A Matter of Numbers: What is Joyce thinking?

Peter Costello has made a very good point today (as per usual). Ron Boswell and Barnaby Joyce (two of the Queensland Nationals Senators) do not hold the balance of power. They do not control the outcomes in the Senate.

All of the 38 Coalitions Senators do! Barnaby Joyce somehow thinks that because he was one of the last Senators to reach quota, he holds the balance of power? Dear me.

The fact is, the numbers elected, whether elected forst or last, are all equal. They have equal power over the vote, equal power over outcomes in the Senate and equal weighting.

Just because one Senator happened to be the last one in the door doesn’t mean his mandate is greater than any other. If Barnaby Joyce thinks he has a special privilege or say in the outcome of Senate voting, he is a goose. Remember, this is from a state whose population is against daylight savings because they think it “fades the curtains”. I kid you not. This stupidity has even been debated in NSW Parliament, because not only Queenslanders believe it fades the curtains but, seemingly, many people from country New South Wales do as well.

When will the Queensland branches of the Coalition actually preselect intelligent candidates? There is something unique about the politicians they preselect; Barnaby Joyce is proving to be no different.

Shock and Awe – John Peel OBE 1939-2004

Legendary figure of the worldwide music industry, Mr John Peel OBE has died suddenly while on holidays on South America.

John Peel has been a superstar radio DJ, having broken literally hundreds of bands in his time on radio over forty years. Starting off in the sixties on pirate radio moored in tug boats off the coast of South East England, he was one of the original DJs on BBC’s Radio One when it commenced broadcasting in 1967.

Even to this day, he has pioneered musical genres often promoting acts and style which his contemporaries said would never catch on: punk, new romantic, indie, 1990s Britpop, dance, drum ‘n’ bass and techno. He often introduced musical styles which were outside the mainstream until he dragged them into the spotlight.

Stars of the music industry, past and present, have offered their tributes to the man who more than any other, actually took a punt and decided who and what he would play, and changed the face of world culture possibly more than any other individual broadcaster. He understood and loved music, and more importantly he got it! In the modern days of music directors and highly regimented and conservative playlists, he stood alone: his patronage of young bands, his passion and understanding for music, the famous “Peel Sessions” where unknown (for the moment) bands got a chance to play live for an hour on radio, the passion and the expression.

A sad, sad day for music. John Peel you will be missed.

Epilogue: John Peel was halfway through writing his autobiography. That we will never read his experiences from his perspective is something that is particularly galling.

A New Medium?

Robbie Williams released his Greatest Hits album on Monday, which was released on a multimedia card (MMC) format for the first time.

Is it the time to get excited?

Well I’m not entirely convinced. The point is that MMCs can be put into Palm PDAs, phones and a lot of other portable devices. But then again, all EMI have done is sold an MMC and the encoded album on it with a couple of extras.

New media or same stuff, different day?

So why not actually just sell a downloadable version of the album with all of the bits and pieces on it, lower the barriers to pricing by not having to sell people the actual card and sell more? The thing is, if you make people buy a card AND the album then it makes it very difficult for people to purchase it without having a very involved decision – it more expensive than buying the copyright in isolation.

On the other hand if you allow people the ability to buy the album online and download it into their iPod and their mobile or their MMC or their MemoryStick then it can be cheaper and more flexible. MMC is also not used in a majority of products anyway? Why did they choose MMC over any other format? Why go exclusively to MMC?

They may well be doing this already, I don’t know. If it is one thing that is good, it is that in the UK, the album will find a new, huge retail chain (Carphone Warehouse) who are selling music where previously they weren’t. That’s a positive.

A thought about the modular economy

I had a thought about the “modular economy”. Look at the entertainment industry, where large groups of totally outsourced skills come together to work on a project – no permanent infrastructure, largely modular, with almost granular participants – single people coming together on massive projects.

This sort of “network economy” or “modular economy” has been going on since the beginning of the film and music industries. The question being, how did other people in those industries actually find out who did the good work? The simple answer, CREDITS.

At the end of every film, on the liner notes of every CD, you see the names of the people who put it together, mainly so that they can get jobs as a result of their good work on that project.

So – what of the future? The current trend in outsourcing is that many companies are adopting this “network economy” framework. Some things, such as web design, are clearly credited on many company websites. But what of integrated back end outsourcing in industries such as call centres, logistics, payroll management and royalties?

We may well see an entire movement towards orgnisations decoupling their businesses into discrete units. Might we see a complete disaggregation of skill sets, following Michael E Porter’s “Value Chain” – where organisations adopt a mix of people, process and platforms (digital tools) to outsource vast swathes of their functions beyond the obvious ones.

What of builders? We often see signs on building sites which relate to the plumbers, electricians and tilers. What of permanent credits? Are we going to see the names of workers etched into concrete (literally)?

The irony of outsourcing (although a great thing), is that while it costs less to have a firm who does nothing but one task handling that task on behalf of your business, the thing is it could result in those firms having to adopt marketing and administration infrastructures just to get follow up business, thus lift the costs…

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor get EVEN RICHER!

Shout it from the rooftops.

The rich are getting richer in Australia – but the poor are getting richer quicker!

According to this report, average income in the bottom 20 per cent of earners rose 18.5 per cent from 1997 to 2004, compared with a rise of 17.5 per cent for median income families.

So what does this mean? Simply that globalisation, outsourcing, free trade, labour market flexibility, tax reform, competition policy and all of the multiple developments in the Australian and international economy ARE RELATIVELY BETTER FOR THE POOREST PEOPLE IN THE ECONOMY!

So why is it that socialists whinge and moan about the “injustices of globalisation” and “fair trade not free trade”? Because they have no understanding of the realities of economics.  Only the hype of capitalism-hate.

What a fantastic result. To freedom!