Fake Freedom of Speech Crisis on University Campuses


In recent years we have observed the supposed issue of ‘free speech’ emerging in politics, media and higher education in the Anglosphere of the US, UK and Australia, but the evidence shows that this has been a confected issue looking for a solution that restricts academic freedom, learning and innovation.  Further it can also help denigrate not just the image of university research, higher education and learning, but science too aka climate science.  

Unsurprisingly this tactic is central to Koch’s libertarian ideology that is promoted via think tanks globally and includes climate science research denial and hyperbolic claims regarding China or the CCP influence on campus.  Also about dismissing minority issues as ‘political correctness’ that then allows alt right or nativist conservatives to denigrate others on the basis of gender, race and sexual orientation; claims that society cannot trust ‘experts’ as they hinder the corporate sector and ‘owned’ conservative politics.

Following are excerpts from three articles summarising concerns of universities in the UK and Australia, concluding that Kochs are central in funding, organising and spreading further afield.  In the Australian context there are several key protagonists including the Koch linked IPA (AtlasNetwork) and the LNP, former Attorney General Brandis declaring freedom of speech means the right to denigrate on race (after an infamous NewsCorp commentator lost a legal case brought by an indigenous woman, on race). 

While media outlets like the Koch supported SpikedOnline in the UK promote ‘freedom of speech’, more recently it has been  Drew Pavlou at University of Queensland promoting freedom of speech and claiming how it is unfairly limited on campus in relation to China (while telling everybody without asking that he has nothing to do with the IPA, just in case…) and a promoter of men’s issues Bettina Arndt, provoking freedom of speech issues at the University of Sydney.

What is the objective? Authoritarian and self appointed elites in media, radical right libertarian think tanks, some corporate entities and supporters of eugenics with antipathy towards poor people, immigrants and ‘other types’, to create society in their image and creating targets.  A society where everyone will know their place, sub-optimal democracy and ‘owned’ conservative parties e.g. hollowed out white Christian nationalist GOP, Tories and Australian Liberals, lack of common human rights, religion is promoted and business is favoured, all over the interests of society.

Following are excerpts from relevant articles from media on freedom go speech:

Ignore this manufactured crisis: free speech is alive and well in our universities

Higher education faces many challenges, but freedom of expression is well protected by the existing legal framework.

Political and press interest in what happens in universities is intense and the freedom of speech issue is at the centre of the culture wars being fought by this government. Antagonism by the press and some right-leaning think tanks towards so-called “woke warriors” means that what is discussed on campus – and who is invited or disinvited to speak to students – has become a major political issue.

The stereotypical view that universities are political monocultures and that debate is stifled is not one that we recognise….Yet even with the many challenges posed by Covid-19, the highly politicised approach to discussing freedom of expression at universities, which has been stoked by the government, will not be going away soon….

…Yet even with the many challenges posed by Covid-19, the highly politicised approach to discussing freedom of expression at universities, which has been stoked by the government, will not be going away soon. Last month, Gavin Williamson, the embattled secretary of state for education, wrote to the Office for Students (OFS) about his confected concerns and quickly followed this up with a policy paper on free speech and academic freedom largely culled from previous Policy Exchange papers. There is to be no consultation about it; a sledgehammer of legislation is on its way.

Mr Williamson suggests that there is growing evidence of a “chilling effect” on campuses which means that cultural, religious or political views cannot be expressed without fear of repercussions. The evidence cited is scant.

From The Conversation:

How a fake ‘free speech crisis’ could imperil academic freedom

August 25, 2020 9.08pm BST

Forceful suppression of political and scholarly views in universities has a long and shameful history……..

We imagine our modern universities to be more civil. Certainly, in the 1950s, when Russel Ward’s appointment to the New South Wales University of Technology (now UNSW) was blocked for political reasons, this was frustrating, but not deadly. In Soviet Russia, by contrast, scientists who disagreed with Stalin’s approved theory of genetics went to prison. Some were executed.

These events show why academic freedom matters. Academic freedom is related to free speech in universities, the subject of a public debate that prompted the federal government to commission a review of the issue in 2018. This month the government appointed Professor Sally Walker to monitor universities’ adoption of a code of free speech arising from the review.

This sounds like a good thing, which we would expect to reinforce academic freedom. However, in this case, the category of “free speech” actually conceals particular political interests that could threaten academic freedom.

Free speech and academic freedom

Academic freedom has been very hard won. Such freedoms are important because they are how we know we can trust scholars to tell the truth about the discoveries they make, even when that means society, politics or the economy may need to change as a result. If Stalin had allowed his geneticists academic freedom, for example, they might well have prevented widespread famine.

So, when the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies used a system of policy “auditsimported from overseas to declare a “free speech crisis” in Australian universities, this was taken seriously….

A ‘crisis’ born of an anti-PC campaign

The so-called “free speech crisis” is actually an anti-political correctness campaign waged by particular groups of conservative intellectuals. French’s review shows some Australian conservatives looked to the success of such campaigns in the United States and the United Kingdom in increasing the political right’s power. They manufactured a similar “crisis” in Australian universities to achieve the same ends here.

Anti-political correctness is a philosophy that is not the same as free speech. Anti-political correctness claims that conservative students, lecturers and visitors to university campuses are unfairly limited in what they can say. Often this relates to so-called “politically correct” subjects such as race, gender or sexuality.

The difference from free speech is obvious. Anti-PC advocates want to be able to say what they like, but they do not want to be called “racist”, “sexist” or “homophobic” in response. Anti-political correctness is always earned at the expense of someone else’s free speech…..

Imposed ‘solution’ threatens academic freedom.

Imposing anti-political correctness on all members of the university as a compulsory philosophy undermines, rather than promotes, academic freedom. To do so under the cover of “free speech” is not only disingenuous, it further jeopardises our universities, which are already facing risks to academic freedom. These are increasingly due to the commercial pressures universities face.’

From Prospect:

Why Should We Care About Faux Free-Speech Warriors? Because the Koch Brothers Are Paying Their Bills.

Money from the Koch network is finding its way into the hands of the loudest online promoters of free speech—or at least, free speech for conservative viewpoints. By Aaron Freedman 20 June 2019.

…..It’s easy to dismiss the outrage and inconsistency of online free-speech warriors who profit off of controversy. But there’s a more serious and troubling dynamic at play: The “free speech movement,” including not only online pundits but also think tanks, academics, activist groups, and their mainstream popularizers, has always been about free speech for the right—and suppressing the speech of everyone else. It is by and large funded by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers, who whip up anger about the “intolerant left” in order to stymie opposition to their social, economic, and political agenda.

At a time when the far right has declared war on dissent, protest, and the press in much of the world—from Orban’s Hungary to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel to Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil to Donald Trump’s United States—the cover that the false prophets of free speech give to demagogues could not be more dangerous.

Don’t take my word for it—Richard Fink, president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, has openly bragged about it. According to his “Structure of Social Change” philosophy, the goal of the Koch Foundation’s philanthropy is to make grants in a strategic way so as to best affect public policy and influence broader social change. And what does Fink insist is a key part of this strategy? You guessed it—college campuses. Koch money is all over organizations that advocate for campus free speech, like the infamous astroturf group Speech First.

For more blogs and article about Ageing Democracy, Australian Politics, Conservative, Libertarian Economics, Media, Pedagogy, Political Strategy, Populist Politics, Radical Right Libertarian, Science Literacy, SME Subject Matter Expert, Teaching in Australia and University Teaching Skills.

China PRC – Fertility Decline – Peak Population?


Many people believe through constant media attention and promotion, that the world is heading for ever higher population growth, based upon supposedly high fertility rates, and migration.  However, as Bricker & Ibbitson found in their population research for ‘Empty Planet’ a few years ago, that not only are fertility rates declining, but much faster than forecast, hence, will impact population growth, economy and society.  However, this dynamic is not being reflected by the UNPD in their analysis with e.g. fertility rates declining in China and India, then lifting off again to reach a rate of 2 later in this century. 

Following are related excerpts from an article by Andy Cie in the South China Morning Post explaining the impact of declining fertility rates and population in China:

Population decline could end China’s civilisation as we know it. When will Beijing wake up to the crisis? Andy Xie 3 Mar 2021

  • The seeds of the crisis were sown by a development strategy that relied on cheap, plentiful migrant workers to power manufacturing and construction
  • Now, their children don’t want to be like them – they would rather surf the internet than have children. The property bubble is only making things worse

The Chinese government recently reported a sharp drop in registered newborns in 2020, 15 per cent down on the year before. This follows three consecutive yearly declines. Instead of a pandemic baby boom, China seems to be having a baby crisis, worse than in far richer countries such as Japan and South Korea. Does it matter?

The total number of births in China for 2020 is likely to be significantly below 14 million, compared to the annual average of 16.3 million over the past two decades. At the rate China is going, average annual births for the current decade may fall below 12 million, which would be roughly half the number for the 1980s and the 1990s.

While fast-greying Japan is widely known to face the greatest demographic challenges, it has suffered a less dramatic drop in average births over the past four decades than China.

China’s low birth rate last year had little to do with the coronavirus crisis, as lockdowns became nationwide only around February. Instead, it is more significant that marriages had declined in previous years, even falling below the 10 million mark for the first time in 2019. Given the trend, the baby crisis is unlikely to ease this year. Indeed, China’s marriage statistics look a lot like Japan’s, but with a decade’s delay….

….Around the region, rising living costs seem to be a major driver of demographic change. Japan’s fertility rate took a big dip in the 1980s as property prices surged. Similar trends have been observed in other East Asian economies, including Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. As housing is the most important cost in family formation, it shouldn’t be controversial to suggest that a property bubble weighs on the birth rate……

….Economics can trigger demographic change. But the ensuing cultural shift might make it difficult to reverse the change, even when economic conditions improve. In Japan, the normalisation of the single lifestyle has become a major barrier to the reversal of the falling birth rate, even though living costs have become more reasonable in the past two decades.

The same thing could happen to China. By the time the population decline deflates the property bubble in the coming decade, cheaper housing may no longer be enough for people to marry and have children…..

….When half the people are old, the economy will struggle to take care of the whole population. And it may further dampen the desire to have children, as people realise that their children would be growing up to keep old people fed. The vicious circle could lead to a national calamity: it could spell the end of Chinese civilisation as we know it.

It might take five or even 10 years for the Chinese government to wake up to the seriousness of the demographic crisis. After all, there are always more immediate and urgent concerns at hand. By the time the government wants to do something about the crisis, it could be too late. No country in East Asia has been able to reverse the trend. Could the Chinese government beat the odds?

For more related blogs and articles click through Asian Century, Demography, Economics, Government Budgets, Immigration, Pensions, Population Growth, Statistical Analysis and Younger Generations.

Malthus on Population Growth, Economy, Environment, White Nationalism and Eugenics


Malthus on Population Growth, Economy, Environment, White Nationalism and Eugenics

In recent years we have observed the reemergence of the British nineteenth century preacher Malthus and his ideas on population, via groups like Population Matters in the United Kingdom, with a focus upon negatives round the supposed direct relationship between increasing population (growth), economic growth or impairment, and environmental degradation.

However, Malthusian population principles have less relevance in the 21st century, especially when presented via scientifically untested ideas or philosophy versus the now available grounded science research and data analysis. Further, there is very limited and sub-optimal data to support Malthusian claims which have returned to become a weapon or political tactic. This leveraging of Malthus includes white nationalism, fossil fuels and environmental degradation, apportioning blame for related issue on undefined population growth, as opposed to the lack of good policy development, on actual causes i.e. fossil fuel pollution, global warming through emissions; used to deflect from inertia of governments and create antipathy towards existing and future ‘immigrants’ including babies, from the non European world.

This article shows that Malthusian population principles are neither valid nor reliable when analysed through science and data, according to credible research, but have become central to political and corporate media messaging, especially the population – environment nexus, as opposed to fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Firstly we will explore the background on Malthus, his theory, impacts now upon politics and society, followed by critique from demographers, science journalists and related, based upon valid research; then future directions.

Malthus Background

Malthus was from an English family of means and although his father was a proponent of the enlightenment, not his son Malthus, who was pessimistic when it came to fertility and economic growth. Malthus released his first edition of ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1798) then followed by a second version using data in 1803, with more focus upon Europe and data that was available (Avery, 2013 & Dunn, 1998)

The second version also focused less on philosophy and more on politics or the economy, based upon the available data which not only linked population growth with economic growth but with poverty too e.g. insufficient food supply; concurrently Adam Smith and the ‘invisible hand’ of the markets emerged via ‘Wealth of Nations’ (Ibid.).

Later Keynes claimed that economic growth ameliorated negative effects of population growth, to be followed from the seventies by Paul Ehrlich’s ‘Population Bomb’ highlighting dangers, recommending population control, extrapolated from high population growth in the 1930s; replicating Malthus’ pessimism, but with catastrophic predictions (Montano & Garcia-Lopez, 2020).

Malthus was influenced by his upbringing and environment leading to his pessimism on humanity i.e. population growth and the ability to support larger numbers in a less developed world. Whether his theories or principles are valid or reliable have been over shadowed by repackaging of Malthusian ideology in recent times by e.g. Ehrlich via ZPG Zero Population Growth, and presented as liberal, environmental and grounded in valid research theory.

What was Malthus’ Theory?

Malthus presented his findings, as others do to this day, but hypotheses presented as tested theory, are still not supported by science. While Malthus saw (high) population growth amongst his own community without means, he cited the need for ‘preventative checks’ including marriage and contraception leading to lower birth rates, but also supported by ‘positive checks’ including famine, war and epidemics (Avery, 2013).

Malthus also linked population with subsistence and presented as direct balanced relationship, possibly influencing Smith’s ‘invisible hand’, but using U.S. data, claimed population doubling every generation versus agriculture and related technological innovations, the latter being only linear or much slower. Hence, no balance or difficult to maintain balance between population growth and accessible resources, while claiming a correlation between the two factors as the ‘first principle of population dynamics’. (Avery, 2013 & Dunn, 1998).

This led onto Malthus developing the ‘EFP Equal Fitness Paradigm’ for a ‘steady state population’ with each parent producing one child, hence two per couple (Dunn, 1998), which is less than the current recommended replacement fertility rates. Not only was population growth correlated with resources including food and subsistence, but also claiming growing supply of workers would mean lower wages (Montano & Garcia-Lopez, 2020).

Malthus’ theory cited both preventative and positive checks with unclear evidence of correlations for either, then extended further into EFP ‘steady-state population’ to avoid future issues round food supply, wages etc. correlated with population growth. In addition to history of population analysis and demography, what has happened and what will happen according to Malthus?

The Future According to Malthus?

According to Malthus, war was caused by population growth but it also reduces the latter; nowadays Malthus may state that stable global population and no war are imperative (Avery, 2013). On the other hand this was countered by Marx who disagreed with Malthusian analysis, versus supporting science, technological progress and speeding up these supporting factors for human health and the economy (to counter population growth issues) (Montano & Garcia-Lopez, 2020)

Of related interest was how Malthus also influenced Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ based round good genetic variations being preserved, and unfavourable being destroyed, leading onto formation of new species. However, the same adaptation or evolution has allowed human population to become healthier and grow; resulting in higher birth rates and population growth, over death rates (Dunn, 1998).

Meanwhile, to this day we have observed an unwitting return to Malthusian constructs related to fertility, population growth, immigration, resource limits and the natural environment; presenting politically as being of the centre or left. This is exemplified by the founding of ZPG Zero Population Growth by Paul ‘Population Bomb’ Ehrlich, John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton and Paul ‘Sea Shepherd’ Watson in the seventies alongside ‘Limits to Growth’ and the ‘Steady-State Economy’ economy ‘theories’, promoted through the influential Club of Rome, with same ideas and organisational offshoots in the UK and Australia (Ibid.).

This has led to rivalry between Malthisian school and those described as ‘Cornucopians’ supporting science, technology and related innovations, to lessen the impact of Malthusian or natural constraints through the ‘invisible hand’ of the free market or ‘natural balance’ (Ibid.).

Although science does not support Malthusian population principles they have become central via Ehrlich et al. in promoting control of population growth through opposing undefined ‘immigration’ in the first world, and fertility in the developing world; as causes of environmental degradation and sustainability.

The Reality of Population and Malthus Now?

With the benefits of modern science, technology and research methods Malthusian population principles can be tested on more substantial and diverse data. Malthus population predictions of doubing every generation or 25 years have not come true i.e. from 800 million to only 7.8 billion in 2020 with fertilty on a continuous decline, annual population increase has continued to slow, now 1%, and population numbers are qualified as estimates by most sources (Worldometers.info, 2021), are often not comparable due to differences in definitions, methodology and data collection.

Malthus’ formula from two centuries ago would have had current population at 100+ billion, and related, none of Ehrlich’s Malthusian predictions have come true either.

Other proxy issues are often claimed or correlated without compelling evidence e.g. increasing migration to cities is claimed to increase per capita resource use and meat consumption, requiring more fossil fuel use (Dunn, 1998); this seems to preclude ‘preventative measures’ through legislation and personal responsiblity or lifestyle changes.

Related and significant ideas were also promoted by The Club of Rome, which commissioned the Malthusian influenced ‘Limits to Growth’ and the ‘Steady-State Economy’ which helped promote the supposed negatives of human population through proxy issues of resource depletion and environmental degradation (Montano & Garcia-Lopez, 2020).

There have been more nuanced attempts to relate economic growth in a negative sense with population growth, but while Malthus lived through the fossil resource dependent industrial revolution, this has declined as a share of GDP (Dunn, 1998). However, Malthusian school to this day views increases in GDP or economic growth as negative due to supposed dependence upon industrial use and linking of fossil fuels, population growth and environmental degradation; ignoring the positive impacts of science, technology and innovation plus the desire of poorer people or working classes to improve their economic situation (Ibid.).

Related is how Malthusian principles also influenced Darwin on ‘natural selection and the theory of evolution’ which was then extended further by the eugenics movement e.g. worker versus immigrant nexus when it is about all workers knowing their place in societal and industrial hierarchy, blaming poor for famine, ‘survival of the fittest’ and for example describing the Irish famine as positive (Montano & Garcia – Lopez, 2020 & Shermer, 2016). Again, when this is added to supposed outcomes or dynamic of population growth leading to economic growth, resource depletion and environmental degradation e.g. carbon emisisons, but ignoring increase in service industries not using same resources (Montano & Garcia-Lopez, 2020)

Later research into eugenics was conducted in the U.K., Germany and U.S. with support of U.S. oligarchs such as Rockefeller (Standard Oil, later Exxon Mobil/Chevron) and Ford, not only operating in Germany through World War Two, but supporting eugenics research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (Shermer, 2016).

The Malthusian population movement has been accused of promoting eugenics versus poor or lower classes, non European minorities and immigrants i.e. dog wistled, to deflect blame and responsibility from governments, and the fossil fuel sectors for global warming, carbon emissions and environmental degradation.

Critics & Criticism

Many if not all the issues viewed through and correlated with the population principles of Malthus have not come to pass. Nowadays scientists and media have access to more related research into population, economics, society and environment through better data analysis following science process. Issues to emerge through this have been inconsistent methodologies in data collection, analysis and presentation precluding many comparisons. Meanwhile, forecasts of Malthus proven incorrect e.g. improved food production has increased faster than population, lower fertility and birth rates leading to population stabilisation while economic growth has increased without significant population growth (Montano & Garcia-Lopez, 2020).

According to Vollset et al. (2020) regarding demographic impacts, that while variances in population, structure and growth are factors for nations, governments and society to consider, it should not resort to comparing humans with animals when green revolution, irrigation and fertiliser, i.e. science and technology have found solutions.

Shermer (2016) adds that as opposed to Malthusian principles still being promoted, the solutions are and have been education, empowerment of women, birth control, economic growth to bring the poor out of poverty supported by democracy, globalisation and free trade.

We have had an over view of Malthus’ early life, population theory, future according to Malthus, then based upon science, the reality and criticisms. Much of the negativity round population and growth from past two centuries to now, especially in the Anglo world, is unwarranted when not only have catastrophic predictions not occurred, it is being used tactically to deny progress on environmental regulations, transition from fossil fuels and blaming any perceived negative on undefined immigrants responsible for population growth.

The latter allows political, government, business and societal elites to avoid future issues, responsibilities and short medium term costs to maintain an optimum environment versus leaving it for future generations to clean up for a higher cost.


Avery J. S. (2013). Malthus. Cadmus Journal [online]. 1(6). [Viewed 15 January 2021]. Available from: https://www.cadmusjournal.org/article/issue-6/malthus

Dunn P. M. (1998). Thomas Malthus (1766–1834): population growth and birth control. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal [online]. 78(1), F76–F77. [Viewed 15 January 2021]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1720745/pdf/v078p00F76.pdf

Montano B. & García-Lopez M. (2020). Malthusianism of the 21st century. Environmental and Sustainability Indicators. [online]. 6(100032). [Viewed 15 January 2021] Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indic.2020.100032.

Shermer M. (2016). Why Malthus Is Still Wrong Why Malthus makes for bad science policy. Scientific American. [online] [Viewed 15 January 2021] Available from:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-malthus-is-still-wrong/?print=true 2/4

Vollset S., Goren E., Yuan Chun-Wei, Cao, J., Smith A., Hsiao T., Bisignano C., Azhar G., Castro E., Chalek J., Dolgert A., Frank T., Fukutaki K., Hay S., Lozano R., Mokdad A., Nandakumar V., Pierce M., Pletcher M., Robalik T., Steuben K., Yong Wunrow H., Zlavog B., Murray C. (2020). Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet [online] 396, pp. 1285–306. [Viewed 15 January 2021] Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(20)30677-2

EU European Union Model for Future Global Standards and Regulation


EU European Union Model for Future Global Standards and Regulation

The EU European Union has attracted much criticism and pessimism on its future, mostly by outsiders and e.g. the Anglosphere with Brexit, being encouraged by ideologues and selected corporate entities plus donors, in the US, with libertarian economic interests trying to avoid constraints of trade blocs like the EU.

In fact, according to the following essay by Ullrich Fichtner with excerpts and overview from Der Spiegel magazine, and keeping in mind the local, regional, national and global positives, often via the ‘Brussels Effect’, the EU should have a both an economically and socially productive future; this essay should be compulsory reading for decision makers in the Anglo world.

From Brussels to the Rest of the World – How Europe Became a Model for the 21st Century

An Essay by Ullrich Fichtner

Despite its long list of crises in recent years – including the most recent vaccine snafu – the European Union has become a global pacesetter. Its laws and regulations have established global norms. This has made the bloc a 21st century model.

I. Dog Whistling the EU, Europe and the Continent

………The Continent has been portrayed as a barren mountain range of EU summits, as a garbage dump of files, as a befouled land of plenty with lakes of milk and wine. Europe in caricature is a house of cards, a ramshackle home, a burning hut, a crumbling temple. It is always in ruins……

……the EU often looks as broken as its worst enemies describe it. Cyprus single-handedly blocking European sanctions against the Belarusian dictatorship. The governments of Hungary and Poland ruthlessly undermining the rule of law. Agonizing negotiations on a common refugee policy for the Continent repeatedly concluding in shabby nothingness. A common agricultural policy – one that has been wrong for decades – cemented once again. The procurement of coronavirus vaccines descending into acrimonious, backbiting chaos, fueled by the national interests of 27 member states. In our imaginations, that is truly not what a global power looks like.

II.  The EU Continues

There have been several times in the past 10 or 12 years that the EU has been so close to the abyss that the fall seemed inevitable. The great financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 became the Greek crisis and a European sovereign debt crisis. Significant doubts were raised about the basic structures of the federation of nations – and they weren’t just coming from the right-wing populists emerging across the Continent. Financial crises became identity crises and refugee crises spiraled into existential crises. In 2016, the decision by the British to leave the EU seemed like the final nail in the coffin of a historic experiment that the peoples of Europe never learned to love.

That the situation has since become less fraught is not least due to the fact that Brexit, by not destroying it, has actually saved the EU for the time being…..

III.  Top Three Global Market

……. In terms of the EU and its 27 members, it doesn’t really matter which metric you apply: It always ranks among the top three in the world by all criteria. It is even ahead of the United States in many fields and will be able to outperform China in many respects for decades to come.

The EU is the most important export market for the U.S., India, South Africa and Russia. It is the second-largest market for China and Brazil and the third largest for Japan and South Korea.

IV.  Brussels Effect on Global Standards

Every day, miraculous things are happening around the globe of which most Europeans take no notice. Technology companies in California build their devices according to EU regulations….. ……. Regional blocs of countries in South America are organizing themselves along the lines of the EU. Laws drafted in Europe are adopted almost verbatim into national law in countries around the world…..

…..Europe’s view of data protection, as laid out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), has quickly become a global standard that no company and no country can ignore….. America’s 500 largest companies are continually spending billions of dollars to implement EU rules, and the situation is no different for the largest Asian, African and South American companies. The smartest among them are already working to reduce their carbon emissions, with an eye on the “carbon tax,” that the EU has been working on for years.

These examples lead to the equally unbelievable and correct conclusion that globalization today is actually a “Europeanization”………

V. Good EU and Global Standards and Regulations

A global player like today’s Europe has never existed in this form in the history of the world. By regulating the affairs of its internal market step by step, the EU is formulating globally effective standards along the way. Whether it’s chemicals, hazardous waste, hormone-treated meat, electronic waste, emissions standards, animal testing, antitrust, privacy, crop protection, competition or air pollution control – the EU is always somehow already there.

It sets standards and criteria worldwide based on scientific findings and equipped with recognized scientific, legal and also moral competence – even in areas where, by law, it would actually have no say. It’s not a stretch to say that the European Union makes the world a little bit better every day, a little bit cleaner, a little bit healthier, safer and more sustainable…..

VI. Smart Power

The distinction between a “soft” and “hard” power originates from Joseph Nye, the Harvard professor  ………  hard power is an absolute necessity, but adds that military power is a blunt instrument. For today’s powers, he wrote, the point is to combine soft and hard power to create “smart” power.

Nye argues that missiles and warships don’t help fight global warming, protect privacy or regulate banking……

VII. Foreign Policies

The current EU high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell of Spain, has compared today’s EU foreign policy with the introduction of the euro, when – for a time – the old national currencies existed side-by-side with the new European currency. For the moment, Borrell told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper shortly before taking office a little over a year ago, EU foreign policy must coexist with national foreign policies. The point, though, is that the intersections will grow over time….

VIII. Future of the EU

Around 20 years ago, professors from Germany and elsewhere issued incessant criticism of the euro and the appalling consequences it would have for the prosperity of everyone in Europe. Now that the euro has established itself as the world’s second-most reliable hard currency, it is a position that has been essentially abandoned today.

Nor has the eternal fear of a Brussels kraken sucking all the democracy out of the member states borne out. And despite myriad predictions of the EU’s demise, that hasn’t happened either….

…..But the European Union – and in this sense it is a lot like the United Nations – is often only scrutinized for its shortcomings. The EU is frequently judged solely on its ability to act quickly and too rarely on its ability to pursue a goal step by step, with calm and perseverance. And people also often forget that the EU is a federation of 27 countries. When they are united, Europe is strong. When they disagree, even the best EU is of little help.

In the long term – meaning years and decades – the EU will be judged by whether it achieves its objectives, and it only ever sets grand goals for itself. Preserving peace, saving the world’s climate, ending the destruction of nature, protecting people, increasing prosperity, improving lives, seeking happiness.….’

For more related blogs and articles click through Asian Century, Data Protection, Economics, Environment, EU Digital Services, EU European Union, EU GDPR, Global Trade, Government Budgets, Libertarian Economics, Media, Nationalism, Political Strategy, Radical Right Libertarian, White Nationalism, WTO and Younger Generations.

EU Digital Services – BigTech and Legacy Media – NewsCorp


Presently the EU is looking into more regulation on digital services and markets, even playing field for all, limits to expansion by Big Tech, hate speech, fines, policing platforms, etc.; backgrounded by talk in Australia of regulating Big Tech more.  

The latter is not so related to the EU’s actions but is more about Rupert Murdoch’s legacy media in NewsCorp, and its overbearing influence on its peers, politics and society in Australia, while losing money and asking for subsidies.  Nowadays it is demanding constraints on Big Tech i.e. payment for NewsCorp’s (plus other oligopoly legacy media) ‘entertainment content’ and partisan political agit prop, while still attacking the public broadcaster the ABC, restricting the NBN National Broadband Network, unclear tax arrangements and having a near monopoly presence in Australia.

The following gives an overview and summary of EU initiatives from Politico:

Europe rewrites rulebook for digital age – The bloc wants to impose fines of up to 10 percent of companies’ revenue if they abuse their position in digital markets.

Many of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies could face blockbuster fines under new proposals from the European Union announced Tuesday aimed at boosting digital competition and protecting people from online harm.

The announcement represents a watershed moment for Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission, which has made so-called “technological sovereignty,” or efforts to bolster the bloc’s role in digital markets, a central piece of its legislative agenda.

Under the proposals, known as the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, large online platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook will face new limits on how they can expand their online empires or face levies of up to 10 percent of their global revenue — potentially billions of euros — for unfairly hamstringing smaller rivals.

In the most egregious cases, EU regulators would be granted stronger powers to break up companies that flouted the bloc’s new digital rulebook.

Brussels also outlined separate fines of up to six percent of annual revenue for Big Tech companies — those with at least 45 million users across the 27-country bloc — that fail to limit how illegal material, everything from hate speech to counterfeit products, can spread across their networks…..

Digital Markets Act: Dos and don’ts

The centerpiece of Europe’s digital plans is aimed at boosting online competition in a world dominated by Silicon Valley.

As part of the proposals, the Digital Markets Act will impose new obligations on so-called “gatekeepers,” or online players that determine how other companies interact with online users, to ensure these platforms do not stop others from competing for users. The rules will cover companies offering digital services like online search, social networking, video-sharing platforms, cloud computing, internet messaging services, online operating systems, online marketplaces and advertising products.

Failure to live by these rules could lead to hefty fines up to 10 percent of a company’s global revenue, or — in the worst cases — threats to break up firms that repeatedly break the new rules, a provision that is already baked into EU law…..

Digital Services Act: Greater responsibility

Brussels also unveiled a sweeping reboot of how large platforms must police their platforms for illegal material — rules that have not been updated in two decades.

Under those separate proposals, known as the Digital Services Act, online platforms will have to do more to limit the spread of illegal content and goods. The United Kingdom published similar proposals earlier on Tuesday, while the United States is mulling its own changes to so-called content liability to force platforms to further police what is posted or sold online.

The largest platforms like Facebook, Google and Amazon will have to provide regulators and outside groups with greater access to internal data, and appoint independent auditors who will determine if these firms are compliant with the new rules.

That will require these companies to carry out yearly risk assessments over how they are stopping illegal content and goods from spreading on their networks. National regulators will be granted more powers, including the ability to levy fines of up to six percent of a firm’s annual revenue if companies flout the regulations…..

For EU officials, Tuesday’s announcements mark their latest attempt to create greater competition in digital markets and protect people online from a wave of illegal material. 

But many European politicians, tech executives and civil society groups still disagree over how best to promote those goals while still encouraging the bloc’s online economy to compete with those of the U.S. and China.

That balance — Europe pushing for greater control over the online world while also boosting its digital economy — will now take center stage.

“Now, the U.S., us, the Australians, the Japanese are part of a global conversation about how to balance things because the most important thing here is that with size comes responsibility,” Vestager said. “All business operating in Europe — they can be big ones, they can be small ones — can freely and fairly compete online just as they do offline.”

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NewsCorp Australia vs. Google and Facebook BigTech


Murdoch’s NewsCorp Australia vs. Google and Facebook or BigTech

Australian media outlets led by Murdoch’s NewsCorp, Google, Facebook, (mostly) conservative politicians and commentators (catering to above median voter age demographics) are demanding payment for any use of their news content or ‘journalism’ by Google and Facebook (catering more to below median voter age demographics), including a broad based focus upon posts, indexing, shares and links; backgrounded by Google threats to withdraw Google search and some media outlets from indexing.

However, the campaign conflates several issues but also misses other related issues of importance e.g. monopoly or anti-competitive behaviour by all players, opaque financial or tax arrangements, lack of good digital regulation e.g. privacy in Australia, decline in quality journalism and diversity of views in legacy media, while NewsCorp is paywalled, backgrounded by special treatment of major media players in Australia by the governing LNP Liberal National Party (freely promoted by NewsCorp), at the expense of quality, local and independent media, and an informed society.

Following are excerpts from international and Australian media presenting a confusing array of issues, causes, solutions, and gaps, or silence.

From Deutsche Welle

Google vs. Australia: 5 questions and answers

Australia wants Google to pay for displaying local media content. In return, the tech giant has threatened to disable its search engine in the country. Could this confrontation set a precedent?

What’s happening in Australia?

Australia has proposed a bill that would oblige Google and Facebook to pay license fees to Australian media companies for sharing their journalistic content. Noncompliance would incur millions in fines. In response, Google has threatened to block Australian users from accessing its search engine should the bill become law.

Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, told an Australian senate committee her company had no other choice but to block access to Google’s search engine in Australia should the bill be adopted in its current form. Even though, she said, this was the last thing Google wanted.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in turn declared that his country would not be intimated, saying, “We don’t respond to threats.” He added that “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament.”….

Why has the confrontation escalated?

Google has said it is willing to negotiate with publishers over paying license fees for content. The tech giant, however, argues Australia’s proposed law goes too far. It would oblige Google to pay not only when providing extensive previews of media content, but also when sharing links to the content. This, said Silva, would undermine the modus operandi of search engines…..

What’s at stake?

“Search engines earn considerable money from media content, whereas publishers earn little,” said Christian Solmecke, a Cologne-based lawyer specialized in media and internet law. Google, however, argues that publishers benefit from the platform, as users are directed to media content when it is indexed on the Google Newsfeed and elsewhere.

But publishers want a bigger share of the pie by receiving licensing fees. “Billions are thus at stake for Google,” said Solmecke. He doubts the tech giant will follow through on its threat and disable the search engine in Australia. “After all, that search engine is an elementary part of the digital world.”

Is the EU planning a similar law?

In the spring of 2019, the EU adopted an ancillary copyright directive. All members states must now translate the directive into national legislation and adopt national ancillary copyright laws. Akin to the proposed Australian media bill, the EU directive aims to ensure publishers gain a share of revenue earned by internet platforms like Google when sharing journalistic content. Tech companies like Google generate revenue by, for instance, placing ads next to search results.

However, the directive does not place as many demands on companies such as Google and Facebook. “European and German ancillary copyright law is and will remain more narrow than the Australian bill,” said Stephan Dirks, a lawyer specialized in copyright and media law in Hamburg. Unlike the Australian bill, the EU directive allows tech platforms to display short media snippets for free. And it does not establish an automated arbitration model, either.

European confrontation looming?

Even though EU ancillary copyright law is more limited than the planned Australian law, experts do not rule out EU member states clashing with Google….

…..Most EU member states are yet to pass their own ancillary copyright laws. It thus cannot be ruled out that Google’s threats will have an impact on national lawmaking processes, said Dirks.

Joel Fitzgibbon Helps Albo Show Who’s In Charge! (Ross Leigh, 31 Jan 2021)

Another viewpoint via AIMN Australian Independent Media Network suggesting private and dominant media vs. private and dominant digital companies, (the former are) pushing credibility on their demands for fairness when they too run monopolies, receive subsidies financial and in kind e.g. dilution of media ownership laws, reach etc….

‘Speaking of transitions, I’m still trying to get a handle on the whole Google should pay for content thing. While I think that Google is far too big and we need to be looking at ways to ensure it pays its share of tax and doesn’t take advantage of its near monopoly position, arguing that it should pay media for directing people to their site is like asking the Uber driver to pay a fee every time he brings someone to your restaurant. Whatever else, it does strike me as odd that the government is getting involved in this dispute between private companies and coming down so hard on the side of the media companies.

At least it would strike me as odd if it weren’t for the fact that the same government paid Murdoch companies to cover women’s sport and the Murdoch companies charge the ABC for the right to show it.’

Fakebooks in Poland and Hungary

Meanwhile in Central Europe, Poland and Hungary have launched local versions citing ‘censorship of conservative views’ as the reason versus accusations of trying to limit freedom of speech through a nationalist lens:

Local versions of Facebook have been launched in Poland and Hungary, though experience shows that technology ventures conceived with politically biased and nationalistic motives rarely succeed.

Poland and Hungary have seen the launch recently of locally developed versions of Facebook, as criticism of the US social media giants grows amid allegations of censorship and the silencing of conservative voices.

The creators behind Hundub in Hungary and Albicla in Poland both cite the dominance of the US social media companies and concern over their impact on free speech as reasons for their launch – a topic which has gained prominence since Facebook, Twitter and Instagram banned Donald Trump for his role in mobilising crowds that stormed the Capitol in Washington DC on January 6. It is notable that both of the new platforms hail from countries with nationalist-populist governments, whose supporters often rail against the power of the major social media platforms and their managers’ alleged anti-conservative bias.

Albicla’s connection to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is explicit. Right-wing activists affiliated with the PiS-friendly weekly Gazeta Polska are behind Albicla….

……The December 6 launch of Hundub received little attention until the government-loyal Magyar Nemzet began acclaiming it as a truly Hungarian and censorship-free alternative to Facebook, which, the paper argues, treats Hungarian government politicians unfairly. Prime Minister Viktor Orban was one of the first politicians to sign up to Hundub, but all political parties have rushed to register, starting with the liberal-centrist Momentum, the party most favoured by young people.

Pal – a previously unknown entrepreneur from the eastern Hungarian city of Debrecen – said his goal was to launch a social media platform that supports free speech, from both the left and right, and is free from political censorship. “The social media giants have grown too big and there must be an alternative to them,” Pal told Magyar Nemzet, accusing the US tech company of deleting the accounts of thousands of Hungarians without reason.

While it’s unclear whether there is any government involvement in Hundub, its launch is proving handy for the prime minister’s ruling Fidesz party in its fight against the US tech giants. Judit Varga, the combative justice minister, regularly lashes out at Facebook and Twitter, accusing them of limiting right-wing, conservative and Christian views. Only last week, she consulted with the president of the Competition Authority and convened an extraordinary meeting of the Digital Freedom Committee to discuss possible responses to the “recent abuses by the tech giants”…..

Future of Farcebooks

Unfortunately for the Polish and Hungarian governments and their supporters, rarely have such technology ventures succeeded.’

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Grey Tsunami – Electoral Demographics – Ageing Populations vs. Youth


Although many people believe that ‘population growth’, ‘immigration’ and supposed but unrelated negative proxies e.g. environmental degradation are the issues of our time, ignore what is happening in electoral politics, elites and power.

The following article is based upon credible demographic and electoral research, not the UN Population Division formulae, data or analysis e.g. NOM net overseas migration (spikes population through increasing temporary churn over), but clear focus upon actual citizens and voting in Australia, as replicated elsewhere (although Australia has compulsory voting).  

The western and developing worlds’ are ageing and will be in decline within one generation due to plummeting fertility rates, and passing on of the ‘baby boomer bubble’.  Meanwhile media and white nationalist inspired demographers and MPs focus upon ‘immigration’ and ‘population growth’ of net financial contributors e.g. students, backpackers etc. and non Europeans….

However, the electoral rolls of citizens are clearly ageing in regions due to longevity, little immigration and young generations emigrating to urban centres for opportunities.  This means the median voter age approaches retirement while voters in regions tend to be more monocultural, conservative, and are catered to by nativist conservative/libertarian legacy media and similar political parties.

Not only are these ageing electorates catered to by ring fencing and guaranteeing pensions and/or Medicare, they are also subjected to white nationalist agitprop via legacy media and NewsCorp’s ‘Sky After Dark’.  Meanwhile those of working age and younger are denigrated or demonised for being welfare dependent, ‘greenies’, ‘unionists’, ‘lefties’, educated, follow climate science etc. while facing a ‘grey tsunami’ which precludes them having any influence on elections.

The same dynamic is being gamed elsewhere with a return to the promotion of conservative ‘values’ or religion, nationalism, patriarchy and unwittingly the same audience are allowing radical right libertarian policies (impacting working age more) to be adopted by the Liberal National Party coalition (influenced by Koch and/or industry linked think tanks).

From The Conversation Australia:

More grey tsunami than youthquake: despite record youth enrolments, Australia’s voter base is ageing

April 29, 2019 9.14pm BST

The 2019 election has been heralded as a “generational election” or an “age war”. Labor goes to the election with a series of policies on climate change, housing affordability, wages and budget sustainability clearly designed to appeal to young and middle-aged Australians concerned about their future.

But while the record numbers of enrolled young voters may make this look like a political masterstroke, the fact remains that the Australia’s voter base, like its population, is ageing. 

Baby boomers will remain a political force in this country for some time to come.

Youth enrolment is rising, but not just because of the marriage equality plebiscite

Youth voter enrolment is at an all-time high, with 88.8% of eligible 18- to 24-year-olds — some 1.7 million Australians — enrolled to vote. …..

……But while the numbers sound impressive, this uptick in youth enrolment was actually smaller than the normal increase we see before a federal election.

Around 300,000 Australians turn 18 every year, so younger voters are continually being added to the electoral roll. However, many new voters — whether new citizens or young Australians who have recently turned 18 — complete their enrolment paperwork in the lead-up to elections. This is why we see a sharp increase in enrolments, and particularly in youth enrolments, in the months before a poll…..

…..An ageing population means an ageing voter base

The effect of an ageing voter population dwarfs the modest growth in youth enrolments.

The biggest change in voter demographics since the last federal election in 2016 was the enormous growth in voters aged 70 and over. As Australians live longer and healthier lives, voters will, on average, be older.

Around 300,000 more voters age 70 and over are enrolled to vote now than for the 2016 election, a 13% increase in just three years. In the same period, enrolments for younger voters aged 18 to 34 have only grown by around 135,000, or 3%.

The recent increase in older voters is part of a long-term trend towards an ageing population overall. The first time Australia had more residents 55 and over than aged 18 to 29 was in 1991. Since then, the relative share of those 55 and older has continued to increase and is forecast to grow further over the next two decades.

Older Australian residents are also more likely to be citizens than younger Australians because new residents tend to be younger than the average Australian. This factor decreases the relative proportion of younger Australian residents enrolled to vote.

How might this affect the election outcome?

If Labor is relying on a surge of younger voters to deliver it victory then its hopes may be misplaced. Of course, that doesn’t mean a platform focused on some of the environmental and economic concerns of younger Australians cannot succeed.

But it does suggest that electoral success will depend on persuading enough older voters that Labor’s proposals can provide future generations with the same standard of living that they have enjoyed.’

For more similar blog or articles click through the following categories ageing democracy, Australian politics, conservative, demography, immigration, libertarian economics, media, NOM net overseas migration, pensions, political strategy, population growth, populist politics, white nationalism and younger generations.

Population Growth or Decline?


Much about population growth and fertility in the Anglo world has negative connotations or perceptions from the mainstream due to inflated (forecast fertility rates) data from the UNPD Population Division, ZPG/Club of Rome, Population Matters, Sustainable Population Australia, nativist conservatives, eco-fascists and white nationalists spruiking at best supposed environmental degradation, at worst the ‘great replacement theory’ or ‘tipping point’.

In fact during the past ten years credible demographic research and/or writing from Rosling, Lutz, Pearce, Bricker & Ibbitson et al. has debunked the idea of exponential growth in population as it is based upon inflated UNPD fertility rates, and we are headed for a peak mid century followed by a (potentially precipitous) decline.

From Project Syndicate almost a decade ago an article by former Deutsche Bank demographer Sanjeev Sanyal:

The End of Population Growth

Oct 30, 2011

Sanjeev Sanyal was Deutsche Bank’s Global Strategist and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He is the author of The Indian Renaissance: India’s Rise After a Thousand Years of Decline and Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography.

‘The UN forecasts that world population will rise to 9.3 billion in 2050 and surpass 10 billion by the end of this century. But such forecasts misrepresent underlying demographic dynamics: The future we face is not one of too much population growth, but too little.

NEW DELHI – According to the United Nations’ Population Division, the world’s human population hit seven billion on October 31. As always happens whenever we approach such a milestone, this one has produced a spike in conferences, seminars, and learned articles, including the usual dire Malthusian predictions. After all, the UN forecasts that world population will rise to 9.3 billion in 2050 and surpass 10 billion by the end of this century.

Such forecasts, however, misrepresent underlying demographic dynamics. The future we face is not one of too much population growth, but too little.

Most countries conducted their national population census last year, and the data suggest that fertility rates are plunging in most of them. Birth rates have been low in developed countries for some time, but now they are falling rapidly in the majority of developing countries. Chinese, Russians, and Brazilians are no longer replacing themselves, while Indians are having far fewer children. Indeed, global fertility will fall to the replacement rate in a little more than a decade. Population may keep growing until mid-century, owing to rising longevity, but, reproductively speaking, our species should no longer be expanding.’

On a similar note, a decade later, from Danny Dorling in New Internationalist:

Hitting the population brakes

In early 2019 awareness that human population growth was ending began to spread more widely. To much acclaim, Darrell Bricker, the chief operating officer of the polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs, and his colleague John Ibbitson published the book Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline….. 

…….Bricker and Ibbitson had amassed a wealth of evidence for their central claim that the United Nations had simply got its future projections very wrong. 

In particular they quoted Jørgen Randers, a Norwegian academic who in 1972 had predicted a sharp rise to an unsustainable world population of 15 billion people by 2030, but who has now changed his assessment because fertility rates have fallen so rapidly recently, saying: ‘The world population will never reach nine billion people… . It will peak at eight billion in 2040, and then decline.’

Randers, a professor of climate strategy based in Oslo, now believes that birth rates will decline faster than UN demographers currently project. Randers is no utopian……

……Wolfgang Lutz, one of the world’s best-respected demographers, along with his colleagues at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, now believes that the global human population will stabilize by 2050 and then begin to fall because the human slowdown is currently accelerating.

In 2018 Lutz and his colleagues stated that they would now forecast the world population peak to occur shortly after 2070. Their projection would mean between two billion and three billion fewer humans by 2100 than the UN currently estimates…….

……The global point of greatest change, the international pivot point, came around the year 1968. The evidence that slowdown is upon us with a vengeance is now so strong that Bricker and Ibbitson were able to quote a recent Deutsche Bank report by Sanjeev Sanyal that suggests the peak in human numbers on Earth will be reached at just 8.7 billion in 2055, and decline to 8 billion by 2100…….

…..Because this fact is so very important, it is worth reiterating that the slowdown in global population was evident some time ago, and it has been well known among demographers for all of this current 21st century…..

…..UN demographers currently believe that the whole world will move toward a two-child norm.

However, that key assumption has no historical or scientific basis. This, above all else, is why we should not necessarily expect to peak in our numbers as a species at the population maximum of 11.2 billion people in the near future. Everything has changed so much that choosing to have no children, or just one child, is for the majority of women worldwide now just as easy as – if not easier than – choosing to have two.

Sometimes insight can be found in the most unlikely places. Commenting on a February 2019 story in the British Daily Mail newspaper, sensationally headlined ‘Will the world run out of people?’ ‘Paul’ noted that there is no question that this is true, and that it has been obvious for a long time to anybody with a population chart and a basic understanding of mathematics. He said that the ‘negative second derivative of population (namely, a decline in growth) is as clear as day and must lead eventually to a negative first derivative (a decline in population itself),’ concluding, ‘Why otherwise intelligent people (eg Stephen Hawking) can’t/couldn’t see this is astounding.’’’

For more blogs and articles about climate change, conservative, critical thinking, demography, environment, fossil fuel pollution, nativism, NOM Net Overseas Migration, population growth, populist politics, science literacy, statistical analysis, white nationalism and younger generations.

Economic Growth of Transactions vs. Consumption of Resources


In recent years we have heard calls to support our environment, a solution mooted is there should be low or no zero growth in the economy, but is this a valid or even achievable approach or idea?  

This is confusing growth in the consumption of resources with growth in transactions upon which economic growth is calculated, when there can be growth with low consumption of resources.

Many subscribers to zero growth view do not seem able to explain how economic activity will not crash through zero and remain negative, nor impairing the economy, employment, spending, investment and government tax bases and budgets, hence services also in decline (many who support this are retirees with guaranteed minimum income and access to services or the outright libertarians who view social security as undeserved welfare or libertarian investors who profit from disruption and chaos).

Further, parts of the environmental movement, especially the more nativist which is focused mostly upon the eugenics based ZPG styled ‘population growth’ (ditto Sustainable Population Australia and Population Matters UK), has been calling for both low or no population growth (via immigration restrictions) and zero economic growth as a solution to environmental degradation.

Often they cite the Club of Rome (sponsored by Fiat, VW and hosted on Rockefeller/Exxon estate) promoted ‘Limits to Growth’ which was applied by Herman Daly to his ‘steady state economy theory’ (or more accurately, ideas).  This includes no or zero growth via border restrictions, tariffs, autarky, no immigration, self sufficiency, no globalisation etc. and most telling, avoid multilateral trade agreements and/or blocs.  

The latter is quite telling, while national or even multinational companies and SMEs, have to stay behind borders and within national jurisdictions with environmental regulation and taxes, many existing global and/or multinational companies e.g. fossil fuels, auto etc. can remain outside nation states and avoid same controls, hence, preclude global competition; Brexit and Trump?

More to the point, many oligarchs, expecting benefits of privilege, also leverage eugenics or worse racism in politics, to gain retail electoral support from those who do not understand, then the wholesale audience of corporate donors etc. can get their libertarian policies enacted.

Following is an indirectly related article written about understanding economics for better environmental and climate outcomes.

From Eureka Press

Overhauling economics to combat climate crisis

David James

There is a common error about economics that, if not corrected, has far reaching consequences. It is the widely held belief that economic growth and consumption are the same. They are not. Economic growth is an increase in transactions, the amount of money that changes hands. Consumption is the using up of resources. It is perfectly possible to have at the same time an increase in the amount of transactions, economic growth, and a reduction in the consumption of scarce resources and less despoliation of the environment.

This misconception largely came about because of a sleight of hand in the economics discipline that inflated their own importance and converted economists into something resembling modern day high priests pontificating on the state of society. To demonstrate, consider the difference between these two statements. First:

‘The Australian economy (GDP) grew by 2 per cent indicating that the country is doing well.’

Sounds good, does it not? The nation is strong, and our standard of living is on track. Then consider this statement, which is exactly the same thing:

‘The amount of transactions in Australia (GDP) rose by 2 per cent, indicating that more money changed hands.’

Not quite the same thing, is it? Money can change hands for all sorts of reasons that may or may not include consumption of scarce resources. Say, for example, there was a massive global investment in renewable energy sources that eliminates the use of fossil fuels. This would reduce consumption of scarce resources while dramatically boosting economic growth.

‘Rather than considering the environmental challenge as a fight between the political right and the political left, the focus should instead be on overhauling economics completely.’

In Australia, recent economic growth has mainly come from rising property prices — or rather the increasing value of residential land — against which banks have loaned aggressively. That consumes hardly any resources at all. The bank loans are just blips on a computer screen (a little bit of electricity). Increasing the monetary value of land consumes no resources — the land remains the same.

This is not to suggest that there is not a problem with the over-consumption of resources or pollution. Both represent a critical challenge for the future of life on earth. But to conflate it with economic growth — and, in so doing, argue that capitalism is to blame — is dangerously wrong. It turns the issue into a political one, when correcting the problem is mainly about system design and engineering.

The real destroyer of the environment is industrialisation, not capitalism. The overconsumption of resources and pollution in the twentieth century was significantly worse in communist countries than in capitalist countries. Even now, communist China has a much worse environmental record, especially in the consumption of fossil fuels, than many capitalist countries. 

Industrialisation as conceived in the last century, whether of the communist or capitalist variety, is predicated on achieving economies of scale, especially in areas like agriculture and resource extraction. This inevitably harms the environment. Such pursuit of scale, including market dominance is, in turn, the aim of global corporatism (both privately owned and government owned). Corporatism, which has a capitalist face, but in many ways it is closer to socialism, should not be thought of as the same as capitalism. It is anti-competition, supposedly the core value of capitalism.

These large corporations create destructive monocultures and use their lobbying power to control politicians and government and stop stronger environmental protections. But there is a worse effect. As the anthropologist David Graeber pointed out, corporate bureaucrats are skilled at suppressing innovative ideas, mainly by buying them and them putting them in a drawer. Corporates may carry on about innovation, but they have a powerful business interest in keeping things the same.

There are occasional new moves, though. One such is the climate crisis, where there is expected to be big money is moving. The world’s biggest sources of capital, pension funds and insurance funds, are moving in that direction meaning there will be heavy investment in what is effectively the monetising of air quality. It will, however, only address one problem, carbon emissions. The problems of pollution, waste and resource depletion are far wider than that.

To get a clear picture of the environmental challenges the word ‘capitalism’ should be jettisoned. It only exists as a descriptor because Marxism was invented as an opposing ideology. Consider some simple tests of the allegedly distinctive features of capitalism. How long have markets existed? Thousands of years. How long has money with an interest rate existed? Thousands of years. How long have property rights existed? Hundreds of years.

We are more materialist because far more of our activities are subject to monetary exchanges, but what exactly is new about ‘capitalism’ that justifies making it an ‘ism’?

Rather than considering the environmental challenge as a fight between the political right and the political left, the focus should instead be on overhauling economics completely. Bizarrely, in most schools of economics the environment is treated as an externality: not something to be included in the models. Unless we measure and cost the main problem properly allowing us to scrutinise and limit the monocultures and waste practices that are powered by the world’s large businesses and state enterprises, we will not be able to find solutions.

For more articles and blogs about ageing democracy, Australian politics, conservative, consumer behaviour, economics, environment, GDP growth, global trade, libertarian economics, limits to growth, political strategy, populist policies and science literacy.

Lobby Groups, Policy, Government and Influence


In Australia and the Anglo world of UK and US especially, political parties mostly of the right can be compromised by lobbying, especially in government.

The Liberal (conservative) Party in Australia, like its coalition partner the National Party (nominally based upon regional and/or agricultural interests), has become hollowed out through declining (grounded) membership, lack of original or organic policy making, deferral to lobbyists and US libertarian influenced think tanks in providing ‘oven ready’ policy.

Policy is then sold to both voters via media e.g. News Corp, 9Fairfax and 7, to MPs and committees directly, also ‘astro turfed’, then enacted and legislated, while often flying under the radar e.g. using cultural ‘wedge’ issues to deflect attention, with unclear sources of funding.

Following is an excerpt of an article from John Menadue, part of a series called ‘Lobbyland’ in Australia. 

LobbyLand. The scourge of powerful special interests and lobbyists.

By JOHN MENADUE | On 1 October 2020

A major reason for the loss of trust in governments and parliaments is the way powerful special interests with their lobbyists have come to dominate the public debate and skew decisions in their favour. The fossil fuel  sector is the most obvious and recent example…..

…..Lobbying has grown dramatically in recent years, particularly in Canberra. It now represents a growing and serious corruption of good governance and the development of sound public policy. In referring to the so called ‘public debate’ on climate change, Professor Ross Garnaut highlighted the ‘diabolical problem’ that vested interests brought to bear on public discussion on climate change.

Martin Parkinson, a former  Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, has warned about ‘vested interests’ who seek concessions from government at the expense of ordinary citizens.  Some time ago the former ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel, cautioned us that ‘A new conga line of rent seekers is lining up to take the place of those that have fallen out of favour’. In referring to opposition to company tax and carbon pollution reform policies, Ross Gittins in the SMH said ‘industry lobby groups [have] become less inhibited in pressing private interests at the expense of the wider public interest. [They] are ferociously resistant to reform proposals.’

These problems are widespread and growing.

There are about 280 lobbying entities registered in Canberra with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. They lobby on behalf of over 3600 clients and employ close to 900 staff as lobbyists.

On top of these ‘third party’ lobbyists, there are the special interests who conduct their own lobbying, such as the Minerals Council of Australia, the Australian Pharmacy Guild and the Business Council of Australia.

These lobbyists encompass a range of interests including mining, clubs, hospitals, private health insurance funds, business and hotels that have all successfully challenged government policy and the public interest in many ways.

Just think what the Minerals Council of Australia did to defeat the Mining Super Profits Tax and  bring down Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister. That same Council led the campaign to defeat the Carbon Tax which remains the most sensible way to cut carbon pollution by taxing ‘externalities’….

…..With journalism under-resourced, the media depends increasingly on the propaganda and promotion put into the public arena by lobby groups. Many of the so-called economic and business economists we read, hear and see on our media are in the employ of the banks and accounting firms with their own self-interested agendas. It was no surprise that they gave us no inkling of the malaise and corruption of the banks. Only a Royal Commission exposed what was really happening….

…..All proposals by special interest groups should be accompanied by a public interest impact statement prepared by an independent and professional body. This statement should be made public and would be attached to representations from the interest group. Major private consulting firms and the four large accounting firms should be excluded from this process as many of them have shown themselves to be compromised in the interests of their clients.

‘Think tanks’ such as the Institute of Public Affairs and the Sydney Institute, which are secretly funded and act as fronts for vested interests, should not receive tax benefits….

…… No minister or senior official should work with a vested interest group that they have been associated with for at least five years after retirement or resignation. It is estimated that more than 50% of registered lobbyists have previously worked in government, for the  Coalition and Labor.

Adequate funding of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, to ensure it can assert the public interest and promote public debate, is now more important than ever. The ABC, despite its obvious shortcomings, is still the most trusted media institution in the country. News Corp is the least trusted.

For more articles about Australian politics, climate change, conservative, fossil fuel pollution, libertarian economics, media and political strategy

Libertarian Economic Policy Promotion and Think Tanks


The Anglo world, especially the US, UK and Australia have conservative governments all pursuing similar or even identical radical right libertarian economic policies informed by think tanks, like Australia’s IPA Institute of Public Affairs.

However, the many lobby groups masquerading as think tanks now populating Anglosphere media, politics and academia have much in common including a need to promote libertarian policies to MPs, governments, media and society.

Further, most if not all policy their ideas emanate from US based proponents of radical right libertarian policies including James Buchanan, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Hayek and von Mises.  The support, communication and promotion of these ideas comes from Koch Network(s) of think tanks, especially the Atlas Network which includes AEI American Enterprise Institute, ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council, Heritage Foundation etc., while in Australia it is CIS Centre for Independent Studies and the IPA.

From the IPA Institute of Public Affairs, recommendations for then Australian PM and now UK Brexit trade envoy Tony Abbott:

Be Like Gough: 75 Radical Ideas To Transform Australia

John Roskam, Chris Berg and James Paterson Started 5 August 2012

If Tony Abbott wants to leave a lasting impact – and secure his place in history – he needs to take his inspiration from Australia’s most left-wing prime minister.

No prime minister changed Australia more than Gough Whitlam. The key is that he did it in less than three years. In a flurry of frantic activity, Whitlam established universal healthcare, effectively nationalised higher education with free tuition, and massively increased public sector salaries. He more than doubled the size of cabinet from 12 ministers to 27.

He enacted an ambitious cultural agenda that continues to shape Australia to this day. In just three years, Australia was given a new national anthem, ditched the British honours system, and abolished the death penalty and national service. He was the first Australian prime minister to visit communist China and he granted independence to Papua New Guinea. 

Whitlam also passed the Racial Discrimination Act. He introduced no-fault divorce.

Perhaps his most lasting legacy has been the increase in the size of government he bequeathed to Australia. When Whitlam took office in 1972, government spending as a percentage of GDP was just 19 per cent. When he left office it had soared to almost 24 per cent.

Virtually none of Whitlam’s signature reforms were repealed by the Fraser government. The size of the federal government never fell back to what it was before Whitlam. Medicare remains. TheRacial Discrimination Act – rightly described by the Liberal Senator Ivor Greenwood in 1975 as ‘repugnant to the rule of law and to freedom of speech’ – remains…..

Libertarian Wish List of Policy Actions:

1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

6 Repeal the renewable energy target

7 Return income taxing powers to the states

8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

12 Repeal the National Curriculum

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’

16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law

17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations

18 Eliminate family tax benefits

19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme

20 Means-test Medicare

21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

22 Introduce voluntary voting

23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations

24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns

25 End public funding to political parties

26 Remove anti-dumping laws

27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions

28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board

29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency

30 Cease subsidising the car industry

31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction

32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games

33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books

34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws

35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP

36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit

37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database

38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food

39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities

40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

41 Repeal the alcopops tax

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:

a) Lower personal income tax for residents

b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers

c) Encourage the construction of dams

43 Repeal the mining tax

44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold

46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent

47 Cease funding the Australia Network

48 Privatise Australia Post

49 Privatise Medibank

50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function

51 Privatise SBS

52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784

53 Repeal the Fair Work Act

54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them

55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors

56 Abolish the Baby Bonus

57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant

58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state

59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16

60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade

61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States

62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts

63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport

64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering

65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification

66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

67 Means test tertiary student loans

68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising

71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling

72 Privatise the CSIRO

73 Defund Harmony Day

74 Close the Office for Youth

75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme’

For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, climate change, conservative, economics, environment, government budgets, libertarian economics, media, political strategy and populist politics click through.

Covid-19 Coronovirus Data and Statistical Literacy


During the Covid-19 or Coronavirus pandemic our media, including social media, has presented many sub-optimal or plainly wrong statistical conclusions due to a lack of data or statistical literacy, and to justify libertarians’ and sovereign citizens’ beliefs placing the politics of economy and individuals’ freedom above the health of community and society.

From Wikipedia on statistical literacy:

Statistical literacy is the ability to understand and reason with statistics and data. The abilities to understand and reason with data, or arguments that use data, are necessary for citizens to understand material presented in publications such as newspapers, television, and the Internet.’

From The Conversation:

Now everyone’s a statistician. Here’s what armchair COVID experts are getting wrong.

If we don’t analyse statistics for a living, it’s easy to be taken in by misinformation about COVID-19 statistics on social media, especially if we don’t have the right context.

For instance, we may cherry pick statistics supporting our viewpoint and ignore statistics showing we are wrong. We also still need to correctly interpret these statistics.

It’s easy for us to share this misinformation. Many of these statistics are also interrelated, so misunderstandings can quickly multiply.

Here’s how we can avoid five common errors, and impress friends and family by getting the statistics right.

1. It’s the infection rate that’s scary, not the death rate

Social media posts comparing COVID-19 to other causes of death, such as the flu, imply COVID-19 isn’t really that deadly.

But these posts miss COVID-19’s infectiousness. For that, we need to look at the infection fatality rate (IFR) — the number of COVID-19 deaths divided by all those infected…..

2. Exponential growth and misleading graphs

A simple graph might plot the number of new COVID cases over time. But as new cases might be reported erratically, statisticians are more interested in the rate of growth of total cases over time. The steeper the upwards slope on the graph, the more we should be worried.

For COVID-19, statisticians look to track exponential growth in cases. Put simply, unrestrained COVID cases can lead to a continuously growing number of more cases. This gives us a graph that tracks slowly at the start, but then sharply curves upwards with time. This is the curve we want to flatten…..

3. Not all infections are cases

Then there’s the confusion about COVID-19 infections versus cases. In epidemiological terms, a “case” is a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19, mostly by a positive test result.

But there are many more infections than cases. Some infections don’t show symptoms, some symptoms are so minor people think it’s just a cold, testing is not always available to everyone who needs it, and testing does not pick up all infections.

4. We can’t compare deaths with cases from the same date

Estimates vary, but the time between infection and death could be as much as a month. And the variation in time to recovery is even greater. Some people get really ill and take a long time to recover, some show no symptoms.

So deaths recorded on a given date reflect deaths from cases recorded several weeks prior, when the case count may have been less than half the number of current cases.

5. Yes, the data are messy, incomplete and may change

Some social media users get angry when the statistics are adjusted, fuelling conspiracy theories.

But few realise how mammoth, chaotic and complex the task is of tracking statistics on a disease like this.

Countries and even states may count cases and deaths differently. It also takes time to gather the data, meaning retrospective adjustments are made.  We’ll only know the true figures for this pandemic in retrospect.

For more article and blogs on academic integrity, climate changeCOVID-19, critical thinking, economics, evaluationlibertarian economics, media, populist politics, science literacy and statistical analysis click through.

Conspiracy of Denial – COVID-19 and Climate Science


Some would not be surprised with the doubts and confusion being created round the COVID-19 crisis, especially by those wanting all economic activity to continue and ignore the human costs.  


However, much of this agitprop, astro-turfing and junk science used by non experts has much in common with the information, media and political techniques used by radical right libertarian think tanks funded by the fossil fuel sector and related media, to influence society on climate science to avoid constraints and preserve income streams, with some eugenics in the background.


The following article from DeSmog explains the tactics in the UK, which also replicate those of elsewhere, especially the US and to a lesser extent Australia:


How the UK’s Climate Science Deniers Turned Their Attention to COVID-19


By Zak Derler Monday, August 10, 2020


On December 31, 2019 many of us were reflecting on the past year and thinking about what opportunities lay ahead. Few were paying close attention to early reports of unexplained cases of pneumonia thousands of miles away in Wuhan, the large capital city of China’s Hubei Province.


But less than three months later, on March 23, Boris Johnson was ordering a national lockdown to try and stop that virus, by then known worldwide as COVID-19, from raging across the UK. This came 52 days after the chief medical officer of England had confirmed the nation’s first two cases.


The coronavirus crisis once again saw the UK divided — between those putting their trust in public health experts and their recommendations, and those quick to question the science on which the government claimed to base its decisions for controlling the pandemic. For those who have watched the decades-long efforts to slow climate action, this was a familiar phenomenon. And the coronavirus pandemic seemed to give fresh ammunition to some familiar faces.


A close look at commentary on both COVID-19 and climate change reveals significant crossover between unqualified voices casting doubt on experts recommending action.




“There’s nothing mysterious about this,” says Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of cognitive science, who studies the persistence of misinformation in society at the University of Bristol.


“I think COVID is just climate change on steroids in a particle accelerator,” he says. “The same forces are happening: you have the inevitability of a virus which is the same as the inevitability of the physics. And opposing that you have politics which motivates some people to deny the inevitables and instead resort to bizarre claims.”


‘No need to panic’


Commentators with a history of casting doubt on established climate science first turned their attention to COVID in the days just after Chinese authorities ordered the 11 million residents of Wuhan, a city the size of London, into lockdown.


On January 24, Ross Clark, a columnist for The Spectator who has lamented “hysteria” around COVID-19, said there was “no need to panic about coronavirus” despite warnings from leading epidemiologists about the potential spread of the outbreak.


On January 29, British economist Roger Bate similarly argued on the website of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a climate science denying free-market lobby group, that news reports around COVID-19 were unnecessarily sparking a major political reaction.


“A contagion will happen at some point, and it’s important we recognize it and react. Unless the coronavirus mutates into something far more dangerous, this isn’t it,” he wrote.


The idea that governments and the media were overreacting to the coronavirus threat was echoed by libertarian online magazine Spiked, which has taken funding from notorious backers of climate science denial the Koch family, and has included Bate and other AEI scholars among its contributors. It published an article as early as January 30 saying there was “mass hysteria in the newsrooms” around COVID.


By mid-February, the World Health Organization had declared that the threat of COVID-19 spreading across the world was “high” — yet a relaxed attitude continued to prevail among some commentators.


On February 19, centre-right blog ConservativeHome published an article by Daniel Hannan, a columnist and former Tory MEP, claiming that COVID-19 was unlikely to be as lethal as the common flu.


Hannan, a leading figure in the UK’s campaign to leave the EU, has links to various American lobby groups that have spread misinformation on climate change including the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. He encouraged ConservativeHome readers to “cheer up” and discouraged “panic” over the virus. That message was taken up by Clark in another Spectator article, arguing that “coronavirus hysteria” was “the latest phenomenon to fulfil our weird and growing appetite for doom.”


Miracle cures and conspiracy theories


These commentators’ contributions to the debate haven’t been without consequence. Some have spread conspiracy theories that have had real-world impact, while others have admitted to ignoring official safety guidelines, putting the public at risk of catching the disease…..


…..Theories about miracle cures can take hold partly as a result of personal politics, Lewandowsky argues. Under lockdown, “you’re asked to stay at home and to look after other people by not doing what you’d like to do, and that is very challenging if you’re a believer in personal freedom and autonomy,” he says.


The same can be said of the motivations for spreading misinformation on climate change: “A lot of climate denial is very high-pitched, frenetic, emotional, angry, toxic – and that’s all triggered because people’s identity is at stake.”


The desire to reach for conspiracy theories may also stem from a need to feel that individuals still retain some control, says Evita March, a senior lecturer of psychology at Federation University Australia. “Conspiracy theories offer the believer some comfort in that there is still behavioural predictability,” she says.


And there were plenty of conspiracy theories flying around, pushed by long-time climate science deniers….


Distrusting modellers


Many commentators directed their fire at a familiar foe — scientific models.


On April 1, the same day the United Nations announced the postponement of the annual UN climate change conference, two prominent UK climate science deniers argued in The Wall Street Journal that the pandemic had “dramatically demonstrated the limits of scientific modelling to predict the future.”…


Attacking environmentalists


As well as attacking coronavirus experts on their response recommendations, many commentators who oppose climate action also attacked those looking further ahead by putting forward proposals to ensure recovery plans were consistent with governments’ environmental pledges.


For months, commentators who regularly question the veracity of mainstream climate science denounced environmental activists for supposedly distracting the world with climate change amid the threat of pandemics……


Political impact


Unlike in the EU referendum or Trump’s presidential campaign, pushing anti-expert rhetoric may no longer be a winning strategy in the wake of COVID-19. Polling shows that despite worry about the pandemic and its impacts, the public still wants governments to tackle climate change. And politicians attaching themselves to the anti-science bandwagon are now struggling in the polls.


For the Centre for Countering Digital Hate’s Imran Ahmed, attacking the concept of expertise around COVID-19 is “the first truly great strategic mistake by those who espouse this radical world view.”


For more related blogs and articles on climate change, COVID-19, critical thinking, environment, fossil fuel pollution, libertarian economics, media, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy and statistical analysis.


Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories and Radical Right Libertarians


Covid-19 restrictions have seen a rise in those viewing any measures e.g. wearing face masks, lock downs etc. as unnecessary, not supported by their view of ‘science’ and constraining their democratic rights.  However, while many of those who support this view have no expertise in medical science, nor data, they seem to be inadvertently suggesting a deep seated radical right libertarian movement, masquerading as ‘common sense’ or scepticism that favours the business or the economy over society or humanity.  


Whether they are anti-maskers, sovereign citizens, conspiracy theorists, climate science denialists, QAnon or white nationalist alt right, the common underlying denominator and outcome is both promotion of libertarian views or actions, disrupting the status quo (upturning the sensible centre consensus giving way to radical right ideas aka Brexit and Trump), denigration of both science and education, and dismissal of duty of care, especially of vulnerable people.


In the Anglo world, parts of Europe, Asia and the Americas there seems to have been a quiet push to benefit radical right libertarians and their conservative political partners (or PR sock puppets) to not just promote religion or white nationalism for citizens to worship or follow, but now conspiracy theories to confuse issues and disrupt any logical policy making e.g. climate change.


The threads that don’t connect: Covid gives Australian conspiracy theorists a common home


‘Sovereign citizens’, anti-vaxxers, mask refuseniks and far-right extremists see all their wildly disparate beliefs confirmed by coronavirus restrictions


Michael McGowan  Sat 1 Aug 2020 21.00 BST


In the remote border town of Texas, Queensland last month, a police officer pulled over a truck driver after he allegedly crossed into the state without providing identification.


In footage posted online, the 33-year-old can be heard asking the officer whether he worked “for the corporation known as the Queensland police in all capital letters?”


He then asks: “Am I a man?”


The officer’s deadpan response – “It’s 2020 mate. What do you identify as?” – got him his own thread on Reddit, but the bizarre interaction is not unique.


Viral footage of people defying restrictions on borders, large gatherings and, in Victoria, the use of face masks, have increasingly peppered Australian news as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches into its eighth month.


This past week a woman who refused to wear a face mask in a Bunnings hardware store in Melbourne became the latest fodder for the news cycle after she described herself as “a living woman” to a bemused employee. A few days earlier, footage of a woman reading from a script as she asked an officer “have I disturbed the peace today?” while refusing to answer questions at a border stop in Victoria also made headlines.


Footage of these encounters and others like them share a similar characteristic: in them, the people challenging police appear to be reading from the same script, a pdf file that has been shared widely across various Facebook groups loosely affiliated with the so-called “sovereign citizen” conspiracy movement.


Described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre in the US as an extremist group, the sovereign citizen movement is a haphazard collection of pseudo-legal beliefs broadly coalesced around the notion that modern government is illegitimate.


“Sovereign citizens believe that they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes,” the SPLC says.


In extreme cases, sovereign citizens in the US have been linked to violence. In 2010 a father and son linked to the movement shot to death two police officers in West Memphis, Arkansas, who had pulled them over in a routine traffic stop. The two men were later killed in a shootout with police.


The movement is rooted in racism and antisemitism, though, as the SPLC acknowledges, many followers are unaware of its origins. Acts of deadly violence have usually directed against government officials.


The Australian wing of the bizarre movement, transplanted here with a few tweaks, is not new. One of its most well-known proponents, a Western Australian, Wayne Glew, had his property and assets seized in 2018 after refusing to pay $300,000 in council rates and legal fees because of a belief local government was unconstitutional.


But in the time of Covid-19 its adherents have found themselves a niche. As governments impose unprecedented restrictions on civil liberties in an effort to control the spread of the virus, sovereign citizens appear to be attempting to take advantage of broad community uncertainty to push their confused agenda.


They are far from alone. Experts say the pandemic has offered an umbrella under which a bevy of fringe conspiracy groups and far-right actors have found common cause. Cam Smith, an independent researcher who focuses on conspiracy theorists and the far right, says links between previously discrete groups including the sovereign citizens, anti-vaxxers, QAnon and anti-5G groups have increasingly blurred during the pandemic.


“It’s a weird moment where all of these groups who usually have their own thing have come together with Covid,” he says. “It doesn’t even really seem to matter if they don’t necessarily meld – they find ways to smooth it over.”


…..Prof Axel Bruns, a leading internet researcher from the Queensland University of Technology, has been researching misinformation related to the planned 5G network during the Covid-19 pandemic. He agrees that under the umbrella of the pandemic, the borders between different corners of internet conspiracy have begun to vanish……


….For the most part these online groupings have negligible impact on the real word. But the new outbreak of a pushback against Covid-19 restrictions poses a new challenge for authorities grappling with the consequences of people indifferent to the potency of the virus……


….The public health academic Prof Julie Leask from the University of Sydney is one of Australia’s leading experts on vaccination uptake. She says she has lost count of the number of interviews she’s done on the anti-vaxx movement, and is frustrated by what she see’s as the media’s outsized focus on its hardcore proponents.


“Even the fact you’re doing this story is part of the game,” she says. “It feels like society is obsessed with conspiracy theorists and I still haven’t figured out why. I almost wonder if we’re all attracted to these neat attributions for problems in the same way conspiracy theorists are. If you have a conspiracy theorist who doesn’t want to lock down or wear a mask, you don’t have to acknowledge more complex problems like gaps in our healthcare system.”……


When fringe beliefs become destructive


The challenge for media organisation lies somewhere in the tipping point: that is, when fringe beliefs and their proponents begin to slip into the mainstream. In the US, opposition to face masks has found its way into mainstream discourse as an issue of individual freedom in some cases peddled by Republican figures including Donald Trump.


In Australia that rhetoric has so far been confined to the fringes of the debate, with some notable exceptions: when Victoria mandated face masks in public, the Herald Sun columnist, Sky News host and rightwing pundit Andrew Bolt labelled it “virus hysteria”…..


…..While it’s hard to know the extent to which anti-mask sentiment has crept into Australia, Leask said the danger was when an issue became divided along “ideological gradients”.


“In the same way that climate change in the 1970s and 80s started to become an issue of, not just do we believe in global warming but ‘by the way this is a lefty idea so if you’re conservative you’re not going to agree with it’,” she said.


“You start to see those leading commentators influencing a larger group of people. If part of belonging to whichever tribe is to also believe ‘it is my right to not wear a mask’ then you might see a greater amount of non-compliance”.


For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, climate change, Covid-19, critical thinking, digital literacy, environment, fossil fuel pollution, libertarian economics, marketing strategy, media, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy, statistical analysis and white nationalism.

NewsCorp Legacy Media vs. Digital Platforms Facebook and Google in Australia


While many nations and trade groupings have or are developing ways to protect personal data and constrain digital giants in Facebook and Google, traditional media groups are also looking for assistance.


NewsCorp and other media groups in Australia first demanded an ACCC Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation of digital platforms use of media snippets and content, then demand that the same platforms should pay for this service.


However, many in traditional media, the ACCC and government do not seem to understand how digital works, the reliance elsewhere too on digital click throughs, that advertising has migrated from printed etc. to digital and middle aged down to youth have also migrated…..


Australia to make Facebook, Google pay for news in world first


Colin Packham


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.


Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.


“It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape,” Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne.


“Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake.”


The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.


Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content.


Those talks went nowhere and Canberra now says if an agreement cannot reached through arbitration within 45 days the Australian Communications and Media Authority would set legally binding terms on behalf of the government.


Google said the regulation ignores “billions of clicks” that it sends to Australian news publishers each year.


“It sends a concerning message to businesses and investors that the Australian government will intervene instead of letting the market work,” Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.


“It does nothing to solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model fit for the digital age.”


Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




Media companies including News Corp Australia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O), lobbied hard for the government to force the U.S. companies to the negotiating table amid a long decline in advertising revenue.


“While other countries are talking about the tech giants’ unfair and damaging behaviour, the Australian government … (is) taking world-first action,” News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller said in a statement.


A 2019 study estimated about 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in Australia in the past 10 years, as traditional media companies bled advertising revenue to Google and Facebook which paid nothing for news content.


For every A$100 spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding classifieds, nearly a third goes to Google and Facebook, according to Frydenberg.


Other countries have tried and failed to force the hands of the tech giants.


Publishers in Germany, France and Spain have pushed to pass national copyright laws that force Google pay licensing fees when it publishes snippets of their news articles.


In 2019, Google stopped showing news snippets from European publishers on search results for its French users, while Germany’s biggest news publisher, Axel Springer, allowed the search engine to run snippets of its articles after traffic to its sites to plunged.’


For more blogs and articles about ageing democracy, Australian politics, business strategy, CGM customer generated media, conservative, consumer behaviour, digital literacy, digital marketing, media, populist politics, SEO search engine optimisation, social media marketing and younger generations, click through.


GOP Republicans, Conservative White and Christian Nationalists Face Demographic Headwinds


Political parties, governments and media in the Anglo world including Trump’s GOP, Australia (with proxy white Australia narratives) and the UK (with immigration becoming the deciding Brexit issue), influenced by US libertarians and/or bigots in politics, may be approaching their tactical ‘use by date’ or demographic ‘blow back’?  


They have been highlighting and reinforcing round population growth, immigration (need for restrictions), Anglo exceptionalism, globalisation, non Christians, supranational bodies, white nationalism and great replacement theory, to ageing monocultural non urban electorates.


However, for the GOP Republicans may end up with electoral ‘blow back’ from youth, minorities, women and immigrants giving the Democrats long term advantage for power due to changing demographics i.e. more diverse citizens in electorates whom are attacked by GOP politicians, supporters, ideologues and media.
From The Boston Globe:


The Republicans’ demographic trap

Republicans are sitting on a demographic time bomb of their own making, and it could send them into a tailspin.

By Thomas E. Patterson

Republicans were in office and were widely blamed when the Great Depression struck in 1929. The Grand Old Party lost the next three presidential elections by wide margins. But it was a related development during the period that ruined the GOP‘s long-term prospects. First-time voters backed the Democratic Party by nearly 2 to 1 and stayed loyal to it. Election after election until the late 1960s, their votes carried the Democrats to victory.

In only one period since then have young voters sided heavily with one party in a series of elections. Voters under 30 have backed the Democratic presidential nominee by a 3-to-2 margin over the past four contests. And as they’ve aged, these voters have leaned more heavily Democratic while also turning out to vote in higher numbers. They now include everyone between the ages of 21 and 45 — more than 40 percent of the nation’s adults.

Republicans are sitting on a demographic time bomb of their own making, and it could send them into a tailspin. Although the politics of division that Republicans have pursued since Richard Nixon launched his “Southern strategy” in the late 1960s — a blueprint to shore up the vote of white Southerners by appealing to racial bias — has brought new groups into their ranks, including conservative Southerners, evangelical Christians, and working-class whites, it has antagonized other groups.

Republicans are paying a stiff price for defaming immigrants. If they hadn’t, they could have made inroads with the Latinx population. Although most Latinx have conservative views on issues like abortion and national security, they vote more than 2 to 1 Democratic. A 2019 poll found that 51 percent of Latinx believe that the GOP is “hostile” toward them, with an additional 29 percent believing that the GOP “doesn’t care” about them…..

There was a warning from The Cafe con leche Republicans in 2012 of the dangers in following the white nationalists agitprop promoted by John Tanton’s network of think tanks, lobbyists and grass roots ‘astro turfing’ also crossing paths with Koch’s ALEC.


In 2012 (published in the TexasGOPVote) Cafe con leche Republicans warned of think tanks (they mistakenly described as ‘left’) arguing for immigration restrictions, promoting white nationalism and focusing upon bogus demographics i.e. ‘great replacement theory’; attacking potential and future constituents for the GOP is not good long term policy:


John Tanton Networks like FAIR, NumbersUSA and CIS – Leftist Groups Manipulating Republicans

Groups like FAIR, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) have long worked to deepen and widen a wedge between conservative Hispanic citizens and the Republican Party. Looking at the boards of these organization provides insight into their true agenda: That being a pro-choice, zero population growth, anti immigrant, radical environmentalist agenda from about as far left as can be seen.  

“Smoking Gun” Memo Proves Tanton Network Manipulates Republicans

By Bob Quasius

John Tanton is infamous for founding numerous anti-immigrant groups, which not only seek strict enforcement of immigration laws, but also drastic reductions in LEGAL immigration. Tanton also founded U.S. English and Pro-English, which decry changes in culture and misrepresent immigrants’ willingness to learn English and assimilate, and pursue “official English” policies designed to make America less welcoming to New Americans who are going through the process of assimilation.

Among the papers that John Tanton donated to the University of Michigan, is a 2001 ‘smoking gun’ memo that shows how Tanton has manipulated the Republican Party with the bogus argument that immigrants invariably become Democrats and so immigration is contrary to the interests of the Republican Party….

….Tanton is infamous for numerous comments disparaging Latinos in particular, such as a statement in a 1993 memo, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” Tanton is also a big fan of eugenics, for example this statement from a 1996 letter: “Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids? And more troublesome, what about the less intelligent, who logically should have less? Who is going to break the bad news [to less intelligent individuals], and how will it be implemented?”…

…Conservatives should take note that Tanton’s first attempts to co-opt other organizations for his radical population control agenda were of progressive organizations, such as Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club. These groups eventually realized they were being co-opted and rejected Tanton’s agenda, and so too should conservative organizations. Tanton himself founded Planned Parenthood of Northern Michigan and served as president. His resume shows a long list of leadership roles, not in conservative groups but progressive organizations. The Tanton network can best be described as an unholy alliance of population control progressives, environmentalists, and white nationalists.


For more blogs and articles about ageing democracy, Australian politics, Conservative, demography, immigration, political strategy, population growth, populist politics, white nationalism and younger generations click through.


Libertarian Conservative Propaganda Promoted in US and Anglo Media


With Coronavirus or Covid-19 different governments and parts of the world have had different degrees of success in handling the spread and containing the virus but not parts of the Anglo world namely the US, UK and Australia.


All three have experienced aggressive neo-liberalism or radical right libertarian ideology applied to government agencies, budgets, planning and potential responses; now it’s right wing media attacking critics and creating confusion, or inappropriate responses.  


The following article in The Week US highlights and blames both the Trump administration and conservatism including mainstream media outlets.  However, it could also be blamed upon long term pressure on taxes, budgets, investment, government services and government being fit for purpose in ‘black swan’ events; from The Week:


Conservative propaganda has crippled the U.S. coronavirus response


Ryan Cooper


Why does the United States have the worst coronavirus outbreak in the developed world?


Part of the answer is surely that our basic state functions have been allowed to rot, or been deliberately destroyed, over the years. State capacity and competence have been shown around the world to be a key factor in whether nations can get a handle on the pandemic.


But another reason is conservative media. A small but nevertheless very loud and angry minority of Americans have had their ability to reason dissolved in a corrosive bath of crack-brained propaganda.


The flood tide of conservative lunacy is so overwhelming that it can be hard to process or even notice. A dozen things that would be a major scandal in any other rich country, or the U.S. itself in previous ages, fly by practically every day……


….Most of those other factors, however, would also be true in other rich countries. While there are fringe websites and various conspiracy loons in all of them, none have this problem to nearly the same degree, much less a full-blown crackpot as the leader of the country. 


Our ultra-consolidated media industry, which gives enormous sway to a handful of right-wing media barons like Rupert Murdoch and Christopher Ripley, probably enables it. The structure of behemoth social media companies, which have little incentive to police dangerous misinformation, and are so large that they probably couldn’t do it well even if they tried, probably enables it further.


Whatever the reason, the conservative propaganda machine is going to make this country very difficult to govern so long as it continues to operate in its current fashion. Just as economic markets do not work when they are under the thumb of monopolist robber barons, perhaps it is time to bring some regulation back to the marketplace of ideas.


Nations like Australia have even more consolidated media dominated by Murdoch and NewsCorp, small coterie of corporate players have undue influence, and conservative libertarian ideology, including cuts to taxes, health and education, is aggressively promoted by Koch linked think tanks through the same media and directly to politicians.


For more blogs and articles about Australian politics, climate change, conservative, COVID-19, critical thinking, government budgets, libertarian economics, media, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy and taxation.


UNPD Global Population Growth Forecasts Debunked


For generations and especially the past decades the Anglo world along with UN Population Division, ZPG Zero Population Growth, Club of Rome, FAIR/CIS, Population Matters UK and Sustainable Population Australia, have highlighted and stressed population growth as the issue of the times, even to the point of describing it as ‘exponential’.  However, the movement has too many links with the eugenics movement or white nationalism and misrepresents research and data e.g. claiming overly high fertility rates, focusing upon now and ignoring future (lower) forecasts based on good analysis.


The following articles touch on how The Lancet has debunked the UN Population Division’s alarmism on fertility rates and global population, then followed with Abul Rizvi comparing the impacts of population, low fertility and immigration on Australia, with Japan.


World population growth set to fall by 2100, as new dominant powers emerge


  • An international study in The Lancet predicted a world population of 8.8 billion by the end of the century as fertility rates decline
  • China’s population is expected to fall to 780 million. Geopolitical power will shift to China, India, Nigeria and the United States


Earth will be home to 8.8 billion souls in 2100, 2 billion fewer than current UN projections, according to a major study published on Wednesday that foresees new global power alignments shaped by declining fertility rates and greying populations.


By century’s end, 183 of 195 countries – barring an influx of immigrants – will have fallen below the replacement threshold needed to maintain population levels, an international team of researchers reported in The Lancet.


More than 20 countries – including Japan, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Portugal, South Korea and Poland – will see their numbers diminish by at least half.


China’s will fall nearly that much, from 1.4 billion people today to 730 million in 80 years.


Sub-Saharan Africa, meanwhile, will triple in size to some 3 billion people, with Nigeria alone expanding to almost 800 million in 2100, second only to India’s 1.1 billion.


“These forecasts suggest good news for the environment, with less stress on food production systems and lower carbon emissions, as well as significant economic opportunity for parts of Sub-Saharan Africa,” said lead author Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.


“However, most countries outside of Africa will see shrinking workforces and inverting population pyramids, which will have profound negative consequences for the economy.”


Population ageing in Australia and Japan


Abul Rizvi 19 June 2020


Australia and Japan are demographic polar opposites.


While Australia boosted immigration to slow its rate of ageing from around the Year 2000, Japan maintained very low levels of immigration. Combined with lower fertility, low immigration has led to Japan ageing quickly. Its working age to population (WAP) ratio has fallen almost 10 percentage points since this peaked around 1990. Australia’s WAP ratio over the same period declined only marginally (see Chart 1).


Japan’s working age population fell by 10.5 million between 1990 and 2018 while Australia’s working age population increased 4.9 million.


The last available estimate of the portion of foreign born in Japan was 1.02% in 2001, one of the lowest in the developed world. That compared to Australia at 23.0% in 2001 and 29.6% in 2019, one of the highest in the developed world.


The median age in Japan in 2017 had increased to 46.7, one of the highest in the developed world, compared to Australia’s 37.5, one of the lowest in the developed world.


In 1990, the 65+ population in Japan was 12.1% while Australia’s was 11.1%, a difference of 2%. By 2018, Japan’s 65+ population had increased to 28.1% while Australia’s was 15.7%, a staggering difference of 12.4%.


While there are many factors impacting different economies, the extent of demographic difference between Japan and Australia will tend to highlight any differential impact from population ageing.


Japan entered its demographic burden phase (ie WAP ratio in decline) almost two decades earlier than Australia which entered its demographic burden phase from 2009. All things equal, Australia’s economy should have performed more strongly than Japan’s from 1990 onwards. As Australia has aged much less since 2009, it should have maintained that advantage, including in per capita terms….


……The pressure for Japan to get its immigration settings right will continue to grow as its rate of ageing again accelerates after 2030 and its rate of population decline continues accelerating.


While Australia moved early to use immigration to slow the rate of ageing, Japan is moving very late – perhaps too late to prevent a rapid decline in living standards associated with resumption of rapid ageing and decline.


But Australia will also now age rapidly over the next 10-20 years with the likelihood of further decline in its fertility rate as well as lower net overseas migration under current policy settings after international borders are opened. This is projected at almost 100,000 per annum less than forecast in the 2019 Budget.’


For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, demography, immigration, NOM net overseas migration, population growth, populist politics and white nationalism click through.


Anglosphere Libertarianism in US, Australia and UK Tories with Dominic Cummings


We have observed Anglospehere conservative politics being taken over by radical right libertarianism in the US, UK and Australia, entwined with eugenics or xenophobia manifested by white nationalists and neo liberal policies; the Conservative Party in the UK suffers the same presently with Dominic Cummings in the limelight.


Facilitated by key individuals such as Dominic Cummings, Steve Bannon, et al. via media, PR and strategists including or via Murdoch’s NewsCorp, Crosby Textor, Cambridge Analytica et al., informed by libertarian think tanks like Koch Atlas Network influenced by Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan, behind the Austrian and Chicago Schools (along with Hayek, Friedman, Rand et al.).


For example there are Atlas links between ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council, IPA Institute of Public Affairs (Australia) and IEA Institute of Economic Affairs (UK) promoting strong neo-liberal ideas including smaller government and lower taxes.


This is in parallel with promotion of immigration restrictions linked to ideas and tactics of the late John Tanton e.g. ZPG Zero Population Growth, TSCP The Social Contract Press, FAIR Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, Sustainable Australia, Population Matters and Migration Watch UK; maybe coincidence but only one or no degree of separation between them (privately or publicly)?


Brexit may have been about antipathy towards Europe, immigrants and nostalgia for a greater Britain but for many, mostly in the background, it was radical right libertarianism avoiding trade and other regulations, helped along by the Leave campaign:


The real reason we should fear the work of Dominic Cummings


Carole Cadwalladr
Downing Street’s controversial top adviser faces new accusations of poisoning politics, but his true nature was clear during Vote Leave’s Brexit triumph.


On 2 March 2017, shortly after my first major article on Cambridge Analytica was published, a furious tweeter appeared in my timeline: “1/ big @Guardian by @carolecadwalla on Mercer/Cambridge Analytica = full of errors & itself spreads disinformation.”


It marked the moment that Dominic Cummings entered my life – though at the time I had no idea who he was. At that time few people did. Cummings was the dark horse, known to just a few Westminster insiders, who had stealthily steered Vote Leave to victory in June 2016 while the rest of us were looking the other way.


But that is no longer the case. In the past two weeks, he has emerged from the shadows and burned himself on to the nation’s consciousness. As Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, he’s helped mastermind some of the most audacious – and outrageous – moves ever committed by a British prime minister: an attempt to suspend parliament, and the expulsion of 21 moderate MPs from the Conservative party. Moves that led the mild man of British politics, the former prime minister John Major, to call him a “political anarchist” who was “poisoning politics”.


From Politico


British PM’s special adviser inspires greater loyalty among many key officials than Johnson does.


By CHARLIE COOPER AND EMILIO CASALICCHIO 5/26/20, 9:45 PM CET Updated 5/31/20, 1:04 AM CET


LONDON — Never mind whether Boris Johnson should get rid of Dominic Cummings, the real question is whether he can.


To the U.K. prime minister, his top aide — whose lockdown journey from London to Durham has dominated headlines for days — is more than just an effective political adviser. He is the lynchpin of the Downing Street operation; someone who — according to several people who have worked with the two men in and out of government — gives Johnson policy direction and operational grip, while commanding more loyalty among a number of key officials and ministers than the prime minister does himself.


From The New Yorker


New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit


By Jane Mayer


The possibility that Brexit and the Trump campaign relied on some of the same advisers to further far-right nationalist campaigns has set off alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic.


For two years, observers have speculated that the June, 2016, Brexit campaign in the U.K. served as a petri dish for Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in the United States. Now there is new evidence that it did. Newly surfaced e-mails show that the former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, the Big Data company that he worked for at the time, were simultaneously incubating both nationalist political movements in 2015……


There are direct links between the political movements behind Brexit and Trump. We’ve got to recognise the bigger picture here. This is being coordinated across national borders by very wealthy people in a way we haven’t seen before.”


Bannon has been strongly influenced by Jean Raspail’s dystopian novel ‘Camp of the Saints’, from The Huffington Post:


This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World.


“The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant invasion to destroy Western civilization.


The same author Raspail had been interviewed by Australian academic Dr. Katherine Betts (collaborator with Dr. Robert Birrell deemed ‘Australia’s best demographer’ by Sustainable Population Australia patron Dick Smith and cited frequently by mainstream media in Australia as an expert on immigration) in John Tanton’s TSCP:

A Conversation With Jean Raspail‘ reprint from original 1994-95

Not only is Tanton intimately linked with founding TSCP but had also crossed paths with others of note at the Koch’s ‘bill mill’ ALEC including Heritage Foundation’s Weyrich, Falwell of the Christian Nationalist right and the deep pocketed Mercers, along with others,’wheels within wheels’?


Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial “corporate bill mill” for state legislators


ALEC & SLLI – “Bipartisan” Bigotry. There appears to be a dirty little secret lurking in the halls and cocktail parties of the of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings – overt racism…..The John Tanton Network and the Anti-Immigrant Movement in America.
One man is at the heart of the most influential network of anti-immigrant groups in the country. This man, John H. Tanton, has created an empire of organizations populated by lobbyists, lawyers, legislators, and “experts” that have permeated the very depths of America’s social and political debate on immigration.


What appears to the public as myriad separate voices all advocating for one cause, i.e. severe immigration enforcement, is nothing more than a facade, a collection of craftily constructed front groups, faux-”coalitions,” and spin-offs that are collectively unified in their goal to overwhelm any reasonable debate on immigration with their branded worldview of bigotry.


This collective is known as the John Tanton Network.’


The Alt-Right and the 1%.  When President Trump equated white supremacists with anti-racism protesters, he was sending a message to the thugs in the streets and to some in executive suites…. ….Mercer, the co-CEO of the $50 billion Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, is also one of three owners of Breitbart News, the outlet Trump strategist (and former Breitbart editor) Steve Bannon has described as a “platform for the alt-right.”


With Mercer’s financial support, Breitbart has become a significant media force. While readership is down from its peak during the election campaign, the site attracted 11 million unique visitors in May of this year.


Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream. A cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.” In August, after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in murder, Steve Bannon insisted that “there’s no room in American society” for neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and the KKK.


But an explosive cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News proves that there was plenty of room for those voices on his website.’


One Man Created a Bunch of Hate Groups. Now, Those Hate Groups Are Dug in With the Trump Administration….Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, was the CEO of Breitbart, which frequently reports on the Tanton network’s “research” and gives column space to Tanton allies. Bannon’s favorite book, a racist French novel, was published in English by another of Tanton’s organizations.


The deep connections that Tanton’s anti-immigrant network has in the Trump Administration is concerning in its own right; but the immediate and long term effects of its influence on policy will continue to be devastating for the lives of countless immigrants. Under the Trump Administration, CIS, FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the rest of the Tanton network have more power than ever — and they’re using it to reshape American immigration policy, possible for decades to come.’


Britain’s Steve Bannon Is Tearing Boris Johnson’s Tories Apart…….Just six weeks later, Cummings is in the limelight as the new hate figure in British politics and the man many Conservatives blame for wrecking their party and pushing the country into chaos all in the name of delivering Brexit.’


Conservatives in the USA, UK and Australian politics should be concerned as their respective parties are being torn apart by radical right libertarian driven white nationalism and populist politics.

Population, Environment and White Nationalists in Australia – US Links


Article titled ‘Green Anti-Immigration Arguments Are A Cover For Right Wing Populism’ summarises ZPG Zero Population Growth in Australia, US white nationalist links, citing Paul Ehrlich and John Tanton. A symptom of US based radical right libertarianism and eugenics, presented as liberal, environmental and science based, but in fact supported by oligarchs.


The clearest signals emerged in the US in the ’70s when simultaneously fossil fuel companies became aware of global warming due to carbon emissions (and threatened by Nixon’s EPA), ZPG was established with Ehrlich, Tanton et al., supported by Rockefeller Bros. (Standard Oil then Exxon), Ford and Carnegie Foundations (according to the Washington Post), Club of Rome promoting Limits to Growth PR construct (including carrying capacity, Herman Daly’s steady-state economy suggesting protectionism to preclude global competition etc.) hosted on Rockefeller estate, sponsored by VW and Fiat, while James Buchanan and later Koch’s et al. started promoting libertarian economics (also Friedman, Hayek, Rand and Chicago School), nativism and developing think tanks for influence in politics, academia and media (according to MacLean’s ‘Democracy in Chains’ and Mayer’s ‘Dark Money’), including ALEC, Heritage Foundation etc..


Green Anti-Immigration Arguments Are A Cover For Right Wing Populism


Tony Goodfellow | 22nd February, 2019


With the backdrop of dramatic decrease in migration to Australia in 2018 to a 10 year low, the population debate has reared its ugly head. In recent months Dick Smith has run an advertising blitz with the title ‘overpopulation will destroy Australia’ that compares population growth to cancer and recently took stage at Dark + Dangerous Thoughts at Mona arguing “no” for the proposition “Do We Let Them In?”. Dick Smith’s intervention comes as members of the far right continue to focus on immigration as a major issue. For example, the newly minted Katter’s Australian Party senator, Fraser Anning, praised the White Australia Policy in his inaugural speech and echoed Nazi rhetoric saying “the final solution to the immigration problem of course is a popular vote”. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also recently spoken about reducing Australia’s immigration intake.


The two views, although, coming from different perspectives, one nominally in the name of “sustainability” and the other a throwback to colonialism steeped in racism and xenophobia, arrive at the same destination, a hermetical view of the world projecting fear onto an outsider. In Dick Smith’s view the outsider is coming to destroy the environment and it Anning’s version they threaten the “European-Christian” ethno-white state.


The environmental rhetoric of the population debate might be alluring to progressives. Who would argue against clean air and clean water? Who wouldn’t agree that the current paradigm of growth is unsustainable? The problem is that an analysis based solely in population is superficial, creating solutions that end up marrying with the worst parts of Australian politics – far-right populism. If unchecked environmentalists focused solely on population threaten to be co-opted and driving a wedge in the environmental movement – because on the surface the arguments sound appealing.
Debate about population within the environment movement has played out many times, with many of the arguments not being new. Dick Smith’s manifesto proclaims “The prime reason for the decline in living standards for many Australian workers is our population growth.”


However, whose environment is he trying to protect?


Background to the environmental population debate


In the late 1960’s and onward a debate raged in environmental groups that threatened to tear them apart. The hotly debated issue was about population, spurned on by the publication of the neo-Malthusian The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich.


The Population Bomb is an easy-to-read polemic written for a popular audience and a guide for organising. In Ehrlich’s view over-population is leading to societal and environmental collapse and the issue needs immediate policy action. It thus begun with the famous lines, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” and the pace continues:


“Overpopulation is now the dominant problem.


Overpopulation occurs when numbers threaten values.


…regardless of changes in technology or resource consumption and distribution, current rates of population growth guarantee an environmental crisis which will persist until the final collapse.


There are some professional optimists around who like to greet every sign of dropping birth rates with wild pronouncements about the end of the population explosion.


Many of these countries, some of which are the poorest, most undernourished, and most overpopulated in the world, are prime candidates for a death-rate solution to the Population explosion


Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide. We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.”


He argues that population is a geometrical ratio:


“If growth continued at that rate for about 900 years, there would be some 60,000,000,000,000,000 people on the face of the earth…Unfortunately, even 900 years is much too far in the future for those of us concerned with the population explosion. As you will· see, the next nine years will probably tell the story.”


He graphically compares population growth to cancer, just like Dick Smith:


“We can no longer afford merely to treat the symptoms of the cancer of population growth; the cancer itself must be cut out.”


In “Chapter 1 The Problem” Ehrlich writes that “I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi a few years ago.”


It would be hard not to be terror-stricken after reading The Population Bomb and it inspired many to action – perhaps prematurely. One argument, coming from a milieu of a white middle-class that some scholars have called an “apartheid ecology”, could be characterised as the “Green anti-immigrant” position. This position argued that there needed to be a national population policy in the United States that centred on radically reducing immigration.


This debate had echoes of the 18th century where many often turned to population control to solve social ills. This movement was famously satirised by Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’ or its longer title ‘A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick’. It also had echoes of Thomas Malthus who posited in An Essay on the Principle of Population that population would exceed food supply:


“The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race


Taking the population of the world at any number, a thousand millions, for instance, the human species would increase in the ratio of — 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc. and subsistence as — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc. In two centuries and a quarter, the population would be to the means of subsistence as 512 to 10: in three centuries as 4096 to 13, and in two thousand years the difference would be almost incalculable, though the produce in that time would have increased to an immense extent.”


An Essay on the Principle of Population expressed a view where empathy to certain groups, such as the poor, would spell disaster. His ideas led those in power to look at famine as good for society and that support for those not well off as creating “the poor which they maintain” . Marx famously argued against Malthus:


“The hatred of the English working class for Malthus—the ‘mountebank-parson,’ as Cobbett rudely called him…—was thus fully justified and the people’s instinct was correct here, in that they felt that he was no man of science, but a bought advocate of their opponents, a shameless sycophant of the ruling classes.”


This account was pretty accurate considering Malthus has been used to wage war on the poor. “Over the last 200 years” according to eco-socialist John Bellamy Foster “Malthusianism has thus always served the interests of those who represented the most barbaric tendencies within bourgeois society.”


Malthus’ view would end up marrying with Eugenics to form an ideological base for the Nazis. From early on Hitler fetishised the idea that population was the problem:


“The annual increase of population in Germany amounts to almost 900,000 souls. The difficulties of providing for this army of new citizens must grow from year to year and must finally lead to a catastrophe, unless ways and means are found which will forestall the danger of misery and hunger.”


Tragically his solution to his manufactured population problem was to violently enlarge the borders of the state, encourage higher fertility of anyone who was in Arthur de Gobineau’s ahistorical category of the true Germans or Aryan race while offsetting this by genocide of certain populations he deemed too foreign, not nationalistic enough or inferior.


Brief History of the rise of concern for population to be anti-immigration.


After The Population Bomb was released the new wave of the population debate played out in the one the largest and oldest conservation groups, the Sierra Club, leading to a decades old internecine struggle. The publication solidified for many that overpopulation was the most important issue for environmentalists. The polemic had a forward by David Brower, the executive director of the Sierra Club. He tied the Sierra Club’s mission to the call to action of the The Population Bomb, writing:


“The roots of the new brutality, it will become clear from The Population Bomb, are in the lack of population control. There is, we must hope and predict, a chance to exert control in time. We would like to predict that organizations which, like the Sierra Club, have been much too calm about the ultimate threat to mankind, will awaken themselves and others, and awaken them with an urgency that will be necessary to fulfillment of the prediction that mankind will survive. We must use our political power to push other countries into programs which combine agricultural development and population control.”


One scholar writes that the Ehrlich’s polemic “convinced many people that population expansion would eventually transcend the earth’s carrying capacity, leading to ecological disaster”. In doing so population became the pre-eminent concern for many environmentalists. It wasn’t long before environmental groups split on the issue. Population policy brought up many difficult questions that advocates could not address. On the question of scale, for example, should population be addressed globally or nationally? How do you address it nationally when the fertility rate is so low? Some proponents of addressing overpopulation decided the most politically acceptable way was to address it nationally, primarily through drastically reducing immigration. This focus on immigration somewhat overlook the arbitrary nature of both the new population goal and narrowly focusing on national population instead of consumption. There was no evidence that immigration size was related to ecological damage but the fear of population getting out of control was an overriding logic, and immigration provided a useful political tool……. continues……


Further reading


I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. – Here’s why: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/26/16356524/the-population-question


Greenwash: Nativists, Environmentalism and the Hypocrisy of Hate: https://www.splcenter.org/20100630/greenwash-nativists-environmentalism-and-hypocrisy-hate


Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it: https://theconversation.com/life-in-a-degrowth-economy-and-why-you-might-actually-enjoy-it-32224


Here’s what a population policy for Australia could look like: https://theconversation.com/heres-what-a-population-policy-for-australia-could-look-like-101458


Other related sources:


Betts K, Ideology and Immigration, Volume 1, Number 4 (Summer 1991), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0104/article_56.shtml


Betts K, Population Policy Issues, Volume 8, Number 2 (Winter 1997-1998), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0802/article_698.shtml


Betts K, A Conversation With Jean Raspail*, (Reprint) Volume 15, Number 4 (Summer 2005), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1504/article_1340.shtml (* Steve Bannon’s favourite)


Birrell R, Australian Nation-State, Volume 7, Number 2 (Winter 1996-1997), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0702/article_615.shtml


Bricker D & Ibbitson J, 2019, Empty Planet, Signal Books, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37585564-empty-planet


Haney-Lopez I, 2014, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, Oxford University Press USA, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17847530-dog-whistle-politics


Jaco S, Anti-Immigration campaign has begun Washington Post May 8 1977 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1977/05/08/anti-immigration-campaign-begun/


MacLean N, 2017, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Viking, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30011020-democracy-in-chains


Mayer J, 2016, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Doubleday, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27833494-dark-money


Pearce F, 2010, The Coming Population Crash: And Our Planet’s Surprising Future, Beacon Press, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7788578-the-coming-population-crash


van Onselen L, MacroBusiness (Australia) many articles about immigration, NOM net overseas migration, international education and population growth using research of Birrell and Betts https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/author/leith/


For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, demography, population growth and white nationalism click through.

Anglo Radical Right Libertarianism and Economics


The Anglo world especially including the US, UK and Australia, and elsewhere, have been subjected to neo classical economics, monetarist etc. theories exemplified by demands for small government, low taxation, cuts to state services, low regulation etc., with unwitting support from conservative and other voters.


Nancy MacLean in ‘Democracy in Chains’ stumbled across odd bedfellows and links to discover this movement promoting nineteenth century economic ideology and eugenics.


Radical Right Libertarians – MacLean

Misinforming the Majority: A Deliberate Strategy of Right-Wing Libertarians
Mark Karlin, Truthout
July 9, 2017

When and how were the seeds sown for the modern far-right’s takeover of American politics? Nancy MacLean reveals the deep and troubling roots of this secretive political establishment — and its decades-long plan to change the rules of democratic governance — in her new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Get your copy by making a donation to Truthout now!


Many individuals who follow politics and journalists think that the right-wing playbook began with the Koch brothers. However, in her groundbreaking book, Nancy MacLean traces their political strategy to a Southern economist who created the foundation for today’s libertarian oligarchy in the 1950s.


Mark Karlin: Can you summarize the importance of James McGill Buchanan to the development of the modern extreme right wing in the United States?


Nancy MacLean: The modern extreme right wing I’m talking about, just to be clear, is the libertarian movement that now sails under the Republican flag, particularly but not only the Freedom Caucus, yet goes back to the 1950s in both parties. President Eisenhower called them “stupid” and fashioned his approach — calling it modern Republicanism — as an antidote to them. Goldwater was their first presidential candidate. He bombed. Reagan, they believed, was going to enact their agenda. He didn’t. But beginning in the early 2000s, they became a force to be reckoned with. What had changed? The discovery by their chief funder, Charles Koch, of the approach developed by James McGill Buchanan for how to take apart the liberal state.


Buchanan studied economics at the University of Chicago and belonged to the same milieu as F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, but he used his training to analyze public life. And he supplied what no one else had: an operational strategy to vanquish the model of government they had been criticizing for decades — and prevent it from being recreated. It was Buchanan who taught Koch that for capitalism to thrive, democracy must be enchained.


Buchanan was a very smart man, the only winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics from the US South, in fact. But his life’s work was forever shaped by the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. He arrived in Virginia in 1956, just as the state’s leaders were goading the white South to fight the court’s ruling, a ruling he saw not through the lens of equal protection of the law for all citizens but rather as another wave in a rising tide of unwarranted and illegitimate federal interference in the affairs of the states that began with the New Deal. For him what was at stake was the sanctity of private property rights, with northern liberals telling southern owners how to spend their money and behave correctly. Given an institute to run on the campus of the University of Virginia, he promised to devote his academic career to understanding how the other side became so powerful and, ultimately, to figuring out an effective line of attack to break down what they had created and return to what he and the Virginia elite viewed as appropriate for America. In a nutshell, he studied the workings of the political process to figure out what was needed to deny ordinary people — white and Black — the ability to make claims on government at the expense of private property rights and the wishes of capitalists. And then he identified how to rejigger that political process not only to reverse the gains but also to prevent the system from ever reverting back.


Why, until your book, has his importance to the right wing been largely overlooked?


There are a few reasons Buchanan has been overlooked. One is that the Koch cause does not advertise his work, preferring to tout the sunnier primers of Hayek, Friedman and even Ayn Rand when recruiting. Buchanan is the advanced course, as it were, for the already committed. Another is that Buchanan did not seek the limelight like Friedman, so few on the left have even heard of him. I myself learned of him only by serendipity, in a footnote about the Virginia schools fight.


How would you draw a line connecting Buchanan to the Koch brothers?


Charles Koch supplied the money, but it was James Buchanan who supplied the ideas that made the money effective. An MIT-trained engineer, Koch in the 1960s began to read political-economic theory based on the notion that free-reign capitalism (what others might call Dickensian capitalism) would justly reward the smart and hardworking and rightly punish those who failed to take responsibility for themselves or had lesser ability. He believed then and believes now that the market is the wisest and fairest form of governance, and one that, after a bitter era of adjustment, will produce untold prosperity, even peace. But after several failures, Koch came to realize that if the majority of Americans ever truly understood the full implications of his vision of the good society and were let in on what was in store for them, they would never support it. Indeed, they would actively oppose it.


So, Koch went in search of an operational strategy — what he has called a “technology” — of revolution that could get around this hurdle. He hunted for 30 years until he found that technology in Buchanan’s thought. From Buchanan, Koch learned that for the agenda to succeed, it had to be put in place in incremental steps, what Koch calls “interrelated plays”: many distinct yet mutually reinforcing changes of the rules that govern our nation. Koch’s team used Buchanan’s ideas to devise a roadmap for a radical transformation that could be carried out largely below the radar of the people, yet legally. The plan was (and is) to act on so many ostensibly separate fronts at once that those outside the cause would not realize the revolution underway until it was too late to undo it. Examples include laws to destroy unions without saying that is the true purpose, suppressing the votes of those most likely to support active government, using privatization to alter power relations — and, to lock it all in, Buchanan’s ultimate recommendation: a “constitutional revolution.”


Today, operatives funded by the Koch donor network operate through dozens upon dozens of organizations (hundreds, if you count the state and international groups), creating the impression that they are unconnected when they are really working together — the state ones are forced to share materials as a condition of their grants. For example, here are the names of 15 of the most important Koch-funded, Buchanan-savvy organizations each with its own assignment in the division of labor: There’s Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Mercatus Center, Americans for Tax Reform, Concerned Veterans of America, the Leadership Institute, Generation Opportunity, the Institute for Justice, the Independent Institute, the Club for Growth, the Donors Trust, Freedom Partners, Judicial Watch — whoops, that’s more than 15, and it’s not counting the over 60 other organizations in the State Policy Network. This cause operates through so many ostensibly separate organizations that its architects expect the rest of us will ignore all the small but extremely significant changes that cumulatively add up to revolutionary transformation. Gesturing to this, Tyler Cowen, Buchanan’s successor at George Mason University, even titled his blog “Marginal Revolution.”


In what way was Buchanan connected to white oligarchical racism?


Buchanan came up with his approach in the crucible of the civil rights era, as the most oligarchic state elite in the South faced the loss of its accustomed power. Interestingly, he almost never wrote explicitly about racial matters, but he did identify as a proud southern “country boy” and his center gave aid to Virginia’s reactionaries on both class and race matters. His heirs at George Mason University, his last home, have noted that Buchanan’s political economy is quite like that of John C. Calhoun, the antebellum South Carolina US Senator who, until Buchanan, was America’s most original theorist of how to constrict democracy so as to safeguard the wealth and power of an elite economic minority (in Calhoun’s case, large slaveholders). Buchanan arrived in Virginia just as Calhoun’s ideas were being excavated to stop the implementation of Brown, so the kinship was more than a coincidence. His vision of the right economic constitution owes much to Calhoun, whose ideas horrified James Madison, among others……


…..Having said that, though, I also believe that panic is the last thing we need. There is great strength to be found in the simple truth that Buchanan and Koch came up with the kind of strategy now in play precisely because they knew that the majority, if fully informed, would never support what they seek. So, the best thing that those who support a robust, non-plutocratic society can do is focus on patiently informing and activating that majority. And reminding all Americans that democracy is not something you can just assume will survive: It has to be fought for time and again. This is one of those moments.’


For more blogs and articles about economics, populist politics and white nationalism click through.

Ageing Democracy, Nativism and Populism


Liberal democracies in western world need to make sure they do not become populist gerontocracies with changing demographics creating elderly ‘Gerrymandering’ where influence and numbers of older voters (with short term horizons) increasing proportionally over younger generations with longer term interests but less voice and influence.

Western world electorates are ageing and impacting democracy

Ageing Demographics, Democracy and Populism (Image copyright Pexels)

From Alan Stokes of Fairfax round 2016 elections:

It’s on for old and old: younger voters don’t stand a chance

One startling statistic shows why 65+ voters hold all the power at this election – and it will only get worse for the young’uns.

This election will not be decided by modern issues or fashionable personalities. It will not be aimed at the nation’s future. It will be about living in the past.

The 2016 election will be decided more than any other by Australia’s elderly.

We have seen a surge in the share of voters aged 65 and over – wartime children and now baby boomers, many of whom once burnt bras, voted for Whitlam, had a day off work when Alan Bond won the America’s Cup in 1983 but then backed John Howard, pocketed huge superannuation tax breaks from the mining boom, banked capital gains from home ownership and negative gearing, and can afford to say now that 70 is the new 50……

…One startling statistic defines this reversal of the 1960s-70s-80s generation gap.

Since Kevin07 rode youthful exuberance to victory nine years ago, the number of enrolled voters aged 18-24 has increased 7.9 per cent, reflecting some improvement in encouraging younger people to enrol.

But the number of enrolled voters aged 65 and over has increased 34 per cent.

Yes, oldies are out-growing young’uns by a ratio of more than four to one….

…As I wrote last week, the youth have good reason to be revolting. The 65+ voter demographic makes up 22 per cent of the vote this time – more than twice the 10.6 per cent for 18- to 24-year-olds….

…..These revelations are not intended to deny the elderly their voice. Rather, they raise questions about the morality of voting for self-interest when you will not be around to carry the burden of your decisions.

The median projection from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest the numbers of Australians aged 65+ will have increased by 84.8 per cent between 2011 and 2031. The proportion of the population 65+ will have increased from 13.8 per cent to 18.7 per cent….

….And what if parties realise they can win elections by kow-towing to the older demographic and downplaying issues that matter to younger Australians? We have seen this already on same-sex marriage, a republic, climate change and housing affordability….

….Expect to see more youthful candidates revolting against the demographic demons. We can only hope they can get through to older voters because the future belongs to the children, not the parents and grandparents.

Such is life …


Meanwhile in Europe:

Is Pensioner Populism Here to Stay?

MILAN – The right-wing populism that has emerged in many Western
democracies in recent years could turn out to be much more than a blip on the
political landscape. Beyond the Great Recession and the migration crisis, both of
which created fertile ground for populist parties, the aging of the West’s
population will continue to alter political power dynamics in populists’ favor.

It turns out that older voters are rather sympathetic to nationalist movements.
Older Britons voted disproportionately in favor of leaving the European Union,
and older Americans delivered the US presidency to Donald Trump. Neither the
Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland nor Fidesz in Hungary would be in power
without the enthusiastic support of the elderly. And in Italy, the League has
succeeded in large part by exploiting the discontent of Northern Italy’s seniors.
Among today’s populists, only Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally (formerly
the National Front) – and possibly Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil – relies on younger

…Most likely, a growing sense of insecurity is pushing the elderly into the populists’
arms. Leaving aside country-specific peculiarities, nationalist parties all promise
to stem global forces that will affect older people disproportionately.
For example, immigration tends to instill more fear in older voters, because they
are usually more attached to traditional values and self-contained communities.
Likewise, globalization and technological progress often disrupt traditional or
legacy industries, where older workers are more likely to be employed.

At best we are observing very cynical politics, influencers and media endeavouring to confuse, create fear and anxiety amongst older demographics round populist themes such as immigration, globalisation, nativism and identity.

For more blog articles about nativism, NOM net overseas migration, and demography, Click through.





Skills of Critical Thinking


Critical thinking and related literacies are viewed as essential soft, work or life skills to be taught and learnt by school students, apprentices, trainees, university students, employees and broader society, but how?

Following is parts of an article from The Conversation focusing upon argumentation, logic, psychology and the nature of science to help people understand and analyse the world round us in an age of fake news, conspiracy theories, anti-science and anti-education sentiments.

‘How to teach all students to think critically

December 18, 2014 2.27pm AEDT

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills.

The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.

This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?

Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?

So what should any mandatory first year course in critical thinking look like? There is no single answer to that, but let me suggest a structure with four key areas:



The most powerful framework for learning to think well in a manner that is transferable across contexts is argumentation.  Arguing, as opposed to simply disagreeing, is the process of intellectual engagement with an issue and an opponent with the intention of developing a position justified by rational analysis and inference.



Logic is fundamental to rationality. It is difficult to see how you could value critical thinking without also embracing logic.  People generally speak of formal logic – basically the logic of deduction – and informal logic – also called induction.  Deduction is most of what goes on in mathematics or Suduko puzzles and induction is usually about generalising or analogising and is integral to the processes of science.



One of the great insights of psychology over the past few decades is the realisation that thinking is not so much something we do, as something that happens to us. We are not as in control of our decision-making as we think we are.  We are masses of cognitive biases as much as we are rational beings. This does not mean we are flawed, it just means we don’t think in the nice, linear way that educators often like to think we do.


The Nature of Science

Learning about what the differences are between hypotheses, theories and laws, for example, can help people understand why science has credibility without having to teach them what a molecule is, or about Newton’s laws of motion.  Understanding some basic statistics also goes a long way to making students feel more empowered to tackle difficult or complex issues. It’s not about mastering the content, but about understanding the process.’


This article is from 2014, however it is unclear what Federal and State Education Departments are doing to include the explicit teaching and learning of critical thinking skills to students via curricula and syllabi?

For more articles about university teaching and learning skills click through.





Hans Rosling – The facts and ignorance about population growth


Don’t Panic – Hans Rosling Showing the Facts About Population

The world might not be as bad as you might believe!

“Don’t Panic” is a one-hour long documentary produced by Wingspan Productions and broadcasted on BBC on the 7th of November 2013.

‘With the world’s population at 7 billion and still growing we often look at the future with dread. In Don’t Panic – The Truth About Population, world famous Swedish statistical showman Professor Hans Rosling presents a different view…

… We face huge challenges in terms of food, resources and climate change but at the heart of Rosling’s statistical tour-de-force is the message that the world of tomorrow is a much better place than we might imagine.

World population growth has peaked and is in decline.

Population Growth Decline (Image copyright World Bank).


Professor Rosling reveals that the global challenge of rapid population growth, the so-called population explosion, has already been overcome. In just 50 years the average number of children born per woman has plummeted from 5 to just 2.5 and is still falling fast. This means that in a few generations’ time, world population growth will level off completely. And in what Rosling calls his ‘Great British Ignorance Survey’ he discovers that people’s perceptions of the world often seem decades out of date.

Highlights from Ignorance survey in the UK

Highlights from the first UK survey re ignorance of global trends. A preliminary summary by Hans Rosling, Gapminder Foundation, 3 Nov, 2013

Gapminder’s mission is to fight devastating ignorance about the world with a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand. We started the Ignorance Project to measure what people know and don´t know about major global trends.

The results indicate that the UK population severely underestimates the progress in education, health and fertility reduction in the world as a whole and in countries like Bangladesh, whereas they severely overestimate how much the richest countries have changed to renewable energy. It is noteworthy that the results from those with university degrees are not better than the average results, if anything they are worse. The results from UK are similar to those obtained by a 2013 survey in Sweden.

The aim of these surveys is to understand how deep and how widespread the public ignorance of major global development trends is in different countries. We are investigating the knowledge about the order of magnitude and speed of change of the most important aspects of the life conditions of the total world population. The first survey covered some major trends in demography, health, education and energy.

  1. In the year 2000 the total number of children (age 0-14) in the world reached 2 billion. How many do UN experts estimate there will be by the year 2100?
  2. What % of adults in the world today are literate, i.e. can read and write?
  3. What is the life expectancy in the world as a whole today?
  4. In the last 30 years the proportion of the World population living in extreme poverty has…
  5. What % of total world energy generated comes from solar and wind power? Is it approximately
  6. What is the life expectancy in Bangladesh today?
  7. How many babies do women have on average in Bangladesh?



Question 1: The answers reveal very deep ignorance about population growth. Only 7% know that the total number of children (below age 15) already has stopped increasing. Almost half of the respondents think there will be twice as many children in the world by the end of the century compared to the forecast of the UN experts.

Questions 2 and 3: Answers show that the respondents think the literacy rate and the life expectancy of the world population is around 50% and 60 years (median values), respectively. But these figures correspond to the how the world was more than 30 years ago.

Question 4: The results show that just 10% are aware of that the United Nations’ first Millennium Development Goal, to halve the world poverty rate, has already been met, even before the target year 2015. More than half think the poverty rate has increased. It is important to understand that random guessing would have yielded 33% correct answers. The result is therefore not due to lack of knowledge, rather it must be due to preconceived ideas. The results strongly indicate that the UK public has failed to be informed about the progress towards the first of the UN´s Millennium Development Goals.

Question 5: Two thirds of the respondents severely overestimate the present role of new renewable sources of energy in world energy production. The present proportion is close to 1%.

Questions 6 and 7: The respondents reveal a deep ignorance about the progress of Bangladesh during the last two to three decades. Only about one in ten know that life expectancy in Bangladesh today is 70 years and that women on average have 2.5 babies.


For more articles about population growth and immigration click through.

Digital vs. Traditional Marketing – Kotler


Digital vs. Traditional Marketing – Kotler

Digital marketing facilitates WOM word of mouth and horizontal communication within any target market with the customers being central in strategy and outcomes, complemented by more detailed ROI, and requiring more analysis of digital or e-consumer behaviour.  The digital marketing strategy should be viewed as the system or software development lifecycle is, along the customer journey, based upon user or customer input making the system live, dynamic and relevant.

What are the differences and similarities between traditional and digital?

Philip Kotler – Traditional to Digital Marketing (Image copyright Marketing insider Group)

Following is a summary of Philip Kotler’s Marketing 4.0 from The Marketing Journal (Kotler, Kartajaya & Setiawan 2018)

‘Marketing 4.0 is the sequel to our widely-recognized concept of Marketing 3.0, which calls for brands to touch the human spirit.

Digital technology is increasingly moving at the heart of most modern businesses today. As OECD states, digital economy is fast percolating a wide range of industries, from bank­ing, energy and transportation to media and health. No wonder thus how often we hear of the word ‘dis­ruption’ in the context of business.

Moving towards marketing 4.0 requires balancing our use of machines and devices with human contact to strengthen customer engagement.


From Traditional to Digital Marketing

As we move from traditional to digital, market­ing has undergone fundamental transformation in the way its various elements are incorporated. Let’s take a look at the four most critical shifts:

From ‘Segmentation and Targeting’ to ‘Customer Community Confirmation’

For brands to be able to penetrate these com­ munities and get their messages across effectively, they need to fit in naturally – acting as friends, showing care and genuine concern to address cus­tomers’ needs and wants. In essence, the process of segmentation, targeting and positioning is made more transparent.


From ‘Brand Positioning and Differentiation’ to ‘Brand Characters and Codes’

In this age of digital marketing, a brand needs to be dynamic and versatile in what messages it delivers and how. But what should remain consis­tent is the brand’s character and codes, regardless of the content of the messages that it delivers. The brand’s character – its raison d’être- is what defines its personality, it is what makes the brand stand true to its core, even if the outer imagery is flexible – think Google (with its ever-changing Doodles) or MTV – how they remain flexible with their varying designs, yet solid as brands.


From ‘Selling the 4P’s’to ‘Commercializing the 4C’s’

In view of greater connectivity in the digital economy, armed with increased customer partic­ipation, we reckon the emergence of a new set of marketing mix, the 4C’s – co-creation, currency, communal activation, and conversation.

Traditional customer service revolves around treating customers as kings, but in the collabora­tive customer care approach, they are viewed as equals. While customer service would focus solely on addressing their concerns while still attempting to stick to strict guidelines and standard operating procedures, collaborative care would put genuine effort into listening and responding to the cus­tomer, consistently following through, on terms agreed upon by both company and customer. In the connected world, this collaborative process is more relevant to customer care wherein customers are invited to participate in the process by using self-service facilities.


Integrating Traditional and Digital Marketing

Industry observers have been debating for a while whether traditional marketing is dead, in view of the rising influence of, and marketing spend in, digital marketing. What we believe however is that digital is not supposed to replace traditional marketing. Both are meant to co-exist and have their own roles to play across the customer journey.

Traditional marketing is still quite effective in building awareness and interest in brands, but digital marketing plays a more prominent role as customers go on to build closer relationships with brands. The goal of digital should be to drive action and advocacy, and in view of greater accountability, the focus should be on driving results, as opposed to traditional marketing where the focus should be on initiating customer interaction. In essence, Marketing 4.0 aims to help marketers identify and prepare for the shifting roles of traditional and dig­ital marketing in building customer engagement and advocacy.’


What does this all mean?

  • Digital marketing should not be viewed simply as a technical channel for budget allocation, while it includes community, word of mouth or horizontal communication with social media channels.
  • Underlying brand character remains the same but with constant customer participation and collaboration as per the 4C’s customer generated content, authenticity, horizontal communication via word of mouth, and reinforcement of the message.
  • Digital should complement traditional marketing’s building awareness and interest with customer interaction, also analysis of customer engagement, decision and action to inform ROI well.
  • Marketing strategy (development) should be viewed as a dynamic system, not unlike the systems or software development lifecycle (SDLC) for the duration of the customer journey.
  • Any system must to be based upon the needs of all stakeholders including customers, personnel, and users by continuous feedback for analysis (of outcomes) to inform improvements (including ROI).


For more blog articles about digital marketing and consumer behaviour click through to blog Education, Training and Society.

References & Bibliography:

Kotler, P, Kartajaya, H & Setiawan, I 2016, Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital, Wiley, New Jersey.

Kotler, P, Kartajaya, H & Setiawan, I 2018, ‘Marketing 4.0: When Online Meets Offline, Style Meets Substance, and Machine-to-Machine Meets Human-to-Human’, The Marketing Journal, viewed 6 August 2018, <http://www.marketingjournal.org/marketing-4-0-when-online-meets-offline-style-meets-substance-and-machine-to-machine-meets-human-to-human-philip-kotler-hermawan-kartajaya-iwan-setiawan/&gt;



Digital Marketing Tutorials for Tourism and Services


Digital Marketing Tutorials and the Application of Digital Marketing

How can small or medium sized businesses take advantage of digital marketing benefits i.e. economic and effective for sustainable customer centred strategy over long term?

This is opposed to short term and one-off marketing strategy based round costly and low analytic conventional channels such as print, radio and television focused upon indirect ROI or KPIs, especially digitally literate generations?

Advantages of Digital Marketing

The advantage of keeping marketing in house and using digital versus outsourcing include:

  • Requires market research into consumer behaviour, with focus upon and directed by existing, prospective customers and stakeholders
  • Unique to your business or organisation and target market with your website as ‘shop front’ being visible online locally, regionally, nationally or globally for market reach and penetration
  • Analytically rich through variety of channels during search and purchasing process while customer feedback can confirm KPIs as valid
  • After initial front loading of technical resources, marketing content and including financial, a living system has been created which can be maintained, reviewed and adapted following the SDLC systems development life-cycle (versus one off strategy or campaigns although not precluded e.g. ‘Best Job in the World’ dependent upon social media)
  • The system can run organically through inbound digital marketing techniques attracting targeted traffic through SEO search engine optimisation and customer generated (social) media
  • Allows customer and stakeholder input, ownership to inform system and an increased likelihood of success due to authenticity and grounding, or ‘bottom up and lateral’ digital communication channels

Some years ago, the ATDW Australian Tourism Data Warehouse developed the award-winning ATDW Marketing e-Kit downloaded several hundred thousand times, especially offshore.  The kit summarised below is pitched at sole, small or medium businesses who cannot and should not commission large advertising or marketing companies to promote their business, and do not require high level expertise.  Further, larger marketing bodies e.g. Tourism Australia, should have no need to commission global advertising giants for marketing strategy when they have a highly visible shopfront or website already?


  1. Who is this document designed to assist?

These ATDW tutorials have been put together to help small and medium Australian tourism operators successfully market their business online. If you don’t have a website for your business or have one that is not performing to your or your customer’s expectations, these tutorials are for you.

Further, the same can be replicated across other sectors or industries whether goods or services, the principles of good (digital) marketing strategy are the same.

  1. Roadmap to success

What do I need to do and in what order? Each tutorial can be read independently and no
technological background is required to understand their content.
You will find a list of all the tutorials organised in different sections on the following:

a) The basics
b) Website
c) SEO Search Engine Optimisation
d) e-Marketing
e) Online booking e-Commerce
f) Analysis and statistics
g) Online distribution
h) Social media


  1. Why the Internet?

The Internet is a network of computer networks, which anyone can access and participate in using a web-enabled computer. Users turn to the Internet to search for information and interact with other users such as friends, peers and communities. It comes as no surprise that travellers use the “net” extensively to plan and organise their trip. Latest international research shows that more than 80% of travellers do so.
This signifies that- as a tourism business – you need to move your Internet strategy to the centre of your business model. Having a website that sits “on the side”, a Facebook page that isn’t managed and no social media strategy will not allow you to compete in the online world.

Business and organisations need to move beyond the notion of digital (channels) being an added budgetary item for any advertising or marketing spend and leverage their own customer base for feedback, generation of marketing content, transmission or sharing and visibility.

For more blog and articles related to services and digital marketing click through.

Focus Group Research then Survey for Digital e-Marketing Strategy Development


Digital or e-Marketing Research for Strategy Development


Conducting Qualitative and Quantitative Feedback – Focus Respondent Interviews for Survey Instrument Development


Following outlines steps in applying research techniques for marketing using a MBA cohort of professionals of diverse backgrounds mostly based in Europe.

Limited interviews, both face to face and email based, were conducted with selected former students and industry stakeholders for experiential feedback to ascertain or confirm important factors.  After analysis of feedback, this led onto the development of a simple survey instrument with the factors or clusters of elicited, making up dimensions or phases (Saunders et al., 2009).  One could then measure or relate the importance of each factor in the information search amongst a related population or student cohort, then drawing inferences, but neither correlations nor causal relationships.


While optimal language and communication skills are important for questionnaires, there must be a process of researching, identifying and forming the questions to be included in a survey, that leads to valid and reliable data for analysis; one cannot go back after collecting survey data.


Ordinal Likert scales can be used to assess the strength of perceptions on relevant factors, on a three, five or seven-point range and can indicate order e.g. not very important through neutral to very important.  Ideally scales are applied to many factors or questions leading to inference of a construct explaining the research focus.  In this study, simply assessing relevance of each factor grouped as phases or dimensions for inclusion e.g. if deemed to be important or very important by students (Bell, 2005).


While the quantitative data collection or survey was a ‘probability sample’ or ‘representative sampling’ i.e. all from the same online MBA cohort, to allow inferences to be made about the population, the ‘Focus Respondents’ informing the survey development represented ‘non-probability’ sampling for convenience or streamlining.


By accessing ‘Focus Respondents’ and gaining input from potential population, also including informed input from industry personnel, industry and scholastic research; a valid survey instrument could be developed (Saunders at al., 2009).


The sample population of university students surveyed represent the population’s ‘information seeking’ behaviour, through collecting quantitative data from this representative sample of enrolled European University students in online MBA program.


Ideally this could have been expanded further amongst other sample populations for comparison and cross tabulation, but the scope of this study precluded inclusion, however actual colleges, public organisations and SME business workplaces can replicate the process.


Reference List:


Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project. (4th Ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.


Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009) Research Methods for Business Students. (5th Ed.) Harlow UK: Pearson Education Ltd.



How to Research the Digital Customer Journey


Related Research on International Student or Customer Information
Seeking Journey


This study started with individual focus input from a limited number of former international students and stakeholders giving open and related feedback on information seeking factors; mirroring grounded research techniques allowing issues to emerge within time and resource constraints (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).


This study, through qualitative techniques of literature review, with stakeholder feedback from both students and marketers, was followed by quantitative measurement of data from a modest but relevant sample student population, using descriptive statistics i.e. data tables, informing a construct with analysis, then discussion and recommendations.


Good starting point for qualitative research is ‘grounded theory’, a methodology to allow issues to emerge from focus respondents; this was partially replicated, but in an abbreviated or streamlined version.


Qualitative Research – Grounded Research Theory & Inductive Approach


Qualitative data from interviews or focus respondent feedback can be used for the ‘Inductive Approach’ (to inform survey instrument) exemplified by fluid theoretical framework, identification of relationships in the data for potential hypotheses, then theory emerges from this process.  Further, there are various types of approach e.g. summarising meaning or ‘condensation’, categorisation or ‘grouping’ and structuring or ‘ordering’ leading to a narrative, this approach avoids becoming caught in a deductive process of proving theory (Saunders, 2009).


Further, analysis of the emergent qualitative data allows comprehension, integration, pattern recognition, then potential development or testing of theories.  Also significant are language terms that emerge from the data, which also appear in existing literature, that are used by participants and relevant industry (Ibid.).


Language analysis is especially important to inform good website design, SM usage, content marketing and SEO keywords and phrases, reflecting the language or communication means that students prefer, use and can find.


Why Mixed Methods & Grounded Research Theory?


The reasons for using mixed methods include ‘triangulation’ to corroborate both facilitation and complementarity through qualitative and quantitative, ‘generality’ assessing importance through quantitative, and ‘aid interpretation’ with qualitative explaining quantitative.  This approach can solve a puzzle through analysis i.e. asking students directly versus guessing or assuming the latent factors driving their behaviour when planning a purchase (Saunders, 2009).


Grounded theory emerges from induction through the study of a phenomenon, e.g. study of student information searching preferences to derive a ‘grounded’ marketing and communications strategy or approach.  However, qualitative via grounded theory follows a process of systematic data collection and analysis related to a phenomenon so that data collection, analysis and theory relate to each other; it’s not subjective opinion (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).


Using mixed methods of data collecting or multi-method approach, adds up to enhanced validity and reliability through ‘triangulation’ (Bell, 2005).  Coding can also be done in a selective manner in choosing the core category for which relationships and other categories are viewed (Ibid.). Process or linking up of elements in the research or study emerges as a sequence of events, exemplified by identifying need, information search, analysis and decision; mirrors many cyclical processes including those outside of marketing (Ibid.).


The research process in this case, using grounded theory, allowed flexibility provided evaluation criteria are satisfied, leading onto empirical grounding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). How or where do we start?



Reference List:


Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project. (4th Ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.


Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009) Research Methods for Business Students. (5th Ed.) Harlow UK: Pearson Education Ltd.


Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990) Basics of Qualitative Research – Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Newbury Park CA: SAGE Publications.


FLIPPED Model – Pedagogy or Andragogy in Higher Education Teaching Learning


FLIPPED Teaching and Learning Model in Higher Education




Nowadays in higher education there is much talk of MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses), e-learning, blended learning and the ‘FLIPPED’ (Flexible Environments, Learning Culture, Intentional Content, Professional Educators, Progressive Activities, Engaging Experiences, and Diversified Platforms) classroom; what does it mean, what are the issues and solutions?


Brief Literature Review


One of the first issues to be apparent is that ‘FLIPPED learning’ is under utilised and even when utilised, there maybe sub-optimal delivery for good teaching and learning outcomes (Chen et al., 2014).  Conversely, whether a fee-paying program, compulsory K12 or a MOOC, FLIPPED learning can dramatically increase access (Hazlett, 2014).


Flipped classroom is also a benefit to both teaching and learning, with students being exposed to subject content online and participate in active lessons; moving away from teacher directed pedagogy to student centred learning or andragogy (especially important for transition of youth to adulthood).  The benefits are exemplified by less homework issues, question and answer, deeper exploration and those away with illness can keep up.  For teachers it means supporting students in application, reusable, easier individual student attention and more transparency for parents (Mihai, 2016).


Another view includes the following benefits: more student control, student centred, content more accessible for students or parents, and more efficient.  However, this is tempered by disadvantages of digital divide or illiteracy, requires significant preparation and front-end input, not good for test preparation and increased screen time (Acedo, 2013).


Other related concerns including potential side lining of teachers and their related skills, online content and instructional design can be boring versus active and interesting lessons, excusing bad pedagogy, internet access issues (e.g. Australia has internet speed and bandwidth issues comparing with less developed nations), assuring online content e.g. videos are watched, online content and instructional design can be very time consuming (November & Mull, 2012).


What are the issues for FLIPPED model in adult vocation or higher education teaching and learning?


The obvious issue is that when developed for K12 it is based upon pedagogic learning theories for children and youth, supported by teachers with strong background in theory and application of teaching, learning, assessment and technology.  However, this may not translate well to adult education, vocational or higher education requiring skills of applying andragogy i.e. matching adult learning styles with instructors, trainers, teachers or lecturers lacking the same education background.


What are the differences between pedagogy and andragogy in teaching and learning?


Firstly, what do adults bring to learning and how do they learn optimally as identified by Malcolm Knowles?  Knowles identified six principles including internal motivation and self-direction, life experience and knowledge, goal oriented, relevancy, practical and need for respect.  Contrasted with pedagogy in the following table:


Andragogy versus Pedagogy in FLIPPED Model for Higher Education

Andragogy versus Pedagogy for the FLIPPED Model in Higher Education

(Education Technology & Mobile Learning, 2018)


Reflection on issues and solutions for FLIPPED Model in Higher Education


One has experienced online blinded learning in higher education i.e. online MBA with webinars, CPD (Continuing Professional Development) via e-learning platform and vocational training certificate via distance learning and recorded webinars as ‘add-ons’, not well integrated.


Issues encountered included lack of teaching, learning, assessment and technology skills in instructional design, lesson planning, delivery of interesting lessons, developing and testing activity resources, creating opportunities for interactivity, involving all students (not just strong or dominant), using existing or old lecture slides for content, technology breakdowns with no disaster plan, not using or updating discussion forums and relying too much on ‘presenting’ versus teaching.


Solutions could include CPD like ‘train the trainer’ or in Australia the TAE40116 Certificate IV Trainer & Assessor, however many are not suitable for adult learners whether young or old.  In more diverse international cohorts where English is not the first language, adapt using the Cambridge CELTA (Certificate to Teach English Language to Adults) framework (applied qualification studied full time intensively four weeks including practice and observations).


The latter is especially well designed to include all learning theories including pedagogy and importantly andragogy, for student centred communication interaction.  It is based on the PPP model (Presentation, Practice and Production), when applied well is active, interesting, with clear learning outcomes and multi levelled hidden curriculum, in addition to communication skills, when pitched at advanced or proficiency level students (UCLES, 2018).


Nowadays with empowered and fee paying adult learners, top down directed teaching and learning of subject matter may neither be accepted nor acceptable?


Reference List


Acedo, M. (2013) 10 Pros and Cons of a Flipped Classroom. Available at: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/  (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).


Chen, Y; Wang, Y; Kinshuk & Chen, N. (2014) Is FLIP enough? Or should we use the FLIPPED model instead? Computers & Education. 79 pp. 16-27. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131514001559


Education Technology & Mobile Learning (2018) Awesome Chart on “Pedagogy versus Andragogy”.  Available at: https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/awesome-chart-on-pedagogy-vs-andragogy.html (Accessed on: 28 January 2018).


Hazlett, C. (2014) Parallel Sessions: MOOC meets Flipped Classroom. Available at: https://blog.edx.org/parallel-sessions-mooc-meets-flipped (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).


Mihai, L. (2016) Blended Learning: 8 Flipped Classroom Benefits for Students and Teachers. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/8-flipped-classroom-benefits-students-teachers (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).


November, A. & Mull, B. (2012) Flipped Learning: A Response to Five Common Criticisms. Available at: http://web.uvic.ca/~gtreloar/Articles/Technology/flipped-learning-a-response-to-five-common-criticisms.pdf (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).


UCLES (2018) Cambridge English Teaching Framework. Available at: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/cambridge-english-teaching-framework/ (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).


International Education Marketing – Conventional versus Digital


Traditional International Education Marketing


There have been criticisms for some decades regarding the effectiveness of universities’ and related education institutions’ international marketing and their ability to identity what the market needs and communicating effectively (Nicholls et al., 1995).


Anecdotal complaints from within larger institutions, whether faculty or administration, is that even with high enrolment numbers, there is little understanding of ‘how’ students came to be enrolled, let alone those prospective students who did not, with indirect or invalid KPIs (key performance indicators).


This is compounded further in large entities by organisational structures on large campuses, leading to potentially sub-optimal co-ordination between international marketing, admissions, web marketing team, suppliers or agents and students; resulting in silos impacting analysis of communication and information sharing.

International Students - Digital Marketing

International Education Digital Marketing

(Image copyright Pexels)

Conventional Marketing or Sales?


Marketing strategy emerging in the 1980s relied upon travel to physical recruitment events, distribution of brochures or ‘marketing materials’ by hand, appointment of agents; mostly short-term sales and ROI model or basic ‘4Ps’.


This latter financial and physical ROI method of evaluation e.g. numbers of brochures distributed, and students recruited, may not be highlighting the important factors or process leading to enrolments, or missing many factors altogether e.g. WOM (word of mouth)?


The assumed positive outcomes from such strategies may be correlated with other factors such as ongoing WOM with peers, suitable course availability or online visibility.  Previous research had already highlighted critical factors of significance including need for innovation, quality staff and image, service culture, good use of information technology (IT), healthy financials, technical excellence and broad range of courses (Mazzarol, 1998). There is focus upon internal human and technical resource factors required as inputs for good marketing and communication, but not behaviour of those seeking relevant information.


Meanwhile, over ten years ago formal research recognised and confirmed in decision making of a student sample, it’s course first, over reputation and destination, along with creating awareness through search engine optimised (SEO) visible websites to be found directly and easily (Gomes & Murphy, 2003).


This latter study is one of the few formal research articles related to international student purchasing behaviour available in the public domain, yet emphasising the importance of SEO and digital over ten years ago.  However, Australia’s pre-eminent and university owned student marketing and recruitment vehicle IDP, like most and according to formal job description, does not view analysis of enrolled students or other prospective students as important or essential (IDP, 2016)?


There has been little if any related or formal research on how students find information except some industry groups, mostly in Europe about ‘how’ prospective students behave and interact.


For more articles or blogs on education, training, marketing and society, click through to Academia profile of Andrew J. Smith.

Featured Links


This is a featured link post.

The Conversation

AIM The Australian Independent Media Network

Mumbrella – Everything under Australia’s media and marketing umbrella

Independent Australia

ABC Australia – Media Watch

Michael West Media – Independent Journalists

Politics U.K. – Ian Dunt

Hungarian Spectrum – Eva Balogh

BIRN – Balkan Investigative Reporting Network

The Guardian Australia

Gapminder Foundation






Population Decline and Effects on Taxation, Benefits, Economy and Society

While Australian media, politicians and commentators obsess, through an inflated and nativist Malthusian view, about undefined immigration, NOM net overseas migration and population growth, the ‘elephant in the room’ is ignored.  The misdefined  ‘immigration’ that media obsesses about is mostly ‘churn over’ of temporary residents e.g. international students,  caught up in the NOM net overseas migration, as ‘net financial contributors’ to budgets through taxes paid to support increasing numbers of retirees; backgrounded by a commensurate decline in the permanent population’s working age cohort. 

Warning is that as baby boomers and oldies dominate electoral rolls, governments especially conservative, cater to the same cohorts at the expense of younger generations following which in future could include higher future taxes and lower public services.

Following are excerpts or summary based upon two articles from MorningStar’s FirstLinks newsletter focusing upon the demographic, economic and social effects of past baby booms, retirement, ageing, longevity and social services in a future with fewer working age tax-payers.

The populations of key countries are shrinking 

Michael Collins  17 June 2020

Released by US film producer Mike Moore, the documentary Planet of the Humans tells how renewable sources of energy are flawed solutions to mitigate the dangers of climate change.

About halfway through the documentary, a scientist laments that the environment’s biggest problem is that “there are too many human beings using too much, too fast”. The warning here and elsewhere in the documentary is that only a reduction in the world’s population can save the planet.

Declining birth rates

Well, in that case, the battle against climate change is winnable because the populations of many countries are shrinking. The OECD says that only three (Israel, Mexico and Turkey) of its 37 members have fertility rates above the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman.

The UN reports the reproduction rates of all European countries are below replenishment levels. The EU forecasts that the populations of 12 of its 27 member countries will shrink in coming decades as only immigration props up numbers in the others. The World Bank predicts China’s population will decline by 100 million people by 2050, that East Asia’s will shrink from the 2030s and Brazil’s will contract from the late 2040s by when India’s population growth will be static.

Already dwindling are the populations of Russia (since 1992), Japan (first in 2008 and uninterrupted since 2010, see below) and Italy (since 2014). But for immigration, many Anglo countries with declining birth rates including Australia and the US would be shrinking population-wise too.

Many demographers say, if anything, the global bodies are underestimating the declines in population numbers. Social and economic forces that lowered birth rates in advanced countries are now universal across the emerging world. These factors include expectations of low infant mortality, rising female education, better career prospects for women, and urbanisation.

Fewer births in the emerging world, these demographers say, will see the world’s population diminish from a peak of between eight and nine billion people from around the middle of this century, whereas the UN forecasts the world’s population to increase another three billion to 10.9 billion by 2100.

The economic impact

The consequences of declining populations could be significant and mostly grim, any environmental benefits aside. Fewer births reduce what is probably the biggest motivational force in society; young parents seeking a better life for their children. In economic terms, declining populations are a bigger challenge than ageing populations because the former herald a lasting shortfall in private demand that points to lower output, even if GDP per capita might rise. Businesses will invest less if fewer people are consuming less. Such outcomes hint at the ‘Japanification’ of economies; deflation and almost permanent recessions for economies that prove impervious to stimulus.

Government finances face difficulties as the shrinking and ageing of populations accelerates because a smaller working-age cohort must support more elderly people who cost more health-wise. A stretched bunch of fewer workers could lead to reduced innovation and productivity gains. Government policy, especially with regards to taxation and social-security spending, could become skewed towards the elderly rather than productivity should older voters form a voting bloc.

Turning point: the 2020s baby boom retirement surge

Bernard Salt   24 March 2021

And so, what can we expect of the balance of the 2020s beyond the coronavirus?

It is likely for example that there will be greater use of technology and a lesser engagement with China. It is also possible that the community will take a renewed interest in hand washing, in appreciating family, in having the freedom to travel beyond Australia. These ‘reactions’ to events triggered by the pandemic are logical enough, I suppose, but there is something else sitting out there, lurking (with intent) in the middle of the decade.

Baby boom must lead to a baby bust

It is something demographers have known about for decades. Indeed, there have been books written (by demographers) about its impact. This menace goes by the name of the baby bust. If you accept there was a baby boom in the 1950s then 70 years later the limitations of human life dictate that there will be, there must be, a baby bust.

In a crude sense, the baby bust takes effect when baby boomers press into their 70s and – how shall I put this? – then they die off. But the baby bust is more than this. It will trigger workforce and funding issues that will need to be managed. More baby boomers aged 65 exiting the workforce than 15-year-olds entering the workforce leads to a diminution of workers and, some would say, also of taxpayers.

The number of people entering the so-called ‘retirement age’ of 65+ has ramped up over time. In the 1990s, for example, Australia’s 65-and-over population increased by an average of around 40,000 per year (see graphic). Retirees in this decade were born in the 1920s.

But 30 years later in the 2020s it’s a different story. The number of Australians being added to the 65+ cohort every year will rise during this post-pandemic decade passing 126,000 in 2021, peaking at 137,000 in 2026, before subsiding to 105,000 in 2030. This surge in the retiree population is caused, of course, by the great baby boom of the 1950s.

Impact of surge into retirement towards five million

The transitioning of the baby boom population from working age to retirement stage will ‘play out’ in the post-covid 2020s. The retirement cohort will continue to expand for another five years creating a community culture that is hyper-sensitive to retirement issues.

It could be argued that the social impact of ‘retired Australians’, based on underlying demography, will not begin to subside until later in the decade.

In this context the period 2021-2027 will represent the peak years of the Australian baby-boom retirement surge. Not only is this an issue of the retirement cohort’s collective voice (now close to five million) but this will also translate into an elevation of retirement issues such as concerns about health care and aged care and access to various aged-based financial concessions.

Baby boomers will not age as past generations did

Baby boomers in retirement, peaking in the middle of the 2020s, but extending in progressively fewer numbers into the 2030s and 2040s, will be determined not to age as their parents aged. They are already railing against ageism. Many are remaining in the workforce. Some are re-partnering later in life. Some are choosing to remain single (but not lonely) in life’s later years.

The concept of a large proportion of the population living beyond the age of 65, being dependent upon the goodwill of younger cohorts, and the reliability of governments to uphold the social contract implicit in the idea of ‘ageing with dignity’ are all new to humanity.

What to do with the aged wasn’t a problem for previous generations in history.

It could be argued that the 2020s really is a turning point and not just because of the new world that is likely to emerge from the post-pandemic ashes, but because of the longevity of life for perhaps one-fifth or one-sixth of the Australian population.’

For more articles and blogs about Ageing Democracy, Australian Politics, Demography, Economics, GDP Growth, Government Budgets, Immigration, NOM Net Overseas Migration, Population GrowthPopulist Politics, Statistical Analysis, Superannuation, Taxation and Younger Generations.

Language, Discourse Analysis, PR and Communication in Politics

For the past decades in the Anglosphere of the US, UK and Australia, especially in recent years, we have witnessed changes in policy making, politics, media, delivery channels, campaigning, messaging and language; used to mask deep seated nativism or eugenics and radical right libertarianism catering to both ageing democracy and corporate sector needs.

This has been exemplified by ideological e.g. radical right libertarian think tanks contributing to policy, conservative parties losing membership, subscriptions and capability for policy development; PR techniques being used in media to persuade viewers vs. providing information for analysis or decision making, dispersal of messaging across social media, supported by dog whistling of sociocultural issues (including liberal democracy), Orwellian doublespeak and constant reinforcement of the same messages.

The new and very good independent media outlet in the UK, The ByLine Times, has a recent article observing changes in politics, messaging and communication through discourse analysis tracking populism and nationalism, described by some as fascism.

UR-FASCISM? The Parliamentary Language That Defines the UK

Iain Overton

Iain Overton’s analysis of Hansard reveals a worrying shift of political rhetoric in Britain in the last decade 

How can we trace the political shifts – often gradual and imperceptible – that happen in a State? How can we, caught by the weight of the present, understand how political rhetoric and debate in Britain has changed over time? And how can we track the rise of populism and nationalism in our beleaguered Isle?

It is no easy task. But perhaps the first place to start is an examination of keywords, and the frequency of those words, used in British politics.  It would be interesting to chart the rise and fall of specific, loaded words under the shifting right-wing ideological leadership of the last 10 years, and in particular during a period marked by the threads of Brexit, rising nationalism and populism that have so defined our age….

As someone often asked if I came up with the ‘Overton window’ – a model for understanding how ideas in society change over time, and how politicians generally only pursue policies that are widely accepted throughout society – how political language has shifted in recent years is frequently something I’ve been made aware of. For if the ‘Overton window’ in UK politics shows a shift to the right, what might once have been considered ‘extreme’ can now become merely ‘to the right’ of a centre that has moved across….

Perhaps inspiration to answer that question comes from the late novelist and historian Umberto Eco, a man raised in the thick of Italian fascism and who emerged the other side as a humane and insightful critic of the dangers of populism.

“There was only one Nazism,” he wrote in an article on Ur-Fascism in the New York Review of Books in 1995. But, he observed, “the fascist game can be played in many forms, and the name of the game does not change.” 

The Cult of Tradition 

First, Eco saw ‘Ur-Fascism’ as inherently aligned with the notion of tradition. He noted “one has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers.” So, to what degree has a desire to revisit the past been seen recently in Parliament?  

Since the Tories took power in 2010, perhaps those two quintessential icons of Britishness – Albion and, to a lesser extent, Britannia – have both made a pre-Brexit come-back.

The Rejection of Modernism

The next signifier of ‘Ur-Fascism’ is how the modern is rejected by the far-right. 

“The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason,” Eco wrote, “is seen as the beginning of modern depravity.” And, aside from Michael Gove’s dismissal that “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts”, it seems that – of late – the appetite for reform (the hallmark of modernism) is most noticeable for its declining absence in Parliamentary debate.

The Cult of Action For Action’s Sake

‘Ur-fascism’, Eco noted, is also a dynamic force. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection,” he wrote.  

Since 2010 there has been certainly a drive by the Conservative Party to be the party of ‘doing’. ‘Action’ has become a repeated buzzword since they took office, only dropping off in 2017 before witnessing a pre-Brexit resurgence.

Disagreement is Treason

Apart from Daily Mail headlines denouncing High Court judges as ‘Enemies of the People’, treason has also become an increasing phrase that slips from the mouths of Conservative MPs. 

Eco would have worried about this. As he said: “the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.” Any dissent of traditionalism is, therefore, elevated to the rank of treason, as the rising popularity of the word in the House shows.

Fear of Difference

The next area that concerned Eco was the fear of ‘the Other’. 

“The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement,” Eco wrote, “is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”  It is of little surprise, then, that the word ‘migrant’ has witnessed a steady upward trend in the last decade under Tory rule.

The Obsession with a Plot

Conspiracy – or the idea that they are under attack – is another hallmark of the far-right.  

“At the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one”, wrote Eco. “The followers must feel besieged.” So it was that ‘Project Fear’ helped define much of Conservative conspiracy in recent years.

Contempt for the Weak

Another salient feature of ‘Ur-Fascism’ to Eco was a contempt for the weak.  As he wrote, “elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”

So, whilst ‘scroungers’ and ‘wasters’ are not words commonly used in Parliamentary debate, the increasing use of the word ‘lazy’ and ‘claimants’ speak towards something profound in the political representation of the most vulnerable in society.

Selective Populism

In addition, Eco noted the importance of ‘selective populism’ in Ur-Fascism.  “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism,” he wrote, “in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”

The sharp and consistent rise of the phrase ‘The Will of the People’ then, is almost anticipated given the current government’s embracing of populism in such a selective way….

More worrying, if you look at the frequency of the time that love and hate have been articulated in the House of Commons since 1803, 2016 and 2017 were the only two years where hate outweighed love.’

For more related blogs or articles on ageing democracy, Australian politics, Communication models, Conservative, critical thinking, demography, Libertarian economics, media, nativism, political strategy, populist politics and white nationalism click through.