Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clever advertisement for Chinese market

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This strikes me as a particularly good advertisement by Pantene for the Chinese market. All the better because the message has important implications for thinking throughout Asia. All the better because there is a Chinese element in most East Asian countries. More importantly, these countries have a historical legacy of collectivism, and this advertisement is a repudiation of that value system. So I thank Pantene for creating it. Too many other companies pander to the lowest common denominator. Here is a company which is raising standards. Watch the advertisement!

Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Inquiry into state ownership of Australian enterprises

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I lodged this submission with the Australian Parliament - a little late because I was not watching the debate. I wanted to rebuke some of the statements made by the Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull in the Sydney Morning Herald:
1. In isolation (out of context) I agree with the Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull that its not favourable to have state-owned enterprises own buying stakes in Australian mining companies, but I would make the following points (which provide the ALL IMPORTANT context)
2. An 18% stake is not a controlling stake - its a blocking stake to prevent takeover. Further consolidation of the minerals sector is not in the interests of the mining industry, albeit a wasted effort since there is so much new capacity coming on stream in the commodities that these companies will not control. You might wonder why CEOs like takeovers so much. Its because it helps there careers because they get a huge premature payout, and it artificially increases the stock price from low levels before takeovers.
3. I wonder - if the Opposition Leader is opposed to political parties controlling corporations - why it does not push for the privatisation of state-owned enterprises like Australia Post, the railways (be they state owned), the police. These are all management systems that can be structured as private businesses, just as prisons have been sold in other countries, and detention centres have been contracted here.
4. The Chinese government is reducing its level of state ownership of industry, so in that sense its moving in the right direction towards greater liberty. Its easy for the West to criticise China for its human rights record, but it has changed in a decade more than the West did in 100 years. Part of the context for that is the Information Age, so we should expect China to move quicker, but the other context is, they have moved in that direction despite the mixed ideological (pragmatic) philosophy of the West. My point is that the West does not lead by example. Basically the West suxs as a role model. How can we expect them to act with integrity if we don't.
5. The Chinese government is Communist in name only, like Western governments its really a fascist regime. Why? Well they are corrupt in the sense that they offer personal and institutional abuse of citizens. But that is just like the West, just its rationalised in the West. Democracy is used for all manner of rationalisations, eg. The first home buyers grant of uo to $21,000 adopted by the Liberals, expanded by Labor. That is a fascist policy, no better than price controls. It is government manipulating price signals. Worse because it did it with the intent of overriding market signals.

In the interests of accountability - I'd like to see this submission accepted. Based on previous submissions I have seen no reason to believe that these arguments will make any difference because the real power lies with the arbitrary whim of parliament, as long as the judiciary remains passive in the face of such blatant abuses of process. Those abuses are:
1. The inability of individuals to directly take the government to task (court) over its arbitrary 'democratic' policies. Basically a citizen has to commit a crime in Australia to test the legal system, to challenge the parliament in a forum where reason is the standard, as we know that as long as competition policy is good for companies, but bad for political parties, we are going to get no 'right to life' from government.
2. The unwillingness of the judiciary to ensure that reason is the standard of value. Implicitly this was the intent of the Founding Fathers of the Australian Constitution, in as much as they made reason the standard of value in the court procedures. Not consistently so, but not bad for a pack of Christians over 100 years ago. Sadly the judiciary has remained passive over the last 100 years of arbitrary parliamentary debate. It has no ruled that politicians have a requirement to be rational. In a sense, it is saying the parliament is right because the 'majority' (it thinks 50% of the population) support the party. Well that is of course the mythology of democracy, that it serves anyone. As long as the parliament remains a two-party forum where numbers are more important that facts or ideas, there will be no real accountability.
3. Laws like sedition, which contradict one's rights to free speech remain a huge obstacle to freedom of expression. We of course have a Human Rights Commission, which is a joke because they define what human rights is, and as it turns out its a contradiction in terms. Rights are collectivised (like China), and if there is any intent to personalise then, they are totally arbitrary. They are not grounded in fact (i.e. the nature of humans), such that we have arbitrary assertions of rights, which actually contradict anothers rights. i.e.. the right to education is a claim upon teachers to provide it, the right to welfare is a claim upon others to provide it. That is of course the collectivisation of justice that draws us ever so much closer to China. Why China must love us!
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?