Thursday, October 19, 2017

Round the blogging tracks - China Financial Markets, Club Troppo, Darcy Moore's blog with a dash of Milk Maid Marion

I remain bogged down in other writing. I will give a report here when I have a little more progress to report. For the moment, I took the day to revisit my blog list. I really, really need to update this.

On China Financial markets, Michael Pettis asks the questions Does Cutting Taxes on the Wealthy Lead to Greater Growth?.His conclusion:
 Policies that increase income inequality can in some cases lead to higher savings, higher investment, and greater long-term growth. But, in other cases, such policies either reduce growth and increase unemployment or force up the debt burden. What determines which of these outcomes takes place is whether or not savings are scarce and have constrained investment.
I have to say that this strikes me intuitively as very sensible. I wonder what Winton might think? Mind you, to get an answer we might have to drag him a way from his current consideration of Aristotle and happiness!

On Club Troppo, Nicholas Gruen has begun a new series on the use of wellbeing frameworks in policy development, starting with What have wellbeing frameworks ever done for us: Part One. I must say that I was puzzled when the Australian Treasury adopted, or seemed to adopt, this approach, something that Nicholas discusses in his first post. I just couldn't see what it might mean in any practical way.

On his blog, Darcy Moore's MyData: Personalising the Curriculum addresses the question of the use of personal data in teaching or of teaching about personal data. I actually found the post a little confusing. Its quite an interesting post, but seems to me to mix quite different things together: one was the need for students to be aware of and educated about their personal data and the way in which it might be used; a second thread was the use of that data and the issues surrounding it as a broader teaching tool.

The post left me a little depressed. There are some important issues here, but it reminded me just how complex life has become in general andfor young people in particular.

Changing directions, over at The Milk Maid Marion, Marion complains Don’t call me a “female farmer”, I am just a farmer. She wonders about the prevalence of women only agriculture groups.
What am I missing? Why do women flock to special female-only groups and why do so few of us turn up to broader industry events? 
What do you think? Are female-only ag forums important to make women feel comfortable expressing ourselves or do they simply reinforce a perception that we’re somehow not able to perform in mixed company?  
I actually think she has a point, although the comments picked up the other side. One of the things Marian expressed reservations about was the Museum of Victoria exhibition, Women of the Land that displays "objects and audio-visual stories that collectively make up the first official documentation of women's contribution to Australian agriculture." The exhibition is an outcome of the Invisible Farmer project subtitled "The invisible farmer: the forgotten history of Australian country women". The ABC story on this project begins:
Australian farming women have been on the land as long as men, but they’ve been largely ignored by the history books. This is despite their significant contribution to the rural economy
I bristled a little at all this. Before going on, this is the photo used to illustrate the ABC story. Comments follow the story.

This 1944 photo of a woman riding is used to illustrate women in agriculture. But if you look at it closely you will see that it does nothing of the kind. It's actually a very gendered posed shot. Look at the sandals and the tie.Now consider her riding the mower in that outfit.

This shot of Aunt Kay picked almost at random was probably taken a little later but certainly in the 1940s. It's a more realistic shot

Roles in agriculture were gendered as were inheritance patterns. However, the idea that farming women were in some ways invisible strikes me as a bit of a travesty. They certainly weren't invisible to me growing up. In fact, they struck me as fiendishly practical and competent.

Nor were their roles limited to "domestic duties". They did whatever was required to support what were in most cases family businesses. Far more women managed properties than their equivalents in other sectors of the economy.  

There is a balance issue in all this, of course. In agriculture as in other parts of Australian life, there have been shifts in roles and attitudes. However, I do wonder if the particular focus in this exhibition and the preceding Invisible Farmer project is partly a reflection of how much has been forgotten in an increasingly urbanised city focused Australia, as well as current preoccupations.

Its not possible to research and write in the areas that I do without being very conscious of the role of women in agriculture.The material is all there.  

This last sidetrack has exhausted my time. I will have to finish here.

No comments: