In a series of articles for Independent Australia, I’ve been looking at how the pandemic has exposed, even more sharply, the zombie ideas that survived the GFC, and gave rise to my book Zombie Economics. The latest instalment is on privatisation. The next will be on austerity.
Articles from John Quiggin
A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on. The last got clogged with random conspiracy theories.
To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.
Universities are the servants of three masters: the state governments that provide the statutory basis, the federal government which provides most of the funding for research and domestic students and the international market.* The Australian public are not among those to whom the universities see themselves as owing a duty* These multiple allegiances create great opportunities for the managers of the university to pursue their own interests, playing off the various masters against each other
Among the many consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the measures taken to control it, there has been an epidemic of whataboutery. The starting point is the claim “we have locked down the entire economy to reduce the number of deaths from Covid-19, but we tolerate comparably large numbers of deaths from X”. Popular candidates for X include smoking, road crashes and influenza. In most, though not all, cases, the inference is that we should accept more deaths from the pandemic.
As I foreshadowed a while ago, the financial effects of the pandemic have been reflected in an agreement for university staff to take temporary pay cuts in order to save the jobs of casual workers. Lots of people are unhappy about this, but it’s hard to see an alternative, and the deal seems to be the best that can be reached, with the requirement that senior management take the biggest cuts and (I think) the cuts for academic staff being scaled to protect the lowest paid.
Some responses I gave to a student journalist asking about universal basic income.
There are two main approaches to implementing a universal basic income.
One is to introduce a universal payment to everyone in the community, funded by taxation, and gradually increase this to a “livable income”, that is, one sufficient for people to meet their basic needs on a sustainable basis.
A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on. I’ll open this by saying I agree with the view that even an optimal response to the pandemic by China would have given the world only a few days more notice, and that most Western governments would have wasted that time anyway.
Back again with another Monday Message Board.
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The National Interest has a story headlined “The Coronavirus Crisis and the Chimera of Authoritarian Competence“. I expected to read about failure of Putin, Bolsonaro, Trump and other autocrats to contain the pandemic. But it was all about China.