catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Consumption will roon the nation

with 80 comments

Terry Barnes has a very scary op-ed in The Age.

According to the Reserve Bank, for the first time Australians now owe more in household debt – on mortgages, credit cards and personal loans – than our entire economy earns in a year. That’s $1.2 trillion of debt, or about $56,000 for every Australian man, woman and child.

And why is this? He rounds up the usual suspects – consumption and a preference for McMansions. He proposes the usual solution – tax. I can never understand how giving more to the government is a good idea and certainly is not the solution to every manufactured societal problem anyone can imagine.

Despite the rosy economic undertones, the data collectively paint a worrying picture of a community of conspicuous consumers, eagerly buying lots of “stuff” on tick that we don’t need or even use, stashing it away in McMansions that gorge energy to heat and cool, and giving the families that live there the carbon footprint of a small African country.

Julie Novak has a great take-down.

The rally call against McMansions, those structures “giving the families that live there the carbon footprint of a small African country,” is a most puzzling aspect of Barnes’ piece given his undoubted appreciation of Menzies paean favouring “homes material, homes human and homes spiritual.”

Housing remains a legitimate choice of asset acquisition for many Australians, with many side-benefits in particular a safe environment to nurture family and rear children. It is also well established that home ownership can play a significant role in alleviating poverty, particularly as home owners transition into older age brackets together with retirement.

It is little wonder, then, that many people aspire to purchase homes of superior quality, and price appreciation potential, over time.

She also picks up on the ‘tax solution’ (emphasis added).

The obvious trouble with the taxing-our-way-out-of-consumption idea is that it provides more ready access to even more revenue for governments, that in turn could either be wasted on inefficient monuments (or Keynesian holes in the ground) or churned back to taxpayers in the form of subsidies – including the infamous first homeowners grant which artificially boosts housing demand thereby raising house prices.

One would’ve thought that such expenditure – typified by the wasteful Rudd stimulus – and the subsequent ratcheting up of public sector debt should have been the obvious target of criticism and not the deliberate, and often careful, spending choices of millions of Australians.

Ultimately Barnes falls into the ‘public debt good, private debt bad’ and ‘public spend good, private spend bad’ fallacy.
Update: Saul Eslake explains the nut and bolts decisions that banks make and comes to the conclusion we won’t be rooned. That’s right; what is annoying is that Barnes’ op-ed appeared on the opinion page and Eslake’s will be hidden away in the Business Day.

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Written by Sinclair Davidson

January 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

80 Responses

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  1. I don’t know anybody who is a conspicuous consumer, who buys stuff they don’t need. I have never met anyone who is a competitive consumer, buying stuff to keep up with the Joneses.

    I do know people who spend their money on things I’m not interested in. I believe this is what these discussions are really about.

    Why aren’t you all like me? Just as Clive Hamilton, Peter Singer and George Monbiot want everyone to be like them.

    Wouldn’t life be hell if we really were all the same?

    Ken Nielsen

    January 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  2. That’s a good point Ken if “I” don’t need “it” noone else does

    tal

    January 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

  3. Someone once said to me “I don’t know why you are buying all those books – there are perfectly good libraries”

    Ken Nielsen

    January 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

  4. Why aren’t you all like me? Just as Clive Hamilton, Peter Singer and George Monbiot want everyone to be like them.
    Wouldn’t life be hell if we really were all the same?

    Perhaps it would be hell if we all the same. But I couldn’t imagine a worse part of Dante’s hell if we were all like Hives and Moonbat. No just God would ever do something like that.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

  5. Clive’s next incarnation will be a shopping trolley at Walmart

    tal

    January 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm

  6. Really, you’ve never met people who buy useless stuff that clearly doesn’t give them much fun?

    I’ve met quite a few. Hoarders abound.

    Most of these people do get a lot of amusement out of some of the things they have, the thing is they just keep buying.

    But the question is why is this so bad? Compared to other afflictions it’s pretty minor.

    Opposition to ‘McMansions’ is just snobbery. It’s more materialistic to want a 600K+ house in the inner suburbs than a 450K larger house further out.

    Pedro X

    January 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  7. Pedro have you reverted to Islam?

    tal

    January 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

  8. Yeah, the McMansions slur is awful.
    The suggestion is that these are people without taste living above their station. The kind of people who eat at McDonalds.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm

  9. Tal – different pedro.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

  10. quite silly stuff from Julie.

    People who buy McMansions have already been alleviated from poverty.

    McMansions have more rooms than are needed more space than needed etc.
    Either the market will change and their housing stock will not increase like other stock or it will move at the same rate or better.
    it will be sorted out.

    Taxing the private home is another thing altogether.

    the ‘Keynesian holes in the ground’ is the last thing to do if there is nothing else when hit with a depression. What is this doing here unless she is parading ignorance.

    Oh dear public debt rose because of substandard economic growth courtesy of the GFC. It would have been greater if her suggestions had been taken up.
    Still cannot count I see.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

  11. Homer:

    The US is now nearing government debt levels that have tipped other countries into hyperinflation.

    Do you advocate they should do more spending as Nobel Laurette Krugman advocates or do have inhibitions about such a risky policy that could end in a hyper-inflationary depression.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

  12. Who are you to say all those rooms aren’t needed Mr Paxton? Do you know these people? Or to put it another way, a $450,000 mcmansion might to them seem a better use of resources than spending $600,000 on a two bedroom terrace closer to the city. The mcmansion means they can still afford to go out to maccas for tea.

    Entropy

    January 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

  13. how are they going to go into hyper-inflation?

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

  14. entropy,

    There are more rooms than people living in the house.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm

  15. Pedro X, tell me where I can get an inner city house for $600K and I’ll be your friend for life

    Rococo Liberal

    January 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

  16. There are more rooms than people living in the house.

    Homer – that’s just silly. Imagine a 4 person family living in a three bedroom house, with a living room, kitchen, dining room, bath room and toilet. Hardly a McMansion but already there are more rooms than people.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

  17. “entropy,

    There are more rooms than people living in the house.”

    !!!

    So a family of four only need a four room house!

    “the ‘Keynesian holes in the ground’ is the last thing to do if there is nothing else when hit with a depression.”

    Jesus Christ. The name alone indicates it is a bad idea.

    WE are in debt because the tax structure provides incentives to incur debt, and because people live longer lives with the expectation of higher earning capacity.

    The sane thing to do is to remove this bias from taxation and cut the rate.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

  18. From both a social and child development point of view, give me raising children in a roomy house in a stable suburb anyday over an equally priced semi in a grubby, cramped, inner city suburb with little community spirit.

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

  19. Mark,

    Try reading the Fitzgerald report from 1990.

    That is Vince. It is a trend that is growing.

    good to see you are up to date as usual

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

  20. Now there is an aspirational target and rule if ever there was one! At least my family gets to have six rooms. Perhaps a better rule would be limiting the number of rooms to the number found in the nearest unoccupied cave.

    Of course the Catholics get to have as many rooms as they want, because the pope and his left hand of darkness CL won’t let them use those little rubber things.

    /homer channeling.

    Entropy

    January 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  21. the market will sort it out As I said.

    given this trend was evident since 1994 Catallaxians need to get out more often

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm

  22. The other unmentioned fact about these suburban houses is that they sacrifice backyard for housing space. That’s OK as suburban kids tend to be involved with lots of community activities, sports, and interest groups.

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

  23. “I don’t know anybody who is a conspicuous consumer, who buys stuff they don’t need”

    Just about everybody – you should see the junk that gets tossed out. And garage sales – they descend like a swarm on a pile of old junk.

    We had one a few years back, it was absolutely pissing down but people ventured out and we sold a lot of stuff. The rest of the stuff we took to the tip.

    rog

    January 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

  24. The big attraction with McMansions is that everything is new and works, no rising damp, sticky windows, ricketty wardrobes and cramped bathrooms. Only the rich can afford to have an inner city house that has all the bells and whistles of a Mcmansion.

    rog

    January 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

  25. And garage sales – they descend like a swarm on a pile of old junk.

    That’s an interesting, Rog. So you bought the junk in the first place but “they descend like a swarm’ when you’re selling the junk after realizing you don’t need it.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  26. “The market will sort it out, more rooms than people is undesireable”

    Is Butters predicting that homes will get smaller?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

  27. Your last point is actually a pretty one. The Mac-mansion Schick only seems to apply to the people with bigger homes in the outer burbs while the rich inner city folk with big homes etc. are pretty much left unscathed in these attacks.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm

  28. “The market will sort it out, more rooms than people is undesireable”

    What a stupid freaking comment. It’s undesirable for you but it may not be for other people.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

  29. What about Julia Gillard’s McToilets, Homer? How come you scoff at private building deriving from debt but hold up precisely that modus operandi for the Federal government?

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  30. …more rooms than people is undesireable.

    A growing number of Australians live alone. Is Homer saying they should limit themselves to an outhouse?

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  31. Because…digging holes to fill holes is “what you do in a liquidity trap” – which Australia DOESN’T BLOODY HAVE!

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm

  32. Most houses in Australia have a spare bedroom, and occupancy rates are pretty low considering the size of houses, so there is a sense in which people have more than what they strictly need.

    The main attraction of the McMansions is, as pointed out above, they’re new, and they’re big. In every other respect, they’re terrible. You’d need heavy doses of mind-altering chemicals to feel ‘community spirit’ in some of these neighbourhoods, as you’d be hard-pressed to find areas with less soul and aesthetic charm. There’s not much point blaming the owners, however, since the inner-city is too expensive, and there aren’t many other options.

    Novak’s points are, as ever, utterly vacuous. Barnes’ original piece was bad enough, and we didn’t need people stooping to idiotic cliches (‘digging holes in the ground’) to rebut it.

    THR

    January 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

  33. THR

    Actually your characterization is born from ignorance and bigotry. Sure, when we are in our 20s – and 30s for many – and permanently up for drinking and clubbing, living close to the city in cramped dingy premises, where we have no idea who are neighbors are, doesn’t matter much. But when we start to tire of that scene – either through boredom or just the ageing process – and want to start a family, then those inner urban dog-boxes and dank semis lose their appeal.

    Who wants to raise a family in houses that were built for the toilet cleaners, street sweepers, and wharfies of 50 to 100 years ago?

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

  34. Who wants to raise a family in houses that were built for the toilet cleaners, street sweepers, and wharfies of 50 to 100 years ago?

    BoBos!

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  35. people stooping to idiotic cliches

    Just wait til Homer finds out you called Lord Keynes an ‘idiotic cliche’. 🙂

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm

  36. What bigotry? I’e lived in the unfashionable outer suburbs before. The community spirit supposed to exist in most outer suburbs is pure fantasy. I can think of inner-city areas that easily have more sense of community than you’re average estate by a freeway somewhere. Many will become the ghettoes of the future. They have no amenities, no infrastructure, no jobs, no soul, and no signs of any hope in the future.

    To repeat, the alternatives simply aren’t there for most Australians, unless they move to a rural area. Housing is too expensive, and it’s useless to moralise over McMansions. All the same, Melbourne and Sydney are rapidly becoming gridlocked, sprawling urban wastelands.

    THR

    January 13, 2010 at 5:09 pm

  37. CL

    I recently went to some old friends’ recently purchased terrace house in Sydney’s Paddington. They have 2 kids. He is an investment banker and they are very well off. The terrace cost $1.5 million. Despite all the interior design touches, all I could think was “student house”.

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm

  38. THR:

    What do you mean by community spirit? Define it.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  39. It’s a bit vague, jc. I mean it in the sense of people knowing their neighbours, their local shops and amenities, participating at local community centres and libraries, and generally looking out for one another.

    THR

    January 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

  40. THR;

    You do realize that the “leafy” burbs of Melbourne, such as Malvern, Camberwell, Brighton and dare I say Toorak were once outer burbs.

    The only community spirit you ever see in those places is NIMBY’s SOS (save our suburbs) which are a bunch middle aged miserable women trying to stop a new development happening a few ks away from them.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

  41. I wasn’t thinking of those areas, jc. One wouldn’t look for ‘spirit’ of any sort in the Tory heartland.

    THR

    January 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

  42. …people knowing their neighbours, their local shops and amenities, participating at local community centres and libraries, and generally looking out for one another.

    And, in the case of Melbourne, glassing Indians.

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  43. I agree with THR.

    I grew up in the suburbs and continued to live there through uni until I finished my studies and got a job and then moved closer and closer to the city until I was smack bang in the middle of it. I hated it.

    Firstly as THR points out, there is no way of getting to any amenities besides cars. Public transport is terrible. You feel stranded. There is nowhere to go to but the supermarket. You can’t socialise after a certain time unless you arrange to crash at someone’s place.

    And I know some people here like the car culture but I utterly detest cars. I even hate being a passenger in a car while stuck in traffic or while the driver is trying to find a park. I’m too impatient for that crap, I just want to get out and walk.

    Living virtually in the city I’m happy to walk where I can, even if it’s a half hour walk or more.

    And no Peter I’m no party animal and not particularly fond of noisy clubs (I like to be in a bar where I can hear someone talk). I do have friends who live in the vicinity of where I am and occasionally arrange to see them for drinks and a nice meal.

    But it’s the convenience and utter freedom of being able to step out any time of the day and not have to plonk your arse onto another seat and be trapped in it while driving, being stuck in traffic and then trying to find a park, and have bookshops, cafes, cineams, and all manner of entertainments and conveniences within walking distance.

    So yes I am willing to pay a premium to live closer to the city and in a smaller place and with no backyard which suits me fine anyway because everytime I go back to the suburbs to visit family I get continuous freaking hay fever (that’s the other thing about living in the big smoke, no more sinus problems like I used to have).

    jtfsoon

    January 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

  44. Interestingly, a couple of the attacks in Melbourne have happened in areas that are thoroughly gentrified.

    THR

    January 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  45. THR:

    Why the fuck do you want anything to do with your neighbors?

    All we seem to end up with is depressed, single, middle aged males terrorizing entire streets, with some pulling out other people’s irrigation systems and abusing people Bird like in the street.I’ve seen it all too often.

    Neighbors are best left alone and with minimum interaction as you may end up dealing with a version of Bird.

    I actually think you have this backwards. People, normal people prefer to leave each other alone and demonstrate the understand the right to privacy.

    jc

    January 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm

  46. JC

    It’s Peter who goes on and on about neighbours. I agree. Anyway instead of neighbours I prefer to be able to socialise with friends conveniently, which I can because they live nearby, sometimes within walking distance. Neighbours are arbitrary, friends are chosen.

    jtfsoon

    January 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

  47. “So you bought the junk in the first place ..”

    No I didnt JC, it was a deceased estate.

    Stupidity >100%

    rog

    January 13, 2010 at 5:31 pm

  48. I don’t know what McMansions have to do with anything but Australians are living on credit and that’s a problem. If China has a stumble and it’s gonna sometime we’re fucked.

    Adrien

    January 13, 2010 at 5:31 pm

  49. “Why the fuck do you want anything to do with your neighbors?”

    Says neighbour.from.hell JC

    rog

    January 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm

  50. “And I know some people here like the car culture but I utterly detest cars.”

    I am tired of these racial stereotypes about Asians and driving.

    Infidel Tiger

    January 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm

  51. Anyway I don’t know why Peter persists in dissing other peoples’ living choices. Not everyone of us inner city folk want to ban McMansions.

    If people pay for the full cost of their lifestyle choices that’s their business. I’m happy for other people to have 50 rooms and a hay fever sufferer’s nightmare.

    jtfsoon

    January 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm

  52. jtfsoon

    No need to sell me the advantages of inner city living. I have done so in Sydney, New York, Boston, London, and Paris. I get the impression you are young, single, and live alone. Of course, the suburbs are not for you. But would you really want to live where you are married and raising children?

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm

  53. Yeah, if you’re in associations and clubs, you culturally interact with non-friends/family in that manner. Why pretend you’re a universally affable muppet on Sesame Street just because you live in the inner city? The inner-city vibe has always struck me as fundamentally narcissistic in many ways. It’s the “Bohemian like you” syndrome. They’re the bizarro world version of gentrified Tories in the sense that they frown on squares, all believe the same things, all vote for the same people, prefer the same clothes, music etc.

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

  54. Peter
    Believe it or not there are married people with children who live in the inner city.

    The answer is yes, why not? You can live close to some good schools and facilities, and convenient spots for exercise. I might not necessarily want to be in the same place I am now, perhaps a compromise, closer to Bondi Junction.

    jtfsoon

    January 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm

  55. I’m talking about the student-y inner-city of my 20s and 30s. Sounds like Jason has altogether more civilised digs. Peter’s point about marriage is sound, though. I think there are a lot of people in Australia now who rule out marriage and children because they know they’d have to move out to unglamorous Everymansville.

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 5:40 pm

  56. I’ll say for one set of neighbours I had in the outer ‘burbs that when my placed was being burgled, they actually came out and chased the guy, and called the cops. That’s about the level of neighbourly friendliness that I’d like to see. In other respects, there was nothing to do there, except go to one or two bars of questionable safety, and bong on with the locals on the couch of a fellow named Darrell.

    But Adrien has the key point here – private debt.

    THR

    January 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

  57. Is Bondi Junction suburbia or hipster inner city because now that I think of it, it would be a great place to settle and raise children while still having the conveniences of inner city living.

    jtfsoon

    January 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  58. Wouldn’t we all? I’d love to raise my kids in Coogee. If only I had a lazy $2 million.

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  59. You do sacrifice living space with an inner city drum, but the access to prostitutes and heroin more than makes up for it.

    Infidel Tiger

    January 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm

  60. Bondi is suburbia.

    Infidel Tiger

    January 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm

  61. My experience with suburbia is coloured by my experience of it being the Western suburbs where you do get the problems that THR refers to.

    The Eastern suburbs aren’t too bad but is expensive (Coogee would be too far out though), the northern suburbs ditto but they are just as expensive and more boring unless you’re into all that nature stuff.

    jtfsoon

    January 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  62. Well I’m in the fortunate position where I can live by the beach, and have public transport virtually outside the front door.

    I spent some years living in inner-Sydney but there is just no way that I’d do it again – too many cars, too crowded, and too much crumbling infrastructure. And it’s an impossible place to raise kids.

    BirdLab

    January 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  63. You need to know your neighbours so you can borrow a cup of sugar

    tal

    January 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm

  64. The residential sector in Bondi Junction is very ugly. Woollahra and Randwick are much better. I enjoyed living in Darlingurst, Surry Hills, and Potts Point in my 20s, but nowadays I find the amenities of inner Sydney not very exciting.

    I’d be tempted back to the inner city if I lived in NYC (though I’d be less inclined to raise kids there compared to Westchester and Scarsdale), London, Paris, etc. But Sydney is nothing like those cities. As Infidel Tiger noted, drugs, prostitutes, night clubs, and single bars aren’t really my scene these days.

    One worthwhile compromise of moving to the burbs is the substantial financial saving, which can be spent on compensations such as holidays overseas and a weekender at the beach. This will be especially important when kids are older.

    And at least in the northern and north-western suburbs of Sydney you have access to the best schools in Australia. It really is one of the few parts of Australia where you feel comfortable putting your kids through state schools, thus saving an absolute fortune in school fees.

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm

  65. Typical bloody Sydney party – always ends up talking about real estate.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

  66. Come the climate change/unexpected asteroid/ generic breakdown of society apocalypse, us suburban dwellers will at least have a little plot of land on which to raise chickens, vegetables and generally defend ourselves from the starving hordes. The inner city dwellers will be in trouble when the lifts and water to their unit stop working.

    I like to think ahead…

    steve from brisbane

    January 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

  67. “us suburban dwellers will at least have a little plot of land on which to raise chickens, vegetables and generally defend ourselves from the starving hordes”

    Used to be a common sound to hear chooks in suburbia, unfortunately the Nazis that infest local councils have put a stop to that.

    Infidel Tiger

    January 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm

  68. Yes, and you’ll also have room to build a bomb-shelter first, Steve. At the very least it will protect you from the inevitable post-apocalyptic zombie-plague.

    BirdLab

    January 13, 2010 at 6:21 pm

  69. Actually, there was an special article in Newsweek recently on the “preppers” (which is the new, gentler term for survivalists):
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/228428

    steve from brisbane

    January 13, 2010 at 6:33 pm

  70. Not to mention the Howard government taking away our guns, so we won’t be able ‘to defend ourselves from the starving hordes.’

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm

  71. Survivalists have a lot in common with warmenists, ironically enough.

    C.L.

    January 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

  72. They’re the bizarro world version of gentrified Tories in the sense that they frown on squares, all believe the same things, all vote for the same people, prefer the same clothes, music etc.
    .
    Which inner city stereotypes are you referring to CL. The gangsters? The rock n roll crowd? The students? The immigrants? The promoters? The hi finance yuppies? The academics? There’s a lot of different types in the inner city dude. That’s one of the pleasures of living in it.
    .
    What gets me about Boltaburbians is they’re always crapping on about this Balmain stereotype as if everyone in the inner city defines themselves entirely by their hatred for suburbanites. Yet no-one here talks about the Burbs. They don’t exist.
    .
    On the other hand…

    Adrien

    January 13, 2010 at 6:45 pm

  73. Intersting piece Steve. Nothing wrong with people wanting to grow their own food. But I don’t understand why there’s not a single mention of pyramids in that article. Do these people understand nothing?

    OTOH I suppose you could do a lot worse than this:

    http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/16730

    But only it had its’ own Atlas strategic nuclear missile.

    BirdLab

    January 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm

  74. Those filthy hippies in the old silo were on Fry’s show about America. They actually made it into quite a liveable home, minus their singing etc.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 13, 2010 at 7:12 pm

  75. Yeah, I saw that SRL. Got knows what manner of evil poisons they sucked into their bodies while renovating the place.

    I don’t know how anybody could live in a hole in the ground.

    BirdLab

    January 13, 2010 at 7:16 pm

  76. There’s a great response to this in today’s Age

    Sleetmute

    January 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm

  77. Oops, sorry, already mentioned in the Update.

    Sleetmute

    January 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm

  78. What gets me about Boltaburbians is they’re always crapping on about this Balmain stereotype as if everyone in the inner city defines themselves entirely by their hatred for suburbanites. Yet no-one here talks about the Burbs. They don’t exist.
    .
    I’ve lived in Balmain so I know of what I speak. In fact, Balmain’s probably not a fair suburb to pick on as Balmainites are a good bunch overall.
    However, there’s a lot of class prejudice in Sydney, especially directed towards the Western suburbs. You might not agree, but that’s my take.
    As just one illustration, it’s amazing how much interest people take in where you live in Sydney. more so than other places, in my experience, much more. You get asked all the time. They really, really want to know.

    daddy dave

    January 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

  79. I thought this blog might have something to do with Austrian economics. Apparently not. Doesn’t anyone else think Eslake’s comments in his article are ludicrous? The ‘value’ of housing is just a function of ho much has been lent against it in a credit mania, like our bubble. Crash alert.

    cj

    January 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  80. cj – you’re being too cryptic. Eslake is explaining the process whereby banks make loans. Bearing in mind here has been no bank crash in Australia.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm


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