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Improving Australia’s Productivity

IWhen Business attacks industrial laws as barriers to productivity, we give them some credance, since we assume that Business wants to improve productivity. However, when you think about it, you realise that this is simply not true. What Business wants is to make as much money for itself as it can, as easily as it can. And productivity is by far the hardest way for it to make money. Much easier to take money away from (i) the worker; (ii) the tax payer; or (iii) the consumer.

Personally, I don’t think productivity is all that important a goal – the world is plenty productive enough. Much better to focus on other things such as (i) improving our happiness; (ii) saving the environment; and (iii) helping the destitute.Management and workers are engaged in a class war. The war is inherently tipped in favour of management, as they hold the power. Industrial laws redress this imbalance. And as Business is asking to tip this balance again in its favour, I thought I’d come up with some real ideas on how to improve productivity. Business is not going to like them however, since it takes from some of the easier ways Business makes money.Cut Bonuses The argument goes that the amount senior executives are paid is actually a relatively small proportion of the wages bill. And that paying key executives bonuses motivates them to earn even more for the business.Well, the facts are in, and the exact opposite is true. Bonuses for senior managers actually makes them less innovative. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/dan_pink_on_motivation.htmlIn fact, if we follow the science to its logical conclusion, we shouldn’t pay bonuses to senior managers, but we should pay bonuses to those engaged in mundane and repetitive tasks. Yeah, I told you Management won’t like these ideas.Cut Copyright and Patent PeriodsCopyright and patent laws are needed to protect intellectual property, right? Actually, there is no such thing as intellectual property – it’s an idea that’s been dreamed up by Businesses, you guessed it, to make more money. Much more fundamental is that ideas cannot be owned by anyone, that they need to float free and evolve rather than be pinned down.But we need to reward innovators, otherwise they won’t produce, right? See Motivation above. Even the economists agree that the evidence is, at best, rather wanting ( http://blog.mises.org/8891/bessen-meurer-patents-do-not-increase-innovation/ ; http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/tfisher/iptheory.html , http://www.dklevine.com/papers/ip.ch.8.m1004.pdf)What has happened, however, is that there are a few firms (and guess which countries) that make a lot of money. There is now a very complex industry engaged, not in innovation, but in creating a circus. From what I can make out Apple is trying to prevent Samsung from releasing its products because Apple has patented pinching (http://thetechjournal.com/tech-news/apple-awarded-for-patent-on-pinch-to-zoom.xhtml ).Stop WarMore often than not, war is about money. And more often than not, it is about those with money grabbing even more from those who had very little to begin with. And guess which country is considered to be the biggest threat to world peace?( http://www.twf.org/News/Y2003/1031-Poll.html )War is a double whammy. Not only does it divert resources from productive uses, but war actually destroys resources.Then what about rogue nations? The solution is to boost UN forces. And get them away from political control. So that they can be seen as independent. And so that they can go in and clean up the mess rather than end up peerlessly caught between two warring forces.And as a bonus, we’d stop the boat-people problem. 
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A Fairer Go - for overseas businesses

One of the many ways we discriminate against Aussie businesses is that its cheaper to send a parcel from the UK to Australia, than between two  Aussie cities.

 At least  now, Australia Post admits that it has been subsidising foreign parcels, though that doesn't mean that it'll get its act together.

Australia finds excuses for not charging GST on foreign imports, while the UK has been charging VAT for years.

How about giving Aussie companies a fair go first. 


So much for productivity


A crticism of the NBN well worth reading:

 Consultants, lawyers, contractors: all aboard the nbn gravy train

 And from a Labour consultant, too. Perhaps he's grouchy because he didn't get a seat on the train, but he points to facts and details that are hard to bluster away.


Mutual obligation and the Wall st Meltdown.

Must agree with Michael Talbot's "mice on a treadmill" view. To want to do your best you need to feel you have some stake in what's going on. If you are just being screwed, you won't really care if those screwing you get their quick buck, or not.

The notion of a social contract, recprocity and mutual obligation never enters the minds of people like Americas Koch bros, or Rupert Murdoch. Live and let live?

Not on your nelly.

Corporations are states within states, fully devoted to a sort of warfare against civilisation in the name of nothing better than shortsighted plunder and dominance.

No vision for the future and no great productive spirit, as a consequence.


To understand the sparky, prophetic power of Kohr's vision, you need to read The Breakdown of Nations. Some if it will create shivers of recognition. Bigness, predicted Kohr, could only lead to more bigness, for "whatever outgrows certain limits begins to suffer from the irrepressible problem of unmanageable proportions". Beyond those limits it was forced to accumulate more power in order to manage the power it already had. Growth would become cancerous and unstoppable, until there was only one possible endpoint: collapse.
Just though I'd throw that one in, for good measure (with a really BIG rule).


If you check out the article headed Low Productivity "top challenge to economy" by Mitchell Bingeman on page 21 of The (ha-ha) Australian for 12 September 2011 you will see a few revealing things.

It starts off:

Labour Productivity has fallen to its second lowest level in 15 years, sparking warnings ... 

It continues:

National labour productivity over the last year grew by a measly 0.4 per cent, down from 1.7 per cent in the previous year and ...

Never mind the emotive "measly".  This is the "Business Section".  Don't expect objectivity. 

But notice that when he gets down to tin tacks it is not about a fall in productivity at all.  It is about the growth of productivity.  Productivity has grown, in an exhausted, water-short, over-populated environment.

Heard about the law of diminishing returns?  Heard that the goose that laid the golden egg died?  This complaint is that the exploitation of an already exhausted environment is only growing, not accelerating sufficiently.

I used to marvel at the complete disengagement of two contrary movements in society, or more correctly within the media.  One was pointing out that population growth was damaging our environment and our standard of living, the other that population growth was essential to maintain high employment and high living standards.

That second is totally irrational and self-contradictory, but that never made a shred of difference.  Dick Smith in an on-line interview has exposed the fraud, shown that we are all worse off as a result of recent population growth.  But he was saying what everyone knew.  Or I should say, what all the natives of the colony knew.

Actually, there is something fantastic about population growth and the ability to create shortages, such as water shortages.  It has done fantastic things for the asset value and the market value of water, allowing juicier profits to be made.  That is what it's about.

Of course, the standard of living of the natives is plummeting,  The distress to them caused by skyrocketing water and electricity bills has generated sympathy among some of their fellow-natives.  But there are pluses.  Think how pleased the  IMF must be, all that property once held by the colony's native government in the name of the natives has, just as the IMF has demanded all over the world, come into the possession of profiteers, of predators.  The natives pay, of course, that's part of what it's all about.  Their standard of living is plummeting, but since when were colonialists concerned about the natives?

Of course, it's getting more difficult in some ways.  Population increase, the growing of the colony's population (heh!... they don't even know they are a colony, get that! ) means more profit.  Of course, at the expense of the quality of life of the natives, and of destroying the environment they inhabit, by who cares about the environment endured by the natives of a colony?

It took me a while to work it out.  The apparently reckless promotion of Australian population growth is all, all about increasing the size of the colony to provide greater profits.  Those who like to call themselves capitalists are more correctly referred to as predatory colonialists, or preda-colonialists.  It is all about predation.

Why do Australian soldiers die in Afghanistan?  Has this colony been coerced into sending natives to fight there for an honourable or generous purpose, for the benefit of the natives of that place?  No, Australians soldiers die for the benefit of the preda-colonialists who hold the stakes in the trans-Afghanistan pipeline, q.v. 

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