuse for more population growth, even though it predicts an indefinite (possibly endless) period of economic poverty, when people will have to borrow on their homes to live and work until they drop for declining returns, which it relates vaguely to the end of the mining boom.
In a section entitled "Demography: Net overseas migration", the Report comes clean on what is driving high population growth in Australia: Successive recent governments have pushed very high immigration.
"Unlike either fertility or mortality, [Net Overseas Migration - NOM] is more readily controllable by the Australian Government (DIAC 2013). Most particularly, the Government can set quotas on its migration program [...]."
The report also admits that our extremely high mass immigration is a wild card, although it uses less colourful language:
"Were such levels of [Net Overseas Migration - NOM] to persist over the next 50 years, it would imply a considerably more populous Australia than most population projections."
The section concludes with a sublimely irresponsible comment about why our population might not spiral out of control but somehow stop after 2017 or something like that:
"Typically, advanced countries experience population growth slowdowns as their population numbers rise, and some reversion of Australian population growth rates to the average OECD rate might ultimately be expected," it concludes, blithely.
My comment The Report's faith in Australia experiencing a population growth slowdown to the 'average OECD rate' is dangerously ridiculous in the light of Australia's high immigration. It is presumably relying on 'demographic transition' ideology, which is (a) unreliable and (b) does not take high immigration into account. Australia's population growth was slowing naturally but this natural trend has been completely distorted by State and Federally led mass immigration.
See footnote for full quoted passage.
There are some very slanted presentations of the medical costs of aging, notably in a diagram, "Hospital Costs by Age and Sex 2010-2011," which shows a kind of upside-down pyramid with costly old people at its wide top and low cost young people near the narrow base. This gives an apparent cost-weight per elderly person. The casual observer could easily infer from the graph that there were more people over 65 and 85 plus than all the other age-groups in 2011. In fact, due mostly to mass immigration, these numbers will actually be continually bloated, year after year, instead of dying back naturally as the baby-boomers leave their mortal coil.
Mass immigration, discontinued in Western Continental Europe after the first oil shock in 1973, meant that population numbers will decline naturally there as oil declines. In Australian and other Anglophone countries, however, there will be no such gentle and natural decline if artificial population boosting through high immigration is allowed to continue.
The report justifies its presentation of 'trends' in the following statement:
"The apparent neat precision of any particular number is not meant to convey that this shall inevitably be the result, when over a 50 year period a wide variety of unknown factors will arise. But the existence of unknown factors is no basis for not considering the trends, which are the important aspect of this analysis. The trends are unmistakable in most cases."
The problem is that those 'trends' in population, and their proposed solutions in erosion of housing equity and retirement benefits will be taken for gospel by the mass media and parliament. They will be portrayed as inevitable and used to further the corporate agenda, which is to control more and more of Australia's remaining wealth, and allow the majority of citizens less and less control over their material and political circumstances. The very narrow context of this kind of economic report prevents it from recommending citizen empowerment or admitting to resource depletion or inviting comparison with more democratic societies and reconsideration of our legal system. Can the report researchers and writers be criticised for this? Not really; they are working within the same paradigm as the nurses I described at the beginning of this article. It would be career suicide for them to suggest that we are going in the wrong direction with overpopulation and overconsumption.
The Report fails to take into account some enormously influential trends in climate change, overpopulation, oil depletion, loss of democracy (e.g. laws against 'terrorism'), numbers of wars with increasing impact.
It doesn't consider that during the industrial revolution where its life-expectancy charts begin, life expectancy went down to less than half of the ordinary biblical span of three score and ten before it went up again 'due to modern medicine'. And that now diabetes and other nutritional diseases related to our so-called advanced lifestyles and medicine are reducing life expectancy, not increasing it. It does acknowledge a failure to factor those disease risks in, but still merrily uses its projections:
"As the ABS notes, this approach also ignores the possibility of major adverse events, such as major pandemics or wars, though historically these have sometimes been important. Some of these events would be difficult to estimate given their rarity in historical data, and at best, could be treated separately as low probability, high impact events with assumed statistical distributions. For example, the European Actuarial Consultative Group (2006) assesses that there is a high risk of a major global pandemic over a decade, but that events with significant excess population mortality are unlikely. Others doubt that it is possible to make ‘any scientifically based prediction about the emergence of future pandemics ’ (Taubenberger and Morens 2009). Given this, it is more reasonable to take account of other significant risks — such as the possible adverse impacts on longevity of lifestyle factors (growing obesity) and antibiotic resistant bacteria, which would have a gradual effect and could be modelled as a lower - life expectancy scenario in mortality projections. "
In fact, the Report shows what struck me as a wicked sense of humour at times, as if it recognises its own absurdity. On prevention of obesity and other diseases like AIDS, it seems to suggest that dying young might be more economical in the long run:
Second, and more subtly, gauging the effectiveness and efficiency of preventative measures on a disease - by - disease basis can miss the reality that people live to die another day (Bonneux et al. 1998). Dollars saved on avoiding (or minimising the costs) of one disease opens the possibility of people experiencing another costly disease. Ideally, assessments of particular interventions should adopt a longitudinal approach that takes into account the timing and costs of disease and quality of life under the counterfactual that no preventative action is taken.
Housing equity, poverty and power
The Productivity Commission Report "canvasses "policy approaches currently over - the - horizon, but nevertheless relevant to a deeper consideration of the challenges of an ageing Australia (including the role of non - fungible housing equity as a financing method and the link between labour force participation and the Age Pension eligibility age)."
Comment:This report supplies policies to undermine the political strength of older people who would otherwise be able to represent the rest of the community and defend the wealth and security basis of the younger generations. Blaming older people for economic decline that has its real seeds in resource decline sets the scene for generational splitting. The power elites (in the form of banks and corporate government) can then find ways to seize remaining assets and resources in the community for their own enrichment. Young people should realise that this report actually targets their generation - see the huge bulge in the 2014 population pyramid of people below the age of 60. These are the post-baby-boomers. It is their old age that is targeted here. Without land and housing they have no means to grow food, no secure shelter, no security to pass on to their families. The Productivity Commission, with its very narrow parameters of examination, is effectively providing future governments with excuses to make laws to beggar the population. And the Commission is cynically aware of this, implying that young people are stupidly myopic and won't realise that it is their futures that are being targeted, because they cannot imagine being old:
"Despite the possibility of such responses [i.e. protests against giving up their homes], governments can use anti-avoidance measures to reduce the risks of such behaviours at older ages (as it does already with gifting provisions). And responses by the young to possible asset tests when they are old are likely to be relatively weak, reflecting discounting of the future , myopia and the fact that caps would apply to any government - backed equity withdrawal."
Don't you love the term government-backed 'equity withdrawal'? A great new term for the State stealing from its citizens.
On Housing equity: Aim: Put land outside the reach of banks.
To avoid being patsies to these predator policies, Australians need to create new community ownerships with special laws of inheritance for their children, to help relocalise power and organisation in line with families and clans. These are the only secure bases for people in hard times. The British legal model promotes the opposite. If Australia changed its system to Roman Law (the kind used throughout continental Europe) children would be guaranteed to inherit from their parents; shelter and income would be deemed civil rights at law. Another model that amounts to the same thing is the New Zealand Maori land-rights model, which guarantees every Maori descendent land which cannot be sold. Banks should not be able to take shelter and food-gardens from owners or their inheritors. Governments should not be able to legislate water prices out of reach of suburban food producers. Planners should not be able to authorise buildings which block sunlight from gardens and solar panels. People should all have rights to viable land. This is what is missing from this report, which assumes that we will all work for other people and rely on diminishing rations when we can no longer compete with young workers.
The Report trots out the low inflation assertion with which many Australians would disagree:
"The average Australian has nevertheless fared well in the last two decades in terms of net national disposable income per capita, low inflation and low unemployment."
In fact, inflation indicators fail to take into account the very high cost of land for housing, which drives up all other costs. Wages must be high enough for workers to pay the highest accommodation costs in the world and business must pay similar costs for premises, plus wages. Shrinking disposable income has appeared to stretch because of cheap imports from low-wage and low land-cost countries, like China. People have only been able to afford trinkets, however. Whilst rents and mortgages rose, dependence on wages and debt grew. With mass immigration and watering-down of industrial protection, wages and conditions are deteriorating and the cost of finite resources, shelter, food, water and power are inflating.
Conclusion: These trends are the result of government engineering the population to please corporate fancy. If Australians do not start to band together against their corporatised governments these nightmares will come to pass.
Commission Press Release: Key Points of An ageing Australia: preparing for the future
Productivity Commission, 22 November, 2013 
"The report examines the effects of ageing on economic output (underpinned by changes in population, participation and productivity) and the resulting implications for government budgets were current policy settings to be maintained.
Australia's population will both grow strongly and become older. Such slow but profound shifts in the nature of a society do not elicit the same scrutiny as immediate policy issues. The preferable time to contemplate the implications is while these near inevitable trends are still in their infancy.
Population ageing is largely a positive outcome, primarily reflecting improved life expectancy. A female (male) born in 2012 will on average live for an estimated 94.4 (91.6) years.
However, population growth and ageing will affect labour supply, economic output, infrastructure requirements and governments' budgets.
Australia's population is projected to rise to around 38 million by 2060, or around 15 million more than the population in 2012. Sydney and Melbourne can be expected to grow by around 3 million each over this period.
The population aged 75 or more years is expected to rise by 4 million from 2012 to 2060, increasing from about 6.4 to 14.4 per cent of the population. In 2012, there was roughly one person aged 100 years old or more to every 100 babies. By 2060, it is projected there will be around 25 such centenarians.
Total private and public investment requirements over this 50 year period are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century, which reveals the importance of an efficient investment environment.
Labour participation rates are expected to fall from around 65 to 60 per cent from 2012 to 2060, and overall labour supply per capita to contract by 5 per cent.
Average labour productivity growth is projected to be around 1.5 per cent per annum from 2012-13, well below the high productivity period from 1988-89 to 2003-04. Real disposable income per capita is expected to grow at 1.1 per cent per annum compared with the average 2.7 per cent annual growth over the last 20 years.
Collectively, it is projected that Australian governments will face additional pressures on their budgets equivalent to around 6 per cent of national GDP by 2060, principally reflecting the growth of expenditure on health, aged care and the Age Pension.
Major impending economic and social changes can create the impetus for new reform approaches not currently on the policy horizon. For example:
The design of the Age Pension and broader retirement income system might be linked to life expectancy after completion of the current transition to 67 years in 2023.
Using some of the annual growth in the housing equity of older Australians could help ensure higher quality options for aged care services and lower fiscal costs.
Wide ranging health care reforms could improve productivity in the sector that is the largest contributor to fiscal pressures. Even modest improvements in this area would reduce fiscal pressures significantly."
26/11/2013: Correction to Stupid mistake about baby-boomers' ages corrected on population-pyramid-2014.jpg. I had them as tweny years older than they are. Apologies. Thanks Jill Quirk of SPA Victoria for pointing this out.
 For the latest on demographic theories and which ones hold water, see Sheila Newman, Demography, Territory and Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013, Chapter 2, "Modern Fertility, Mortality and Development Myths."
 An Aging Australia, (Productivity Commission), pp.37-38:
While the technical definition and estimation of net overseas migration (NOM) is complex, it is a measure of long - term arrivals less long - term departures.
NOM has been a critical factor behind Australia’s population growth and will continue to be so (PC 2011 d ).
Unlike either fertility or mortality, NOM is more readily controllable by the Australian Government (DIAC 2013). Most particularly, the Government can set quotas on its migration program — which comprises three categories of migrant (humanitarian, skilled and family re-union). That said, the Australian Government does not have full control over NOM as any number of Australians (and New Zealanders) can arrive or depart. Moreover, the number of temporary entrants, such as long - term visitors and working holiday makers, is effectively uncapped. Their numbers are largely driven by other factors, such as economic conditions. However, since temporary entrants ultimately leave, they do not contribute to long - run population growth.
Currently, NOM is around 230000 per year, which is well above the longer - term average.
From 1948 to 2003, NOM was around 90 000 per year, with no upwards trend. In contrast, in the period 2003 – 2012, the average NOM was around 200000 and the trend growth was around 10000 per year (figure 2.2).
DIAC (2013)forecasts that current high levels of NOM will persist at least until 2017, but that its growth rate will decline. It projects NOM of around 250000 in 2017.
Were such levels of NOM to persist over the next 50 years, it would imply a considerably more populous Australia than most population projections.
It is difficult to establish whether a level of NOM around 200000 – 250000 is likely to persist. In part, the high recent levels may reflect strong relative economic and income growth in Australia c ompared to other countries, which make Australia an attractive destination. Given that the terms of trade are now declining, it is possible that NOM will fall somewhat from its current level.
The contribution of high relative fertility rates and migration means that Australia’s population is growing at a rate well above most OECD countries. Over the period from 1999 to 2010, Australia had the 4th highest population growth rate among OECD countries, with higher growth rates than some less developed economies, such as Mexico and Turkey (OECD 2013). The average growth rate for Australia (1.47 per cent growth per annum) was more than four times that for the 27 European Union countries (0.35 per cent per annum) and more than twice that of the OECD overall (0.68 per cent per annum). The persistence of NOM of 250000 persons per year would underpin continued high growth rates of this order.
Typically, advanced countries experience population growth slowdowns as their population numbers rise, and some reversion of Australian population growth rates to the average OECD rate might ultimately be expected. "
 This is a press release from the Productivity Commission about its report.
Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky, the Wall Street Journal and many others say that our entire economy is a Ponzi scheme.
Former Reagan budget director David Stockton just agreed:
So did a top Russian con artist and mathematician.
Even the New York Times' business page asked, "Was [the] whole economy a Ponzi scheme?"
In fact – as we've noted for 4 years (and here and here) – the banking system is entirely insolvent. And so are most countries. The whole notion of one country bailing out another country is a farce at this point. The whole system is insolvent.
As we noted last year:
Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz pointed out the Ponzi scheme nature of the whole bailout discussion:
Europe's plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country's lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.
"The system … is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government," Stiglitz said in an interview.
"It's voodoo economics," Stiglitz said in an interview on Friday, before the weekend deal to help Spain and its banks was sealed. "It is not going to work and it's not working."
[The same is true of every other nation.]
Credit Suisse's William Porter writes:
"Portugal cannot rescue Greece, Spain cannot rescue Portugal, Italy cannot rescue Spain (as is surely about to become all too abundantly clear), France cannot rescue Italy, but Germany can rescue France." Or, the credit of the EFSF/ESM, if called upon to provide funds in large size, either calls upon the credit of Germany, or fails; i.e, it seems to us that it probably cannot fund to the extent needed to save the credit of one (and probably imminently two) countries that had hitherto been considered "too big so save" without joint and several guarantees.***
As Nouriel Roubini wrote in February:
[For] problems of that magnitude, there simply are not enough resources—governmental or super-sovereign—to go around.
As Roubini wrote in February:
"We have decided to socialize the private losses of the banking system.
Roubini believes that further attempts at intervention have only increased the magnitude of the problems with sovereign debt. He says, "Now you have a bunch of super sovereigns— the IMF, the EU, the eurozone—bailing out these sovereigns."
Essentially, the super-sovereigns underwrite sovereign debt—increasing the scale and concentrating the problems.
Roubini characterizes super-sovereign intervention as merely kicking the can down the road.
He says wryly: "There's not going to be anyone coming from Mars or the moon to bail out the IMF or the Eurozone." [Others have made the same point.]
But, despite the paper shuffling of debt at the national level—and at the level of supranational entities—reality ultimately intervenes: "So at some point you need restructuring. At some point you need the creditors of the banks to take a hit —otherwise you put all this debt on the balance sheet of government. And then you break the back of government—and then government is insolvent."
Indeed, population may be the biggest ponzi scheme of all. Specifically – as we've pointed out for years – rapidly-aging populations in the developed world will exert a big drag on the economy.
The Global Mail notes:
Half the world, including almost all the developed world, now is reproducing at below replacement level. A generation from now, according to United Nations Population Division projections, less than a quarter of the world's women – most of them in Africa and south Asia – will be reproducing at above replacement rate. And those UN forecasts are probably on the high side, for reasons we'll come to later.
And as the birth rate has plunged in developed nations, and the native-born population has begun to shrink and rapidly age, governments and business have sought to make up the numbers by importing people to prop up their economies. It's all they know how to do, for our economic system is, at its base, a giant Ponzi scheme, dependent on ever more people producing and consuming ever more stuff.
But what happens if that all stops? What happens when you get an ageing, shrinking population that consumes less?
"The answer to that question is that we don't know because it's never happened before," says Peter McDonald, professor of demography and director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University.
"We're certainly operating a Ponzi scheme in Australia," says Dr Bob Birrell, an economist and migration expert from Monash University.
"Our growth is predicated on extra numbers… [and] more of our activity is going into city building and people servicing, which do not directly produce many goods that can be traded in overseas markets.
Half the world is facing the problem of low fertility, and Australia, with its massive program of importing people, is providing an extreme example of one approach to the conundrum.
In a nutshell, the problem is this: lower fertility rates mean older, less innovative and productive workforces. More importantly to the Ponzi economic order, older, stable or declining populations consume less. So growth requires either importing people, or exporting stuff, or a combination of the two. Orthodox economics simply can't cope otherwise.
Europe as a whole has been reproducing at well below replacement rate for close to 40 years. The last period for which UN data showed Europe's total fertility rate above the replacement rate was 1970-75.
Europe's contemporary demographics give new meaning to the descriptor `the old world'. The continent's average person is over 40 now. By 2050, if things continue on trend, the average European will be 45.7. If one takes the UN's "low variant" projection, he/she will be over 50 years of age.
And the low variant now looks closer to the mark. Fertility rates had actually rebounded a little over recent years, the result of a bit of "catch-up" after a shift over several previous decades in which women delayed child-bearing. But the European recession has set fertility rates plunging again.
Jamie Ferguson/The Global Mail
Jamie Ferguson/The Global Mail
The recession's effects will likely linger for decades, in lower rates of earnings and savings, and also in reduced fertility.
Last year, Forbes magazine, that most reliable voice of the economic orthodoxy, laid the blame for Europe's economic decline squarely on its citizens' failure to reproduce in adequate numbers, in an article headlined What's Really Behind Europe's Decline? It's The Birth Rates, Stupid.
The Forbes piece was unequivocal: the biggest threat to the European Union was its low fertility rate.
The piece ended with a dire warning that unless Club Med managed to induce people to have more babies, catastrophic economic consequences would flow for all of Europe and maybe the world.
As Thomas Sobotka, one of the authors of a 2011 study on population trends by the Vienna Institute of Demography, told the Guardian newspaper, massive cuts in social spending would only exacerbate the problem.
"This may prolong the fertility impact of the recent recession well beyond its end. It could lead to a double-dip fertility decline," he said.
But when it comes to fertility declines, Asia takes the cake.
Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and most importantly China currently all have fertility rates lower than those of Europe.
China's and Korea's are about to start falling, if they haven't already.
"I'm pretty pessimistic about the east-Asian situation," says McDonald. "I think those countries find it very difficult move in the right direction of supporting work and family, in particular, reducing work hours.
"We are now talking about some 30 per cent of Japanese women not getting married."
"I saw a couple of people from the Japanese government give a paper recently, essentially accepting this as an inevitability – a low birth rate forever," he says.
It's the same all over Asia.
Hong Kong has a birth rate of 1.09, which is on track to see its population almost halve in a generation. Taiwan is at 1.10; China, 1.55; Thailand, 1.66; Vietnam, 1.89. Even Indonesia's fertility is just above replacement rate, at 2.23, and is falling fast. Malaysia and the Philippines are still growing pretty quickly, as are the south-Asian countries, which may give them a competitive edge for a few decades – and a growing export industry of people. But it is not projected to last more than a few decades.
Let's return to America. The United States also is reproducing at below replacement rate, and its birthrate has declined sharply in recent years.
The US birth rate not only fell to its lowest level ever in 2011, but the greatest decline was among immigrant women.
In the longer term, the world will have to adjust its economic system to cope with the novel concept of less. Fewer people, less consumption, lowered need for resources, energy, housing, roads, you name it.
Indeed, smart curmudgeons like Jeremy Granthan and Chris Martensen think that we have not only "peak" demographics, but also peak resources.
The above is admittedly depressing. But the reality is that there's hope.
We can have a very bright future, indeed … if we switch from the status quo to something smarter. For example, see this and this.
For example, we can cut out the middlemen in the banking and political realms … and prosper.
And as we've previously noted about energy:
The current paradigm is that energy is produced expensively by governments or large corporations through gigantic projects using enormous amounts of money, materials and manpower. Because energy can only be produced by the big boys, we the people must bow our heads to the powers-that-be. We must pay a lot of our hard-earned money to buy electricity from them, and we can't question the methods or results of their energy production.
Our life will become much better when we begin to understand that energy is all around us – as an ocean of electromagnetic forces and as a byproduct of other processes in the form of heat, pressure, etc. – and all we need do is learn how to harvest it.
In the US Presidential race, both roads lead to financial collapse, resource depletion, war, irreversible climate change, species extinction, chaos, despair and hopelessness.
Listen up my American friends:
The Time Is Ripe For This Man To Lead Your Exceptionally Debt-Ridden Nation!
Promising a “lean and mean” hands-off do-nothing limited government, the late Chris Clugston ponders America’s future as the first posthumous President to occupy the Oval Office (February, 2013).
The Presidential election is but one week away. In just one week, Americans will be going to the polls to elect THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD.
As a duly paid up member of that world, I therefore feel entitled to stick my nose in it---despite lacking American citizenship. Alas, I have a "voice" , but no vote. I therefore delegate that awesome responsibility to you. You have it within your power to make a choice that will affect untold generations ahead.
You stand at a critical junction, and must choose to take one of two roads.
One road leads to financial collapse, resource depletion, war, irreversible climate change, species extinction, chaos, despair and hopelessness. While the other road leads to financial collapse, resource depletion, war, irreversible climate change, species extinction, chaos, despair and hopelessness.
The choice, as exceptional Americans, is yours and only yours to make.
However, as I intimated, since I have an enormous stake in the outcome, I feel it my right to at least try to influence you to do what is right. Once again, I urge you to vote for the only credible third party candidate, Chris Clugston, who alone among the contestants has taken the novel path of speaking the blunt truth. Civilization is finished.
I sent out the attached election document early in the campaign, but as the Decision Day nears, I thought it important to remind you that there is a clear alternative to hopelessness. It is hopelessness backed up with empirically solid evidence. The kind of hopelessness which will spare you the wasted time and energy that would be involved in chasing after Romney and Obama's ridiculous "fixes" for something that can't be fixed.
The choice is not between red or blue, between Romney's tax cuts for the rich and the borrow, tax and spend agenda of Obama. But, on the one hand, between those who argue about which formula will best promote growth (Romney-nomics vs. Obamanomics), and on the other, Chris Clugston, who argues that we should take our foot off the gas pedal so that we can coast, rather than race, to the cliff. We'll be dead soon enough! So why the rush?
I make this plea now because, as I speak, Chris is presently hunkered down in a Philadelphia suburb hoping to survive the Frankenstorm, and it is entirely possible that he will never again be able to give a live presentation. We don't really care if he makes it through of course, so long as he has backed up his data on a hard disc secured in a storm-proof safe. We need that data!
Perhaps, if his campaign suddenly catches fire in this last week of electioneering, he might become the first President-elect who was elected posthumously. That might make him the most effective leader ever to make it to the Oval Office---albeit as an embalmed corpse or something less composed. After all, some economists (of the Mises school) argue that Calvin Coolidge cured the 1921 depression precisely because he didn't try to. Perhaps then, by being unable to actively pursue growthist policies, an embalmed corpse or skeletal Commander-in-Chief in the White House would be just the lame duck President we are looking for. Someone with the backbone to resist any call to get the economy moving again.
October 29, 2012
Australia and Canada are in a race to the bottom to dig up all their minerals. They are importing workers and failing to train their own. Their politicians are caught up in the myth of sustainable economic growth. "The tar sands are the engine of that growth. And we'll want top dollar for what we export because the thirst for tax revenue is insatiable. We'll want the Americans to compete with the Chinese for the privilege of burning our bounty of black death. No wonder then that the support for continued mass immigration is bipartisan. We are in a big hurry to get that resource out of the ground and get it shipped out ASAP---so we bringing in migrant labour like mad to satisfy a "shortage" in skilled labour that we assume to exist because we have never conducted a proper inventory nor seriously tried to train our own people."
Bill McKibben has recently given us the latest terrifying math about global warming http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719
More terrifying math
Here is some more terrifying math:
There are 3 major political parties in Canada's House of Commons.
Guess how many of them support the Alberta oil sands project? Three.
What? How can that be? The Green-Left and those who lap up whatever Avaaz.org, Common Dreams, 350.org, Huffington Post et al have to say are led to believe that is the Hated Harper who is responsible for pushing through this project and the two major proposed pipelines. No doubt. He is our current Prime Minister and he does have the captain's wheel. But wait...
Both Liberal Leader Bob Rae and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, when pressed, say they favour the "sustainable development" of the "oil" sands. (That's what people call it when they are addressing Alberta voters). But they caution that it must be done in an "environmentally responsible" way. "Sustainability is not just about the environment", Rae said, "There is also social sustainability and economic sustainability---we need a balanced approach. We need sustainability and we need development."
That is exactly what Harper says too, though he might reverse the word order to read "development and sustainability". What rubbish. http://www.populationmedia.org/2010/06/25/there-really-is-only-one-kind-of-sustainability
a) How does one "develop" the tar sands to extract a finite resource "sustainably"? The resource is finite. A finite resource cannot be replenished in a time scale relevant to the human race. Get it?
b) How does one develop the tar sands in an "environmentally responsible" way when the mere extraction will not only threaten the Athabaska River with lethal toxins but use up much of the remaining global "budget" of 565 'gigatons' of C02, which if exceeded are thought to make runaway temperature increases inevitable.
All parties, all politicians and all corporations are shopping the same soothing, oxymoronic lies, the same greenwash. If there are differences, they are merely ones of nuance and emphasis. The bottom line is that they all want economic growth---Oops, sorry, I meant "development"---but they want it to be aesthetically tidy enough to convince the public that nothing irrevocably damaging is being done to Mother Earth. Trouble is, "Mom" is not fooled by euphemisms.
This Coalition of Deceit and Ruin looks at the polls and realizes that the majority of Canadians of all political hues---even those who say they support the NDP, the Liberals or the Greens-----want jobs. Aboriginals want jobs. All levels of government want jobs---- and the tax revenues that flow from them. We are hooked on growth because we are hooked on pensions, medical care, education, and a standard of living to which we have grown accustomed. We rely on economic growth to pay for all this and to outgrow our debts. Our pension system requires a cash injection of $6 billion more today than it did two years ago. Our heath care system needed $5 billion more this year just to alleviate surgery waiting lists that force 46,000 Canadians a year to leave the country in search of timely treatment. So much for Michael Moore's utopian portraits of the "Canadian Way".
Sustained growth economics an impossible dream
Both our pension and health care systems are on unsustainable trajectories. Where are governments going to find the money? Oh, I know, "tax the rich". Sorry, that’s been tried. Ask the socialists in Greece and Spain. Ask the socialists who were elected to office in four Canadian provinces on the coat-tails of that slogan, and then backed off when they realized what Bill Clinton and the Swedish Social Democrats realized in the mid-90s. Money has wings. Raising taxes on the "rich" does not necessarily raise tax revenue. In fact, at some point, the reverse is true (the famous Laffer curve). That is why Clinton and the Swedish socialists lowered marginal tax rates. We believe that we are entitled to our "entitlements", and continuing economic growth (necessary but alas impossible) is the ticket out of the box we have built for ourselves.
Why import workers?
The tar sands are the engine of that growth. And we'll want top dollar for what we export because the thirst for tax revenue is insatiable. We'll want the Americans to compete with the Chinese for the privilege of burning our bounty of black death. No wonder then that the support for continued mass immigration is bipartisan. We are in a big hurry to get that resource out of the ground and get it shipped out ASAP---so we bringing in migrant labour like mad to satisfy a "shortage" in skilled labour that we assume to exist because we have never conducted a proper inventory nor seriously tried to train our own people.
Of course, the voices on the establishment "Left" would like to see the pace of this "development" slowed down, and the hearings drag on so to make the government sweat. But this is political gamesmanship. Were they in office---the tar sands project would continue. It would have to if the Opposition wanted to keep its own voter base, a base that looks to government to defend and extend our straining social safety net.
This project is UNSTOPPABLE. We can argue about the pace and the disposition of the pipelines, but that oil is coming out and it is going to be exported. And while there is currently a sizeable opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline in British Columbia, the recent news that the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation paid a 60% premium above market value to purchase to purchase a majority stake---$15.1 billion---- in Nexen reinforces a belief that somehow, some way, Canadian tar sands oil will find a way to the Pacific coast. Until the Nexen takeover----still awaiting government approval----CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec Group have poured over $18 billion into buying minority stakes in tar sands projects operated by other companies.
The Chinese don't gamble that kind of money on maybes. The opposition NDP will win the BC election, and it may block the pipeline for three years---but that's it. Money talks. My bet is that will strike a deal and greenwash its nature. If they don't, they're gone.
Meanwhile, Harper wears the goat horns and the Green-Left gives the Liberals and the NDP a free pass. The hypocrisy sickens me.
Gutless, deceitful and as slimy as the oil they argue about---that about sums up the whole lot of them.
July 25, 2012
Source of images used: http://www.ecmperformance.com/images/mining-pit.jpg
"Every time I hear or read the word 'sustainable', for instance, in 'sustainable growth', 'sustainable living' and 'sustainable economy', I feel that we are being cheated and lured into false security."
Article by Hans Brunner
"Sustainability," a word much used and abused
Every time I hear or read the word 'sustainable', for instance, in 'sustainable growth', 'sustainable living' and 'sustainable economy', I feel that we are being cheated and lured into false security. These expressions permeate our cultural communication and continuously mislead. It is therefore time to alert people to the uncomfortable, or ‘inconvenient’ truth about to what is urgently needed in order to obtain realistic sustainability. The fundamental problem that causes all our present and future unsustainable existence is that there are far too many of us on this planet of finite resources.
Ehrlich and Flannery
Professor Paul Ehrlich (ehrlich in German means ‘honest’), in his report “People and the Planet” to the Royal Society said
“ The optimum population of the earth was 1.5 to 2 billion people, much less than the seven billion alive today. So we have to humanly and as rapidly as possible move to population shrinkage.”
A similar statement was also made by Professor Tim Flannery in The Future Eaters as early as 1995:
“Because of the structure of our economy, a population of 6-12 million (people) would give Australians enormous flexibility in dealing with environmental and other problems.”
Both professors are surely acutely aware that they have to protect their reputation when making these statements. Obviously, their conclusions must have been based on lots of accurate and unbiased information, while realizing that their research results could upset a lot of people. Both also insist that their estimates are made under the condition that the living standard per person must not increase.
Increasing number of concerned people as people numbers increase
There is now a rapidly increasing number of other people who also express their concern about over-population, many of them well informed scientists.
Based on my own experience, I am personally convinced that their statements are realistic as well as accurate. We all can ill-afford to live any longer in a fools' paradise and naively belief that the little bandage work we are doing will save the world. The truth about over-population has to come out and be shouted from every rooftop. It is sad that, in spite of this, our politicians on both sides still push for population and economic growth as if there was no tomorrow. By this, they blindly speed up the certain and disastrous consequences that will inevitably doom our future.
Easy way to inform yourself: Check out Sustainable Population Australia (SPA)
I ask the skeptics to do their own, honest research or to contact Sustainable Population Australia for information before they refuse this important warning. Acting now, even if it seems harsh and difficult, is much better than to wait for the much more brutal and out of control responses, such as inevitable wars, famine and natural disasters, to do it for us.
Since there is abundant information and many detailed studies available on the above subject, it was not my purpose to go into all the details of what has happened and why it has gone so wrong, as it would take pages to cover it all. Greed would probably be one of the most fatal factors.
So, in future, when you use the word ‘sustainable’ think at least twice and more seriously about it and then you will most likely not use it.
How long can Australia prop up a declining housing boom?
This film reports on a steep decline in land and housing prices in the US and predicts that they will fall further - by 70 or 80%. It says that if you are investing in a house or simply buying one now, you are going to lose the house because it will lose speculative value. It says that Americans with common sense are simply staying away from buying houses, knowing that they can bring the market to its knees this way. It says that the winners in this will be those who need houses and will soon be able to afford them. The losers - the land speculators; the people who have made money idly out of homelessness; the bankers, the middleclass housing investment wannabes - will lose their money. About time.
Actually, the film says that if you own a house you will lose it, however, if you really own one - just one - you won't lose it. If you are counting on a second or more houses to make you money, it is likely that they won't make what you hoped.
Australian governments, acting against the interests of their constituents, but on behalf of their corporate friends in finance, construction, engineering and property development have propped up the so-called 'boom' in housing with high immigration financed by your taxes, using the commercial media to sell the idea that this is all inevitable and good.
Growth spruikers are to blame
The populations of Queensland and Western Australia are being promoted as being expected to more than double within the next 50 years. Similar false predictions are being made in every other mainland state for shameless commercial interests masquerading as our elected representatives, aided and abetted by spruikers entrenched in many Australian institutions, acaademic ones not excepted.
For instance, Growth lobbyist and demographer, Peter McDonald of the Australian National University has made another press release in a long series of growthist apologies, "Population growth requires a balancing act: Expert Monday 31 May 2010", where he markets as irresistable the idea that the Queensland Government must consider an increase in taxes to manage future population growth, claiming this to be the finding of a new report. The report was commissioned by the Local Government Association of Queensland and claims to be independent, but its use of Peter McDonald has people concerned about population growth calling this claim into question, since McDonald is a notorious growth lobbyist.
Calling himself a "Population expert" and using the authority of his position as a professor at the ANU, Professor McDonald reports that "the inquiry has concluded that substantial future growth is already embedded in the state’s economy and that there appears to be little immediate prospect of current growth rates in Queensland - including those in south-east Queensland (SEQ) - slowing from current levels through reasonable policy initiatives available to the state or federal governments.”
Such a pronouncement conveys the false message that 'growth cannot be stopped' ... ever, and is likely to disarm the public of reasonable hope, empowerment and rational action against the growth lobby.
Talk of 'unreasonable costs' depends on the perspective you take.
Population Growth doesn't pay for itself: you pay for it
Problem is that the costs of growth are already causing unreasonable hardship to most people, by driving up the cost of water, land, employment, services, business, travel and basic utilities. The only people who don't consider the current situation unreasonable are those who benefit from it financially, and they are in the minority. Although they are in the minority, they are covered by the mainstream media as if they were in the majority and as if there were no other way of running a society than through heavy indebtedness to financial institutions invested in the construction and property development industries. It is amazing that so many people have fallen for this childish nonsense just because the mainstream press constantly repeats it and some 'authorities' endorse their message.
Growth can be stopped, quite reasonably and easily
Professor McDonald misinforms the Australian public to their great cost. Growth can be stopped, quite easily, using traditional tried and true methods. Amalgamated councils can control and withhold building permits. Better still, restore the recently abrogated ability for local governments to control the release of building permits. Allow the local community to set population levels by simply withholding building permits within the local water catchment capacity and within limits which will prevent further change to the natural environment and any rise in land-costs due to inflation related to human numbers.
Professor McDonald also said that the inquiry recognised community concerns about the pressures of continuing population growth and impacts on the quality of life. Recognises these concerns and tramples all over them!
He can be contacted at this number: 0400 252 149
To say that we cannot stop growth is like endorsing an addiction to growth and a mind-set like the Titanic heading towards the iceberg, with lemming on it that won't change the course!
If we are supposed to get more "prosperity" from population growth - in Queensland for instance - then why must the Queensland government consider more taxes? What we are seeing is a predictable rise in costs by increasing demand on finite resources - environmental and infrastructure-wise! This ever-soaring demand will spell disaster for Queenslanders' quality of life, standard of living and for its remaining wild koala populations, luxuriant vegetation and beautiful natural surroundings.
What kind of corruption and insanity, what hatred of beauty and life itself, drives this downward spiral for humankind in Australia, based on the insanity of economic growth based on population growth and endless construction?
Consider the US trends.
Report on the Federation Square (Victoria, Australia) Population Forum on 23 April 2010, where Mark O'Connor debated Marcus Spiller.
Report on the Federation Square (Victoria, Australia) Population Forum on 23 April 2010, where Mark O'Connor debated Marcus Spiller.
Put on by the City of Melbourne at the suggestion of Mary Drost of Planning Backlash to Councillor Peter Clarke, the Forum was a very well attended event.
The hall was almost full and, from the clapping, it was obvious where the majority stood. They heavily supported Mark O'Connor, co-author of the book, Overloading Australia, Enviro Press, 2009, who spoke very well against the rapid increase in population in Melbourne. He said there are actually 3 elephants in the room - population, climate change and economic growth.
He called the 'ageing population problem' a "proveable sham", noting that we all age exactly one year per annum.
There were five people on the panel.
O'Connor's main opponent was Marcus Spiller, formerly of the Planning Institute and now adviser to the Ministers of PLanning and Housing. He is still pushing Centralized Planning, just as he was back when Minister Hulls was in charge of Planning.
He may well have a lot of involvement in the current Review of the Planning Act, which promotes centralized planning. Spiller is totally optimistic about a bigger population.
Another panelist, Charles Berger, spoke sensibly. He said that we must do away with 'bigger is better' and go for quality not quanitity He said we must preserve threatened species. He described how our water usage would have to drop with higher and higher population numbers. He also said that there is very little evidence linking population numbers and successful economies.
Saul Eslake, seemed to have moderated his economic views. He said that Melbourne would be different in 2050 with 8 million - not marvellous, more expensive, and more crowded. He said business grows with population growth, but it does not mean people are better off. At present we are losing factories and exporting very little from Victoria and importing a lot.
Kelvin Thomson had been asked to be there but was overseas so could not accept.
Planning Backlash was officially recognized by Cr Peter Clarke in his welcome as being an instigator in them doing this forum.
Source: Planning Backlash