Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sunday Snippets - China, enlightenment and the importance of hope

This morning's Sunday Snippets wanders around recent discussion on this blog and elsewhere.

On China Financial Markets, Michael Pettis' Revisiting predictions is worth reading. It looks at some of the predictions he has made on developments in the Chinese economy. I have been following Michael's writing for several years and this has informed some of the cautions I have expressed about the scale and likely duration of the present Australian mining boom.

Fellow blogger Paul Barratt is chair of Australia21, a non-profit research organisation which Paul helped to establish in 2001. In What does it cost to run Australia21?, Paul discusses the working of the organisation and appeals for donations.

In Is a desire for enlightenment (in the Eastern sense) consistent with Enlightenment humanism?, Winton Bates continues the cross-blog discussion centred around the ideas of civilisation and progress. Do drop in an leave a comment.

In Our lost blogging opportunity, the Lowy Institute's Sam Roggeveen returns to his theme that although Australia has blogs, it doesn't really have a blogosphere. I responded to Sam's initial salvo - Reader riposte: Australia's blogosphere. Since then, we have seen Larvatus Prodeo and John Quiggin drop out, twitterised so to speak.

Staying with the Lowy Institute, Graham Dobell's Kiwi or not Kiwi, that is the question discusses the current joint Australian and New Zealand Productivity Commission inquiry into closer economic relations between the two countries.

The disparity in Australian and New Zealand growth rates was the subject of an earlier conversation between Winton Bates and myself. I won't bother you with the links at this point. Personally, I think New Zealand would be crazy to give up its own currency for a common currency since I doubt that this would help bridge the gap.

It's actually been a while since I mentioned Club Troppo. There Paul Fritjer's Hope keeps people happy and healthy so dont always tell the truth deals with something under current discussion on this blog, the impact of perceptions. Paul writes: 

Interest rates in Australia have just been reduced by 0.5% in the hope that this will stimulate the economy. Will it work? Uncertain. But will politicians say it will work in the coming federal budget? Almost undoubtedly.

Perhaps displays of optimism are not such a bad thing, even if they are unwarranted.

In a comment on Saturday Morning Musings - perceptions and insecurities, kvd wrote:

I keep deleting what I'd like to write in response to this post. It is not that I disagree with your analysis; I think you capture the present mood very well.

More, it is a case of thinking what a dreadful waste of the present, that we spend so much time worrying about a future completely beyond our personal control. Maybe it is hubris which leads us to believe we have any such control?

These things are linked.

In discussions the other day, a friend quoted an Australian psychologist who said that human happiness depended on three things: territory, someone to love, something to look forward too. Hope and optimism are pretty important things because they help give us something to look forward too.

Perhaps that's a good point on which to finish this Sunday Snippets.


Evan said...

The problem with the future is that we do usually have some degree of control. Which means we need to do what we can, but how much this is (will be) is very difficult to figure out.

I wonder how much of the anxiety about income is due to the shift (by a Labor government!) to super'. Surely the greatest abnegation of responsibility by any Australian government. I would also like to know how I get a government to pass laws saying that people have to give me money without me having to make them any money. An enviable position - especially when I get paid in relation to how much money I get given not how much I make with it.

Winton Bates said...

Evan, I think I know what you mean - and I think I agree.

Jim, thanks to the references to my posts. I like the way you link to discussion on a range of different blogs. In my view, that is a very good way to address the point that Sam Roggeveen has been making.

The Australian blogosphere would be in a lot better shape if more bloggers engaged in a conversation with each other, rather than just using their blogs to vent their spleen or clarify their own ideas (as I have done in the past).

Jim Belshaw said...

Winton, the blogs in our loose network all tend to be reflective blogs. We seek to clarify our thinking.

Our time is limited, so writing to clarify impedes broader conversation. There is nothing wrong with this, it's inevitable, but it does impede broader conversation.

I am consciously trying to use this blog to promote cross-discussion between blogs and bloggers as well as our commenters. None of us has a lot of time. We can't comment on or promote everything. But we can do more.