A POISONED CHALICE ?

  On the 25th June, a day after the Labor parliamentarians elected Julia, I wrote a piece with the above title. Today is election day, and this paper is an updated version, which will apply to either Julia or Tony, who ever is elected.

I assume that the new P.M. will be introduced to a group of civil service advisors who will advise the P.M. of the state of play of most of the important factors that effect government including how the world situation will effect Australia and the current policies in dealing with them.

World Financial Collapse

Today the world is teetering on the brink of an extended economic collapse. Greece started the rot, but many other countries have a large debt, including Britain, that has just passed a horror budget involving many cuts. The USA has debt counted in trillions and Australia has used up its credit and has a large and increasing debt due to private borrowing rather than public borrowing.

If one little bubble burst the whole world would again be in trouble, but:

A) How could it be solved without getting into more debt?

B) Do the bankers have a solution?

C) Wont budget cuts mean more unemployment and more poverty?

The answers are no, no, and of course. But there are solutions. From 1911 to 1923 Dennison Miller, manager of the new Commonwealth bank supplied money at very low rates of interest for government projects. Thus the transcontinental railway loan was slightly more than 1% interest, now owned by Australia (whereas the Darwin railway, virtually broke, has been sold overseas.) He also provided money to finance WWI at less than 1% so Australia came out of this war without scads of debt that crippled many other countries.

There are other practical solutions to be found on the web but the banks would not consider them.

The fact is that infrastructure is not expected to make a profit and therefore cannot be expected to pay interest, but under the current economic system we do pay interest and this means increased taxation. Since there is a limit to the tax that citizens can pay, expenditure on infrastructure is severely limited making recovery from any downturn more difficult.

We complain about inadequate hospitals, schools, roads, public transport etc. The present financial system as run by the banks allocates insufficient funds at too high an interest rate. If the government were to take back the power of creating money this could change and is necessary if we are to achieve lower emissions. The American Monetary Act, now in front of the legislature in Washington, easily converted to Australian conditions, should be examined by Banks and government.

The PM will not be able to move against the Banks, the poisoned chalice is now truly poisonous. The PM will cop the blame, but the blame really lies with the banks for failure to recommend reforms that they might be forced to do if there was a huge crash big enough to wipe them out.

It should be recognised that Big Business, including the Banks, the Mining, Coal and Oil Industries have been fighting a battle for "Business as Usual" and they have won the present battle. They won at Copenhagen where most countries thought only of themselves and not of methods where most countries could benefit. They won at our elections by convincing one party to reject reform outright and the previous government by their decision to postpone action for two years. They claimed a carbon tax would be too expensive but it would have been easy to apply the carbon tax and reduce an employment tax as has been done in Europe where the cost of living has been stabilised.

To those who still claim that global warming is crap should get hold of a copy of "The Science of Climate Changes: Questions and Answers", Australian Academy of Science, Canberra. Published this month it is a 24 page document downloadable from the web. www.science.org.au/reports/climatechange2010.pdf

Oil Will Run Out

Consider the oil shortage likely to occur in the next few years. It is reported that the major oil wells throughout the world are in decline by 4% per annum. New projects are expensive and there is not much money around to finance them. The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico will put off future investors.

A cautionary note must be given here. It is claimed, with scientific backing, that there are large quantities of adiabatic oil available at a great depth. If true this could be a great tragedy because a large quantity of cheap oil will tell humanity that we are rich and can do anything, the population level will rise, but we will hit the limits to growth, many resources will run out.

Otherwise the demand for oil is rising especially from China and India, this will cause the price to rise within 3 years, inflation will set in, quite sufficient to cause the financial crash mentioned above.

The problem should be solved by building large concentrating solar generators and electric vehicles. The proposal to build an electric generator - the largest in the southern hemisphere - is taking a long time. It is probable that oil will have to be rationed in 3 years time so we should be saving oil now so that we can continue to manufacture fertilisers. While many manufacturers are busy making green equipment this has made little impression as more coal and oil continues to be used and exported. The CO2 level continues to rise, now above 390 ppm. and rising. There are still no electric cars on sale in Australia.

It is clear that the coal and oil industries intend to pursue business as usual. Thereby handing the PM a very poisonous chalice. The PM will cop the blame but it is clear that the blame lies with coal and oil. No solution will be found until industries realise that there is no future in coal and oil and they should use all their profits to develop alternate energy. The solutions they propose, sequestration and In Situ Coal Gasification, can only be regarded as temporary solutions. To follow the lure of "business as usual" will be cheaper now but very expensive in future.

Population - problem and control.

Finally we should consider the question of Population. It should be evident to all that we cannot continue to have population growth indefinitely. The millions now starving, food and water shortages, suggest that the current population has exceeded sustainability limits.

It must be expected that food shortages, unaffordable oil and lack of water will cause insurrection in many countries and even the possibility of war by a greedy country desiring to take over some one else’s oil well. Worldwide problems of this kind will cause an increase in immigration that will please those who foolishly want more workers. They will require more housing, more education, more transport and more food and clothing. All difficult to supply so the P.M. will cop the blame. But the numbers will be so great that as a matter of humanity we will have to accept them.

The only satisfactory way of controlling population is to see that our people are well fed and educated. It is very noticeable that western developed countries where both boys and girls get a good education, then their birth rate goes down to below 2%

Australia has a good education but it will be necessary to give all immigrants whether by sea or plane, a crash course in English and Australian dangers (snakes, sharks, financial sharks, outback conditions and family planning).

Objections are raised by the Catholic Church Authorities and other right wing religions that say "man must go forth and multiply" without realising that this means accepting the same fate as a rat caught in a rat plague. The PM should bring pressure to bear on the Vatican to help bring them up to date in their thinking.

We wish to retain our civilisation, so do the great majority of peoples across the world. We need to show an example for the world as Scandinavian countries do. The cost of not doing these reforms will be greater than the cost of not using coal. We should give 0.7% of GDP to the United Nations so that they can improve education for the children of impoverished nations.

We are fighting a war, the first battle has been won by "Business as Usual" but there will be many battles to come. We must all be prepared to speak up. All statements made by the opposition should be answered, We should not be silent for fear of offending someone else. We need to seek solutions that help people across the world, rather than those that only help ourselves. We should always declare our aims and publish them at home and overseas.

We are biological units with intelligence to know what good living conditions are and we have the knowledge to provide such conditions without polluting the environment both for ourselves and the animal kingdom.

Dick Clifford

Vice President

Humanist Society of South Australia

August 21st 2010

The Church Needs More Than Mary Mackillop - A Failure of Stewardship

  
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The Author runs a small charity to help up to 250 Liberian Children go to school
They were in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana and were returned to Monrovia, in October 2008. Conditions are worse in Liberia than they were in Ghana.
Your donation, however small will be welcome. Please make out your cheque to "Liberian Refugee Scholarship Fund" c/o 120 Goodman Rd Elizabeth Sth, S. Australia, 5112

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