Archive for October, 2008

29
Oct
08

Embedding regionalisation in the Statehood constitution

At the Full Council meeting on 28th October the following motion was passed unanimously:

That Council prepare a discussion paper for Statehood.

That the discussion paper examine, amongst other possibilities, recognition of Local Government including its powers and responsibilities and an equitable formula for the distribution of funds to be embedded in the constitution that evokes Statehood.

That this paper, if necessary, utilise funding allocated in this years budget for further analysis of population figures and mobility with a view of ascertaining an accurate formula.

That this paper consider the unique position of regions within the Territory.

That Council give impetus to the Mayor to consult with Local Government across the Territory,
particularly the regions, with a view of seeking support for the principles embodied in the paper.

Moved: John Rawnsley
Seconded: Jane Clark

This motion calls on Council to actively contribute to the direction of Statehood by promoting the
principle of regionalisation. The aim is to embed this interest in the document that evokes
Statehood.

Regionalisation holds two aspects.

More over the fold.

Continue reading ‘Embedding regionalisation in the Statehood constitution’

15
Oct
08

A flat out special purpose vehicle

As a person with a general interest in economics but not a detailed understanding of its complexity and depth I was interested to observe the Tony Jones interview of economist WIll Hutton, located here.

An excerpt:

TONY JONES: Yes, well, you’ve written the most complete account that I’ve seen of how it went bust in the first place; how this credit derivative market developed and why so many financial managers put their trust in us. Tell us how it all started.

WILL HUTTON: Well, how long have you got? I think everyone watching will probably understand the idea of a bond, you know, you issue a bond, a company or Government issues a bond and you make 1,000 pounds in profits and you’ll pay a small fraction of those profits to servicing the bond.

Fine, we all understand that. It’s a very established principle. Securitisation did something different.

It said okay, let’s take part of your profit stream, it could be interest from payments on a port facility you own, it could be a football stadium, it could be some mortgage payments you’re receiving from some tenants.

Let’s take all those and let’s hypothecate them, to what was called in the jargon a special purpose vehicle, and then let’s flog it to investors all around the world.

And to give them some guarantee that this very risky piece of paper is worth the paper it’s written on, let’s take out an insurance contract called a credit default.

But it was more than a credit default, it was called a credit default swap because you would swap the insurance policy to another buyer if you chose.

Now what makes this so interesting is that if for any reason any of those mortgage payments don’t come in like you’re expecting; if the traffic in the port facility goes down a bit, if the revenues from that football stadium just contract a bit, suddenly, wow, there’s less money coming in to pay the interest on that bond.

And you start to … and the value of it starts to fall, and then you want to collect on the insurance policy but you’ve swapped the insurance policy to somebody else and they may in turn have swapped it to somebody else and somebody else and somebody else.

So nobody in the system knows what the value of these securities actually are really, where the losses are going to pop up and suddenly, over the last two, three, four weeks, the entire world system has just frozen in fear.

And people only … and banks will lend to each other just for the night or they’ll borrow from a Central Bank.

And you can’t lend working capital to a business or a 25-year mortgage if you, the bank, are just borrowing off the Central Bank or borrowing off another bank overnight you just can’t do it.
So credit has just stopped in its tracks and if something hadn’t happened, we would have confronted a worldwide meltdown, a worldwide depression.

An overview of media reports of economists suggests somewhere between a mild recession to a deep recession in the United States with permeating effects throughout the world.  Australia appears much safer to cope with this than many other countries.  Consistency across media does not always produce an accurate result.  The complexity of the issue, the lack of information and the lack of oversight and regulation is concerning.

10
Oct
08

The Kumon method

My son has been attending the local Kumon centre for some months now.  It costs us $200Aus per month, money worth its value.  With our children we’ve always considered additional teaching materials over and above schooling and Kumon provides that opening. 

The Kumon method is proven.  Key facets are repetition and consistency.  Each day he receives a booklet, maths and english.  He is challenged to finish each within ten minutes and with near 100% accuracy.  At five years old, and with many months of daily practice, he is at a level where he can complete each booklet by himself.  Each page is at a level that he is comfortable with – kumon aims to provide material at an individual level free from the competitive edge of peers.  The challenge is gradual, a new word or number sequence here and there.  Most of the time he is repeating answers he has already learned and by doing so builds confidence. 

The best part for me is that it is structured.  Goals are set daily.  If I consider a learning method where I demand results and if I over-impose this method without positive engagement then the ultimate result is failure, because ultimately he disengages.  Because Kumon is repetitious and within the scope of my childs capabilities it automatically attracts his will to achieve.  The Kumon method allows my son to take ownership not only in the results, but also progress.

Continue reading ‘The Kumon method’

04
Oct
08

The IK economy, trust, and integrating institutions designed for community safety

The 7:30 report conveyed a story (found here) about incorporating traditional methods of dispute resolution for the purpose of mediating a dispute between residents of a community and Police.  I participated in a similiar program some years back (designed for leadership/youth purposes) and was struck by its potential.  It led me to consider the importance of the IK economy and the nature of social capital.

It appears that the program reported in the story has been successful in building the stocks of trust between residents and the Police force.  More research/analysis would be needed to prove this point, but there is little doubt that this particular program was an option leading to this aim in circumstances where alternative options are limited.

More over the fold.

Continue reading ‘The IK economy, trust, and integrating institutions designed for community safety’




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