Freedom of speech

September 30 2012 – by Annabel Crabb | smh opinion

Brilliant write this 🙂

… Freedom of speech – it’s simple in theory, but endlessly complicated and distorted by a million other factors of politics, circumstance, or the belief that you’re restricting it for the best possible reasons.

In the end, freedom of speech is like democracy: the worst possible system, except for all the others.

Attempts to curb freedom of speech for entirely excellent reasons are the most tempting of all: the shutting down of hate speech, for example, or the protection of society from extremes.

Human nature is to insulate ourselves against nasty shocks. That’s why we invented insurance. But you can’t insure against genuinely irrational human evil, any more than you can against stupidity or malice.

Which is why the bottom line on freedom of speech must always be: sometimes you just have to suck it up.

Read the whole thing here: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/the-worst-possible-option-except…

Annabel Crabb writes for ABC Online’s The Drum. She tweets as @annabelcrabb.

three main myths about banking

Telegraph.co.uk/finance Bank-reform-held-back-by-lobby-group-myths-BoE-member-Robert-Jenkins-claims

He outlined three main myths propagated by the banking lobby. The first was that reform, principally the demand for larger loss-absorbing capital buffers, was a choice “between safety and growth”. “The banking lobby would have us believe that higher capital requirements and lower leverage will damage economic growth and retard the recovery,” he said. “Bankers have exploited this fear.”

Mr Jenkins claimed that the argument was false because more capital would not limit the amount of lending a bank could do, but would make it safer and therefore lowered its funding costs. Banks have claimed the opposite was the case due to their adherence to “return on equity” (RoE) targets, which ignore risk.

The second myth was that unless RoE was high, shareholders would not invest and capital could not be raised. Mr Jenkins dismissed the claim, saying: “The prospective investor is no longer interested in promises of short-term RoE, he is interested in achieving attractive risk-adjusted returns.”

The third myth was that governments cannot afford to over-regulate for the risk of losing financial centres. However, he said: “In a world of increased risk awareness, letting your banks off the capital hook will likely damage not enhance their ability to compete.”

Mr Jenkins also suggested that banks should be subjected to far higher capital and leverage ratios but fewer complicated rules in return.

The fluoro-vest economy

Found this article about Australia’s ‘fluoro-vest economy’ in the smh – and just couldn’t agree more:

It’s boom time in Australia and if you’re in the fluoro-vest economy, you’re so loaded you can commute to your second home in Bali. For the rest of the country, however, it’s getting a tad difficult to just, you know, live. Continue reading “The fluoro-vest economy”

Haphazard urbanisation

I live in allegedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But what is being built down here, outside from the big smoke of the CBD, is in many cases simply appalling. Why is that? What is wrong with the architects in Australia, the builders, designers and the government officials who let those eye-sores pop up on every street corner?!

The need for aesthetics is a default setting in the human psyche. Councils, mayors, decision makers – Do something! Build nicer!! Get rid of those horrible ugly clubs and pubs and community halls.

For a change apply taste, reason and common sense BEFORE the first shovel hits the ground. And maybe you even manage to actually visit the place that you intent to design/restructure/claim to take care of…

Save our sanity guys – build better public spaces!!!


Migration

Migration – the birds do it, we do it.

One day, about a decade ago, I found myself living on a different continent. It just happened somehow. My brains could hardly keep up with the pace things developed around me, and my poor little soul didn’t even try and simply disappeared in a little black box, not to be seen again for quite a while.

Now it’s ok. But the transition was awful. Had I known back then how hard migration and displacement can be to one’s self, I would have approached it with much more caution, and been far more considerate. But then again, I also might have never dared to jump…

So, if any of you out there are thinking about moving around the planet, make sure you take good care of your hearts and minds on the way… as they have great worthiness too, not only your upcoming salary package, or the size of your new house.

Becoming an expat is a one-way-only momentum. There is no coming back from that experience.