Posted by: graemebird | October 11, 2010


“The Murray-Darling Basin Guide: Bunfight Guaranteed”

Whereas the congestion tax argument is divided between the stupid side and the evil side; this water business is split up into the purely evil, vicious, and stupid side ….. and the stunned and disbelieving side. The stunned and disbelieving side are just about to lose everything they have ever worked for, going generations back. The environmentalists who decided that river health meant using less water and destroying agriculture are lunatics beyond belief.

Given the task of sorting out a pricing system for water, the environmentalists instead, came up with a scheme to destroy economic activity on 14% of the continent. They are just so hopeless, as are their alleged right-wing critics in the economic profession. I’m sorry to have to go back to the most basic economics here. But getting the basics right is what good policy is all about.

“THE Murray-Darling Basin Authority has released its guide to the draft plan. It recommends drastic cuts of between 27 per cent and 37 per cent in water entitlements for consumptive use (mainly irrigation) across the basin……”

Since when has river health, and rational pricing BEEN ABOUT USING LESS WATER? This may come as a shock to you. But I’m sorry. Thats not what it is about. When has rational pricing meant using less of something? Always rational pricing means a greater total supply. Always.

Its just like the evil congestion tax advocates. I see congestion tax in the context of getting more driving done, more quickly, at a cheaper price. I see having a pricing scheme for water as using more water, producing more agricultural output, at the same time as the river maintaining some sort of minimum flow, pretty much the whole time.

Not these people and not their alleged right-wing economics critics. How can we let these lunatics ruin the lives of everyone who lives along the Murray-Darling basin? These environmentalists are a fucking plague. We’ve got to do something about this menace as fast as possible. And look how our rightist economists are at a loss. Because they’ve all decided that we are supposed to lose our food production. Because they don’t understand economics they get wild ideas in their minds like the idea that food production is supposed to go overseas. Africa or somewhere. So we have now 100′s of small towns, about to go to the wall because of this lunacy, and the alleged right-wing economists don’t have a great deal to say about it.

“…..This amounts to between 3000 and 4000 gigalitres of surface water being clawed back annually. There was a time when the Wentworth Group – a key environment group – proposed cuts of 1500GL….”

Where are the right-wing economists in response to this madness? We weren’t supposed to reduce the amount of water used. Some of you right now might be a bit confused. So its back to the basics for you.


Does the farmer pump water when its raining and when the river is high? No he doesn’t. Why not? Water doesn’t have a price. The farmer pumps the water when the river is low. Why? Because if its raining he doesn’t need to pump the fucking water. So the idea is not to destroy the farmers. This is what these lunatics are going to do. They will destroy every last farmers who is in any sort of debt. But the whole idea of pricing was simply to reverse the above logic.

Under rational pricing, the farmer would pump when it was raining. Why? Because thats when the water would be free. Now how is he going to acheive this? He’s going to invest in his own water storage and pumping capacity.

So we don’t need to starve him off. Quite the contrary. He needs more investment resources so that he can build the capacity, to pump when its raining, and not pump when the river is too low to flow. So we need to take him and his employees out of the tax system and then hit him with a radically different pricing scheme. But not one that means less water used overall. Rather one that means MORE water used overall. We don’t need a pricing scheme that means less agricultural output. Rather we need pricing so as to INCREASE agricultural output and give us a booming farm sector.

What these lunatic environmentalists are about to do is just such a monumental fuckup in policy, and economic thought, that it brings ALL our education into question.


I’m told that aquifers don’t replenish from the surface, or not to any great degree, and that we are essentially “mining water” from these places. Now to the extent that this is true we are setting us up for a world of hurt. So how do we handle this matter? Well clearly aquifers ought to be pumped with great vigor, but only during a drought. And it strikes me that you could never have too much grey water going into these aquifers when it was raining or the rivers were high. Or alternatively you had rerouted grey water from out of town.

So a price system on aquifers means pricing matters in such a way as to effect this sort of paradoxical behavior. Now we can take farmers and their employees out of the tax system. But its one step too far to actually subsidise them. So one doesn’t favor actually PAYING the farmers to pump water into the aquifers. The idea then might be (depending on technical matters) to have a payback system for aquifers. If you can pump two litres into these aquifers when there is a flood on, or be re-routing from town runoff, then you have one litre that you can use of sell when there is a drought on. Something like that.

Now this water business. This is a serious environmental matter. And the last thing you want to do is to leave serious environment matters TO THE FUCKING ENVIRONMENTALISTS!!!!!!!!!! You would have to have just woken up from a decades-long sleep or be addicted to hallucinogens, to even contemplate leaving a legitimate environmental issue to the environmentalists.

The enironmentalists will destroy the environment, and they will destroy me and you too … or at least tens of thousands of people who lack political clout. So do something about it. You there at Catallaxy. Shake yourself out of your normal torpor and nihilism and DO SOMETHING. This is a massive national disaster looming down on us. Its a national security crisis for one thing. Since we cannot practice defense-in-depth without powerful local food production.


We must take more and not less water from the rivers, and we ought to start by reassuring the farmers that this is indeed the goal of policy. We see that enriching of the rural sector through tax exemption …. combined with really twisting their arms on water pricing, would lead a situation where irrigation WAS ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE A TWO-STEP PROCESS.

Since you would pump from the river when it was raining or when the river was high ….. and you would refrain from doing so when the river was low or when there were drought conditions …… it then follows that you pump from the river at a different time to when you actually use the water.

Its this two-step notion of irrigation that is the key here. And it could mean that the farmers would take considerably more water than before, and yet the river would stay healthy.

Now clearly this would take years of investment in order to effect this benign situation. completely. Its not something that we can expect to just happen immediately. The answer lies in years of patient investment. But the people on both sides of this debate seem to think its the river or its the farmers. They appear to believe that the river is served by the Darwinian destruction of the farmers, or the farmers must be served by the Darwinian destruction of the river. Yet they don’t appear to understand that the interests of everyone lies in pricing and tax exemptions, to make the farmers both willing and able to effect the required capital investment.



  1. I’d add that no one who has not visited the Barmah forests on the Murray River and the destroyed red gum forests along the river system or second best read and understood a lot about their state today can fairly or sensibly or relevantly comment on MDB prospects or plans.

  2. Right. But they don’t even have the in-principle understanding of how pricing can raise agriculutral production AND AT THE SAME TIME leave more water for the river.

    Water is not the scarce resource that its made out to be. It falls from the sky, and it makes up most of the earths surface. Yet we are heading for a world of trouble when it comes to being able to provide adequate good fresh water. Getting pricing (not price, priCING) right is what its all about. But this in the context of the farmers having the resources to invest, in response to that pricing. The way both sides would have it, there won’t be the pricing signals there needs to be, and on top of that the farmers will be too impoverished to respond to the pricing signals, were they there in the first place.

    Everywhere I see incompetence in policy. But here we are talking greater than the usual non-understanding.

  3. Graeme

    The over-allocation of MDB water to irrigation combined with past actions that caused soil impoverishment, salinity and acidification led to to precisely the degraded water ecosystems and distortion of markets for land and water that MDB plans are desperately trying to redress.

    Plus, the Basin has also experienced downward changes in rainfall and water flows and increases in temp which are consistent with the problems that may be expected from climate change in the future.

    • Yes I agree. But the better part of the damage to the river must be done because of the HOARDING factor. You see you don’t have shortages and hoarding under a functional price system. You don’t have shortages of Van Gough paintings. Nor of Teak. Nor do you have shortages of caviar.

      You have shortages when you have phantom pyramiding. So that you can have shortages of cash, when you have a banking collapse. When you have a banking collapse you can have hoarding of cash and authentic shortages of cash, because the act of bank-cash pyramiding sets up the possibility of shortages and hoarding.

      And the only other case where you have shortages in the free market is with government price controls. But what we have with water is just the absence of anything approaching a functioning price system.

      So you imagine the situation where the fish, the amphibians, the trees, the underwater plants, the native plants that depend on runoff. All the associated networked national life of the basin……

      ….. imagine where the whole natural network is crying out for water!!!!!!


      So we have to reverse that logic. Because most of the damage has to be done in these periodic situations of natural-world and human desperation.

  4. Truth is that economists have little to nothing to contribute solving the issues related to this river system.

    Why? Because mainstream economics today is pre-occupied with secondary questions and processes, such as analysing trade-offs by use of tools such as CBAs which are not at all suited for resolving trade-offs between long-term viability of eco-social systems and short-term performance of what are in effect merely governance systems.

    This is because cba methodology is based on a simplistic economics which conventionally assumes all systems under analysis are mechanistic.

    There’s a logical inconsistency at the heart of such an approach which contributes to its lack of usefulness.

    • “Truth is that economists have little to nothing to contribute solving the issues related to this river system.”

      On one level I have to agree with you. But on a technicality. You said “ECONOMISTS”. I don’t know what makes my fellow graduates so hopeless. I don’t understand what makes bad economics, left and right, upwardly mobile.

      I don’t know whether you chose your word carefully. I can agree with you I suppose on that point with a bit of a stretch. But had you said “ECONOMIC SCIENCE” then I would have to strongly disagree. Because economic science is what is needed here more than anywhere, to light the path forward for a revanchist and booming agricultural sector, coupled with replenished aquifers, and dovetailed with the most magnificent natural ecology on both sides of the river and in the river itself. We should aim for something appropriately glorious.

  5. And most importantly: a river is like a mirror.

    It reflects the care given by people whose lives depend on it.

    If you approach a river as an abstract resource whose only or main function is to be “pumped” then you can hardly be surprised when at some point this exploitative relationship causes all sorts of reactions, breakdowns and failures.

    How people take care of social relationships and how they take care of ecological relationships are the same question and require fundamentally the same approach.

  6. Well pumping is important as distasteful as this phrase may sound. As disgraceful and unacceptable as my unfortunate phraseology is; there is only so much of the time when its actually raining, and/or when the river is high.

    So its not one of these situations where we would expect great productivity of capital. Because to do this right we would have to have a radical oversupply of piping, pumps, dams, tanks, and so forth. Massive overcapacity. “Bigger is better” and all that.

    I didn’t really think about the sexual metaphor until I read your stuff. But the fact is we have to pump hard and with great vigor when the time is right, lest we miss our opportunity. Being as the entirety of the pricing system ought to be structured such that we never need to pump the river, when she is not up for a good pumping.

    We can give her a helluva thrashing when she’s good and ready. But we must not rape her, or otherwise force ourselves upon her, when she needs her juices retained all to her own ends.

    Without rational pricing this is exactly what we will wind up doing time after time after time…… (Fast, hard, and continuously) when she is in a state of unreadiness. THIS is when the damage is done. THIS is when the hurt does not heal. But the debauch on the river ecology is always covered over by a Niagara, and a Victoria-Falls of human sympathy …. FOR OTHER HUMANS. Or at least a politicians sympathy, for drastically affected voters.

    We ought to notice that the exact time when everyone is weeping tears (legitimately) for the humans who face financial ruin, and having to kill all their own stock ….. We ought notice that this comes at the end of massive abuse to the ecology of the river, since the leadup to such a crisis, involves everyone taking from the river at the exact same time that the river needs to retain her lubrication.

    Now supposing you notice a touch of what you take to be hypocrisy in how I’m phrasing this. A touch of hypocrisy, in amongst many other offences.

    Suppose you say to yourself that I would always put these farming families before ecological values. Well yes I would say that you are right, but thats not the point. Its true that even under the scheme that I would propose it would take a two to three decades of continuing investments and capital upgrade …….. to get to where we controlled the hydrology so famously well, that no-one so much as thought of taking from the river when it was not the right time for the river to put out.

    This is a medium term prioritization problem, that must last two to three decades ……. from the start date of my application of tax exemptions and rational pricing.

    For two to three decades we would have a situation where I would veer in favor of the economy and you might veer in favor of the river-ecology.

    But once the capital investment had built up to the point where the river would never be molested when she was not working with sufficient lubrication, then there would be no trade-off between your inclinations and my own.

    • I must say I do not understand how anyone can favour “the economy” over “the river-ecology”. Not least because the river, the material fact of the river, actually sustained countless numbers of people for aeons without reference to such an abstract, indeed arid, in this context, human invented and therefore necessarily truncated notion of economy.

      • Right. My willingness to compromise the river ecology is a medium term thing only. But wherever ones sympathies lie, we cannot have a good situation without the “market socialism” pricing scheme that would eventually bring that good situation about.

    • Ho Ho.

      Whitman’s take was better.

      You sea! I resign myself to you also–I guess what you mean,
      I behold from the beach your crooked fingers,
      I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me,
      We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,
      Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse,
      Dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you.

      Sea of stretch’d ground-swells,
      Sea breathing broad and convulsive breaths,
      Sea of the brine of life and of unshovell’d yet always-ready graves,
      Howler and scooper of storms, capricious and dainty sea,
      I am integral with you, I too am of one phase and of all phases.

      from “Song of Myself”

  7. To gaze at a river made of time and water
    And remember Time is another river.
    To know we stray like a river
    and our faces vanish like water.

    To feel that waking is another dream
    that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
    we fear in our bones is the death
    that every night we call a dream.

    To see in every day and year a symbol
    of all the days of man and his years,
    and convert the outrage of the years
    into a music, a sound, and a symbol.

    To see in death a dream, in the sunset
    a golden sadness–such is poetry,
    humble and immortal, poetry,
    returning, like dawn and the sunset.

    Sometimes at evening there’s a face
    that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
    Art must be that sort of mirror,
    disclosing to each of us his face.

    They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
    wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
    humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
    a green eternity, not wonders.

    Art is endless like a river flowing,
    passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
    inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
    and yet another, like the river flowing.

    – Jorge Luis Borges


    you don’t have to agree with every last thing that the great statesman Ron Paul says here to feel how it resonates with our own situation.

    Being patriotic may mean being gung ho. But not always. And not when we cannot know for sure if our leaders know how to target force and violence in an intelligent and moral way.

    This is policy drift we are seeing. The callousness and torpor is there in our neglect of the situation. When the Prime Minister has not dropped all other engagements to concentrate on war, then thats a war we need no part of. War-Making can work in favor of the national interest but only if engagements are BIG-AND-SHORT.

    I visit the websites and media “events” of the American think-tanks and I see them talking about “THE LONG WAR” And my question is “can we make our wars short?” And if we don’t get a good answer from the Americans can I ask you all here in Australia if we can agree on making our wars short? Can we at least agree on making that our intention? And if not can we vote on it?

    Can we make our wars short?

    Can we vote on it?

    I don’t know about you but I think our wars, if unavoidable, ought to at least be short.

    Here is the statesman of the new millenium talking:

  9. What a magnificent financial system we have. This is the financial system that everyone at Catallaxy defended with such fervor that every monetary thread was turned into a thread of doom.

    Fractional reserve is so effective …. at ripping people off, that Wall Street is booming, even as their benefactors are cracking under the great depression part 2. At least in the first great depression Wall Street had to tighten its belt.

    Not this time around. Not this time around. And yet ignorant fools like JC and Sinclair defend the system.

    How can it be denied now that this financial system is just a convenient way for the financial sector to extort resources from the rest of us.

    How do these people maintain themselves in a condition of such pure ignorance year after year. I started arguing against fractional fiat in 2005. In 5 years these guys have proved unable to learn a damn thing.

  10. That’s because they’re dumb lapdogs, faithful servants of capital, no matter what.

    Tariq Ali was here last week and spoke to an overflow crowd at the Opera House mostly about Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems to be the intention of the US government to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, for generations. What is all this about, he asked? The military-industrial complex thinks endless war is good for the economy, or what? It’s not about defeating terrorism, not least because the state terrorism of the US isby far the greatest instantation of this in the world today.

  11. I’ve been watching at Catallaxy for these alleged economists to apply elementary price theory to the problem of water and they will not do it.

    Perhaps they are embarrassed by being preempted by me on this matter. JC came close to it by asking a rep. from the policy making outfit (ie Cameron) if we would be allowed to pump water for free when the river is high and flowing all the way to the ocean. But he didn’t get an answer. So Cameron has let us down there. But JC’s good question is the closest thing to price theory that Catallaxy has come up with. If I was JC I would ask the question again and I wouldn’t let up until I got an answer. (Cambria I don’t ask much and I don’t ask often. Keep pressing this fellow for an answer. )

    Nor have the newspapers I’ve been reading been any help on this matter. So here we have all these graduates, and when the chips are down they withdraw their training, and leave us at the mercy of the environmentalists. All they say in effect is “settle down and don’t be too extreme” and they end up tagging along with the extremists trying to gently hold them back a tiny bit. As if they are hedging their own position rather than openly saying what must be done. Economic theory tells us exactly what must be done.

    The farmers and their employees must be taken out of the tax system, and price theory must be applied with some real nastiness. Its not the price that counts its the PRICE DIFFERENTIAL and the timing of price changes at each locality. This gives both the resources and the necessity for a market to be established in water. For hydrology to be controlled and water to be moved around. And one day it may make the ultimate water solution possible. The desalination canals being built from the South Australian Coast all the way to the red centre.

    To do the above cost-effectively may take a thousand years. The idea is to start slowly now. “Make Haste Slowly” as Julius Caesar said. Start on a budget of just 5000 a day now. Once we get past the privately owned areas into no-mans-land we will have a situation where private interests will see the value in buying land on either side of the canal. And if it starts slowly and persistently it will get to a point where it is self-financing.

  12. The speed of water flow is an even better indication of what the price of water ought to be then the raw depth of the water. After all the farmer could potentially put heavy sand of some sort in his river to slow the pace of its flow. If the farmer were to dredge his section of water to improve its flow-rate, then this would be helping people down-river and it might be that if the flow-rate was used to determine how cheaply he could pump the water this might be the better metric.

    But this is a minor point. I just mention this because it came up with congestion charging as well. If you had privateers who were allowed to charge on the basis of congestion, you might get them squeezing off their roads to create that congestion to charge. Rather you might charge on the basis of speed that the cars were flowing, up to the legal speed limit. Or beyond, which would be a disincentive to excessive speed.

    But then you would be allowing them to charge when there would not be any congestion otherwise. So then the idea is to limit the number of hours each day where they are allowed to charge.

    I mention all this because people might be under the impression that congestion and water charging really is straight-forward. But there are a few aspects to it. You would have to talk about the height of the river and the flow-speed to get a really good formula for charging.

    Basically you definitely want extreme differential in prices depending on conditions. And so these congestion chargers who say they are sending a “price signal” by whacking up the harbour bridge toll during peak time …… BUT NOT MAKING IT FREE IF YOU GET UP EARLY OR SLEEP IN …… they really aren’t doing their job.

    You’ve got to be able to have the water free when conditions are right for it. This is an absolute must. You cannot make the differential in pricing as extreme as possible unless you make the water free when the river has sufficient water. Which means that the water is EITHER/OR …. the water is either fairly deep or moving quickly in your area. Or it may not be deep or moving but its actually raining in your area.

    Also there is another misconception and that is that you can judge the matter by the end point only. So you look at the river right at the end of it, and if there is water flowing to the ocean you say PUMP NOW FELLAS THE WATER IS FREE ALL THE WAY ALONG. And when the water stops flowing to the ocean you tell them the charges have just gone up to ten dollars a tonne. Actually thats not a bad idea from the point of view of sheer simplicity. But its not the best system because evaporation is such that it just wouldn’t make that much sense. You could have huge amounts of water going to waste up river which you are charging too much for, and still nothing coming out at the mouth. The river is just too long, and evaporation is too much of a factor, for such simplistic thinking. However the sheer simplicity of the prescription is an advantage if the people are too stupid to agree on any other method.

    As a second thought on these matters, the mouth of the river method of charging, wrong and simplistic that it is ….. probably ought to be used as a first draft method. As the interim method. Because it is so quick and easy to apply. Because it is so simplistic. So right from the start you could have some bloke monitoring the mouth of the river around the clock. And anyone pumping when water isn’t flowing to the ocean has to know he is being charged a premium amount. And yet when the flowing stops pumping is for free along the entire river. Well as silly as it is its an easy system which we might start immediately. So having rejected this idea as silly I now say that could be a very good start point.

  13. Graeme, the notion you appear to advocate of centralised “experts” optimally designing economic instruments in water allocation and access contradicts neo-liberal (economic rationalist, etc) thinking which purportedly argues for decentralised interactions and decision-making among individuals within free markets.

    In fact the federal government approach in recent decades of encouraging decentralised decision-making in natural resource management of river systems, has been influenced to a great degree by the neo-liberal brand of medicine which in theory advocates encouraging and funding the community-based NRM bodies that exist to decide on key matters, rather than government per se.

    You appear to be attempting to subvert the very ideology you espouse.

  14. Yeah you may be right there Philomena. They don’t want to embrace market socialism perhaps. And this despite the fact that they have no interest in designing workable private infrastructure on this matter.

    So they are ruled by group norms and taglines and not by recourse to the intellect. Like they would say “YOU SAID MARKET SOCIALISM. STALINIST!!!!!” You know that sort of crazed mentality. That holier than thou attitude where these guys, who aren’t serious libertarians in the first place, try and wrong-foot you by pretending to be more ideologically pure than oneself.

    I tried to talk about private-non-freehold property titles and the dummies just were not interested. One of them went so far as to say that all the roads ought to be sold to 13 different companies.

    If this was done at freehold, it would amount to a blockade. You would walk out of your door and immediately be guilty of trespass. So it transpired that they weren’t libertarians at all because they seemed to relish the technocratic responsibility they would have at regulating these horrible new privateers.

    Furthermore they appeared to be happy for the Chinese communists to have a controlling interest in these roads. This they called “free enterprise.”

    So yes I think you have this story pretty right. They are prisoners of a mental straight-jacket.

    I myself think that you cannot have private ownership of a road, because by what right can you stop people from going from A to B. If we arrived in this continent anew, how could somebody rightfully block my path, so as to not allow me to ride my horse, at least in the curved path from A to B. So I do not see how freehold property title to roads could ever be justified.

    Roping off land for private use is justified only by intensive use and improvement of that land. Only by this method is the conflict of interest resolved.

    So title to a road would have to be non-freehold. And charging rights would have to be in accordance with norms better established by some decades of market socialism. The simple clear rules will have to be DISCOVERED by the practice of market socialism. Since I don’t think they can be interpolated apriori. Or if they can I don’t think they can be both interpolated and agreed upon.

  15. Define market socialism. Never heard the term before Graeme.

    • I’ll get back to you on that. Gotta go for a couple of hours.

  16. Did you know that both money and the market were invented in the Middle East? Specifically in Lydia, what is know Turkey, but then was part of the Persian Empire. Yep, Iran again must take a bow. In the archaeological record the oldest traded material is obsidian which was mined at a single source in southern Turkey but found all over the ME. The very first coins were made by the Persians.

    The city of Sardis in Lydia was the site of the first retail market where anyone could come and sell, for money, whatever they had. This was around 630 BC.

  17. I’ve tried to get this one through at Unleashed. Its hard to extrapolate what is going on in the tiny little minds of the neoclassical economists at Catallaxy. But I’m beginning to think that in their ignorance they consider that Australian agriculture is nonviable. I’m thinking that in their stupidity they imagine that the various bailouts and subsidies prove that Australia lacks the necessary “COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE” in agriculture, and that the whole business of food production ought to really go offshore.

    If this is not the case, and nothing of the sort is going on in the little mind of Sinclair Davidson, or has drifted in front of the tunnel vision of Jason Soon, then why do we not see a vigorous defense of the farmers? Why do we not see them wanting to apply price theory? Why do we not see them applying their knowledge to head off the potential menace of the destruction of all the networked businesses associated with the Murray Darling basin?

    Ignorance in the economics profession is a continuing hazard for us all.

    Here is the post:

    There appears to be an almost Soviet-Style loathing for the kulacks in this story. But the reality is that the timing of water usage by the farmers is entirely predictable and the result of boneheaded city-based policy-making.

    The policy-makers undoubtedly share this powerful hatred of the farming community. And the disaster that is coming down the river is bipartisan. Because the right-wing neoclassical economists appear to see Australian agriculture as nonviable. They seem to think that periodic bailouts and various subsidies prove that Australian agriculture lacks the necessary “Comparative Advantage.” Of course if anyone were to express this point of view it would prove only their own misunderstanding of comparative advantage, the effect of terrible pricing policies for water, and basic ignorance in economics.

    I’m extrapolating but I cannot understand the tepid defense of the farmers by the right. They will not apply price theory, and all they seem to want to say to the environmentalist menace is “don’t be so extreme about it.”

    The problem is ignorance in economics. The Keynesians are crazy. But the neoclassical rightists are by and large incredibly ignorant. I see an almost perfect storm of upward-mobility for the stupid in the field of economics.

  18. Market Socialism was an idea that came up in the history of economic thought, wherein various leftists were responding to the critiques of Ludwig Von Mises.

    This was where the socialists of the time thanked Mises for advising of them of the fatal flaw of communism lacking a pricing mechanism. And so they wanted to graft a capitalist price system onto a communist system. Which is impossible. But what is not impossible is to sort out a pricing system just for infrastructural goods. And peak-time profiteering will get the most out of these infrastructural goods while at the same time providing the incentives for the private provision of these goods or their alternatives.

    This idea of congratulating Mises for his insight and then claiming that the problem had been overcome didn’t stay in favor. It was easier I’m supposing to just run down the Austrian School of economics.

  19. Perhaps its my blood pressure that is forcing some of these comments through moderation at Unleashed. So where oh where are people talking about differential pricing and tax exemptions. I’m not seeing it. Nowhere am I seeing it. And yet its such basic stuff.

    Graeme Bird :
    13 Oct 2010 2:42:04pm

    Hayek talked about price signals conveying information. But this story is incomplete. Price signals bring with them not merely information. But the resources and incentives ENABLING people to deal with this information.

    Without rational pricing the farmers have not, cannot, and will not invest in the capacity to control hydrology necessary for them and the river ecology to survive and thrive. This is why we are always having to bail them out. It is not their doing. It is the result of incompetence in policy.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Survival :
    13 Oct 2010 3:34:34pm

    Both incompetence in policy and farming methods. Not to mention cotton and rice.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    13 Oct 2010 7:38:37pm

    No its exclusively incompetence in policy. Since you need the pricing to justify the investments in water management. Water management might mean forgoing the production of crops that require a lot of water. Or it may mean storing vastly greater amounts of water then anyone previously thought necessary. Or it may mean running PVC pipes under the soil which provide water to crops at a level where evaporation is minimal ….. and so forth.

    But in all cases the alternatives are not being invested in, because the price mechanism which would allow-for-and-justify the investment is not there. There is no point in sharing the blame around. The blame is to be sheeted off exclusively to the economic incompetence of the city-based policy-makers.

    If pricing is not there the system is paralysed. Decision-making is paralysed. Thats why for example, all attempts to institute “true communism” have lead to immediate famine.

    Reply Alert moderator

  20. philip Mitchell Graham :
    13 Oct 2010 5:12:15pm

    This has nothing to do with survival. It is about laziness. Human’s who do not choose to learn and grow in this life do not deserve to survive, because they are in denial of the one thing that makes our species great.

    Australia’s greatest rivers are worth more than the mundane lifestyles of 100000 people.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    13 Oct 2010 7:45:23pm

    Yes I agree. The 100 000 policy-makers who will not learn their business ought to go. They ought to be all sacked. They ought to step aside in favor of people who can do the job. Unfortunately it will be their victims …. the farmers .. and those who buy food, who pay the price of their failure.

    Lets get it straight. Its not the farmers who have failed. Its a failure of policy if people are too stupid to implement the lessons of elementary price theory.

    Reply Alert moderator

  21. Graeme Bird :
    11 Oct 2010 10:22:27pm

    Back to basics. Its NOT about how much is taken from the river(GET IT RIGHT LUKE). Its about WHEN!!

    Does the farmer pump water when its raining and when the river is high? No he doesn’t. Why not? Water doesn’t have a price. The farmer pumps the water when the river is low. Why? Because if its raining he doesn’t need to pump the water.

    So the idea is not to destroy the farmers, nor to set limits for how much water they can pump. This is what these lunatics are going to do. They will destroy every last farmer who is in any sort of debt. But the whole idea of pricing is simply to reverse the above logic.

    Under rational pricing, the farmer would pump the water when its raining, and when the river is high. And he would refrain from doing so in a drought. Why? Because rational pricing would encourage him to do so in his own interests.

    The level of incompetence in our decision-makers is astonishing. The production of many economics graduates every year does not appear to have helped any.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Curly :
    11 Oct 2010 11:04:06pm

    Ok so we change the time when farmers pump water out of the MDB. That will fix it you say.

    Doubt it.

    Seems to me when there is a drought on you will want to water your crop.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    11 Oct 2010 11:52:48pm

    Of course you will. But how will you do so in a drought? You will not have the money to do so. And the water will not be there in any case.

    The answer is in making irrigation a two-step process. And this is only possible via

    1. the enrichment of the farmer by taking him and his employees out of the tax system ….

    2. Twisting his arm via pricing, to invest enough to enable this two-step process.

    3. One and two leading to massive capital investment in pumping and storage capacity.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Rupert :
    12 Oct 2010 8:26:11am
    Taking farmers out of the tax system?

    That has been happening for years as my taxation law lecturer, who was a taxation law barrister, informed us one day. Much to the chagrin of the RM Williams wearing lot.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    12 Oct 2010 3:22:43pm

    No it hasn’t. They still are up for company tax, payroll etc. And their employees have to pay income tax.

    What you may mean is that we don’t get much tax out of them. Rather the bankers get all the interest payments. This is true, and so taking them out of the tax system is not an expensive prospect. In fact it will send many of them into retrenchment. Since now there will be no advantage in making tax deductible expenditures.

    Your point is a fair one in terms of showing that we have not much to lose. Some folks get angry at the farmers since they see them as being welfarised. Since it appears that they are always being bailed out. But that they are always being bailed out is to a great degree a function of incompetent policy-making.

    What is so damned hard about economic graduates understanding and applying price theory? Like I said I’m not hassling the rest of you. But I learned the same stuff as some of these guys. Why are they so unable to simply apply price theory? Its beyond belief.

    Supposing energy to small business was not distributed under something approaching a working price system? What would happen then is that all small business would periodically need to be bailed out because they would be shut down by energy shortages. This is a key reason why we wind up bailing out farmers so often. We have periodic floods and droughts and the shortages and oversupply of water that results is because we lack proper pricing for water. Hence the welfarisation of the farmer.

    Under communism it was like that in all products and not primarily water. There was ubiquitous shortages and then massive oversupply of gear nobody wanted. So we have to stop this poopy-pants attitude to the farmer when the assistance they have gotten is really the result of cluelessness in the alleged smart set in Canberra.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    12 Oct 2010 5:05:20am

    No I didn’t say that. What will fix things is to have a pricing system for water. The proper pricing of water, coupled with tax exemptions for primary production, would lead to the capital investment necessary to make this change of timing possible.

    They are not just going to water their crops when its raining, and not water them when the earth is parched. Attempt to get your act together. Is that what you thought I was claiming? My goodness man. Do try to keep up.

    Reply Alert moderator

    More tax exemptions :
    12 Oct 2010 11:26:02am

    coupled with tax exemptions for primary production, *


    Try to keep up Graeme. Primary producers pay little tax.

    Now get your act together and understand the for years tax exemptions have not led to capital investment on the majority of irrigators farms.

    I guess it is really more of the same, taxpayers again paying for the upgrade to systems on farms via subsidies and tax exemptions.

    Having a pricing system for water and capital investment will not fix things alone in the MDB as I’m sure you’re aware Graeme. But it has to start somewhere.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    12 Oct 2010 3:31:57pm

    No you try and keep up. I did not say that primary producers pay a great deal of tax. Where did I say that? Not once did I make that claim. Get your act together. But the fact is the farmers are liable to taxes same as the rest of us. And this incentivizes them against running a profit every year. And this leads them on a knife-edge to potential failure should anything go wrong.

    This is where we pick up the story. This is why the water policy idiocy will wipe all these guys out. They are vulnerable right from the start. For one thing taxes on profits means that interest is tax deductible. Meaning that farmers borrow more than they otherwise would, rather than go into retrenchment.

    This is where the clueless-in-Canberra messed up in the mining tax as well. They assumed that high rates mean high taxes. High rates mean high deductible expanses. Taxes on profits destroy wealth and can do so without even netting much in the way of tax revenue, since they encourage deductible expenses. If the UN was any use at all taxes on profits would be outlawed internationally. There are plenty of other things to tax.

    Don’t assume I’m not keeping up when its you. Any taxes on retained earnings for the farmer is destroying wealth, regardless if they are paying more than a negligible amount or not.

    Where the mining tax is concerned, to be smart thieves, it was a matter of increasing royalties, and taking them out of the company income tax system.

    That combination would have lead to more revenues AND GREATER WEALTH CREATION in the mining industry at the same time. Yet somehow the idiots went precisely the wrong way with it. I don’t why economists who don’t understand economics are upwardly mobile in Canberra. But there you have it.

    Reply Alert moderator

    F_Me :
    12 Oct 2010 12:18:29pm

    Um .. question … given that droughts last for years, what sort of storage capacity would you think these farmers would need to hold the water they pump (when it rains) to use in the years it doesn’t?

    Another question … do you know how much water is used per acre per season for particular crops?

    Finally, if all farmers pump water when it rains, how much is left for inflows for the river, sustaining wetlands, etc. etc. etc. What if it only rains in QLD? Does that mean only Qld’ers get to pump?

    The wonderful thing about economist-type logic is an absence of commonsence … I grew up on a farm and I can tell you your position appears totally fanciful …

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    12 Oct 2010 3:47:08pm

    They won’t have any storage capacity. Why would they? There hasn’t been a rational pricing system in place these last few decades. You must have the pricing prior to having the storage and pumping capacity necessary.

    Reply Alert moderator

  22. Fuck me. I’m just astonished. I put “water pricing” and blog into the google search and I got back:

    Your search – “water pricing” blog – did not match any documents.

    I’m like the black man who was given half an hour to leave a fancy dress party with the feeble excuse that he lacked fancy dress and promptly starting molesting the deserts. When asked what he was doing he said that he was “fucking dis custard.” I’m as effing this custard as he would have been.

    Where is the application of economics to the situation?

  23. Stupid me. My blame. As you can see I spelled “water pricing” all wrong. I tried it again and now there is plenty of material.

    Hopefully I’ll find the good stuff and help my blood pressure come down.

  24. Graeme Bird :
    13 Oct 2010 3:46:38pm

    3000 gigalitres this. 7,600 gigalitres that. 4000 gigalitres the other. This is all mindless trash-talk. We have to assume that 90% of the damage to the river-ecology is being done by only 10% of the pumping from the river. We have to assume that 90% of the pumping from the river is close to harmless.

    This is in the nature of things, and in reality the proportions are likely to be more extreme than this. So what is this foolish focus on totals all about? Its timing not totals. Timing not totals. Remember that meme.

    If you are a species of fish in the Murray Darling you are not going to be beaten senseless to the point of extinction by the act of pumping water during the aftermath of a flood. Or indeed during the leadup to a flood or during the flood itself.

    Its when the river level is low and the drought is on, this is when the pumping is harmful.

    We need to pump more and not less water from the Murary-Darling. But whenever the damage to the ecology is being done, the tears that maybe ought to be flowing for the river-ecology is always going to be overshadowed by the growing crisis on the farms.

    Here we see how the farmers wind up damaging the ecology. It is for one reason and one reason only. It is because the policy-makers are too stupid to introduce a serious pricing system, that gets the farmers pumping the water with extreme prejudice when to do so is basically harmless.

    Nothing in this report tells us that serious pricing will be introduced. So there is nothing to suggest that the damage to the river-ecology will be mitigated in any meaningful way, if at all.

    Reply Alert moderator

    Graeme Bird :
    13 Oct 2010 4:26:29pm

    If we get pricing right then people might one day see the value in the ultimate solution for the provision of water. And that is the building of desalination canals. We ought to start doing this very slowly. Maybe with a tiny budget of about 5000 dollars a day. And we have to expect that this is a thousand year project.

    In the end you might go so far as creating an inland sea and a much wetter inland climate. Coming in from the South Australian coast is probably the best option here.

    But the big priority is pricing. Nothing will work without pricing policy.

    Reply Alert moderator

  25. See how my way of doing things would probably get the blessing of someone like Barnaby Joyce. Joyce is correct about the economic effects of this thing. These people would be so fantastically destructive.


  27. See how my way of doing things would probably get the blessing of someone like Barnaby Joyce. Joyce is correct about the economic effects of this thing.

    Barnaby is a true economician. But the one I really like is Katter. He and Barnaby fight often and seriously but – and think about it, for a moment – they fight like brothers. They are the Hegel and Schopenhauer of Australian politics. For right-thinking people, it should be Katternomics all the way, with a good side-serve of Barnometrics.

  28. Right. Very true. The two of them need some nuance. Here’s another contribution of mine in that same vein.

    Graeme Bird :
    13 Oct 2010 8:55:35pm

    I especially appreciate your figures. Sacking 100,000 city-based public servants is more than enough savings, to allow for the tax exemptions necessary, to allow the farmers to be able to respond to the very harsh pricing differentials, that will force them to invest in the control and storage of water. My goodness and I like your wording. How does it go again?

    “Australia’s greatest rivers are worth more than the mundane lifestyles of 100 000 people.” Exactly Let 100,000 city-based public servants be sacked on the morrow, implement my two-pronged plan, and the problem is solved right there.

    Reply Alert moderator

  29. Australia’s greatest rivers are worth more than the mundane lifestyles of 100 000 people.” Exactly Let 100,000 city-based public servants be sacked on the morrow, implement my two-pronged plan, and the problem is solved right there.

    God bless my sinning soul, but would it not, Mr Bird, be more expeditious to simply shoot them? One shoots a crippled horse, thusly should one shoot the spiritual cripples and communists in the public service.

  30. Even in the first instance sacking provides the double dividend which shooting does not. If you shoot them, even without blow-back you are saving money sure. But if you sack them, then they have to work in a real job, thats heaping the community with new resources.

    One mustn’t let ones emotions run away with one during serious economic analysis.

  31. But if you sack them, then they have to work in a real job, thats heaping the community with new resources.

    Well, I was just joking about the shooting thing. As is well known, we Asians are thrifty with all things, including bullets, and prefer a simple clubbing.

    On the other hand, what jobs would these ‘public servants’ do? Handing out towels in public lavatories, in the manner of real servants?

  32. Mr B

    Here is a true Visionary:

    Of course the Fractional Reserve Media mocks him, because he is a Patriot and a RIGHTEOUS White Man. As opposed to the thinly disguised African-haters that pass for white-guy leadership on the left.




  33. I wouldn’t be so down on ALL public servants.

    Some, like Phillip Adams, work in both the public and private sector and give excellent value for $, always.

    Others who used to work in the public sector, like the splendid “Boris” of Catalaxy, the Russian ex-KGB interrogator, who has now carved out a lucrative career in the mining industry in the Third World with his start-up costs being funded by the public wealth he stole from the former USSR. Good on him, many “libertarians” would say.

    And then there are good souls who’ve done very well for themselves, all things considering, such as the refined and deep-thinking Tal, employed as tea-person in Veterans Affairs, and CL, a resourceful project officer in Qld’s Department of Fair Trading. They both get their own office, a 35-hour week and pc with fast internet connection which allows then to value add to debates of national import via the blogs.

    ‘Twould be churlish to quibble at that, either, surely, Mr Bird.

  34. I forgot to mention Joe Cambria’s wifey. She is a real salt-of-the-earth type, the epitome of a person who has suffered deeply having a heart of gold, almost literally Mr Bird. She is a renowned co-ordinator of public housing stock and clients, specifically women and children suffering from marital and paternal domestic violence. The women’s collective she runs is deeply respected in the Toorak community.

  35. Yeah those Toorak types really understand the financial pressures that put such strain on the behavior of working couples.

    Actually no I’m sure she does a great job and I’m only joking about the sarcasm. I cannot be around for a few hours. Just saying so people don’t think I’m dissing them.

  36. She does do a great job, Mr Bird, and it’s given Mrs JC a new lease on life and interest out side the home which is so important to women, as I know you will appreciate.

    JC of course is ballistic that she’s become best buddies with the very cute lesbian carpenter employed by the collective. But then, he can’t really complain in that domain.

    But, no, this is one wifey who is really finding her feet and branching out in all sorts of directions and that is always a magnificent sight.

    Who knows what she will accomplish now that she is sprouting buds all over?

  37. Mrs JC had her portrait done recently. Of course, the pose is inspired by Ovid and therefore is utterly tasteful even though the eyebrows of some fuddy duddies will be raised to the heavens because she chose to sit for the female artist completely starkers.

    Well, d’oh.

  38. I don’t know Philomena. If people use moral suasion on me over mentioning family members, thats quite a lot of pressure you know.

    Here is a post from Unleashed I got through:

    Graeme Bird :
    14 Oct 2010 6:21:43pm

    It never ends and its never going to end until we get policy right. If we had an entirely different group of farmers, perhaps from a different ethnic mix, and we subjected them to this bad policy mix, we can guarantee a similar outcome.

    There is no use punishing the farmers when its the horde of public servants who have failed and who ought to lose their jobs. Canberra will still be fine with 100 000 less public servants. But the Murray Darling basin will not be fine if these lunatics bankrupt all our farmers.

    Reply Alert moderator

  39. Graeme Bird :
    14 Oct 2010 4:28:59am
    No they’ve got to consume more and not less water. And we must have a booming agricultural sector. Limits for irrigation are irrational since they deal with yearly totals and not with the timing of when water may be taken from the river.

    This scapegoating of farmers is pretty ignorant too. Clearly a farmer will look to his own self-interest when bad policy has meant there is no water during a drought.

    There is no market for any good that can get by without prices. Water is so abundant it falls from the sky. And STILL it needs prices. So clearly its the incompetence of policy-makers, who think that we can get by without prices ……. this is where the blame lies.

    Reply Alert moderator

  40. Graeme Bird :
    14 Oct 2010 3:35:56pm
    A different policy mix would have had the farmers work themselves into a robust operation that was not vulnerable to economic and weather cycles. Our current policy mix encourages decision-making that leads to vunerability.

    Thats why we need to take them and their employees out of the tax system whilst we impose these water costs. The average farm is almost constantly six feet from crisis mode.

    Reply Alert moderator

  41. Irrigation research and other matters.

  42. I cannot seem to play that one.

  43. Try this link.

  44. Graeme, I had a young bloke, a work colleague, he’s about 27, ask me today what I would recommend he read by way of fiction. He’s bright and all but hasn’t read much outside of his uni degree (in anthropology). He said he was currently reading Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” which he was enjoying and he really loved Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World from school days. He said every time he’d heard male celebs of all sorts asked what was their favourite novel they always answered “Catch-22”, but then, he said, he wasn’t really interested in war fiction (though I’m told the novel is not so much about war as about bureaucracy and the knots people tie themselves into rorting the system).

    He mentioned Kerouac and Salinger as being writers he might like. I mentioned Bonfire of the Vanities by Thomas Wolfe. But I was at a bit of a loss as to what to recommend, particularly since he also said he wasn’t interested in 19th century fiction, only 20th onwards.

    Any suggestions I could make to him? Note he is a very nice man, but still lives at home (though I think he is probably gay) and he doesn’t do drugs and is a gym nut.

  45. Graeme Bird :
    14 Oct 2010 3:41:42pm
    The solution is the public servants take the fall and not the farmers. We could close nine-tenths of the government departments in Canberra and it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans worth of difference. But then we’d have all the money we needed to pay back debt, to supply tax exemptions, and for infrastructure spending out of the surplus.

    So lets stop talking about the greed of the farmers. How about the greed of the public servants. Those public servants who put their useless careers, and their cushy jobs, ahead of the health of the community.

    Reply Alert moderator

  46. Well Tom Wolfe is alright I suppose. But I would go with “A Man In Full”

    But if you want to give him a blokes novel that will leave him impressed with you for making the recommendation. go with Norman Mailers “Tough Guys Don’t Dance.”

    Don’t go with any of the recent Cormac McCarthy novels. The only one to recommend is

    BLOOD MERIDIAN: The Evening Redness In The West.

    He will be stunned and astounded that he got these recommendations from you.

  47. “See the child. He is pale and thin…..”

    You read what is available here on the Amazon site already you will feel the excitement building. Just reading the opening comments and the various quotes and then the first two or three pages of the novel.

  48. I’ve read A Man in Full which I loved. Haven’t read that one of Mailer’s thou I read his one on the Chicago Democratic Convention which was magic. Actually, though he didn’t mentioned it, I noticed that he’d been loaned McCarthy’s The Road. I teased the bloke who loaned him about that, but he said though it was utterly bleak and depressing, he thought I’d like it as much as he did.

    I did think of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and 100 years of Solitude and The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford but then felt that he wouldn’t connect with these either. I’m really stumped about this because I really want to turn him on to some treasures that will blow his mind.

  49. Ok, I’ll definitely suggest Blood Meridian and ask what he thought of The Road.

  50. Good stuff. Because “The Road” is going to bore him to tears.

    Moderated on Unleashed:

    I’m not missing anything Dan. Most of his points weren’t worth responding too. But just for you I’ll go over his points in finer detail:

    “Um .. question … given that droughts last for years, what sort of storage capacity would you think these farmers would need to hold the water they pump (when it rains) to use in the years it doesn’t?”

    If you have my policy settings, the average storage capacity of any given farmer will be rising all the time. In a drought they will not be getting their water exlusively from their own storage capacity. But you have to admit that having more water stored during a drought is better than having less water storage. So what is your point?

    ” …..Another question … do you know how much water is used per acre per season for particular crops?… ”

    Do you think I memorise this stuff. Me memorising this stuff is obviously irrelevant. If you institute differential pricing then cotton and rice producers must be in the forefront of water management or they risk going out of business. Put a single price on water and they are gone tomorrow. Put differential prices on water and these guys will be a the head of the pack solving water management issues, or they will be gone, or they will change crops. Too easy.

    “Finally, if all farmers pump water when it rains, how much is left for inflows for the river, sustaining wetlands, etc. etc. etc.”

    Plenty. Though every year their water management ability will increase they are not going to be in a position to ROB NATURE IN A FLOOD.

    Early this year, in the course of a few days, nature dumped 403,000 gigalitres on the Northern Territory and Queensland. My policies are the only workable policies. And they will lead to more of the farmers wealth growing all the time, and they would lead to more and more of that wealth wrapped up in water-management capital goods every year.

    But as powerful as these guys will get in capturing, storing, and moving water around the fact is they will never be able to stooge nature of her water in a flood. Now they can do great damage to nature when the conditions are dry. They will never hurt her through inadequate water when a real flood is in the works. Sure the pumps will be running all the time infusing the aquifers with rain water. But they will not stop the wetlands coming alive with this ultimately puny pumping.

    “….What if it only rains in QLD? Does that mean only Qld’ers get to pump?….”

    Where the rivers are high, and the flow-rate is solid you get to pump for free. Where the rivers are lower, and the flow-rate is less, it is progressively more expensive to pump, depending on how low and slow the rivers are. Still you would likely make pumping free if it was actually raining.

    Right so thats it. And its not like there is a better way to do it. Taking them out of the tax system and establishing rational differential pricing is THE ONLY WAY to get the results.

    Destroying the economy won’t get the results you want because we would then still pump like mad when there was next to nothing to pump.

  51. We have this incredibly dangerous idea being put about by both parties. The INFRASTRUCTURE BOND. Very worrying stuff. The worst idea in a very long time. l

  52. Mr B

    This story is very distressing to me:

    I’m not sure whose side to take. The Hebrew seems Righteous.

    Any advice?

  53. Graeme, I would recommend this book to your friend, with its tantalising opening lines:

    The secret is how to die.
    Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.

    You can find it here:

  54. Here’s a passage from my favourite secular book:

    “Do not cry that it is our duty to serve you. We do not recognize such duty. Do not cry that you need us. We do not consider need a claim. Do not cry that you own us. You don’t. Do not beg us to return. We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.
    “We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one’s happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.
    “There is a difference between our strike and all those you’ve practiced for centuries: our strike consists, not of making demands, but of granting them. We are evil, according to your morality. We have chosen not to harm you any longer. We are useless, according to your economics. We have chosen not to exploit you any longer. We are dangerous and to be shackled, according to your politics. We have chosen not to endanger you, nor to wear the shackles any longer. We are only an illusion, according to your philosophy. We have chosen not to blind you any longer and have left you free to face reality–the reality you wanted, the world as you see it now, a world without mind.
    “We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who had always been the givers, but have only now understood it. We have no demands to present to you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.”

    Every time I read it, I feel like I could easily read another 790 pages of that.

  55. Was this the most beautiful, sweetest-voiced man who ever lived?

  56. THR you are not successfully staying in character. You might want to get Kevin to explain why it is that leftism is associated with mass murder to get into the swing of things.

    Yeah Philomena. CL had the link up to that magnificent “American trilogy.” Just as a matter of trivia, if you look very closely you will see an unheralded Englebert Humperdink as one of the background singers. Hard not to think also of Josey Wales when watching this clip. At the end of the movie he says “Yeah … I guess we all died a little in that damned war…”

    Which doesn’t amount to much of a line one supposes, in a movie of great lines, but then it seems to take on significance after one watches the thing the whole way through.

    A triumphant return to the music business in Vegas after those years in Hollywood. A story is out there that Cary Grant was at the concert. And that he was crying it was so good.

    • Actually I never liked Elvis as a teenager or even in my 20s. Thought he was too whitebread, too much of a Black singer imitator as well as a tad corny. He himself said that he wasn’t the King, that that accolade belonged to Fats Domino.

      That video clip you posted is sad and his maudlin choice of songs, and his physical appearance, reflects the way a crisis-ridden American capitalism has wrought such damage on what was one a beautiful, talented, and genuinely soulful and caring young man.

      In fact the very dates of his life span tell a story of the descending arc of American capitalism.

  57. Surely Simon Crean isn’t going to cop this idiocy. We see the great good fortune of having a minority government. Crean isn’t one of this communist crowd. He’s not going to destroy whole towns on the basis of some scheme that doesn’t look like it would even so much as help a few frogs.

    Imagine these filth, these pigs, wanting to close down Mildura? Fucking hell? What is wrong with following economic science?

  58. I”ve listened to the stunning silence of the Catallaxian economics graduates long enough. Quite clearly they think these industries are non-viable and ought to go down the tubes.

  59. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 8:03:22pm

    ” ….. It was very telling when Mike Taylor, the chairman of MDBA, said that they wouldn’t be doing economic impact statements for each town. He said that regional analyses would be more appropriate. Of course that will smooth out the towns that have gone, the farms sold or more likely repossessed. Can you imagine the bitterness when the impact on your family is just a rounding error? ….. ”

    Human nature doesn’t change. No doubt there were deranged people like Mike Taylor around when Stalin was running the Soviet Union. Its more than clear that stupidity has become upwardly mobile in the public service. Its the public service that needs to take the hit for any costs of adaption we need to go through.

    The sackings of public servants can pay for infrastructure and tax exemptions to make the higher costs of water (when the river is low) more palatable.

    If thousands of public servants lose their jobs then the rest of us ought to just throw a party. But if tens of thousands of people in the private sector lose their livelihoods, this is a much more serious matter.

    Reply Alert moderator

  60. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 3:55:19pm

    Yeah its a disgrace isn’t it. A consensus has formed where one wing wants to destroy the livelihoods of these people, and make out that they deserve such treatment, where the other wing wants to destroy the livelihoods of these people and cry a few crocodile tears.

    This is so reminiscent of the branding of people as “kulacks” in the Soviet Union, and the determination that these kulacks must be liquidated.

    Here the new communists brand these people as “unsustainable” and that pretty much translates to “kulack” in their word usage. In reality it is the public servant salaries that are unsustainable. But the parasites want to project their wastefulness onto others.

    Its pointless these green lunatics trying to escape the tag of “communists”. By their deeds we shall know them.

    Reply Alert moderator

  61. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 3:56:45pm

    Blue. Under no circumstances will the river “die.” Thats just silly. Its fine to use metaphors like this but you must not forget that its only a metaphor.

    Reply Alert moderator

  62. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 3:58:46pm

    There is nothing wrong with growing grapes, cotton or rice. Get over yourself. Each farmer has to choose his crops on the basis of the resources he has to hand and the prices of his inputs.

    Reply Alert moderator

  63. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 4:07:21pm

    Pedro it comes from the reality that sparked the saying “Its no use crying over spilt milk.” Obviously when leftist lunatics have shown their hand and have confessed to wishing to destroy agriculture in Australia, its time to stop the lunatics in their tracks. Its less of a powerfully effective strategy to let these morons destroy agriculture and then try and pick up the pieces after them.

    Reply Alert moderator

  64. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 4:09:48pm

    There is no need for the mouth of the river to flow. The mouth of the river is where the water is wasted. There is a need for the water to flow along the length of the river. But not at the mouth.

    Reply Alert moderator

  65. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 9:12:29pm

    This is just so totally fraudulent. Tree-ring growth reflects CO2 levels even more than temperature levels do. So the choosing of tree-ring growh as a proxy in this controversy is a brazen science-fraud attempt for obvious reasons. For one thing its double dipping. Double dipping when you know CO2 levels and temperature levels have both gone up. Thats one way to try and create a hockey stick right there.

    Reply Alert moderator

  66. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 9:51:04pm

    Farmers aren’t causing any damage. If there is any damage being done it is the fault of policy-makers. And it can be fixed by differential pricing, combined with tax exemptions.

    The public servants aren’t interested in the answers. They just want to destroy these communities. If this were not the case, and this wrecking-ball behavior was truly motivated by concern for the environment, then why didn’t they ask people who HAVE-A-CLUE how to put together a plan for massively expanding agricultural production, as well as a vibrant river ecology?

    They didn’t ask anyone. They don’t want to know.

    Reply Alert moderator

  67. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 10:13:29pm

    “The article says that there was a faster rate rise in temperature between 1910-1940 than for 1970-2008.

    But it is not coming off from the same base temperature; the temperature in 1910 was a lot lower than 1970, and the 1930’s were cooler than 1990-2008.”

    No thats not right. The 1930’s is the warmest decade on record.

    Reply Alert moderator

  68. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 10:29:42pm
    Thats an unnecessarily complex plan and has many counterproductive parts to it. Also you would have the fresh water flowing into the sea more or less all the time. This is wasteful. If there is some reason why some water ought to flow out into the sea ….. Supposing there is some compelling goal that needs to be achieved by this … speak up about it, and I’m sure we can point people in the direction of less wasteful methods of achieving the same thing.

    A combination of a small amount of waste water and some dredging might do whatever it is that apparently needs doing. But in the general sense the idea is to have the river flowing in a healthy manner all away along the river and run down to a near standstill near the mouth. “Waste not want not” as they say.

    Reply Alert moderator

  69. Graeme Bird :
    15 Oct 2010 8:05:30pm

    Here the new consensus amongst the neo-communists is made clear. Some people want Australian agriculture destroyed and say in effect “good riddance” to it. While others want Australian agriculture destroyed, but think that its appropriate to cry a few crocodile tears.

    But we see this near-unanimous lust for destruction going on.

    Reply Alert moderator

  70. Graeme Bird :
    16 Oct 2010 10:42:59pm

    Nature cannot be fooled Bindi. The public servants are at the top of the food-chain. They bring their children up on the money stolen from us, to fund departments that themselves are merely investments in taxeater-ego.

    Being as the public servants are at the top of the food-chain, they prance around like baboons and demand that we satisfy their every (group) whim.

    So if the public servant tribe gets a hankering to have the rivers like they were 200 years ago, then they cannot see why their benefactors, (the people that feed them and pay their salaries) ought not satisfy that whim immediately.

    Once the group-think object of wishing-and-hoping is settled upon, the public servants cannot conceive that we would resist their tribal desires except by some sort of outrageous impertinence. To resist them is to incur the sort of anger that one would expect a monkey to inspire in a lion if the monkey was always flicking the lions nose.

    These people are predators, bullies and parasites. And we need to thin their numbers down some.

    Reply Alert moderator

  71. Graeme Bird :
    16 Oct 2010 9:53:07pm

    As fast as the earth is expanding, it is not so fast as to materially assist us solve this problem in the relevant time period.

    But I have something to tell you Grumpy. You may not know this Grumpy. In your circles this is a big secret Grumpy. PSSSST: Fresh water is a renewable resource. You heard it from me first. The sun shines on the water and the water evaporates. Subsequently it is returned to us by condensation and rain.

    A million environmentalists talking AS IF fresh water is not renewable a million times will not change the fact that fresh water is (really-truly) renewable.

    We’ve got to hit this issue fast, hard and continuously, or the environmentalists will lock the bad craziness in like the global warming fraud. Then we will be with it for years.

    But those of you who want to pretend that we don’t have to move-it, and get a tax-exemption/differential pricing scheme together. I tell you the truth. You underestimate the environmentalist movement.

    They never sleep. They never tire. They are always regular. They won’t rest until we have no property rights, no independence, and all our needs are dependent on rationing schemes hailing ultimately from out of the United Nations. These are truly deranged communists, and I’m not afraid to use the C-word.

    Reply Alert moderator

  72. Graeme Bird :
    16 Oct 2010 10:10:21pm

    So are you talking about just the last few kilometres of river? Surely you cannot be serious? You mean that every last kilometre, out of many 100’s of kilometres, has to be just you-beaut?

    I saw a report lamenting that the last little stretch of water was too salty. And this was reflected in the rather sparse marine life that could handle the more brackish environment.

    Come up with a better reason Peter. I’ll buy it that we want to vastly improve the health of the length of the Murray-Darling and its tributaries. I’m fine with that and right behind it. But to insist that the whole river has to be perfect, and that we cannot compromise even the last 10-50 kilometres is just nutty. Its selfish. Its like the rest of us have to wipe the environmentalists bottoms for them and cater to every whim of theirs.

    Reply Alert moderator

  73. Graeme Bird :
    16 Oct 2010 9:28:06pm
    But we are already engaged in sustainable farming. What can you possibly mean when you say the word “sustainable” if you are claiming that what they are doing is not sustainable?

    As I’ve pointed out, the word “sustainable” is just a hanging-judge word. Its just a word used as an excuse to do something really wicked. In reality we can farm in the Murray-Darling area for as long as it still rains in the area or upstream.

    Its as if people are saying that it is about to stop raining from some specific date. Can we all stop lying about farming not being sustainable? Its sustainable so long as the sun shines and rain falls from the sky.

    Reply Alert moderator

  74. One advantage of the rise of China

  75. Graeme, free market economists are probably down on the unpopularity level next to traders, bankers, real estate agents, and cops on matters such as food and water.

    It’s neither environmentalists nor economists who are driving the meat of the MDB plan, but water engineers. And we all know how environmentally and in other ways illiterate and dumb those dudes can be.

    Nevertheless plenty of economists are environmentalists, so you’re using a false dichotomy to imply the two disciplines are totally separate. And environmental economists are the only ones whose views are worth considering.

  76. Here’s just a few of these stars.

  77. Right but its not a popularity contest Philomena. And suppose you are right? I would put this down more to the shabby job that tribe who identifies themselves in this way have done, rather then put it down to some sort of inherent mistake in economic science itself. So far as I know none of the environmental-economists have managed to invalidate the rules of supply and demand. So none of them are in a position to over-ride what I’m saying here.





  81. Who is Pamela Box?

    Name rings a bell. But then it would under any circumstances.

  82. Mr B

    Look at what that Asiatic Villain Soon sez:

    “and I tend to agree that the seasteading idea really makes libertarians look bad.”

    What does this Traitor have against seasteading?

    Is it because Australia has heaps of sea and China doesn’t?

  83. He’s never understood anything about libertarianism. He’s ignorant. He never had the slightest interest in this sort of thing. He started the blog off posing as a WHIG. The whigs were against the classical liberals. Soon has always been anti-libertarian.

    I do not know what he means by this. But neither does he so its okay. He has no fucking idea about sea-steading.

    Obviously we have to go to sea-steading, since we’ve gone as far as we can go with feral fish.

    Its as basic as that. Its as fundamental as the transition from herding to animal-husbandry.

    • Graeme, we’re like passengers on a bus. There are all sorts of people on the bus. Say the bus travels through Monument Valley. Today, the environmentally literate will look out the window and see the evidence of past ice ages, inland seas, volcanic explosions, tilts, faults, uplifts, inversions. The ups and downs of life on a huge scale of time and space.

      You’d really hope you were sitting next to someone else like this on the bus, or an artist, a poet, a local historian, a botanist. Someone who knows and appreciates the most important and beautiful stuff. Someone who as a matter of course always has so much potential information bouncing off their retina no matter what they’re looking at in nature that it’s as though the whole surface of the world is criss-crosssed with countless spreading and overlapping wavelets like a pond in a hailstorm.

      If you were sitting next to Jason Soon or JC or any of the poor Catatonic crew, you’d learn nothing. When they look out the window at such a sight you can be sure all they’re thinking of is such mundane things as natural resource capital, mining, international exchange rates and the like. And in a direct causal way, all they see as they gaze at the window of the bus is their own distorted reflection staring back quizzically at them, looking remarkably like a mess of pottage.

      Like Groucho Marx, these unhappy, selfish dudes mutter, “why should I care about future generations, when did future generations ever care about me”.

      Now the good and smart guys and gals counter this childish environmental autism and economic nonsense by insisting that the Earth’s resources are not available in infinite quantities and they cannot be deployed at zero cost. If that were possible there would be no need for economics, for starters, since everyone could have everything they wanted without compromising each other’s needs or later generations’ wants and needs. From this follows the need for conservation and much else.

      Why should our approach to the environment be one of conservation first and foremost?

      Because the environment is all of these goods and more:

      “a life-support system, an early warning system, a laboratory, a silo, a gymnasium, an art gallery, a cathedral, a monument, a crade for our psycho-genetic development” [Warwick Fox].

      • Phil, I can tell you really hate those Jew Bastards.

        I do too.

    • Graeme, I know you won’t see it this way but the only consistent and genuine libertarian as most people understand the term who’s ever posted on Catalaconic, apart from yourself and me of course, is THR.

      • Really? I thought he was a Hebrew too.

        Fucking Jew Bastards.

    • As for Jason Soon not being a libertarian, I’m afraid that’s old news Mr B among the left-libertarian cognescenti. He’s far more interested in a fast serving of hamburger with the lot than most other things as the intent kitchen-directed look on his pudgy face here clearly proclaims.

      It’s hard when your illusions in another are shattered. But I’ve always found this thought comforting at such times.

      “We shall not cease from exploration
      And the end of all our exploring
      Will be to arrive where we started
      And know the place for the first time. ”

      T.S. Eliot — “Little Gidding” (the last of his Four Quartets)

      • That Gook Bastard is the King of the Jews.

  84. What’s sea-steading when it’s at home?


  86. I fucking hate Feral Fish.

    Let’s get Seasteading up and running so we can be done with those aquatic sons-of-bitches.

    Fucking Tuna. Think they’re king shit. They’re just jumped up swimming sheep.

    • jewfish are worse than tuna, fake hanson

  87. Graeme, the NSW government plan to dam the Williams River (below the Barrington Tops) is pure madness. I was there recently (work/pleasure) and walked a good 16kms entirely through rainforest on its upper reaches. It’s a scientific treasure trove apart from all else.

    Here are some photos of the proposed Tillegra dam catchment area which would be inundated by this folly. The farmers of course are completely opposed to the proposal and Hunter Water says it is unnecessary. Why the government is pursuing it, who knows? It will ruin the river and much else.

    • I cannot comment on the worthiness of any given project. But such projects could only have been avoidable in principle, if we had in place for a very long time, the differential pricing of water. What that would lead to is distributed water storage, rather than socialist water storage. We have to have ample storage of fresh water. So if you want an alternative to these big dams and things, you would have to rally behind differential pricing.

      Its possible our water storage could have been achieved by virtue of the recharging of aquifers. Recharging of aquifers could potentially be more effective on grounds of less evaporation. But nothing like this is going ahead without a pricing system. So if its not pricing, its got to be dams. Or its got to be the ultimate disaster of running low on water during a drought.

      I cannot bring myself to oppose what they are doing, since I am not confident that they will have a better system in place. But ideally it would be rain forests that an environmentalist would concentrate on because of their more concentrated biodiversity. So had we had good policy in place we would have been in a position to maintain most of them without great loss to ourselves.

  88. Rain forests are crucial for so many reasons.

    I first came to know them, intimately, because my Dad took all of us (six kids) for two weeks every year for a holiday into eastern coast rain forests. And so I can taste and feel and see them now. I dream of them constantly. There is nothing more beautiful.

    But apart from this visceral aesthetic knowledge that people have of rain forests, there are the scientific facts, or known knowns, which include the fact that one in four pharmaceuticals (sorry, drugs) today come from a rain forest plant and several 1000 of known (a tiny proportion of the potential whole) rain forest plants may potentially offer the cure to cancer and other currently intractable diseases.

  89. 129,700 kg is how heavy the MIR space station is supposed to be. Now right there we see a conspiracy. Or at least an enormous waste of money. Thats 35 space shuttle payloads, not including food and astronauts. How and why would the Soviets have spent all those resources for something so essentially useless.

  90. Mr Bird

    it appears that the fat Jewish dwarf, that golem Lambert is encouraging people to harrass the Good White Woman Marohasy

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