[LINK] Budget

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Fri May 15 09:37:18 AEST 2009

stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> Although sympathetic to TomK's call for a return to local manufacturing,
> I think we ought best leave much of that to better-positioned countries.
> Instead i think research is what we are good at and should be our focus.

In general, I agree, but there are exceptions.

The first is that at a national scale, people can't all be researchers, or even
support research. At a personal level, I'm elitist and proud of it, but
nationally, we're in a democracy and people should be able to get jobs they're
fitted for.

You need a functioning - and growing - middle class to maintain an economy.
There aren't enough customers in the top 2% to sustain an economy, and if you
follow the logic of ditching manufacturing, the long-term result is damage to
the economy as a whole; unless there is a viable, mass-employing alternative.

And in the long term, sending manufacturing to "better positioned" countries
only works if you ignore the environmental costs of wasteful transport. A
simplified example:

- Ore to China;
- Steel to car manufacturer;
- Car back to Australia.

The business model works because both Australia and China either overlook or
subsidise the pollution associated with transport.


> And, it would appear that Kevin&Co agree ..
> --
> Science and unis are winners in the budget
> Wednesday, 13 May 2009 Anna Salleh  ABC
> http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/05/13/2569525.htm?
> site=science&topic=latest
> Science, innovation and education have been given a historic boost by the 
> Australian government, say commentators .. 
> The 2009 Federal Budget unveiled last night has been welcomed by the 
> scientific community.
> "This is an historic budget for science, education and innovation, with
> a record spend .. the highest annual increase since records began," says 
> Professor Ken Baldwin, President of the Federation of Australian Science 
> and Technological Societies.
> Professor Kurt Lambeck of the Australian Academy of Science also welcomes 
> the budget.
> "I think what the budget statement provides is a long term framework for 
> Australian research and development," he says. 
> "I think that's important. It's something we haven't had for a long time."
> "I think we'll see real returns coming out of this in the years ahead," 
> says Lambeck ..
> --
> Cheers,
> Stephen
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