[LINK] vista critique

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Fri Jan 5 10:57:21 AEDT 2007

On Fri, Jan 05, 2007 at 10:04:28AM +1100, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
> Isn't all this activity just around upgrading an operating system? 
> Nothing of any use or value is created - just economic activity.

you're making the false assumption that bean-counters actually care
whether anything of any use or value is created. it is economic activity
that matters.

take, for example, the aluminium smelting industry in australia. if
you analyse the figures, it actually costs us more to have it than to
not have it (i.e. there is no profit for australia, it's a net loss.)

it would be billions of dollars cheaper (plus use a lot less electricity
- about 15% of australia's entire electricity consumption and thus about
5.9% of greenhouse gas emissions - and a lot less water) to just give
all the workers employed in the industry (all 5500 or so of them) $40K
or more per year and import the relatively small amount of aluminium
that we actually need (about 340000 tonnes IIRC, about $850M worth)

btw, i picked that figure of $40K because the direct, non-hidden
subsidies to the aluminium industry equate to about $40K per worker per
year. that's a very expensive job creation program. it would be cheaper
and far more effective to spend some or all of that money (over $2.2bn)
on training and development of other industries, things that were a net
gain for the country rather than a net loss.

but the beancounters and economists say that it is a good thing to have
the aluminium smelter because of the economic activity it generates.

and analysis of the forestry industry is even worse. logging and
woodchip companies make a profit but only because of government
subsidies and only at the expense of the rest of us - destroying our
environment and chopping down the carbon-sequestration devices (AKA
"trees") that help to keep this planet livable. some people get rich out
of it, but for the country as whole it is a huge loss.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>           (part time cyborg)

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