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My home town (where I was born and still spend a lot of time) is
Melbourne, Victoria. It is a glorious place, at least the inner
suburbs within about 3-4 kms of the city centre where I hang out
mostly. It recently lost its top place in the Economist
Intelligence Units Global Liveability Index (most pleasant place to
live) to Vienna (Source).
One wag thought it might have been because the Economist got
confused between Australia and Austria. Economists are easily
confused! But the reason I mentioned this is because it is
symptomatic of how neoliberalism has reconstructed our realities
and degraded our sense of community. The competitive narrative,
even though firms go all out to use power and deception to fix and
rig markets in their favour, now dominates our perception. While I
identify with Melbourne and would think a significant part of my
identity is linked to that identification, the neoliberal narrative
with its distinctive language, aims to reconstruct the community
and communities of Melbourne, not as social and cultural artifacts,
but as products competing with other cities of the world for
supremacy. I was thinking about this as I scope out the structure
of the next book that Thomas Fazi and I will publish next year as a
follow-up to our current book Reclaiming
the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a
Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017). Thomas and I have
advanced our ideas and we will, in part, be focusing on how
communities and the nation state work together to advance
progressive outcomes. In our first book together, we set out how
nation states can operate from a technical perspective and what
they should do to provide for a progressive future. In the next
book, we will dig deeper into the ways people and their communities
have to re-empower themselves. Language, construction, vocabulary,
and framing are all significant in this regard.
When I was a post graduate student I was often thinking about the idea that technology is more than an engineering capacity. It also has an ideological dimension.
The debates in those days (and the great Austrian writer Andr Gorz was central to them) often were centred on whether a socialist state should use capitalist mass production technology and Taylorism, which alienated the worker from their product.
I disagreed with Gorz over his advocacy of a basic income guarantee. But he knew that these innovations were the key to the capacity of early capitalists to take control of production from skilled labour and increase the exploitation rate.
In turn, it spawned the push for mass consumpt...
I belong to a degrowth group on facebook. The owner of this group posted a link to a youtube video titled The Third Industrial Revolution: A Radical New Sharing Economy. I downloaded it sight unseen so that I could watch it on my TV while its pissing down with rain outside and I frankly have nothing else better to do. luckily for those up North in terrible drought, well be sending some your way next weekend. Ive never liked Jeremy Rifkins crazy ideas, and had I realised he was the star attraction of this film, I probably would not have downloaded it in the first place, but having done so, and under the abovemnetioned weather conditions, I went ahead anyway
The first half hour was for me the best part, because he clearly explains with some crucial left out items why were in deep shit. What really leaves me flumoxed is how someone who clearly understands thermodynamics and entropy cannot come to grips with their repercussions.
For me, it was extraordinarily hard to find where to start my criticismnot because of the lack of strength of his arguments, but simply because it is just plain hard to even know where to start! E...
The National Party has called for every Australian under 35 on a parenting payment or Newstart should receive a cashless welfare card.
It came up at the party Federal National Council on Saturday. Those proposing the extended application of the card, suggested that people receiving these payments were spending too much money on drugs and alcohol.
Besides this being a blatant act of profiling, which suggests that that anyone on these payments is an undeserving malingerer.
The rational used to trial the Cashless Welfare Card is being used as an argument to extent it across Australia, and has immediately been championed by News Corp.
Just because it came up at the Nationals Federal Council, does not mean that it is automatically government policy. This is another item to the wish list, deliberately setting out to test the waters. If there is not a strong enough counter reaction, it is just a matter of time before it does become official policy.
Suggestions are being made that the trials in Kalgoorlie, East Kimberley and Ceduna have been successful. They have been. in terms of creating greater inequality and making the provision of necessities more expensive, because the cards can only be used in designated shops and this prevents holders from shopping around for better prices.They have been successful, if the goal is to ensure those in the trials wear the stigma. They have not been successful in lifting standards of living and creating a path to self-respect and creating work for those who need it.
The essence of what is being put by the supporters of the Cashless Welfare Card is that people do not have the right to an acceptable standard of living, if they do not have a job. Government payments are a form of charity paid by those who are better off, who should not be expected to foot the bill. This is the ugly and selfish side of our society. Few of those who take it up sing the same tune when it happens to them.
When they push this line of reasoning, the supporters of the card show that this is not about overcoming bad behaviour, but about cutting social security payments. Nor do they have anything to say about the generous tax loopholes for the wealthy and the corporate tax evasion industry. This is a case of double standards, if there ever was one.
Ours should be a caring society, where we look out for one another and give a helping hand to those less fortunate for ourselves.
Past generations fought hard to put into place the right of each one of us to have a decent lif...
Long days. Cold nights. Fatigue and loneliness. Standing in the harsh sun, Im surrounded by walls of tall jungle. Staring ahead at a steep overgrown path that never seems to end, I hyperventilate. Time passes with each step. My breathing softens as we make it to the summit. I wonder whether Id be better off dead.
The Kokoda Track (or Trail) campaign of World War II took place in Papua New Guinea. The campaign involved a series of battles between the Japanese and Allied forces throughout the second half of 1942, during the Pacific War. The Allies prevailed in pushing the Japanese out of Papua New Guinea, at a substantial cost of lives.
Tourists now flock to Papua New Guineas capital, Port Moresby, for yearly dawn services of ANZAC Day and other war memorial events. I was never really interested in war, but I was up for the challenge.
The track itself has become a novelty excursion for war enthusiasts and fitness junkies alike. Its a single-file foot thoroughfare of 96 kilometres through the Owen Stanley Range. From Owers Corner roughly 50 kilometres east of Port Moresby to the village of Kokoda in the Oro Province, we venture predominantly through the land of the Mountain Koiari people.
If the rugged terrain wasnt enough of a selling point to the adventurous hiker, the tropical climate and risk of disease on the fabled expedition should be the cream. Picture luxuriously humid days dragging your feet through ankle-deep mud for eight hours, before settling in to a gourmet dehydrated meal. Enjoy a freezing nights rest in a makeshift tent; doze off to the sound of torrential rain seeping through to your inflatable mattress, as the early morning sun signals the start of another day.
I cant say that I expected luxury upon my arrival in Papua New Guinea. As restrictions and standards to who can attempt this trek are strict, Id been training with a Victoria Police facilitated program for nearly a year. The trek was the end-game of a 12-month-long community engagement program for young people in Melbournes west. Id been hand-selected alongside my peers, deemed future leaders by their schools and based on their merit.
Yep, thats me. A future leader. A young lady with a bright future and the weight of the world on her shoulders, heading into battle. Yet, Id been fighting a battle in my own head in the lead-up. A battle that was much bigger than Id given credit.
At 15, in the depths of the Papa New Guinean jungle, came my first mental breakdown....
Brutal cold snap, Mt. Buller received 30 cm (11.8 inches) of snow overnight, the most in 14 years, Australia Parts of the Australian state of Victoria have woken up to snow on August 19 after shivering through a brutal cold snap. Mt. Buller received 30 cm (11.8...... Read more
For years now, I have been saying that the 20th Century was built one brick at a time, as and when it was needed, using ever growing amounts of surplus energy that were both very cheap and easily accessible.. and as Limits to Growth rears its ugly head more and more often, all the signs that we are no longer able to do this is becoming obvious; because we have now reached the stage when all those old bricks (and steel and concrete and.) start needing to be replaced while at the same time the new infrastructure required by the growth monster has to also be built.
Enter the Genoa bridge that collapsed last week.. photos of it crumbling weeks before the tragic event that seems to have killed 43 people were posted on social media. Im no structural engineer, but it looks pretty bad to me. Dangling cables and the middle buckling under its own weight are not good signs Falling apart comes to mind. Anyone in their right mind would have closed it down and more than likely condemned it, but no, lets not get a few lives get in the way of profits. At fifty years old, it wasnt particularly ancient, but shoddy workmanship and even mafia involvement in supplying dodgy concrete are issues making their way to the Italian media.
With Italy on the cusp of bankruptcy, h...
A teenage boy from Australia has pleaded guilty to hacking into Apple's network and downloading internal files, according to reports. The 16-year-old accessed 90 gigabytes worth of files, breaking into the system many times over the course of a year from his suburban home in Melbourne, reports The Age newspaper.
It says he stored the documents in a folder called 'hacky hack hack'.
Apple insists that no customer data was compromised. But The Age reports that the boy had accessed customer accounts.
In a statement to the BBC, Apple said: "We vigilantly protect our networks and have dedicated teams of information security professionals that work to detect and respond to threats. In this case, our teams discovered the unauthorised access, contained it, and reported the incident to law enforcement. We regard the data security of our users as one of our greatest responsibilities and want to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised."
Also at Reuters.
Read more of this story at SoylentNews.
Its a big week for Aussie stocks.
Im not much of a horse racing fan, but were basically coming around the bend and into the last straight for the earnings reporting season.
Things have gone smoothly until now. 48% of the companies that have reported earnings so far have beaten their estimates. Whats more, profits and dividends look strong.
One stock that caught my eye was Goodman Group [ASX:GMG]. The Age reported over the weekend that it plans to extend its warehouse to cater for booming logistics demand from e-commerce.
However, land values and rents are high in the areas they need to build. The solution? Go higher by building on top of the existing warehouse.
Ive reported previously on the same thing happening in New York. Its another example of how property values can keep rising where this type of development happens.
If you can draw more income from the same amount of land, that can only capitalise into the selling price.
In order to capitalise into the selling price, you need to be able to get financing for a development.
Thats not a problem for Goodman Group, but is proving somewhat harder for Crown Resorts Ltd [ASX:CWN].
It has plans in place to develop a luxury hotel and apartment complex in Melbourne. This is a major project it would be the tallest tower in Melbourne if built.
However, Crown says that it is struggling to find a development partner around the residential component of the project. Thats presumably because of the fear of apartment oversupply in the city.
Crown is supposed to have the project underway by February. If the project gets pulled, we can assume the property and credit cycle is finally weakening. Conversely, if it goes ahead, perhaps we can all keep dancing a little while longer.
Or maybe the finance team at Crown could give financial services company ING a call. The Australian reports ING has raised $1 billion via an Aussie dollar covered bond issue. The suggestion is that theyre going after the market share of the Big Four Aussie banks while they remain under pressure.
Thats a familiar theme if youve been reading The Daily Reckoning Australia for a while. But the suggestion of an Aussie property credit crunch, however much discussed, has yet to come to pass.
Much of what happens from here will of course depend on China. The Financial Times says Beijing continues to order its state-run banks to lend to infrastructure projects and exporters.
Well have to see how this shows up in the numbers. But theyre already looking good. New loans were up 75% in July from the same time last yea...
MELBOURNE, AAP Victorians who swap their old hot water system for a solar one can get a $1,000 rebate under a $60 million program.
The 10-year program starts immediately, premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday at solar hot water manufacturer Rinnai at Braeside.
It follows on from his Sunday announcement that a re-elected Labor government would pay for 650,000 homes to get solar panels under a $1.24 billion plan where owner-occupiers would repay half the cost through their bill savings.
Were putting solar panels and hot water systems on Victorian homes to help families save hundreds of dollars a year on their electricity bills, Mr Andrews said in a statement.
The government predicts the systems will save households between $160 to $400 a year in electricity bills.
The rebate is available to households with a combined income of up to $180,000 who live in their own home valued up to $3 million.
Houses can take part in the half price solar panels program or the $1,000 hot water rebate, but not both.
The rebate has been created so houses who cannot get solar panels because of roof design or shade can still get a reduction in energy bills, the government says.
What makes an ethical food future? What kind of agriculture can our planet sustain? How can we reduce demand on global resources? How can you be a change-maker in the unstoppable food movement?
Industrial food systems are key drivers of environmental destruction, from rainforests to reefs, and water supplies to climate change. Farmer and author of Call of the Reed Warbler Charles Massy, US crop scientist and director of the Poison Papers, and farmer, meatsmith, and president of AFSA Tammi Jonas discuss how regenerative agriculture can turn Australias ecologies and economies around, revitalizing rural communities while nourishing land, animals, and people.
Join us in Daylesford on Thursday 30 August for an inspiring and activating evening, or if you cant make it to the central highlands of Victoria, catch Jonathan and Charlie elsewhere on The Food Equation tour of Australia.
Victoria Labor government proposes rebates and zero interest loans to encourage another 650,000 homes to install another 2.6GW of rooftop solar. The post Victoria Labor pledges $1.2 billion in rebates, loans for rooftop solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.
Sonographs often used to determine sex of baby so the girls can be killed
It is a moment burned into the memory of a veteran sonographer.
A number of years ago, the sonographer was asked by a couple at their scan around 12 weeks to tell them the gender of their developing baby.
They said something along the lines of We need to know the sex, because if its a girl we are going to terminate it, they said.
You have to deal with things like terminal cancer and miscarriages when youre working as a sonographer. But this occasion, it still sickens me to this day.
Parents selectively aborting children based on their gender
New Australian research, revealed this month, has indicted that a group of parents could be aborting female babies because of a preference for sons. Its led to questions over whether it is necessary to provide parents with early information about the sex of their fetuses.
Already, many obstetricians and sonographers dont routinely provide gender information at the 12-week scan when people can still readily access abortion, largely because its not always accurate and there is rarely any medical purpose. Yet there is an unwillingness to follow in the path of China and India, where abortion of female foetuses is a well-identified problem, and there are bans on early gender reveals.
Advances in science and technology mean Australians are now able to find out the sex of their baby from as early as 10 weeks, via a blood test that also screens for chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome. Others may find out their babys sex during an ultrasound around the 12-week mark.
While ultrasound providers have different protocols on whether they reveal the gender of the baby at the first scan, its the stance of the Australasian Sonographers Association that they should play no part in the debate around gender selection.
The associations chief executive, Jodie Long, said if the sonographer was confident in being able to identify the gender, then they would provide that information if asked.
What the parents do with information is not for the sonographer to determine, she said
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