Monday, 17 November 2014

How Abbott helps the “99 percent”

Whilst there is every reason to be uncompromisingly angry at Tony Abbott’s undoing of Australia’s woefully inadequate climate policies, there also needs to be some understanding and even credit that Abbott knows what he wants just as much as the Enriched World leaders – to be precise, each is doing what the other should be!

Steven Mosher in his book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits shows that under present levels of government economic control fertility rates in Eurasia, the Americas and New Zealand will never stabilise above 1.35 children per woman, which is equivalent to a population decline of a third each generation. Along with an inverted population pyramid and old-age dependency rations of one-to-one with cradle-to-grave welfare states brought about via generations of political activism, the economic effects are shown by Mosher to be catastrophic. They will, as he says on page 9, place a huge tax burden on the small workforce and further reduce fertility. The alternative of increased use of robots have major costs, since it is difficult to develop robots for jobs outside of the manufacturing sector and a declining population will make such work more difficult (page 17 of Population Control).

It is simply not likely that Europe, North and South America, East and Southeast Asia or New Zealand can retain even their current level of pre-eminence in the world faced with such high welfare dependency.

In this context, Abbott’s goal to dismantle environmental regulation and the welfare state is a globally unique opportunity to give Australia long-term economic precedence over nations whose populations do not permit such dismantlings, probably because their reliable runoff and high secondary productivity – an issue I am trying to discuss with Carlos Botero – diminish natural religious faith and increases support for regulatory government, individualism and egalitarianism that eat away at the propensity to have children. (This may be especially true in urban areas where Sydney needs a storage size about seven times that of London or Los Angeles, eleven times that of Tōkyō, and thirty times most Canadian and Scandinavian cities).

The result, as I have said before, is strong communities in Australia’s suburbs who tolerate a low quality of life in a harsh environment, and no doubt would willingly accept a society free of any public welfare. As Hans Hoppe points out, in the absence of public welfare before World War I (though welfare was widely supported except by women, the ruling classes, and the dwindling rural peasantry) fertility rates were about four times the level Mosher shows likely under the present high-tax system – which will be intensified by commitments to reduction in greenhouse emissions. Thus, we can reasonably expect that by the mid twentieth-century, Australian fertility – already about 0.5 child per woman higher than in Europe and East Asia – will diverge further and further from other OECD nations. With greatly less regulation, job-creating but polluting industries now located in the US and China will simply move to Australia. Consumer goods as cheap as would be available if all produce were for Australians would no doubt increase fertility further – and of course the resources for overseas industries in coal, bauxite and iron ore are largely concentrated in Australia so it becomes a simple manner to move them to factories here instead!

Consequently, it is not likely that there will be many benefits in the long term from the US and China’s reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Without saying or doing anything designed to directly appeal to the majority of people faced with the large tax burdens of the natural resource-poor northern and western hemispheres, Abbott’s highly traditional welfare-free, low-regulation, pro-development policies can give these people a much more “comfortable” life with abundant housing space, low taxes, and a strong sense of community lacking in the “selfist” lands of the northern and western hemispheres. I can testify how Australia offers these things from living in Singapore – where food is extremely expensive – and in the very noisy and crowded cities of Europe. I can also testify how only a small minority of people can afford to pay the high taxes the climate policies of Europe, East Asia and North America will require, or to live in very small dwellings with no space for a family. Abbott is, without any publicity, offering something that will give the majority much greater wealth and hope for the future than the very pessimistic attitudes prevalent there give.

There is no denying the immense costs to the global environments where species-poor, high-secondary-productivity lands are protected in preference to species-rich, low-secondary-productivity ones, but we should try to be realistic about Abbott’s real intentions and how they will give Australia a large economic advantage that will at best make Eurasia and the Americas regret lack of pressure on us.

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