Thursday, 28 May 2009

Keltner analysis of undiscussed Rock Hall Artists: Slayer

The site A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago, discusses various artists' credentials for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After finishing my analysis of the Rock Hall backlog, I always intended to analyse artists who have never been discussed by the Nominating Committee, but still might have credentials to justify induction. The aim of the process is to find out whether, on the basis of the Keltner list for a Hall of Fame, the Nominating Committee is completely ignoring artists who have undeniable credentials to be in the Hall.

I do admit that there are some problems with the criteria, especially given known biases of the Nominating Committee and how they effect who is already in the Hall, but still I cannot see any better alternative.

It was several months ago that I evaluated The Smiths and decided that they do not meet the criteria for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

My next artist, like the Smiths first eligible in 2008/2009, is Slayer. Consisting of vocalist and bassist Tom Araya, guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hannemann, and drummer Dave Lombardo, Slayer emerged on Metal Blade in the middle 1980s with albums Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits and an EP Haunting the Chapel. Though these recordings did not dent the Top 200, they were the best selling Metal Blade albums and the band then joined up with Rick Rubin, then best-known as producer for LL Cool J. With Rubin Slayer produced Reign in Blood, South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss, in which they gradually become a little slower but even heavier. Slayer also broke through commercially during the era, entering the Billboard Top 100, and, despite losing Dave Lombardo, the Top 10 with Divine Intervention. Slayer still tour and record today, having regained Lombardo for their latest (2006) album Christ Illusion. Though Metallica were elected in 2008/2009, Slayer were not on any Nominating Committee member’s short list.

An evaluation of Slayer's Rock Hall credentials based on the Keltner criteria, which actually come from the Baseball Hall of Fame follows.

1) Were Slayer ever regarded as the best artist in rock music? (Did anybody, while Slayer were active, ever seriously suggest Slayer were the best artist in rock music?): Quite possibly many fans of thrash and death metal during the 1980s and early 1990s would say Slayer indeed were. Even before many fans thought Metallica became “$elloutica” with their self-titled album, Slayer were viewed by those in the nascent death metal scene as the critical influence.

2) Were Slayer ever the best artist in rock music in their genre?: Certainly Slayer are regarded as the most important band in thrash metal by some fans who cannot help criticising Metallica, and within the more extreme metal scenes they are almost universally viewed as critically important. So they would pass this test I feel.

3) Were Slayer ever considered the best at their instruments?: Not generally. Dave Lombardo’s drumming would be the nearest to this, but he was rarely seen as superior to Lars Ulrich.

4) Did Slayer have an impact on a number of other bands?: Certainly. Almost every band in death metal was heavily inspired by Reign in Blood, though few were as commercially successful as Slayer themselves. Black metal bands who became targets of the PMRC were also inspired by Slayer, as well less stylistically similar bands like Fear Factory.

5) Were Slayer good enough that they could play regularly after passing their prime?: Yes. Slayer still play and tour today, and a few years ago their classic lineup with Dave Lombardo rather than Paul Bostaph.

6) Are Slayer the very best artist in history that is not in the Hall of Fame?: Many metalheads would say so, but it is very dubious to give this question a positive answer. Even if we limit ourselves to originality and influence, there are many other artists from before Slayer's formation whose record challenges such an assumption.

7) Are most bands who have a comparable recording history and impact in the Hall of Fame?: There are very few bands who have a comparable recording history and impact to Slayer. Nonetheless, with the induction of Metallica and Black Sabbath among the very few other groups with comparable influence upon metal, one would find it tough to say “no”. Even Deep Purple, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden who are not in the Hall of Fame can hardly be said to have the same impact.

8) Is there any evidence to suggest that Slayer were significantly better or worse than is suggested by its statistical records?: The fact that Slayer could obtain hit records without support by even noncommercial radio (and, as far as I know, no undue exposure from their record companies) is very much in their favour here.

9) Are Slayer the best artist in its genre that is eligible for the Hall of Fame?: With Metallica now in the Hall of Fame, there is relatively little doubt among both fans and critics that Slayer are the best thrash metal artist - especially if we date Pantera’s eligibility from the 25th anniversary of its first acknowledged release Cowboys from Hell (ie. in 2015/2016).

10) How many #1 singles/gold records did Slayer have? Did Slayer ever win a Grammy award? If not, how many times was Slayer nominated? Slayer never had a number one single or album: their highest position was #8 for 1994's Divine Intervention. Slayer have however had a number of gold albums between Reign in Blood and Divine Intervention from a large and loyal following. Slayer have won two Grammys for Best Metal Performance. However, coming as recently as the last couple of years they do not add much to their status here.

11) How many Grammy-level songs/albums did Slayer have? For how long of a period did Slayer dominate the music scene? How many Rolling Stone covers did Slayer appear on? Did most of the bands with this sort of impact go into the Hall of Fame?: Slayer have been nominated three times for Grammys in Best Metal Performance, though none of them were until after Lombardo left, for the first time. I have never seen Slayer on any Rolling Stone cover. Nonetheless, in the underground music scene of the creative late 1980s, Slayer were one of the most important performers and essential to bringing about the cultural changes culminating in the classic “red state”/“blue state” divide of the 2000 and 2004 elections. After Lombardo left Slayer’s “dominance” could be said to have ended, though.

12) If Slayer were the best band at a concert, would it be likely that the concert would rock?: Certainly. As with so many heavy metal bands, Slayer's concerts were the source of their record sales since even noncommercial radio stations did not play their music. They also released one successful live album around the time Lombardo left.

13) What impact did Slayer have on rock history? Were they responsible for any stylistic changes? Did they introduce any new equipment? Did Slayer change history in any way?: Slayer were responsible for re-establishing rawness and adding speed to heavy metal to create several new genres of metal. They also helped publicise opponents of heavy metal who believed that it was very violent - on some ground that might not be a positive, but it crucially is further evidence Slayer influenced history significantly.

14) Did Slayer uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?: This is debatable because Slayer have so often been accused of supporting Nazism and violent Satanism owing to their lyrical themes. However, there are a number of problems common in the rock world that Slayer have been largely free of, such as drug- or alcohol-related deaths or health problems and failed romantic relationships. It is true that, if we follow the points made by Throwing Things, that Slayer have not participated in things like charities

Verdict: Even if you are a “Small Hall” person like those at Throwing Things, it is hard to overlook Slayer’s credentials. The judgments above on at least eight of the fourteen criteria would definitely support Slayer being inducted. Thus, the verdict is: induct.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Rock Hall Backlog Part 8: Artists from largely unrepresented genres with consistent previous Nominating Committee votes but no ballot appearance

This eighth (eleventh if we include preliminaries) post in a series analysing the backlog of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will deal with artists from genres that have few or no representatives in the present Hall. The most obvious such genres are:

1) progressive rock
2) heavy metal
3) jazz rock
4) new wave
5) synthesiser or electronic pop

I have also included rap in this list in order to create a better balance between the number of artists covered by this post and the previous one. However, it is very likely that in the future most new inductees will be hip hop artists. This is because they are the only artists debuting in most of the eighties acceptable to both critics and record company executives. Popular 1980s artists are rarely acceptable to professional critics because, as Joe S. Harrington taught me, they are almost completely derivative and dated, whereas innovative artists who had not the tiniest commercial success will be rejected by major record label executives who of course never could dream of signing them as they knew they would lose their label money.

The Moody Blues: Eligible since 1989/1990, they were the first progressive rock band to win significant public attention and had commercial success right up to the late 1980s with "Your Wildest Dreams" and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" (which I recall disliking on Rage). Although some of their earliest work has had slight re-evaluation, it is hard to see criticial opposition subsiding enough to permit the Moody Blues a place in the Hall.

Alice Cooper: Although his Killer album was #18 in Joe S. Harrington's Top 100 Albums, Cooper is often ignored by critics because of his associations with heavy metal - though his acclaimed early work was really closer to punk and the influence of "I'm Eighteen" on that genre is well-documented via the Sex Pistols. There has been much criticism of his failure to get a chance on the ballot, but with the failure of the Stooges (again!) one doubts whether he will get a chance in the next few ballots.

Deep Purple: Eligible since 1993/1994, Deep Purple were long dismissed by critics but their reputation has improved, though not so much as Sabbath's. The shortness of their career at the top (three albums) and changes of lineup probabaly do not count against them so much as the bias of the aging Nominating Committee against metal. With Metallica already in, Deep Purple should certainly be considered a likely next "metal" ballot, especially as Slayer now look exceedingly unlikely and Lars Ulrich wants to see them get in.

Genesis: Eligible since 1993/1994, Genesis have the trouble of being famous only after most fans say they declined: when Steve Hackett left. Before that they never had a Top 40 hit on Billboard or a Top 50 entry in Australia, but their Hackett and pre-Hackett-era music is generally seen as a classic of the progressive rock era and still preserves a devoted following despite being seen as dated in the decade and a half after the "punk revolution". The fact that solo Peter Gabriel is seen as one of the very few remaining chances on the backlog should not exclude them, but their complicated history may work against them.

Chicago: Eligible since 1994/1995, they were originally a jazz/rock band who by my 1980s childhood were turning out mega-popular but truly dreadful power ballads like Hard to Say I'm Sorry. They were never popular with the critics but still have a devoted following for their early work today and are one of the most commercially successful groups in the Rock Hall backlog, but that alone is not likely to give them a serious chance.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Even more hated than Chicago, as recently as 2004 they were listed as the second worst artist in the history of rock music. ELP have not earned as much rehabilitation as Genesis or Yes or Tull, so that if those groups cannot make the ballot it is hard to see ELP as a chance.

Jethro Tull: Another progressive rock band whose critical reputation has recovered somewhat since the 1990s, Jethro Tull were mostly a vehicle for the somewhat eccentric Ian Anderson, but their albums up to Living in the Past are viewed as classic of the genre. It is not easy, though to think they will be the next band from this genre.

The Last Poets: Although not found on most major critics' lists, the Last Poets are still cited by people like Joe S. Harrington for their influence on Public Enemy. Their first album was actually quite successful commercially and reached the Billboard top 30, but their second missed the Top 100. As an unlikely candidate, hard to surpass, but likely only if the Nominating Committee are in the mood for surprises.

Yes: The most popular and acclaimed of the 1970s progressive rock acts so discredited by critics and the "punk revolution". Piero Scaruffi admits that their best music constitutes genuine classic recordings in a way he never does with other mass-selling prog bands, and among fans of such groups they always come out as the most popular. If any progressive rock band does get in it will probably be these guys.

KISS: Recently I heard that James Hetfield of new inductees Metallica stated plainly that he would lobby for the induction of KISS, a band whom many commentators have judged unfairly snubbed. For a long time critical opinion of KISS was very unfavourable, but some writers such as
David Keenan have questioned this viewpoint and regarded KISS as an essential part of the development of heavy metal. It will be interesting to see if more heavy metal bands do get inducted in the future, and if they do KISS will be a very likely candidate. The problem that makes me dubious, naturally, is the Nominating Committee's bias, which voters have also shown against Sabbath and the Stooges.

solo Peter Gabriel: Though his critical reputation like so much commercial music of the eighties has declined in modern times, some critics do see him as highly innovative in his fusion of world music into rock. He has been mentioned by many in the inner circle of the Rock Hall as the most likely of those newly eligible in the 2000s to get in, and with his strong commercial appeal even with songs that are not normal radio fare it would be hard not to see Gabriel as a likely candidate. This is particularly true when one consideres that during the 1980s Rolling Stone was very lavish in praising his 1980s albums. (In fact, I see it far from improbable that Gabriel will get in as a solo act without Genesis getting in at all).

The Cars: The most popular of the new wave bands, and one that eventually became accepted by MOR stations in the US. The Cars were never a big critical favourite but at the same time they were never hated in the way groups like Toto, Styx, Huey Lewis and the News, REO Speedwagon or Air Supply were. The Cars might be a reasonable "compromise choice" should the Nominating Committee run out of artists to try on its backlog, but on the whole they are by no means a likely backlog choice.

The Cure: A major new wave artist who are credited with popularising goth music, the Cure do retain more critical credibity than most commercial bands of the 1980s despite criticism by Joe Harrington in Sonic Cool. Despite not having a recognised "classic" album to cement their status, I have always though of the Cure as a good chance because they are widely acclaimed and generally conform with the tastes of Rolling Stone critics - unless as I suspect the Nominating Committee is not that serious about more recent artists on the backlog.

Devo: Like the Cure, renowned for taking an underground genre to the mainstream with hits like "Whip It" and "Here to Go". Devo never though achieved the same level of fame as the Cure, though their very earliest work - which did still dent the Top 100 on Billboard - has a significant cult following of its own, though cult followings alone are never enough to give even a chance for the Hall.

The B-52s: A major popular force for two distinct periods - in both of which they were most popular in my Australian homeland so my knowledge might make their chance look artificially good - the B-52s were as well known for the fashions as for their offbeat music. Their two periods of success were celebrated by a crisis during which they lost guitarist Ricky Wilson to AIDS, but they did not in spite of this have major personnel changes, so that there remains a unity that should help. Nonetheless, it is easy to see the B-52s as too "popular" for certain induction, but without doubt they remain one of the most likely chances from the new wave.

Def Leppard: The best-selling pop metal band from the 1980s and often respected for their ability to fight off twin tragedies of Rick Allen's arm loss and Steve Clarks alcohol-related death, the genre which Def Leppard are in is likely to be a great obstacle for their induction. The fact that the Nominating Committee completely ignored Bon Jovi during discussion of 2008/2009 nominees (whether through genre bias or feeling they should not discuss even remotely doubtful newly-eligibles) further lessens their hopes even though I expected they would have a good showing for 2008/2009 induction. If they have not been largely discarded by the Nominating Committee, Def Leppard would have to be the first pop metal band inducted, but questions over that genre's place make them very doubtful.

Iron Maiden: Often seen as an influence on Metallica, it will be interesting to see if any Metallica member campaigns for them as Hetfield did for KISS and non-backlog artists Judas Priest and Motörhead. Although Metallica probably does not "open the door" for Slayer, they may do so for Iron Maiden who they were played much more often on radio and MTV and are also cited by later metal innovators as an influence. Because of this, I would rate Iron Maiden one of the best chances among later backlog artists, though the question remains open as to whether any backlog artists not eligible before about 1999/2000 are taken seriously.

Simple Minds: This is, as I have said, a rather strange choice that I would think belonged in 50 Unlikely Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Candidates (and they were not in 125 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Candidates). I do not fully understand their consideration from the Nominating Committee on grounds of either commercial or critical appeal, but perhaps the power of inductees the Pretenders and U2 is important. Still feel that even that factor won't get them in.

The Sugarhill Gang: The first rap artist to have a hit, and eligible since 2004/2005, the Sugarhill Gang have great historical importance that is very likely to gain them entry, although they are not considered the most innovative of the "old school" rap artists. The questions I generally have about backlog artists who were neither eligible before about 1999/2000 nor have actually reached the ballot I do not think will apply to rappers: the only newly eligible artists discussed by the Nominating Committee in 2005/2006 and 2008/2009 were rappers and I do not think that will change before 2012/2013 at the earliest.

The Treacherous Three: Less well-known to the general public than the Sugarhill Gang, the Treacherous Three have still gained a good deal of attention for their innovation such as using guitars in a rap context, which paved the way for the many crossovers of rock and rap during the cultural watershed of the late 1980s rap revolution. They may be far from the first rap act to get inducted, but still not a bad bet.

Depeche Mode: The first band to bring all-electronic rock to the mainstream, eventually becoming a stadium band, I have long looked at their chances since before their eligibility in 2006/2007, even considering them a likely choice in 2008/2009. As mentioned several times before, I doubt their chances very much since I am not sure how many of the non-rap backlog artists eligible since 1999/2000 are still taken seriously. Nonetheless, with their strong fan base and considerable influence on the pop and gothic scenes, Depeche Mode would be rated as some possibility for future induction, though perhaps it may wait a little.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

A football oddity

Once when I was in an interesting secondhand bookshop northeast of the Valerie Street Interchange in Kew, I discovered an article in one edition of the Football Record (I failed to find it searching again yesterday) which talked about VFL (now AFL) matches in which the winning team had scored fewer goals. The article pointed out that there had not been a single case in 1983 or 1984 but predicted (rightly) that there would be in 1985. It also pointed out how Collingwood beat Essendon with two fewer goals in 1980.

Although I had enough knowledge to realise it was possible for a team to win a match despite scoring fewer goals than its opponent, there tends to be little discussion in football histories of such cases. This is probably because in most matches where the winning team scored fewer goals they displayed much more skill but frittered it away (this was the description given of Fitzroy's 1989 win over St. Kilda in Tony Lockett's last match for that year). Very few such games are upset wins (Melbourne's 1934 win over Richmond - the Tigers' last loss before winning the flag eight games later - being the most notable that was) though quite a number are remarkable comebacks (Melbourne in that game were at one point six goals behind).

Teams winning despite scoring fewer goals may seem curious to me because before I knew much about football I asked Mummy why a winning team won. She said "Because they kicked more goals". This was true absolutely for 1983 and 1984 when there was neither a single drawn match nor a single match won by the team scoring fewer goals.

If you want to look in detail at matches won with fewer goals, Rogers Results has a site here. If you look through that site you will see that Hawthorn of the clubs established before the 1980s has won the fewest matches kicking fewer goals, but remarkably the two biggest wins with fewer goals were both by Hawthorn (in 1935 and 1985). Between Round 2, 1943 and Round 9, 1972, however, Hawthorn never won a game with fewer goals, though it lost kicking more goals to Melbourne, Collingwood, St. Kilda, Carlton and Richmond in Michael Tuck's senior debut.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Global warming or hardiness?

In this article I discovered today, there is a description of cane toads moving into the (formerly) arid western part of Queensland. The author, a Sydney University professor called Rick Shine, says that toads are constantly spreading into the desert and that he is surprised by this.

However, the question is whether it is man-made global warming that is allowing the toads to spread rather then their own gradual movement. Shine does not say whether their spread is via river flow of their eggs or by them moving, but the fact that the spread has been noticed for the first time amidst record rainfall in the Lake Eyre catchment does sound a grave warning anthropogenic global warming is involved in a manner as deadly as the recent fires in Victoria.

Although the flood on the Georgina is only the fourth highest on record, I am by no means sure that even one of the three higher floods occurred before 1967 when man-made global warming was not an influence. I know the rainfall data well enough to realise that only in 1949/1950 and perhaps 1894/1895 is there likely to have been a flood as high as that this year. Moreover, rainfall data further downstream seem to suggest extremely dry years that were common before 1967 no longer occur. Such dry years would have been in the past an effective control on toads' spreading since nowhere in their native range must they adapt to this level of dryness.

Friday, 15 May 2009

I wish I knew better...

Today I received two eagerly awaited old Wisdens from eBay, dating to 1897 and 1905 respectively. Both were in wonderfully good condition for their age and provided much more information than I obtained via copying county matches in the State and MCG Libraries over a decade ago.

Upon receiving them, I read them voraciously through trips into the city for shopping and then in Latrobe University Library to read about the Doug Cox case that undermined the VFL's zoning system. After that, I went into the city to do some shopping and when I came home, still voraciously reading my Wisdens, I found that I was missing the 1905 edition just as I was eager to tell Mummy about them.

Mummy was disheartened at the news. From my description of what happened, she told me that it was most likely that the Wisdens were on the 251 bus. However, when I rang up, I became very annoyed indeed because the National Bus Company does not open its offices even on Saturday (though its bus routes run seven days a week). My temper flared at this because I had grave fears that someone would take the 1905 Wisden and keep it, even though I knew my obsession with old county cricket is a rarity in Australia. Mummy was very sad at me screaming and she told me that whilst I feel it will prove a call for help, screaming actually makes others less willing to help me. I tried not to scream even though I feared the $200 Wisden was already gone for good - feeling that I should punish whoever stole it violently.

Eventually I decided to e-mail the National Bus Company in case the old Wisden was not stolen, with a picture. I also thought of the bus stop in Lonsdale Street and the underground city Safeway where I bought milk as possible places where I might have left the 1905 Wisden. I did recall my leaving of Sappho: A New Translation in a shopping trolley in Essendon and knew it could happen easily to books I read voraciously. I thus, after some fidgeting, rang the Lonsdale Street Safeway and told them about the 1905 Wisden and features that should help recognise it.

After continuing to look for features that might help me recognise the 1905 Wisden, we continued to talk until a call came. Surprisingly, it was from the Safeway in Lonsdale Street, telling me they had found the 1905 Wisden. Mummy offered to take me there, but I said that because I did not want to waste my public transport ticket I would go myself and lighten up my red bag.

When I came home with the 1905 Wisden, Mummy said that I had to learn to be calm and not in a panic mood as I always am upon losing something. However, I find it hard to imagine I could ever learn not to panic without her help and find it terrifying to imagine what would happen if I couldn't call her in such a case. Mummy herself said, that contrary to my claims I am really bad or that nobody loses something so valuable as a 1905 Wisden, she had lost an equally valuable wallet in Dalian during January and that people frequently lose laptop computers worth ten times as much as my Wisden. My reply is that I value these old Wisdens more even than a dearer computer.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Thirty years too late - I'm serious

News of some protest against the government’s totally unsustainable climate policies ought to be some relief: it has been clear to me for several years that, despite what many political ideologues like to believe, a country’s emissions record really reflects its culture’s willingness to resist corporate power.

The virtually pacifist tone of mainstream Australian culture really is closely linked with its exceptionally poor emissions record. People who should be fighting to ensure that all money currently spent building roads to pay for:
  1. a carbon-free transport system with one-minute public transit across all cities
  2. high-speed intercity trains which are more economical than air transport
  3. restriction of motorised road transport to short-haul freight and emergency vehicles
  4. houses so efficient that no electricity baseload is needed
actually do nothing to end wastage of public and private money on projects that ensure Australia has continued and will continue to have the highest per-capita emissions in the world. Whilst I have emphasised the wrong strategy is being taken against Australia by those concerned abroad, there is still some need for mass protest to take resources from corporate polluters and create an economy where the incentive to conserve that prevails strongly abroad is extended to Australia.
The fact that the protests are concentrated in the place Michael Woolridge said is the stronghold of the Europe-like "policy culture" is despairing. It suggests firmly that the outer suburbs where demographics remains healthy are becoming more and more passive and pacifistic in face of a climate that within a few years will be as arid as Coober Pedy has historically been. They actually ignore the politicians as if they were greenhouse sceptics, though there is some suggestion in opinion polls that the situation really isn't quite that bad.

Still, protests that should have began in earnest to demand transfer of every single cent of transport investment to rail when the dreadful Lonie Report was made still do not appear forthcoming and it seems likely that Australia will be so different a place when - if ever - they are.

It is far more likely that as the self-centredness, greed and resultant demographic decline in Europe and East Asia will encourage Australia to take on less and less sustainable policies that will nonetheless make it a power through retaining policies that allow for the existence of a feeling-oriented "community culture" that can avoid demographically destroying itself - something already practically unique to Australia.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

An ilustration of how people must try to preserve their cultures

Rod Dreher and Christopher Caldwell have excellently made a point of how difficult it is to defend a traditional, sustainable agricultural culture against industrialisation and the resultant secularisation, masculinisation and demographic decline from which only the very countries in which farming is least sustainable escape.

Their point that after winning independence from Britain, Ireland attempted to maintain a traditional culture and was up until the 1980s quite successful is extremely poignant. It does suggest that a country without the metal ores and cheap land necessary for avoiding secularisation and demographic catastrophe in an industrial age has at least some hope if its people and government are committed enough of remaining "prosperous but poor" but sustaining its culture.

Monday, 4 May 2009

How Australia will become a superpower with no innovation

British economist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has here shown clearly why the economies of Europe and East Asia really are doomed to collapse in a really serious way - far beyond what I had imagined even with the demographic knowledge.

Evans-Pritchard's point that Europe's labour force will decline whilst that of Australia continues to increase for the foreseeable future shows that the future world economy will be very different from what we know today, with Europe and Asia peripheral - though who knows whether or where further major centres will develop outside of Australia and Red America?? The way in which Australia and Red America have bucked fertility trends in recent years suggests there will be no such place: it is entirely possible that the hedonistic cultural characteristics will be enhanced with each smaller and smaller generation, especially if "wilderness" tourism keeps growing so that more and more farmland is returned to the "hedgerow" (as it was described by a critic of EU farm subsidies).

In this circumstance, Australia's former problem of high labour costs due to a small population will no longer be present, and it is easy to imagine that as Latin America and Asia age Australia will remain as a possible place to go for low labour costs and pacified unions. With the tradition of light industry in the outer suburbs, it is easy to see how the populace there could easily accept industrial development without becoming more militant - which as Thomas Woods says was a factor in the US' rise to producing 34 percent of world output by 1929. As Melbourne's sprawl is accelerated by desertification of what will by 2035 be former National Parks too arid to support the species they were established to protect, a domestic market and labour force necessary for a superpower will be created. Moreover, Australia will do this without moving an inch beyond new technologies as the gap in land prices between it and the enriched world rises and rises.