Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Australian manufacturing and productivity

So it's been a while (OK, a couple of years!) since I posted here.

So here goes.  I was surfing the web, as you do, jumping from work mode to "hey - a putt-putt course", when I landed on an Aaron Swartz post - Fix the machine, not the person, which led me to this Wikipedia page, where this jumped out at me;

Team production

On a related note, Drago and Garvey (1997) use Australian survey data to show that when agents are placed on individual pay-for-performance schemes, they are less likely to help their coworkers. This negative effect is particularly important in those jobs that involve strong elements of "team production" (Alchian and Demsetz 1972), where output reflects the contribution of many individuals, and individual contributions cannot be easily identified, and compensation is therefore based largely on the output of the team. In other words, pay-for-performance increases the incentives to free-ride, as there are large positive externalities to the efforts of an individual team member, and low returns to the individual (Holmstrom 1982, McLaughlin 1994).
Bold is my emphasis.

Hmmm, I thought, could this be part of the reason why we currently have here in Australia, what the pollies and "business" are so fond of calling, "poor productivity", when we could be a dynamic economy again, if only "the workers" were "more productive"?

"More productive", for most workers, is employer speak for individual work contracts, unions busted, reduced conditions, reduced entitlements (the age of which we're apparently over now), and lower real wages than your parents enjoyed.

These titans of industry also wail that manufacturing (inherently a team production sphere), just isn't viable in Australia anymore, because of the high dollar, high electricity costs, the Carbon tax, the mining tax, high wages, lack of skilled workers, their poor productivity, blah blah blah, wah wah wah.

Well, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.  (No disrespect intended to our fellow Simians, who've already mastered learning by tablet.)

And funnily enough, by visiting the blog today, and catching up on a few of my favs, it got me to this Peter Martin post about an excellent presentation by journo Tracey Spicer, who stripped down to her underwear to make a point, at a recent TedXSouthBankWomen confab in Brisbane.

Play the video, and wait for the punch line. It relates.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Total Film on Tumblr


Who'da thunk my first true posterous would be from my "Mr DeMille" side?

Posted via email from cassiest's posterous

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Gillard should demand US apology for threats to Assange

When is the Gillard Govt going to get a backbone and carpet the US ambassador, to demand the POTUS apologise publicly to Julian Assange, Australia and its people, for the death threats and calls for "extrajudicial measures" in the US media and by elected officials, that are being directed against a citizen (who has not broken any US law inside or outside of that country, as far as anyone can tell so far), of a country supposedly considered "no better partner and no stronger ally"?

And while Mr President is at it, he can tell everyone stateside including psyops, policy wonks, elected representatives and the media to take.a.cold.shower.

While I was aware of the hysterical hyperbole and public threats, perhaps it should not have been a surprise while watching 4 Corners "The Forgotten Man" on Monday night, to see in an excerpt from Fox TV, a commentator suggesting of Assange ..."illegally shoot the son-of-a-bitch", and another, "you should take this guy out, have the CIA take him out", and a third person interviewed say "that we may have to consider extrajudicial measures in order to detain him and stop him from proceeding". [Full transcript]

What the frak is in their Kool-Aid?!

Don't they have any idea of how they are presenting themselves, and by default, their nation to the rest of world, when they jump on that bandwagon, and make stupid, inflammatory and dangerous remarks like that?

And as a more pleasant aside and a demonstration to all the wingnuts and political wannabes out there, of how it's really done; winner of the evening goes to .... Senator the Hon. Helen Coonan on QandA. Just when you think you have her pegged, she displays true stateswomanship.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Egypt ahead

Didn't we all just burst with joy in solidarity for the Egyptian people when they achieved their aim of removing a US backed dictator of 30 years standing?

And marvelled at how much good will and fraternity was and is being shown by the people.  Men, women and children, secular and faithful, dancing together in the streets in celebration.  And then respect shown for the more than 300 protestors who lost their lives, becoming martyrs to the movement of 25 January 2011, when Egyptians finally had their say.

And then smiled, when the people came back to the streets to clean them up.  What an inspiration!

But I fear for Egypt.  I fear the military will dash the hopes and dreams of the Egyptian people by not ensuring as smooth a (and still ongoing) transition as was seen through the post Suharto era in Indonesia under the leadership of President, B. J. Habibie, in 1998.

And I fear more for Egypt, not from any internal threat, stuff up or constitutional meltdown, but from the usual running interference of the USA, its allies and organisations like the IMF and World Bank.

The Egyptian military may show true leadership and deliver a free and fair election process to their people, and the people of Egypt may elect a socialist government to redress the social inequalities, injustices and outrages perpetrated against them over the last 30 years, by a government which was propped up by the US and its allies, who turned a blind eye to, and even took advantage of the very same injustices for their own clandestine purposes when it suited them.

And if this happens, then just as the USA and its allies could not bring themselves to support a democratically, freely and fairly elected Humas* administration in Palestine in 2006, I fear the USA and its allies, will do the same again in Egypt.

They will deny a freely and fairly elected socialist government in Egypt, not because the election, when it comes, is not free and fair, according to international observers.

They will deny it as a knee jerk reaction to "socialism" and the prospect of a socialist government.

Because when it comes down to it, the USA is not about "freedom and democracy".  It is about what's in it for them.  (Not that that should be a surprise to anyone who's watched international affairs played out by the USA over the last 60 years.)

If the USA were a person, based on their actions and reactions toward other people (nations), they might well be declared a paranoid sociopath with gambling, sex, shopping and violence addictions.

They would be locked up for their own good and other peoples' safety, to undergo treatment, and not be let out again until they showed that they weren't going to wave a gun around and shoot themselves or an innocent bystander, and they showed that they could play nice and share with the other kids in the playground.

So I fear for the Egyptian people.  Because despite their hopes, they may end up continuing to be a pawn in the usual game, either under military rule or yet another dictator who will be anointed as acceptable to the USA and its allies.  It will be back to business as usual.

* I will not get into the debate over terrorist organisation status, corruption or any other argument which seems to be bandied about in regard to Hamas.  The election was declared free and fair, and they were the winners under the constitutional rules the election was held under.  Either it's free and fair and democratic - the people having spoken; in which case, suck it up and let them try to transition to a legitimate govt. without preconditions for recognition, or it's not free and fair democratic - in which case; complain and whinge all you want and try to effect change.

But don't trumpet freedom and democracy, and then deny it when you don't like the outcome, otherwise you might be seen for the raging hypocrites you really are.