Monday, December 15

Australian Christmas Carols

At the time I grew up as a child Australia was more “English” than the English. We sang traditional English Christmas carols and songs about a winter wonderland each Christmas despite it being in the height of our hot summer. Our parents slaved over a hot stove to serve up our piping hot Christmas family dinner with plum pudding appropriate to any English household blanketed in snow.
At this time the landscape in Australia fades to brown, and is fanned by hot Northerly winds, which herald the beginning of the ever present threat of raging bush fires. Australia is a fragile land and one of the driest on planet earth.
The summer heat brings with it an increased chorus from our birds who loudly proclaim the new seasons bush flowers. At that time we would head for the beach or plan family picnics alongside cool streams by shaded trees.
Australian Composer John Wheeler captures that reality with these evocative words as Christmas carols, which we I like to sing each year. “Orana” is an aboriginal word meaning “Welcome”. Here are 3 of his carols

Carol of the Birds

Out on the planes the Brolgas are dancing
Lifting their feet like war horses prancing
Up to the sun the wood larks go winging
Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing
Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas day

Down where the tree ferns grow by the river
There where the waters sparked and quiver
Deep in the gullies Bell birds are chiming
Softly and sweetly their lyrics notes rhyming
‘Orana! Orana! to Christmas Day

Friar birds sip the nectar of flowers
Currawongs chant in wattle tree boxes
In the blue ranges, Lorikeets calling
Carols of bush birds rising and falling
‘Orana! Orana! to Christmas Day

Christmas Day

The North Wind is tossing the leaves
The red dust is over the town
The sparrows are under the Eaves
And the grass in the paddock is brown

As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ child the heavenly King

The tree ferns in green gullies sway
The cool stream’s flow silently by
The joy bells are greeting the day
And the chimes are adrift in the sky

As we lift up our voices and sing
To the Christ Child the heavenly king
and the following added in by us to make up another verse
The south wind is blowing a gale
The white foam caresses the sand
The  grey gulls are greeting the whale
And the cool change refreshes the land

How about 3 wise drovers!!

Across the plains one Christmas night, 3 drovers riding by ….and gay
Looked up and saw a starry light, more radiant than the Milky Way
And on their hearts such wonder fell, they sang with joy “Noell Noell”

The air was dry with summer heat and smoke was on the yellow moon
But from the heavens faint and sweet came floating down a wondrous tune
And as they heard the sang full well, those Drovers 3 “Noell Noell”

The black swans flew across the sky, the wild dog called across the plain
The starry lustre blazed on high, still echoed on the heavenly strain
And still they sang “Noell Noell ” those drovers 3 “Noell Noell”
Tomorrow we entertain the oldies at Southern Cross Aged care with carols, which reminds me Christmas is upon us. This year marks our 30th year.

Monday, December 1

Phillip Island

We recently joined a group of friends who had organized a birthday party at Phillip Island, which is located 140 kilometers south-east of Melbourne. The island formed part of those lands inhabitated by the coastal aborigines called the Bunurong people and was discovered by George Bass in 1798 in his whaleboat measuring only 28 feet in length.

It now has a permanent population of 7500 residents and a large variety of migratory birds and native animals.

The most famous of which is the Cape Barron geese which are pictured below. Included below is the cottage where we stayed which was located on a few acres with a small orchard and many colourful flowers.

The Island has abundant wild life including Wombats, Kangaroos, Koalas and many migrating birds such as the Shearwater. These reamakable birds fly north along the western part of the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic region and return southwards through the centre of the ocean, travelling 15 000 kilometres in each direction annually. They have been known to fly this distance in just six weeks.


Saturday, November 22

Australia should be exporting clean tech

My letter as per below was published to day in the AFR: 

In “We are ill-prepared for China’s great energy shift” (AFR 20thNovember 2014) Peter Sheehan and Jiang Kejun contend China is setting a new course on energy policy with profound consequences for the Australian economy.

What is becoming increasingly obvious is China is gaining in momentum in reducing its dependency on fossil fuels, and is transitioning rapidly to a low-carbon sources of energy by investing heavily in cleaner technologies ,from everything to large scale infrastructure and buildings to electric cars and consumer goods.

The move to a lower emissions economy is prompting some officials to suggest  the coal share of energy usage might fall to 60 % by 2022 and 50% or less by 2030. According to Paul Joffe, who is Senior Foreign Policy Counsel of the World Resources Institute , China is already taking action to address the climate problem as its seeks to “rebalance” its economy into less energy-intensive service type industries. 

China is already a global leader in cleaner technologies and Australia should follow other countries including the US into China in seeking to partner joint ventures in clean energy and technology solutions. This will require Australia to accelerate research and development into cleaner energy technologies and promote its services areas of the economy to take advantage of these crucial expanding opportunities in the decades ahead and not to rely on its traditional materials exports.  

Wednesday, November 12

Shareholder primacy: Is there a need for change?

 The Governance Institute of Australia has issued a discussion paper Shareholder primacy: Is there a need for change? that explores the means by which societal expectations in relation to moderating the influence of corporate activity on the community and environment can best be met. The paper queries whether the explicit objectives of a company should be solely about shareholders; whether the current law constrains a broader view of the best interests of the company; whether a wider view in law is required; and whether greater certainty is required as to the operation of the law in regard to shareholder primacy... Read more… 

Wednesday, October 22

Questions and Answers

In philosophy framing and asking the ''right " question is fundamental to achieving worthwhile discussion and enquiry. The more fundamental problem is, of course, that all philosophies are fatally flawed at one level or more just as we are all equally going to make some mistakes and be limited by insufficient or even inaccurate information.

Although education and good habits of research can mitigate against one making errors of judgment, in my view, the most important lesson of all is to learn from ones mistakes, to remain open to change given compelling new information.
Politicians and the public fall into the trap of thinking an admission that one has changed one's mind is sign of weakness when in reality it's usually indicative of strength and a flexible mind. In this regard the excellent ABC programme Question and Answers  provides a format for ordinary people to ask questions to a panel of experts on the hot topics of the week.

For a variety of programmes click on the link
then click on programmes and scroll down for one that may be of interest.   

Sunday, October 19


“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”- Albert Einstein

Imagination according to my Oxford dictionary refers (1) the process of forming mental images or concepts of external objects not present in the senses, the result of this process, (2) the process of forming mental images or concepts of external objects not present in the senses, and of their relations to each other or to the subject (3) scheming or devising a plot or a fanciful project, expectation or anticipation (4) The faculty of fanciful thought. The creative faculty of the mind, the ability to frame new and striking concepts. (5) The mind thinking, thought and opinion.
Philosophical enquiry has retreated from the view imagination is a discrete function of the mind to one that covers the full gambit of human experience, as is evident in this definition.
Hence philosophical discussion ranges from debates over how the imagined mental images are represented in our minds; whether they pictorial or descriptive or in combinations -for what is mostly analysed as visual imagery distinct to the sensory modalities. Others posit the interaction between imagination and mental images is a function of consciousness that just presents possibilities. But as the elegant quote from Einstein concludes I think we can say imagination has no boundaries and applies across the full spectrum of our rich human experience.
Evidence for the wider reach of imagination can be found in many expressionist forms; to underpin artful expression across all genres, in enhanced learning, in prompting or acting as a catalyst for new discoveries or in providing a bridge between nature and culture and so the list goes on.  In this essay I will attempt to shed some thoughts on (1) How is imagination formed in the mind (2) How imagination becomes intertwined inextricably into a culture and (3) the downside where images can become a paradigm to erroneous conclusions that can persist for centuries. Finally I ask the question can we imagine the possibility of intergenerational cellular development in biological traits that generate images from one generation to another.  
How is imagination formed in the mind? 
Imagination allows us to engage in the creation of many and varied types of mental images which are prompted from stimuli. The stimuli in turn references what is already known to construct existing or new or altered images in the mind in many different ways. Our curiosity can be the stimuli to ignite our imagination, so if I was to imagine what life was like on say a corral island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which I had never visited, what comes to mind is: a limited local food supply, scarcity of water, possible bathing in the ocean, reliance on imports, exposure to global warming etc. That imagined view of life on the island comes from memory stored in the outer regions of the brain, which came from what I read in books, newspapers, TV, video and so on. The stimuli in curiosity over life on the island activates the search in memory, for those  images or material which will be disseminated into imagined life experiences in that far off unvisited location.  So that image will be dependent upon the quality of the information previously stored versus the actual experience, say if we were to visit to view the position first hand so to speak.  Even so, we may still be caught up in the paradigm created previously to only see what we expect, rather than to be open to change or spot the nuances that may be important in avoiding superficiality. 
But our imagination can also rescue us from difficult situations or be our downfall when we fail to imagine opportunities. Nowhere is this more evident in relation to some of the early explorers who perished when engagement with the aborigines would have saved their lives; to introduce them to bush tucker.

An indication as to how imagination is intertwined inextricably into a culture
Imagination is thought to be one of the key drivers in our evolution since it gives us the power to imagine differing landscapes and lands from others to facilitate our survival. In other words to be able to imagine where we had been, in stored images in memory and what resources were associated with those regions. This in turn enhanced our ability to survive and spread out over ever wider geographical areas.

Aborigines were thought to have migrated to Australia possibly up to 60, 000 years ago when the climate became very dry. This meant that survival was  even more dependent upon travel to and fro to territories according to the availability of food and resources which became predictable with the changing patterns in climate.
This requires even more imagination, to spot the landscape patterns, the seasonal influences and so forth which then became integral to their culture. The landscape, the hunts and so forth stimulated imaginative enquiry, to become integral to their customs, social behaviour and creative expression, since all were in tune with that of nature. Hence the celebration of that changing landscape was enshrined in the images in song and dance ceremonies across the nations, to transcend language differences. Opinions differ on the dreamtime creation stories, which some suggest might relate back to blurred images of the original migratory journeys. A good description can be found in: The dreamtime was central to their rich spiritual life; in mythical creation stories, ceremonial art, music, ritualistic practice; initiation rites into adulthood; and in the repository of knowledge of the law handed down from one generation to another. Within the tribal system adolescents were isolated away from the rest of the tribe under the control of elders who provided tutelage on all matters of their law until they were sufficiently aware to make the positive transition to adulthood which carried with it the responsibility towards their tribe and the environment upon which they were dependant - Charles P Mountford – The Dawn of Time.

The downside where images can become a paradigm to erroneous conclusions that can persist for centuries-as was the case for the Australin aboriginal.
The absence of a written language, combined with the embedded visual idea that civilisation was indicative of ownership and cultivation of land, helped obscure the reality of advanced nation representative of the Australian aborigines. The distorted image that has persisted from the early days of the colonisers is only recently being replaced by a better understanding of their rich culture, underpinned by science, a rigid system of education, farming and a deep spiritual affinity to the land.  Notwithstanding some notable exceptions the paradigm of the distorted image of the primitive nomadic native tribes has persisted. This paradigm, confirmed in the images and in superficial enquiry In contrast they lived as a society united under an incredibly complex kinship system, under groups responsible for the custody of the land, and their languages and philosophies. Evidence exists of an advanced knowledge of astronomy, enabling them to very accurately predict the tides, guide their travel and understand the seasons. There are many examples which suggest there were groups of astronomers who understood lunar eclipses which adorned cave walls. There is evidence of agriculture, grain storage and trade agreements between the nations including the trade of water rights commensurate of any advanced civilizations.

Herein this evidence was largely undiscovered by the colonisers because first early images became the paradigm of what was expected in the future.  Such a superficiality was even embedded in the erroneously described textbooks I studied as a child of a nomadic highly primitive people. Hence this leads me to conclude how easy it is for us to retain images in the brain which at times, in isolation can so easily be assimilated with other information to form erroneous conclusions that remain unchallenged for centuries.
A final thought  
Finally I return to where I began to ask can we imagine the possibility of intergenerational cellular development in biological traits that generate images from the time of our entry out of the womb. Certainly there is some evidence of severe trauma encountered by one generation can be transmitted to a child, possibly due to a hereditary factors which are unconnected  to the direct behaviours of a parent towards that child.  But I am afraid, for the time being, my imagination on this topic is temporarily exhausted so I hope to re-evaluate this question in more depth sometime in the future.

Thursday, October 9

Turnbull dismised NBN panel Findings

My letter as per below was published on Wednesday in the AFR.

In “Turnbull dismissed NBN panel findings” (AFR, October 2) David Ramli reported Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected the panel’s recommendations to promote efficiency and divestment within the NBN (National Broadband Network)  on the grounds of the financial burden on the budget and taxpayers would be too severe.

But such assertions are at variance to the panel’s findings, which conclude the current rollout “results in unacceptable risks to, and costs on, taxpayers and consumers”.

Furthermore, the assertion by Minister Turnbull [that] such measures would be a financial burden on the budget, since this would result in bringing to account current capitalised costs to the budget is invalid as these are sunk costs already spent. This point was made clear by chairman Dr [Michael] Vertigan who said: “The government may hold that view but in my view, no. “It’s actually just crystallising a cost that already exists.”

How can a government championing competition and budget discipline aimed at reducing waste to promote efficiency ignore the findings of its expert panel on the flimsiest of reasons such as was reported; that is, to adopt the recommendations now risks distracting management and that opening up the NBN to competition involves uncertainty.

If there are in fact good reasons to delay adopting the recommendations those reported by the government fall short – since weary taxpayers and business alike are routinely subject to all manner of uncertainty and distractions not of one’s making.

Wednesday, October 1

The getting of wisdom

Wisdom for it lies innate
In humility, a saving grace 
Wisdom In love; in delight,
With a Sprits power   
Unrequited love
now renewed   
In peace   
Instead of attempting an essay on wisdom I composed the above short poem. Today we have an ever increasing number of smart people, but we are not seeing a commensurate number who are wise. Philosophy, which has at its heart a love of wisdom, can help us to  consider wisdom in the sense of living more fruitful and happy lives.

Sunday, September 28

Malawi Support Group Book

This is the cover for my new book which was designed by my youngest daughter. Included is one of my stories called :RAINBOW WORM- written  for the local school children.

Rainbow Worm was once deep in the earth; a special Worm, longing for freedom, different to all of the other worms digging in the soil. Rainbow Worm was storing up great energy and courage to emerge from his darkness, into the light outside. When he emerged, the sun was bright, and burned colours into his delicate skin, but he was strong and courageous and endured his discomfort for it was not to last for long. Soon came the soothing rain. It increased his strength; giving forth such great energy it caused an almighty wind to sweep Rainbow Worm up into the sky.
We recognise this today as the rainbow!.
Rainbow Worm wanted to help. He viewed the Earth from his wondrous sky place and saw a very poor but hardworking community in the African country of Malawi. He decided that this is where he could help. He realised it was one of the poorest countries on the planet, but he also saw that the
people had generous and warm hearts. This is why Malawi is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa”.
“How can I help?” thought Rainbow Worm.
From his wondrous place in the sky he noticed a group of school children in Eltham on the vast continent of Australia. He decided to take them on a journey to Malawi.
All he needed to do was to tap on the classroom window and they found themselves crossing the wide oceans from Australia to Africa on the back of Rainbow Worm.
On landing they spotted a group of people cooking up a great feast. They learned that it was a feast where all are welcomed; a feast to remember and celebrate the lives of St Kizito, a thirteen-year- old- boy, and his friends, who died because they dared to believe in the Christian God. They were
welcomed into the celebration. There in the midst of the people was an old woman, her face wrinkled, but compassionate, her body bent, her character straight and true, her person small but mighty in spirit. She stood surrounded in a golden aura.

“I am your dear “Sister of Compassion “. I have been here for 25 years now so it is my home. I came here to work with these people, especially those who are suffering so much with the AIDS virus. Before I came I worked in the capital city, Lilongwe, in the hospitals as a medical missionary. But I was asked to come here to help for the suffering is great. Many things need to be done. We need help for special classes to teach families to be healthy and to improve their diets. We need help to
develop language skills and to encourage sporting activities. I am trying to organise concerts around the world to raise money to help these people.” Rainbow Worm and the children listened to their dear Sister of Compassion.

It was time to leave. Sadly there was no time to stay and enjoy the feast. “Never mind,” said Rainbow Worm, “We have much to keep in our minds and hearts, much to pray about”. It was late so their thoughts returned to home where morning was breaking. They told the amazing story to their parents.
Many people in Eltham came to hear about the story. Some formed a group that came to be called the “Malawi Support Group.” This group worked hard to raise funds for Malawi and the good people of Our Lady Help of Christians in Eltham continue to do this to this very day. An act of love for the people of Malawi from the people of Eltham on that great Australian continent.


Tuesday, September 23

Is Love a feeling or a conscious decision we make every day

Love is still one of the more commonly used word in our language, which, according to the Google Books Ngram Viewer represents about .02% of all words used, down from .03% in the 19th century when romanticism figured more strongly in literature. Love’s use can describe anything from a unifying compassion extended to all living things, from unconditional love to mushy affection, to be in love or awe of our universe or to a love of objects or causes or in appreciation of art or music and so the list goes on. Opinions differ as to what it means- for instance is it a conscious decision by us to love or is it an expression of our emotions or feelings. 
What I propose in this short essay is explore these questions.

Widespread usage
The use of love has many more perspectives than those briefly previously mentioned; from personnel affection in intimacy, to devotion to a cause as in love for one’s country which can turn to war, to love as in sacrifice or in the desire or admiration for beautiful objects or art forms or when we simply say with sincerity “I love you.” Yet we are not clear on how love arises; the inclination is to link love as emanating from the heart to revert to feelings of love whilst others think love is a matter of daily decisions to consciously act in a loving manner. Another assumption is to say love is a kind of noble intuitive force which contributes to the greater good, but as we so much evidence of countless crimes committed under the allure of love, this seems implausible.  Biblically this leads those authors to distinguish passionate love as in intimacy -versus Agape, to mean "unconditional love", but who’s rather grand application, given our limitations as human beings, also seems to me to be somewhat of a contentious issue. Rather I think that the power of love gives one the capacity for loving unions to blossom over time, but that in turn is usually dependent upon a continuing encouragement or willingness to compromise, sufficient to withstand the mounting pressures of life’s experiences. The Idea to me then that love leads to a more willing  desire to make compromises or sacrifices seems more realistic than “unconditional love” which I prefer to leave to the province of divine love, as is included in the notion of grace.      

That certain feeling of love   
Our emotions lie in the older limbic area of the brain which send signals to the frontal lobes (the executive manager of the mind) to give rise to our feelings and to disseminate information in order for us to make rational decisions where necessary. The frontal lobes are the most recent development of the brain and are responsible for the richness of our advanced consciousness, a feature that allows us to discern complex abstract matters, or to possibly experience or feel mystical emotions. Hence I think it fair to conclude that love has its origin in our emotions that become intense feelings, to be matters as they say of the heart, capable of being understood by child and adult alike. But not all feelings come from emotions as the mind is capable of empathy to feel the pain of others and so to act in a loving manner to give expression to that feeling, arising from external stimuli separate to those things arising from the physical body.  

The truth of the matter
Our emotions give rise to our feelings which tell us the truth about how we feel, but not necessarily  the truth , so that there remains responsibility not to become so attached to love that out judgment can become clouded. In that respect Buddhism , with its idea that attachment leads to suffering has  much to offer, as its philosophy / religion proffers that love in the form of a unifying compassion extended to all living beings brings us happiness.    

Thursday, September 18

Frederick Nietzsche-the enigmatic philosopher

This short essay attempts to explore some insights into the thoughts of this enigmatic  philosopher.  
Introduction and some broad observations

Frederick Nietzsche was possibly one of the most influential and enigmatic of philosophers, but whose authenticity in my view can hardly be challenged.
A good reference to anyone wanting to more thoroughly understand him is "What Nietzsche Really Said" by scholars   , whose review is :
Friedrich Nietzsche's aggressive independence, flamboyance, sarcasm, and celebration of strength have struck responsive chords in contemporary culture. More people than ever are reading and discussing his writings. But Nietzsche's ideas are often overshadowed by the myths and rumors that surround his sex life, his politics, and his sanity. In this lively and comprehensive analysis, Nietzsche scholars Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins get to the heart of Nietzsche's philosophy, from his ideas on "the will to power" to his attack on religion and morality and his infamous Übermensch (superman).
What Nietzsche Really Said offers both guidelines and insights for reading and understanding this controversial thinker. Written with sophistication and wit, this book provides an excellent summary of the life and work of one of history's most provocative philosophers.
Much of his work is polemic - to firmly  establish his perspective with gusto after opposing mercilessly contemporary viewpoints.

But I do not think Nietzsche was an intellectual bully, but rather he was fond of making highly emotive statements, to ignite our interest and  shock the senses to be persuaded to think differently.

Nietzsche’s view, at that time, was that state power and money underlined a state of stupidity, so that he saw himself as a man in the mould of Goethe, having the courage to suffer for the sake of the truth as he perceived it. Nietzsche did not suggest a political point of view but rather believed his philosophy underpinned noble leadership, so that became sufficient in itself to  ensure a happier and superior moral system of governance.

He also suffered both from severe bad health which was to be an infliction for all of his life, coupled with experience firsthand of the terrible brutality of war. In my view both of which could not fail to have some considerable influence over his philosophy.
Upbringing and early influences  
To understand Nietzsche’s perspective I think it is useful to delve into his upbringing and early development as is usually the case for all of us.

Nietzsche's family ties were to Lutheran ministers, as his paternal grandfather was a distinguished Protestant scholar. His father was the town’s Lutheran minister, but died of a brain disorder when Nietzsche was only 5, so that his childhood nurturing was undertaken by his mother and 2 maiden aunts.

Nietzsche as a teenager began composing piano, choral and orchestral music and was instrumental in leading a music and literature group when attending a boarding school in preparation for a university education. He was later to form a strong bond with Richard Wagner, whose talent he greatly admired, and who gave support to Nietzsche’s early literary works. After graduating from school he undertook theological studies at the university, intent on becoming a minster before gravitating in favour of philology, which is concerned with the interpretation of classical and biblical texts. Nietzsche was a brilliant student and published essays on poets and philosophers such as Aristotle.
The rather obvious conclusions are that his comprehension of the Bible was fulsome, but no doubt lacking in positivism as his subsequent works incorporated the ideals of the mythical ancient heroic GODS. But Nietzsche was not against organized Religion, maintaining it could be of comfort for the masses. His concern was for its application as bad faith, predicated on false notions that bad health arose from sin.  He also thought religion tied its followers to a slave mentality, to enslave the followers to mediocrity and meekness, which ultimately could lead to nihilism. In other words the abstract values of a perceived GOD, born of jealously or envy, confirmed in meekness and in mediocrity were in essence simply the shadows of a poet’s imagery which could lead (if taken literally) to unintended bad consequences.  

A pivotal moment for Nietzsche was his discovery of Arthur Schopenhauer's work which was to capture his imagination but whose influence remains subject to some debate. However in Nietzsche’s publication entitled Untimely Meditations he seems to indicate a definite affinity to Schopenhauer as his educator: For your true nature lies, not concealed deep within you, but immeasurably high above you, or at least above that which you usually take yourself to be. Your true educators and formative teachers reveal to you what the true basic material of your being is, something in itself ineducable (incapable of being educated) and in any case difficult of access, bound and paralyzed: your educators can be only your liberators. (UM3:129 Nietzsche, F. (1983) Schopenhauer as Educator, in Untimely Meditations, Transl. R.J Collingdale, Cambridge University Press, [1874].)
Nietzsche entered compulsory military service, where he suffered a serious injury, and was discharged to return to the university where he became interested in Sanskrit and the Zoroastrian religion, whose prophet was Zarathustra. No doubt the seed here was sown for his later work entitled “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.
The University of Basel offered him the chair of classical philology at the tender age of 24, but during the onset of the Franco-Prussian war, he again enlisted as a medical orderly, only to once again be forced into discharge after suffering from diphtheria and dysentery. He witnessed firsthand the horror of war and the trauma of battle, caring for wounded soldiers.

He returned to the university but was forced to cease work as consequence of deteriorating health and henceforth was reliant on his writing to sustain himself.
Schopenhauer revitalized by Nietzsche 
In in his early formative years, as outlined previously, Schopenhauer was his educator, who in turn was influenced by the Upanishads, Kant and Plato. Schopenhauer saw worldly existence in terms of continuum of the tension of the rational conscious mind versus an underlying unconscious will, as exists universally in nature.  Schopenhauer was of the opinion the primordial will to live domiciled in all forms of life, then created the instinctive desire of all living creatures' to avoid death and to procreate.

Nietzsche valued Schopenhauer’s ideas but concluded ones existence and acceptance of one will, realised to ones higher self through self enlightenment was a more practical morality, capable of achieving supreme fulfilment and hence happiness.
Culture to Nietzsche was the means of aspiring to the higher self, which is a spiritual dimension quite separate to the instinctive forces, but arises from self-enlightenment in the service of the will, to give rise to the new metaphors of life. This is not, however, as most people view "spirituality”, as Nietzsche relates spirituality more as a self-realization, as in a ‘’love of fait ‘’ to live for the moment, to grasping life with gusto as in life affirmation, regardless of one’s physical condition.
Will to power  

Nietzsche’s “will to power’’ Is not clearly defined by most philosophers  who opt instead to numerous references, which to my mind only serve or ask further questions. What I would posit is that his “will to power” is an awareness of this central truth underlying all that we do, to brings with it the responsibility of its use, rather than attempting to suppress that which governs all of humanity and will only serve to make oneself  miserable. The Ubermensch then does not subscribe to any particular norm but rejects mediocrity to realize one’s own unique individuality.
Eternal recurrence
This is one of his key concepts and has its heritage primarily from eastern religions / philosophy (although there are some references in Jewish traditions) which posits time is not lineal but involves infinite circles of recurrence which Nietzsche linked to his idea of love of fate. 
Despite suffering terribly throughout his life, his prodigious work provides a testament to his own will, to leave to us a legacy of immense material to ponder, about which continues to be subject to countless interpretations. I have attempted to shed some light on such thoughts, not least being Nietzsche’s hope that as free spirits one can be unbounded by the shackles of dogmatism and  be willing and able to embrace hardships in a constant state of becoming, joined as he thought we were as part of that circle of eternal recurrence.
For further  reading


Thursday, September 11

Productivity: the forgotten answer

My letter as per below appeared in the AFR today:
In (“A golden age of living standards is now passing”, AFR September 4) Chris Richardson concludes that the biggest boom for Australia in a century and a half is continuing to ease back, to exert pressure on national income. Richardson suggests it’s time to “do the deal time” for crossbench senators to support some stalled budget measures.
But it is also true the past mining boom for Australia, although positive overall, was a catalyst for asset and wage inflation in non-mining industries, combined with a high dollar, rendered large segments of manufacturing uncompetitive.
During this period our productivity declined as we relied too heavily on a continuance of extremely favourable terms of trade, and households leveraged from housing appreciation to borrow more to sustain standards of living.
But in the aftermath we have lost sight of the potential of improved productivity to generate higher real incomes to lead to long-term improvements in the nation’s living standards, by giving prominence to investments in education, training, research, development and innovation.
What is lacking is a concerted industry programme to enhance investment in projects to improve productivity by industry segment, to enhance the nation’s ability to compete. We should not be at all perturbed in borrowing to do that, so long as we are not borrowing to fund current consumption.

Sunday, September 7

Time and time again

The concept has recently been advanced (see references )that our very first responses to things are prior to any realisation of conscious thoughts, giving a lie to the idea of a complete free will. Hence the argument is that it may be just a perception that gives us a feeling we have orderly control over our thoughts, which instead may have been triggered from our subconscious before , even if such a prior period represents just a fraction of a second before.  Furthermore,  our understanding  of the passage of time and its events in terms of a linguistic tense, e.g. the sense of past, present, and future, may be somewhat of a contentious issue. Our conventional view is of course, given the overwhelming evidence of decay and entropy that appears before us is that time can only be linear in nature.  But there is no such thing as time in terms of tense in the universe.
These things puzzled that great philosopher Augustine who concluded : 

'Who shall lay hold upon the mind of man, that it may stand and see that time with its past and future must be determined by eternity, which stands and does not pass, which has in itself no past or future."

Maybe our human perception of time is just another intuitive function of the mind , necessary to make sense of our world from within our earthly confinement. This is indeed a mystery that will remain an unresolved theme for philosophers the world over, time and time again. 
For further reading

Wednesday, August 27

Why ethics are fundamental to good accounting

Post-GFC, the spotlight has swung firmly onto ethics in business and the development of “soft” skills

Professional integrity is now more important than ever
Professional integrity is now more important than ever
Although most accountants have always adhered to a Code of Ethics, the importance of professional integrity has arguably never been more acute.
To read the full article published by CPA Australia's "In the Black "  click here

Friday, August 15

A sustainable population for Australia

In “Dick Smith and Graham Turner call for small population” (AFR 14th August 2014) Entrepreneurs Dick Smith and Flight Centre founder Graham Turner say Australia must abandon unending economic growth because a ‘Big Australia’ is unsustainable.
But one could also argue good economics has never endorsed a theory of endless growth, but rather aims to find the best most economical outcomes. Although orthodox economics, supportive of market freedom, but subject to prudential controls is suggested by most economists to be an important factor in improved standards of living, the real driver has been the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge. In this regard the determinant for the level of population that Australia can support, without a diminution in living standards will depend on how effective the nation is in reducing waste and improving productivity. Smarter outcomes in line with finite resources to determine optimum future population limits and migration policy should be the subject of a national debate, as was suggested by Smith and Turner.

Saturday, August 9

National building blocks for Australian enterprise

There is a veritable multitude of opportunities in the current low interest rate environment for industry policy to advance the nation’s capability by way of government borrowings to fund a variety of industry partnerships with later opportunities for export spin offs, particularly into our Asia region.  
What is needed I think is a long term plan for the nation in determining what industries have the greatest  potential for assistance and to make available publically the underlying assumptions that justify such projects so that it forms a national narrative  subject to public scrutiny.   

What can be expected from the government, is an industry paper detailing assumptions about future anticipated gains in productivity and improved workplace participation and income that would exceed the cost of borrowing. Those assumptions should also be subject to audit scrutiny to afford continuing good governance. My thoughts are such large scale investment, much more that could be properly justified by our small market would be necessary, possibly also involving some further concessions, in order to be competitive, but whose recoupment would be ensured with further joint ventures. Hence I think we can overcome our limited market size in Australia with investment in facilities supportive of the wider market incorporating our neighbouring region, particularly China. This, of course, involves some risk and inevitable revision, but the risk of dong nothing is much greater.

What I envisage is a five pronged policy framework which might conceivably involve, (A) Feasibilities into industries to attract initial concessions with long term productivity gains assessed in excess of the cost of borrowing (B) building or manufacture of facilities funded from government debt, (C) operate and then develop into a private public system, (D) recoupment of seed funding and transfer of some ownership to joint ventures, (E) subsequent spin offs and export of systems or further joint ventures. Bear in mind the Chinese government are already using joint ventures with foreigners for many of their investments and manufacturing facilities.

Probably the industries where we have the largest opportunities are in agricultural processing and in- bound tourism.  By way of example our facilities in relation to inbound tourism are underdeveloped and could be funded thorough large scale improved infrastructure. But other Industries should not be overlooked such as utility networks, telecommunications, transportation systems -tollways, expressways, airports, rail, shipping, waste management facilities, health, education, finance, environmental pollution control, building low-cost housing and eco-tourism.

Thursday, July 31

coflicting policies make australian budget unsaleable

In “Put up or shut up, Mr Hockey” (Letters AFR 29th July 2014) Des Moore concludes the time has arrived when Mr Abbott should take over the selling of the budget and, in the first instance, present a revised budget when Parliament resumes at the end of August. That should include changes in existing spending proposals as well as the missing explanations.

But it is now reported Hockey is urging his Liberal and Nationals Party member’s to rally together and use the winter parliamentary break to shore up support and sell the budget. He has cited Standard and Poor's confirmation of Australia's 'AAA' credit rating to convince the Senate to pass his first budget. The agency has stated the budget deficits are expected to reduce in line with eventual agreed compromises on the proposed budget measures.

The reason the budget is so difficult to sell is due to conflicting measures ; a $7 medical co-payment only partially repairs the budget shortfall as part of the proceeds are earmarked for the grandiose medical research fund.  Similarly, applying a six monthly waiting period for those under 30 for unemployment benefits in the absence of labour structural reform to allow lower wage categories for the unskilled is equally poor policy. Such measures, and those announced recently mandating 40 job applications per month for the unemployed to continue to be eligible for benefits and the provisions of “work for the dole” only serve to add more "red tape" with highly dubious benefits.

Saturday, July 19

Saving a nation from debt

In the western world, fuelled by asset price appreciation and particularly in relation to real estate, an unhealthy appetite gained momentum over many decades for credit as householders leveraged that increased equity in their homes by borrowing for both current consumption and investment. Lending institutions became less concerned about the ability of borrowers to repay their loan, whether it is housing, consumer or commercially related. The idea you should have sufficient deposit to support any loan application and had demonstrated a prior saving ability sufficient to reasonably repay the loan almost disappeared.
Hence, in the period leading up to the global financial crisis, western countries collectively reduced their savings to zero and in some cases it become negative. Given the aftermath of the GFC there has been a mild reversal to saving, but this has been thwarted by the prolonged use of quantitative easing, which acts as disincentive to savers with negative distortions to asset price inflation.
But private debt in Australia remains at very high levels which should demand a national narrative to explain the future risks, such as the adverse impact on overburdened indebted households, and lending institutions once interest rates revert to higher long term median rates. What is missing is an understanding of how voluntary real private savings are such a critical funding source of sustainable capital to achieve advancements in productivity and higher income.
In Australia, we have now come to the “end” as far as any further options are available for households and businesses’ to borrow more to sustain their living standards. This was previously made possible due to increased leverages in the provisions of debt. What sustained the system and “bought” time was increases in debt, often inappropriately funding consumption, with typically the source of this increase in debt levels from a lowering of deposits in housing, counting the double income for couples to increase borrowing capacity and borrowing from asset price inflation. This debt culture was further fuelled by poor policy which is “anti-saving”.   

Hence what is needed is incentives for savers and to end the present anti-saving policies. One of the distortions of the Australian economy is “negative gearing “where an investor borrowings interest cost exceeds gross income of the asset acquired. The favourable tax allowance afforded negative gearing not only reduces tax income but distorts the allocation of capital and results in inflated asset prices, particularly in property, to be kept artificiality high.
Putting more emphasis on savings requires a fundamental change in policy mix, to ensure there are tax incentives for savers and to phase out negative gearing over time. There is no reason why, over several decades ahead, we could not reduce private debts by 50%, and encourage more investment in long term infrastructure bonds and with less spending on consumption. In this regard government debt should increase, with the issuance of new securities but offset by the savings of the private savers who invest in national assets that deliver future productivity gains in excess of the interest rates paid to savers.

Friday, July 11

McKibbin’s carbon solution a politically realistic one

My letter as per below appeared in AFR today :

In “Palmer move shows that creditable climate policy is possible” (AFR, July 7) Warwick McKibbin concludes the climate policy debate in Australia has hit the Palmer pivot; he argues in favour of a viable emissions trading scheme commencing with an initial zero carbon cost, achievable by ensuring an excess of permits over allocations.

His proposal makes provision for a long-term aspirational target for remission abatement but retains the flexibility in the midterm by exercising control over the issue of a pool of yearly permits for trading within Australia, with a carbon price set over a fixed period by a central agency, similar to how the RBA sets interest rates.

Most economists are against Tony Abbott’s Direct Action climate change policy, with a Fairfax Media survey citing 32 of 35 prominent economists in support of carbon pricing, concluding international evidence overwhelmingly showed carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced much more efficiently by the operation of a broad-based market mechanism such as a trading scheme.  Of course the experience overseas of emission trading schemes has been beset with problems, including fraud, but McKibbin’s flexible model restricted to Australia avoids these pitfalls.

McKibbin’s proposal warrants serious consideration by senators as it meets mostly the objectives of all the parties and is in the nation’s best interest, but also satisfies the Coalition objective not to put a price on carbon in the short term.

Tuesday, July 8

A brief history of economics

Economics aims to determine optimum efficiencies or outcomes from competing wants, which exceed available resources, but overlaps social and political philosophy.

The key determinants for optimum outcomes involve policy assumptions based on the so called laws of supply and demand, the effect of interest rates, aggregates in relation to the circulation of money, the role of exchange rates and how agencies regulate markets.

But policies and theoretical economic models are routinely hijacked by corruptive power and the difficulty of obtaining and interpreting reliable data.
Notwithstanding, the adoption of orthodox economics, supportive of market freedom, but subject to prudential controls and embracing international trading, is suggested by most economists to be an important factor in improved standards of living. But such an advantage may be overstated in lieu of the significant contribution made from the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge.

Early beginnings
Economics was not a word used in indigenous communities, but its application within their non-technological existence was impressive.
Possibly Australian aborigine’s trade between nations represented one of the few really effective free markets. Like indigenous groups elsewhere, they traded ceremonial artefacts, tools, skins, grain and even water rights within respective nations, using interpreters and negotiators to secure trade agreements.
A United Nations approach was employed to ensure optimum outcome from the countries limited resources, so that as crops prospered or game became scarce seasonally in one area it was traded in exchange for goods available in another, just as modern economics champions free trading.

But within the western world complexity was increasing as new scientific discoveries underpinned industrialization, in tandem with the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the age of enlightenment and colonization.

Philosophers reasoned this increased complexity in the management of state affairs could best be served by applying scientific knowledge, based on the assumption markets represented rational outcomes.

The Industrial Revolution
As society became transformed by the mechanised Newtonian world, evident in the mass production of goods and services, philosophers concluded this complexity must conform to laws, yet to be discovered, which, once unearthed would enable optimum policy settings to be determined. 

Scottish philosopher David Hume, who was an influencer of Adam Smith, who wrote “Wealth of Nations”, argued vehemently against the Mercantilists who believed the best way for a nation to gain wealth was to restrict imports and exert total control over exports to maximise gold accumulation in the home country.
Under this system the American colonies were forced to supply all the raw materials for Britain to manufacture into the finished goods which were re-exported to the colonies, at an exchange rate highly favourable to Britain, a significant factor in fuelling a world war.
Wealth of Nations
Adam Smith expanded on Hume’s ideas and introduced the term “invisible hand”, to describe how the market made decisions regarding supply and demand. This led him to a rational theory governing outcomes in respect to aggregates for production, consumption, distribution and their effects on markets.
He concluded people generally acted out of an enlightened self-interest so that the market is mostly able to achieve (by virtue of the “invisible hand”) optimum outcomes. He also championed thrift and saving as a virtue maintaining a national savings pool provided the engine room to support investments which flowed on to improve production and ultimately lead to enhanced living standards.
He concluded there need only be a limited role for government; in defence, education, public works and the operation of the law. He sought to align a nation’s currency with the holdings of precious metals, to ensure the government’s ability to depreciate its currency was curtailed. This was the seeds of the so called “gold standard” where a countries external liabilities were always to be matched by a nations central banks holdings of gold.
Smith was also a moral philosopher, who reasoned his economic theories represented favourable outcomes for the nation and for world trade.

John Stuart Mill
The English philosopher and utilitarian, John Mill made a significant contribution, who supported free markets but was amenable to taxes to be imposed on services and was in favour of a flat tax system for everyone paid the same percentage of taxation. 
His book Principles, which was first published in 1848, and, like “Wealth of Nations” was widely acknowledged and accepted well unto the next century. He concluded that economic democracy arising in the form of worker cooperatives was superior to capitalism.  

The Twentieth Century
A significant contributor in the immediate post World War 2 period was Samuelson, whose ideas became widely accepted in the aftermath of the frightful memories of the Great Depression and war. Samuelson reinforced the earlier work of John Maynard Keyes, whose motivating force was how to avoid a repeat of the horrors of the Great Depression. Keyes had lost his fortune on the stock market and set about determining what measures could be taken to reverse recurring slumps in the trade cycle and mitigate against the over buoyant conditions that preceded the inevitable contraction.
What Keyes and Samuelson concluded was that both monetary theory (supply of money and interest rates) and fiscal policy (taxation and spending measures) could be used as tools to overcome the excesses of the trade cycle; if inflationary pressures persist taxation and interest rates can be increased , whilst stimulatory measures can be employed to reverse contraction. The idea was also for governments to build surpluses in times of stability which could be employed in the event of contraction or external shock.
Keyes recognized the pivotal role of investments, and the effect of the investor multiple which represented a multiple of many times consumption which it sought to satisfy. Keyes was a supporter of government regulation, as a necessary lever in guarding against and offsetting excesses; for regulatory agency bodies to have responsibility to ensure prudential standards were maintained.

However as a result of rising inflationary pressures due to the oil shock of 1973, as a consequence of supply restrictions imposed by the OPEC nations, economies faced soaring unemployment as energy costs escalated and businesses reduced their operations. This situation posed a crisis for Keynesian economics, since his model called for stimulatory measures in the face of a contraction and rising unemployment, but which if implemented at that time would have only aggravated already rising inflation. Of course nations could have simply opted to institute price control subsidies to reduce fuel prices and inflation until the prices of oil stabilized and returned to normal historical trends. Prior to this turning point Keynesian economics had dominated policy in almost all capitalist governments.  

Economic schools of thought
Hence this crisis in Keynesian economic “orthodoxy” fuelled interest in emerging different schools of thought, as the monetarists in the USA gained ascendancy.
It is helpful to examine the effects on both microeconomics and macroeconomics.

Microeconomics is concerned with the choices of individuals who will pay less for a commodity when they have more of it and more when they have abundance; applied to free markets consumer’s choices determine prices, rather than firms.  It is only when firms hold monopolistic powers are they able to exert pricing power over consumers. Of course, the values we hold collectively are unlikely to always coincide with this simplistic economic principle, so that economists now attempt to categorise consumer and business choices into sub groups in a concerted effort to more accurately define aggregated totals.     
Macroeconomics is concerned with the aggregates of production, supply, distribution, money supply and so forth, where we encounter the divergent schools of thought. Along with the diminished Keynesian economics, the Monetarists and others such as the Austrian school placed more emphasis on uncertainty and is critical of many of the modelling theories .
Monetarism, was the brain child of Milton Friedman whose philosophical thrust was stability can be maintained by exercising control just over the supply of money and central banking. Inflation in the seventies dominated economic debate and monetarism simplistically attributed its root cause to an excessive monetary supply by a central bank and for the reverse to be the cause of recessionary cycles. The simplicity of such a new found philosophy was popular with politicians, as it reduced the onus of regulation and policy to just the supply on money, which became popular in the US.
Australia –embracing economic reform within Keynesian economics.
In the earlier post war period the government exercised control over leading economic settings, so that exchange rates were set by the regulatory authorities, who also imposed conditions over lending, setting interest rates, tariff rates and banking.

It was not until the seventies that tariffs were reduced by 25% to open up the nation to overseas competition but the pace of reform increased markedly under the Hawke/ Treasurer Keating labour government of the eighties.
During this period massive changes were instituted, with bipartisan political support, to float the Australian dollar, reduce tariffs, reform the tax system, introduce an enterprise bargaining system for wages outcomes and to privatize previous publically owned companies such as Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank. Later national superannuation was introduced to play a significant role in increasing our national savings pool.

More recently the Howard liberal Government established the GST , and presided over a period of government surpluses arising from the mineral boom, to establish a future Fund once federal government debt was eliminated.

During the global financial crisis the Rudd labour Government employed classical Keynesian investment stimulatory expenditure to counteract any adverse consequences, to ensure the economy remained strong.

 Keynesian philosophy in favour elsewhere
There is a growing realisation that placing all your faith in markets, reducing regulation and having a very loose monetary policy with declining interest rates to discourage savers and fuel reckless lending was a major determinate in the outset of  the Global Financial Crisis.
Furthermore notable economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, James K. Galbraith, Robert Shiller and Paul Krugman have all been critical on monetarism and have argued for a return to Keynesian economics.

Modern day economics – the use of quantitative easing.
Quantitative easing is an unconventional branch of stimulatory monetary policy used when low interest rates has proven to be ineffectual in reigniting sluggish economies, QE has been employed in the US, the UK and the Eurozone, where real risk free interest rates are virtually zero, and in Japan to reflate its economy and reverse deflationary pressures.
QE does not initially involve the printing money, since the volume of cash in circulation is unchanged, as no new financial assets are added to the private sector. How it works is a central bank such as the Federal Reserve in the US, buys a quantity of Treasury notes or bonds ( hence the word quantitative ) from the commercial Banks, who afterwards have a corresponding lesser value of bonds held but more in reserves, to facilitate more lending. Depending on the quantity of different maturing securities bought relative yields can be influenced to make short term commercial interest rates more favourable to longer term or vice versa. After the transactions the central banks holding in government securities increases, according to the quantity purchased, with a corresponding liability to the selling bank. This process is often referred to as expanding its Balance sheet, since it is increasing its assets (securities bought) whilst simultaneously increasing its liability to the banks. No money changes hands as only a credit is registered in the central bank as the amount owing to the commercial banks for the assets purchased.
Banks themselves, have always had the ability to create money through leverage as their lending is always a multiple of capital and reserves, (typically a factor of about 10) so that through quantitative easing they are able to create money once they engage in increased lending.
The ongoing criticism of quantitative easing is that it has continued on for too long, from the early days when it could be argued it was a valid policy response to counter the curtailment of credit before and after the global financial crisis. Then credit was contracting sharply as corporates and individuals deleveraged from the excesses of previous reckless lending that preceded the global financial crisis.
What critics of quantitative easing claim is it is creating distortions with asset inflation and  we need to begin winding back from QEs – the longer we wait the more painful the adjustment. The move to scale back will most likely result in a reduction in the value of many inflated asset classes as interest rates begin to increase to reflect long term mean averages.
Growing inequality.
What is not always acknowledged is that economics originally arose not only as a tool to ensure superior outcomes and improved wellbeing for a nations citizens but more importantly to underpin moral values. In this regard Smith rallied against the unethical stance of the mercantilists, whilst later Keyes and others concluded your cannot legislate against human greed and fear, but you can, with improved regulation, afford control over inevitable excesses, to champion prudential management, under government agencies supervision.

More recently economists, such as Joseph Stiglitz, continue in this tradition to make the case growing inequality in income distribution (evident mostly abroad), is not only an undesirable social objective, but economically is irresponsible. In the US for instance, according to Stiglitz,  one in four people in the US will now be born into a family that will be unable to afford even reasonable nutritional standards or heath care which will substantially impede any future growth. In the US wages are not the problem but a lack of demand emanating from contraction of the middle class and an ineffective tax system. Even in China, which has, in the last 35 years of attempted to emulate a market based economic system under centralist communist oversight, produced inequality which increases the risk the sustainability of past impressive growth.

Inequality increased under coalition’s first budget in Australia
The incoming coalition’s first budget was designed to meet the structural decline in the economy following declines in investments from the mining boom and as a consequence the fiscal challenges from a reduced tax base. But the budget represented a piecemeal approach, with no tax reform but a general notion it was unfair, to overall represent about a negative .3% drag on the economy.
Notwithstanding the latest developments, inequalities have continued to grow, but albeit at a vastly subdued rate compared to most other countries. According to economist Judith Sloan, who recently appearing on Q & A on the ABC, the drift is mitigated by the nations efficient tax and transfer system which redistributes 30% of income to those on lower incomes. The end result is real gains after inflation for the past 23 years for the bottom percentile of  27 % compared to 33% gain for those in the top quartile. The latter increase, might well be explained by enhanced income opportunities arising from higher education.
But Sloan is also critical of the recent first budget to impose a 6 month waiting period for those under 30 to receive unemployment benefits. An alternative would be to provide a relief to employers to employ say the unskilled at a rate below the current minimum wage (about $33,000 pa) but above current unemployment benefits for a period up until they became skilled and are entitled to minimum compensation. In other words, similar to apprenticeships, imaginative solutions need to employed to offer hope to young people and avoid Australia flowing on the folly of accepting the very high rates of evident in much of the world today.

Whilst the US has only just reached the level of employment that existed just before the advent of the GFC, the new jobs are mostly in in the lower paid category and hence they represent people who are unable to save, many of whom are referred to as the working poor, unable to afford basic heath or possibly nutrition, Elsewhere, as in the US, successive governments ran up huge deficits, to exhaust all reserves, so that the last resort was is in the use of quantitative easing.
Making up for decades long of unsustainable spending and failure to ensure sound economics presents a formidable challenge ahead, but accelerated tapering in relation to quantitative easing, with a goal to completion in the next year will help remove the present distortions in asset inflation and restore incentives for savers as rates return to normality.   
A national savings flow is now also essential to sustain future investment and to begin to build up a reservoir to employ against any unexpected further external shocks. Although corporate balance sheets are in much better shape now tax on earnings is hampered by the ease to redirect earnings to low tax regimes, further exasperating respective countries tax collections.
This requires a concerted effort by respective government’s regulatory agencies to ensure multinationals pay a fair share of tax.
Governments also need to revert to more imaginative means pf employment, particularly for the youth and older displaced workers, with the reintroduction of Keynesian style investment expenditures.
But placing more emphasis on savings and investment in expanded resources and people will require a change in policy mix and the prospect of raising taxes of one kind or another likely to be an anathema within current political debate.

The additional investment in both people and facilities to counter downturns or sluggish economies is just as it was first envisaged by Keyes so it remains even more relevant today.