Back into the community

The average payout ratio is 70 per cent, 70 per cent of the $21 billion [profit the big four banks make] goes back into the community. There is a good story there.

– National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne to the Australian Financial Review, November 22, 2010 [Matthew Drummond: “Clyne turns on peers over banks row”]

It’s surely a sign of the regression of political discourse when a bank chief making a play for ‘the nice guy of banking’ title thinks the size of dividend payouts makes a good case for profits.

Published in: on 22 November, 2010 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Sydney Morning Herald op-eds translated into formal logic

The first in an occasional series. Now I don’t really know my syllogisms from my enthymemes, so further translation may be required. Sydney Morning Herald op-eds do not necessarily lend themselves to a logical treatment, and I have taken the liberty of supplying some unstated but necessary propositions. In other cases, I have unable to discern the missing propositions and have accordingly left them out. Unfortunately, this means not all premises lead to conclusions and not all conclusions derive from premises.

Elizabeth Farrelly, 19 October, 2009: Wake up, Greens, and savour the organic pork belly

1. Books about organic cooking ought to be literary and aesthetic delights, and contain jokes.

2. A book I bought about organic cooking turned out to be nether literarily nor aesthetically delightful, nor did it contain jokes.

3. The nature of books about organic cooking reflects the green agenda.

Therefore: 4. The green agenda is flawed by its lack of literary and aesthetic delight, particularly in regard to jokes.

5. The green agenda is naturally conservative.

6. The voters of the Higgins electorate are naturally conservative.

7. The Green Party is radical.

8. At the upcoming Higgins by-election, the winner will be the Party whose character reflects the views of the voters of the Higgins electorate.

9. The Green Party should attempt to win the upcoming Higgins by-election and future elections of its type.

Therefore: 10. The Green Party should stop being radical and become naturally conservative.

11. A clear sign of the Green Party becoming naturally conservative would be the appearance of a recipe for organic pork belly in future books about organic cooking.

Published in: on 20 November, 2009 at 10:37 am  Comments (4)  

The Art of War by Sun Tzu AND The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

Dear Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated books by Karl Marx, you might like to know that The Art of War by Sun Tzu AND The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx is now available.  You can order yours for just $9.95 by following the link below.

Product Description
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I’m actually pretty sure I never purchased or rated any books by Karl Marx from Amazon, by the way. But they certainly do make a good argument.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu AND The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Published in: on 9 September, 2009 at 10:10 pm  Comments (3)  

Scene in a Honolulu courtroom

Last Tuesday, September 2, in the court of District Judge Helen Gillmor:

Justice Department attorney Andrew Smith: OK, let’s assume that there was a NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act] obligation, and maybe there’s a NEPA document out there, maybe there’s not. But we don’t even need to get there. Plaintiffs’ complaint says they have to be injured by this project. Their only claim to injury…

Judge Gillmor: … is that the world might blow up, and so we shouldn’t get concerned about that. You’re right. Why was I even considering it? Mr. Smith, I mean, I really find that, you know, I don’t know if there’s anything to this case, but that’s just not a great direction to be going.

Smith: I’m not following you. I mean, if their only claim to injury is that the world’s …

Gillmor: That they might die.

Smith: Right.

Gillmor: Yes.

Smith: So they have to show that that’s a credible injury. Is it actually going to happen? I can’t just go into federal court and say, you know, ‘the United States is participating with Israel to launch a nuclear missile, satellite that has nuclear material in it, and that nuclear material might land on my house in Albuquerque. They didn’t do NEPA. I have standing.’ That’s what this case is about.

Gillmor: I understand what you just said, that hypothetical, but that’s not his [Wagner’s] hypothetical. His hypothetical … I mean, and you know, his hypothetical is that the world would be made into a, you know, hard iron rock, which is different than ‘I might be an unintended casualty of something that’s happening half around the world – way around the world, but the person next door wouldn’t be.’

Published in: on 10 September, 2008 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

A fly on the wall at the 2020 Summit

But the meeting’s facilitator, Insurance Australia Group’s Sam Mostyn, searching for solutions, not problems, replied: “Warwick, I’m looking for an idea.”

If parliament’s main committee room wasn’t carpeted, you could have heard a pin drop.

And McKibbin didn’t disappoint.

“The idea,” he replied, “is to build a framework.”

Soon everyone was piling onto the idea. After all, McKibbin wasn’t just proposing any old framework. It was, as Mostyn told the group, “a national framework, a big framework”.

But just as it seemed the room would erupt in some sort of national framework/co-ordinated policy/enabling institution fever, CSIRO economist Steve Hatfield-Dodds chipped in with a reality check.

“I think the idea we should have a co-ordinated approach to climate change does not qualify as big or new,” he proffered.

Before long, the nation’s best and brightest found themselves in a lengthy debate about what this thing might be called.

Yesterday afternoon they had their answer, as group leader Roger Beale revealed his panel’s first Big Idea: “a national, sustainability, population and climate change agenda”.

– John Breusch, “Getting to grips with the big one”, Australian Financial Review, 21 April, 2008.

Published in: on 21 April, 2008 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Get yourself a noutbuk

From a Russian McDonalds ‘help wanted’ ad, as run through Babelfish by Chris Doss and reported to the Left Business Observer-talk list:

Makdonalds pays more than you think! In the month of work into Makdonalds, you will quietly purchase to yourself noutbuk, plasma panel, stylish shmotki or something still! Moreover you await diverse bonusy.

VALUE YOUR TIME Together with the possibility to earn money we allow flexible schedule so that it would not be necessary to select between the work and the studies, but also, since in essence we work with the young people, you it awaits many merry measures and chances to appear ourselves in the most different regions.

GROW Each has the equal possibilities to be arranged to us to the work or, if you already work, to obtain addition to the wage and increase in the post.
Remember: that only, that can influence your advance on the career stairs, your activity, the energy, also, for the new achievements.

BE JOINED Yes, work not simple, but it hardens spirit, and it gives the habits, which will be highly useful in further life. You can directly now fill form and send it to us. If you value your time, Makdonalds – your place of work.

Published in: on 15 April, 2008 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

On the liberal use of artificial ice in the ruling of India

In the context of a discussion of the impact of climate on various races’ fitness to rule:

This may have to be modified a little, but only a little, if F. Galton should prove to be right in thinking that small numbers of a ruling race in a hot country, as for instance the English in India, will be able to sustain their constitutional vigour unimpaired for many generations by a liberal use of artificial ice, or of the cooling effects of the forcible expansion of compressed air. See his Presidential Advice to the Anthropological Institute in 1881.

– Alfred Marshall [1920 – but 1 ed. in 1890], Principles of Economics, 8 ed., p. 603.

Building your tomorrow today


I meant to write some more about this, linking it to the latest episodes in A Current Affair‘s or Today Tonight‘s (I can’t really tell them apart) long-running campaign to tell the unemployed how easy it is to get a job if they just had confidence or wore a shirt. But the footage has disappeared from the web, so I’ll just pass on this link: Owen Hatherley’s fantastic account of his day of ‘Jobseeker Mandatory Activity’.

Every job is a service. All organisations provide a service. All organisations have values, and visions. You too have values and visions, you just have to match yours with the organisation’s. Curiously enough, rather than demystifying, the motivational training makes the grimly mundane world of work (Southwark Pest Control is one of the examples we are given) into a baffling, messianic world of entrepreneurs sharing with each other their visionary visions and their valuable values….

Right at the end, as everyone hurriedly picks up their travel expenses, we’re told that we’re not to be seen here again. ‘I will next see you…’ ‘On TV!’ someone interjects. ‘As an entrepreneur!’ He’s impressed. ‘An entrepreneur, that’s the aim, isn’t it’.

Published in: on 3 December, 2007 at 10:10 am  Comments (1)  

This looks like a job for Doctor Abstraction!

Any regular readers needing some escapism during all this Keynes should go take a look at Orange Polyester’s Marxist superhero comic.

Published in: on 15 October, 2007 at 10:31 am  Comments (2)