Wednesday, December 28, 2005

We shouldn't just scowl - we should also laugh at their folly

The continual refusal of the EU to reform its Common Agricultural Policy(CAP) has been widely cited as helping itself, at the expense of third world farmers. But the truth is, they are doing even more damage to their own economies than they do to third world countries. By failing to keep their own agricultural industries competitive, they have given free reign to Brazil and Australia (for example) on even products such as olive oil and wine. The truth is they can't afford to protect everything they hold dear for ever, and as each new niche presents itself in agriculture, they will be stuck making boring commodities at high cost, missing every possible new product and even variations on the commodities due to their regulated regime. In fact, the longer they persist in lavish subsidies, the lower the percentage of agricultural products that will have distorted markets. The inevitable demographic time bomb will mean that due to all of the pensions/aged health care increased costs, they just won't be able to afford the costs of the CAP for too much longer. I sniggered when the EU accused the Australian Wheat Board (AWB)of monopoly power abuse etc. The truth is that EU's subsidised wheat can't compete with Australia's unsubsidised Wheat especially when quality and service is factored in. EU took the opportunity now that the sugar price is high to reduce its subsidies on that commodity. They should have given up on sugar long ago anyway. I figure they will start to see the light too late to keep competitiveness in any of their remaining agricultural exports. I laugh at their folly, and us Australians should say "Thanks EU! You've made it so much easier for us." The lesson is - If a country, whether third world or first world wants to export agricultural products, reduce its subsidies especially on those products (instead use money to compensate struggling or exiting farmers), reduce tariffs on everything possible, and let the market do the hard work of allocating money correctly.

Friday, December 16, 2005

My "vision" for the future "Pax Islam"

This is more prediction than what I believe ought to happen or be made to happen. It is based on my theory that the net effect of people acting selfishly is fairly immune to "brute force" courses of action which try to change the world. It is also resistant to "self-fulfilling prophecies" and self-defeating ones, where the prediction itself can change the course of history. That is only because nobody will actually take much notice of my predictions due to my lack of qualifications in this regard.

The predictions are based on my own "thought experiments" based on elements of game theory and the political dynamics, at least the bits which show a non-random pattern. The initial precept is that Israel-Palestine will not reach lasting peace until Iran and Syria stop financing terror against Israel. This will not stop until these countries become democratic and peace-loving. Therefore, a lasting peace treaty there will be the last thing to happen in my prediction. I foresee "Pax Islam" not as a threat or a country swallowing monster, but as just another multi-country institution competing with all the others. If the constituent countries are all democratic. Israel will no longer be besieged.

This is my rough outline of order of significant events.
1) Presidents of democratic Iraq and Afghanistan sign a "peace and co-operation" agreement.
2) Popular revolt in Iran overthrows the council of clerics - a new constitution is drafted and voted for in a referendum - replacing Shi ite doctrine with more generalised mandate to not make laws contrary to Islam.
3) Syria becomes democratic in a process which involves incalculable casualties.
4) Iran's new president signs on its country to the "peace and co-operation" treaty, and gives it a name - say "Pan-Islam peace and free trade treaty" renamed to "Pax Islam" for short - you heard it here first.
5) Saudi Arabian royal family, under pressure from their population, re-writes constitution to allow democratic progress, then step down as supreme leaders.
6) With most surrounding Islamic countries now democratic, a US sponsored peace treaty in Israel becomes not only realistic, but guaranteed.

I Love Christmas

What I really hate is any combination of hot humid weather, drippy airconditioners, excessive family reunions, no money, bad business conditions, my house cluttered with little toys, cleaning up after parties, high electricity bills, not having back to school stock ready in time and people whinging about me being so negative.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Non-scientific medicine and healing

I am a little ambivalent about doctors at the best of times. To me there is a yawning gap between the assumption or theory of doctors using science to give every patient the best chance of healing and health, and the reality where for 99% of patients, scientific method has nothing to do with either typical or best possible results. That brings me to my thoughts on say, accupuncture, which has been practised for centuries (millenia?) before any scientific work was done on it. This goes for all mainland provinces medicine, I guess. Whatever the actual benefits of accupuncture, I don't think it has much to do with Yin and Yang energy flows. Just because it isn't scientific, doesn't necessarily mean practitioners are loopy, nor that we can generalise from any particular case that they are proven wrong to say that they always are, or even that they are more often wrong than are non-mainland provinces medicine. The placebo effect is a mighty powerful thing sometimes. It is way stronger when there is complete trust of the practitioner by the patient. What is my point here - Healing is often an art form rather than a science. I may therefore trust an experienced healer without a university degree, more than an inexperienced doctor with a degree. But if it is about advice, I trust my own research on the internet more than any professional's advice about anything to do with health.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

When BIG FEAR is over

Anonymous said...
When CHEAP OIL is over, Forecast to start in 2008, we will see a world wide depression, see
When this occurs the FULL force of the Laws will occur.
Unfortunetly, I do believe the Labour Party will gain control of both Houses of the Federal Parliment in the next election. If they do, that will be excellent. If they don't, we will have the Laws for a LONG time. So, we MUST find new innovative ways to make the IR Laws in operative. Can anyone make a CONSTRUCIVE suggestion.

This was a reply to my unfair dismissal entry of long ago, referenced due to the new IR laws coming in. As far as cheap oil is concerned, I confidently predict a fragmentation of the market, absolutely no economic depression, but a gradual uptake of competing alternatives to oil. I also confidently predict that the good effects of these IR laws will become obvious by the next election, meaning Labor might not even get in. The fear will evaporate with the pre-election optimistic vote-buying goodies always on offer on election years. These are my dated and confident predictions, fearmongering will recommence after the next election :-).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What on earth did I mean by Pax Islam

I had mentioned "pax Islam" in the context of various multi-country groupings or organisations, that I felt would compete yet coexist with UN, NATO, EU etc. in the near future until the next world war in a few centuries time. When the new Afghani constitution was first posted in english on the net, I had a quick read to see what they had to say about separation of "church" and state. Not unexpectedly, the very first line states that no law under the constitution is to be contrary to the law of Islam. That got me thinking that the Iraqi constitution is bound to have something similar, and that therefore three adjacent countries would have national laws under the overall umbrella of Islam - caliphate style (Of course without the "Caliph" for the moment). Of course, Mohammed would be the ultimate interpreter of the scriptures as to how they apply in the modern world, but he's dead. Without a central governing structure to Islam, this makes for a difficult balance of power between various religious officials and elected politicians, but perhaps time will tell whether that will matter. I don't see much chance of anything much like US's evolution of churches, given that religious freedoms are restricted, and Imam's get a say in public policy somewhat.