Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Snippets - Malcolm Naden, social change with a dash of economics

I will continue the Aymever story later in the week. This Sunday just some snippets. 

Visitor 140,000 arrived yesterday. Normally I say welcome, but in this case it was a spam bot!

The search for fugitive Malcolm Naden continues. This piece by Heath Aston provides an interesting update. The comparisons with Captain Thunderbolt are inevitable. 

One thing that I sometimes try to do in my writing is to make the lessons from my experiences available to others. I also write to try to clarify my own thoughts. Back in May 2010 Sunday Essay - problems for stay-at-home dads discussed the challenges faced by men who chose the primary child care role.

In later discussions, my negative view of the particular challenges faced by men were challenged by women. There had been, I was told, a fundamental shift over the last five years. I was in fact suffering from a generation gap.

I'm not sure. Both girls have been out of school for some time now, so things may have changed. In the meantime, my own views have shifted to a degree.

Both men and women who chose the primary child care role face similar problems. One of the biggest issues for both is that of dependency. This carries risks that I plan to write about at some point.

Many of us who do adopt the primary child care role work from home. Back in November 2006, I looked at the issues here in Teleworking - a personal perspective. I think that this is still a useful post, although again my views have shifted a little. Today I would place much greater weight on the need to maintain consciously one's contact networks, to ensure a life outside the bounds set by family and home office.

Staying with the social change theme, Adele Horin's Retirement is a work in progress provides an interesting perspective on related aspects of the social changes now rippling their way through Australian society.

In 2009, I discussed Don Aitkin's What was it all for?  (Train Reading - Don Aitkin's What was it all for? 1, Sunday Essay - What was it all for? part 2).

Disillusioned by the changes that had taken place in their working life, a remarkable number of Don's class mates at Armidale High School took early retirement. They were able to do so because they had old style superannuation. In retiring early, they also opened the way for the growing number of baby boomers coming through the system.

The position now is very different. Quite simply, a considerable proportion of the now aging baby boomer population cannot afford to retire. They have to work as long as they can. Removal of compulsory retirement ages makes this possible.

The graying of the work force varies from sector to sector. I see it most clearly in the NSW public sector.  There are very few young people in the areas where I have done contract work. And what do I mean by a young person? Someone in their late twenties or early thirties!

I have spoken before about issues associated with an aging population, writing especially from an economics perspective. Here my concern lies with the social aspects of change.

Given my age, I am directly affected by the type of changes that Adele talks about, that I have written about. I think that many of us find the latest round of changes distressing and personally confusing. You see, one of the new tyrannies is that you cannot afford to appear old!

I said earlier that one thing that I sometimes try to do in my writing is to make the lessons from my experiences available to others. I also write to try to clarify my own thoughts.

I am truly fortunate here, for my writing provides both a release and a personal platform.

Finishing on a more mundane note, in Navigating the economic forecasting mess I looked briefly at economic forecasts and forecasting. The weeks since I wrote that post have actually been quite entertaining.

The yo-yo behaviour of economic forecasters and reporters bears a striking resemblance to political reporting on PM Gillard and the Australian Labor Government! One minute your down, the next up.   

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