Opinion: Are warnings about minimum wages Dickensian​?

Opinion: Are warnings about minimum wages Dickensian​?

By Roger Kerr, NZ Business Roundtable executive director

Responding to a recent article of mine on minimum wages (June 3, 2011 in the Otago Daily Times), a correspondent wrote, “Reading Roger Kerr’s position on the minimum wage I am left wondering if he is a real person or a character from a Dickens novel.”

My article warned of the dangers of legislating for minimum wages above market rates, and discussed the devastating effects of the abolition of youth

I decided to regard the feedback as a challenge: how does one get across the potentially harmful effects of minimum wages to those who see them as self-evidently beneficial?

Let’s start with Dickens. He was no anti-capitalist or advocate of minimum wages to alleviate 19th century British poverty.

Britain had no minimum wage for more than 100 years after Dickens’ time. British union officials did not support minimum wages, recognising that they caused a loss of jobs amongst workers on the lowest pay rung and reduced union membership.

Some of the history of minimum wage laws has been truly heinous. One episode in the United States is described by African-American economist Walter Williams. In 1909, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen called a strike against the Georgia Railroad. They called for the complete elimination of blacks from the employment rolls.

Instead the arbitration boards decided that black firemen, hostlers, and hostlers’ helpers should be paid wages equal to the wages of white men doing the same job. The white unionists were delighted with the decision; they said, “If this course of action is followed by the company and the incentive for employing the Negro thus removed, the strike will not have been in vain.”

South Africa under apartheid made the most widespread use of minimum wage legislation. The Wage Act of 1925, by applying the ‘standard rate’ to spheres of employment where no labour unions existed, sought to help the poor whites by restricting non-white competition. The Act’s wording was rich in humbug about non-discrimination, and its sponsors claimed to be protecting the ‘higher civilisation’, as well as preventing ‘sweating’ and encouraging efficiency through higher earnings. The effect of course was to deny jobs to many black workers.

An equally shocking episode was the Australian Northern Territory Cattle Industry Case in 1965-66. The Northern Australian Workers’ Union sought to have aboriginal station workers paid the same as white workers. Many witnesses warned that if equal pay were suddenly awarded to Aborigines, most of whom were illiterate and semi-tribal, the pastoralists would replace Aborigines with whites.

The presiding judge Kirby who decided in favour of equal pay told his biographer that the case would “be seen as the greatest contribution he and other members of the Commission made to Australian society.” Yet the result was a disaster for affected aboriginal communities, involving massive job losses and, for many, a life on welfare payments and alcohol.

The US Minimum Wage Study Commission found that the 46% rise in the minimum wage between 1977 and 1981 destroyed 644,000 jobs among teenagers alone. It concluded: “The evidence is now in, and the findings of dozens of major economic studies show that the damage done by the minimum wage has been far more severe than even the critics … predicted.”

In economics as in any science there can be contradictory studies, and a handful have not supported the consensus on minimum wage laws. But the consensus is very broad: wages set above market rates disadvantage the groups they aim to help, such as young people, women, ethnic groups and the disabled.

The outcomes take the form not only of employment losses but also less favourable working conditions and fringe benefits, less on-the-job training, greater difficulties for firms and regions already struggling and political pressure for ineffective make-work schemes.

Employers cannot pay workers more than their productivity – their value to the firm – warrants, or they will lose money. Those who find it hard to envisage a world without statutory wage floors might note that a number of countries do not have them. They include Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany (apart from a few occupations). We hardly think of working conditions in these countries as Dickensian.

Other countries are cautious about where they set minimum wages. The federal minimum wage in the United States is US$7.50/hour (or about $9.90 at the average exchange rate for the last 12 months), well below New Zealand’s rate of $13/hour (which the Labour Party proposes to raise to $15/hour).

Tragically, New Zealand is yet another case study of the folly of setting minimum wages at excessive levels. With the abolition of youth minimum rates, 45% of New Zealand’s total unemployed are now young people, the highest proportion of any country in the OECD.

I can understand why a young expatriate New Zealander recently gave a speech, No Country for Young Men (or women).


Roger Kerr is the executive director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable.  www.nzbr.org.nz

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Kerr - just another classical.

 Looking into current developments on many fronts – the world will never recover again, simply because among the powerful in societies ethic and moral requirements and standards don’t prevail.

Kunst - I think you could give that a bone now - unless thats all you know ?

 No –goNZ the sentence need to be repeated again and again. So, your daily, greedy capitalistic stuff (propaganda) get a little bit a hiding. Open your eyes !

Ah capitalistic nope!

Corporatist yes! Socialist yes! Fascist yes! But theres stuff all capitalism apart from the risk bit you and I take on! Tax payer bail outs and mates that are to bug to fail inform us of this fact!.

China is fully in fascist mode, communism - well central planning with out some sort of market just dosn't cut it, ya need a few Oscar Schindlers milling around to balance out the market.

One the whole I agree with you Kunst.

What else happened in 2008, Rodgie?

Oh, that's right. Your house of cards fell over.

Fiat finance, meet peak energy. Peak energy, meet Fiat finance. You can tell which is which - fiat finance is the one with it's pants down around it's ankles, smelling a bit woofy.

The growth thing is all over. Which begs the question - do you really believe your Simonesque bull, or is it just spin on behalf of those who would get ahead of others, well aware that what they tout is cobblers?

You're right about one thing, though: incomes are on the way down from here on in. Not just for the youngies, though, and not just here.

good points Mr Kerr but I think there are additional factors to this sad situation  - as the job market tightened with the GFC older workers didnt retire as early so created less vacancies for new entrants,too many kids coming out of Uni with unmarketable quals eg BA in German Political Science,and little encouragement for school leavers to learn a trade. I dont think $9.90 per hour is viable really

 As we all currently experiencing, the world is suffering under the big cloud of greed, with the potential of the collapse of many societies. To me what should be under the microscope is how we can stop inequality.

R. Kerr - e.g.-  in many businesses a cap on maximum wages would make talks about minimum wages unnecessary.

Employers cannot pay workers more than their productivity – their value to the firm – warrants, or they will lose money. AA It is ignorant to think a firm pays it's employees anywhere near their productivity, firms make profit by paying employess far less then the value of their productivity which is how they make a profit.

I Agree set a maximum wage. 

Do you guys remember how it used to be?

There were two ways to go: one was be an employee, where you turned up five days and got paid every week (or whatever) but were limited to how much you could earn no matter how much effort you put in, although the upside was most things were done for you, like payroll, tax, all the rest, and you had minimal paperwork.

The other way was to go into business, where potentially you could earn as much as you wanted so long as you put in the hard yards, but you had all the admin stuff to deal with. IRD, ACC, etc.

Now it's hard to tell the two ways apart. My last salaried positionat an SOE involved so much paper work and data entry, including doing my own payroll stuff and all the rest, that I decided to pull the pin and go out on my own. The amount of administrative guff hasn't increased much at all, and some aspects have even decresed, while I generally earn more than I did as an employee.

But I must admit that I'm eyeing up opportunities overseas. NZ offers so little to anyone other than the richlisters that it's hard not to think about trying your luck elsewhere.

I think Mr Kerr has a good point, I have a small vineyard and the cost of Labour is high, partly because the price of wine is so low and partly because of a range of taxes that bring the costs in the winery  to over $7 a bottle before paying the grower or taking a profit, Taxes are a big chunk of these costs along with regulatory expenses.

 I know that  Vineyard work is low skilled and often min wage but are we fitting many of our youth out with little education and only suitable for low paid manual labour. Its all very well saying we need to go Hi-tech and up skill but if %30+ of school students leave with no qualifications and many of those with poor reading skills, where do they fit into that scheme?

  I heard yesterday from a grape rep, that Montana are not pruning 500 acres in Hawkes Bay, thats bad news it means they are going to give up and rip em out. You either prune grapes or you pull, not much in between. Thats alot of jobs at 4 ton an acre its a lot of wine. Montana will probably leave NZ, we are not competitive at low cost enterprise like horticulture, not only because the wages are too high but because the costs are too high. Look who we compete with, the likes of Chile at $20 a day US, and they work hard and are reliable.

  As long as we continue to turn out the % we do, of low skilled workers from our schools we will need low skilled jobs, if not we will get social unrest and welfare dependence on an un-supportable scale. So Im afaid we need this goverment ot slim down and cut costs to growers and employers in the low skilled market the alternative is going to be what happens if we continue as we are and thats going to encourage more young overseas as they realise the scale of the problem and loose hope.  Dreaming of some utopin solution where we all end up as bankers, real estate agents and the rest in tourism and pouring lattes isnt going to cut it.

Why as a small nation do we care about making cheap wine? Montana leaves? is it that bad?   Why are we not making small quantities of the highest quality and selling it at a high margin?



Because it creates jobs and earns foreign exchange. Only high class boutique wines, means smaller and fewer vineyards, meaning fewer jobs and less foreign exchange income. Surely if a society decrees that the vast majority of the population must pay rent, surely the onus is on the society to provide the means to do so (jobs)? 

Already our corporate leaders has seen fit to shift the vast majority of our productive capacity offshore to China and other low cost countries, making it hard enough already for people to find jobs without people calling for the shrinking of an industry that provides entry level jobs for New Zealanders who are already faced with severe competition from backpackers and migrant workers who are willing to accept horrible working conditions and treatment from growers and contractors. I've heard stories of migrant workers being forced to sleep in houses owned by growers or contractors and being squashed ten to a room, each paying $100 a week in rent. 

"The US Minimum Wage Study Commission found that the 46% rise in the minimum wage between 1977 and 1981 destroyed 644,000 jobs among teenagers alone. It concluded: “The evidence is now in, and the findings of dozens of major economic studies show that the damage done by the minimum wage has been far more severe than even the critics … predicted.”

Is this because young adults started to do work that hitherto was considered only sustainable for teanagers not paying rents or food bills? Could we try comparing apples with apples and not teenagers with men!

And respectfully, correlation does not infer causation. There are planty of other extraneous variables that would have contributed to many of the trends you discuss Mr Kerr

Get ye to the poor house I say, seeing how the other half live will do you some good.

Poor quality examples Roger, Australian Aboriginies and South African Blacks with vastly inferior education compared to the europeans they're competing with? How does that compare to New Zealand?

Fortunately our school systems produce fairly well educated young people, whos' only difference between their older counterparts is a lack of experience. And generally you will find youth is a problem solved by time.

Crank that minimum wage up! Surely all that "growth" our country has been experiencing since the 70's should entitle our population to increased wages?

If you are are a producer in NZ, something has changed, industries like the apples were very profitable, no more. If you wish to keep going the way we are then all the jobs that are dependent on exports and have competition in the market will go. Im talking apples, grapes and the like. We import labour from the Islands which helps and judging by the number of filipinoes in the Dairy industry, they must have some advantage over locals as well. Being a low wage economy comes with its problems, what one starts with helps. Having local workers turn up only to go on ACC and blame the job, not do the job, damage vines, have a bad attitude and then turn up the next night to rob you wears off after a bit.

 Ive seen workers stuggle to fill out the employment forms, writing and reading skill is low in many. 

Perhaps that something thats changed is the price of land - the cost of the land component in these horticultural/vineyard businesses. Somehow I think the long term players will be okay, those that have bought in during the boom will likely suffer. Especially in the vineyard market, and that will become apparent fairly soon.

Everything is getting more expensive in NZ, CPI at 5.3% for the last year. Now business owners want to punish the low end workers by holding down their wages and quality of life, just so those that borrowed massive amounts over the past 10 years can hold on? No wonder the young are leaving.

Sounds like the same old s*** for NZ. Protect the borrowers at the expense of the savers. Protect the indebted older crowd at the expense of the young.

Concur.. Was thinking of writing the same thing, the price we/you/us got sucked into paying for "productive" land is what I'd suggest is the problem, creating huge capital servicing costs. Labour then of course needs to be cheap to make it all worthwhile, while the banks clip the ticket. Ahhh the road to serfdom..

We can fix the price of land, lift interest rates, kill the ones with debt, let the cold hand of capitalism do its stuff, cause widespread default, let the banks take a hit. Its cruel but in the medium term it will pay off.  Then we get low land prices and young giving things ago again.  I dont think even that will be enough to encourage business in high labour undustry. We will end up with high umemployment that will be a big problem in youth who should be training and learning skills. Do we just give up and accept that we won't compete with China let alone Vietnam and accept that many in society will be trapped in poverty mental and physically.

 I talked to a friend who works in an agriculture industry been in the job 10 years as a sparkie, thinks his job is going to go, worried about his future putting feelers out in Aussie. WE are going to get a spike in unemployment and Im more worried about the young unskilled than anyone else at present, imagine if you couldn't go to Australia how high would our unemployment be?  The next shock may be a long term correction in dairy prices ,lets see the country copes with that, in a one horse town its going to be a catastrophe.

Let interest rates be set by market forces instead of reserve bank manipulation, when savings rates are high, then interest rates are low, when savings rates are low then interest rates are high.  The reserve bank uses interest rates to pick winners and losers.

Yes, young people are less experienced than older people.  That's precisely why employers shouldn't be expected to pay them as much.

Yes, time will turn a young person into an older person - but it will not turn her into an experienced person if she's not done a job in that time.

The only thing that entitles a person to increased wages is an increase in the value of their work.

I pumped gas when I was young. That experience didnt make a lick of difference when I was looking for a job after uni. How many young people get jobs that give them any quality experience what so ever? Very few I would imagine.

The youth thing is just a side track. The real reason the right wing doesn't want an increased minimum wage is because they dont want to have to pay adults more.

Oh piss off. The only reason you want a higher minimum wage is because that is the only way anyone would ever give you a pay raise.

And judging by your idiotic comments about an article written for adult thinkers, I dont think it is too hard to see why.

Got some pent up rage to vent there Kimble? Maybe the adult thinking you're thinking of doesn't like to hear a different opinion.

I work for myself, and made a tad under $100k last year. I dont think too many people on minimum wage would be interested in this website. I just dont want to live in a country where theres a massive divide between rich and poor.

No rage, you are just a pathetic commenter who needs to be made aware of the fact on a consistent basis.

You dismiss all opposition to perpetually increasing minimum wages as "right wingers" wanting to screw over poor people. I just gave you your own treatment.

I could mount an argument FOR raising minimum wages and sound just like a genuine proponent. If you cant honestly state the reasons why someone else holds their opinion, then you dont know enough about it to comment.

You're the one voting up your own comments Kimble. Get a life.

I never did.

One more person thinks you are a moron.


If you work for yourself then surely you should understand better than anyone that you can't expect to earn more than your work does.

Imagine you expanded your business, and were big enough to require an employee. Say you need a receptionist to handle your calls and paperwork. Can you think to yourself how much that would cost at the moment?

Now let's multiply that number by 1.5 - much more difficult with a large minimum wage.

The point you raise about the value of certain kinds of menial experience is a good one.

Sigh. What a pathetic ramble.

The awful, racist history of minimum wage laws should never be forgotten. If only to remind people of the currently hard to see costs the policy.

You first say that the fact there is a difference between whites and blacks in South Africa means the example isnt relevant to NZ, and then you immediately say that the difference between an older and younger worker is experience! Which is it? Do differences matter?

You then say that kids will gain experience, so the problem is solved. Sorry, are you a complete moron?

Of course kids gain experience, and then become experienced workers. But  they have to be working in the first place! Thats the goddamned point!

"young people, whos' only difference between their older counterparts is a lack of experience. And generally you will find youth is a problem solved by time."

Which is why youth rates make sense to me. Given an older , experienced applicant against a young inexperienced applicant at the same rate of pay it doesnt take a rocket scientist to work out who is going to get the job.

Its not the minimum wage, its the jobs that are missing, raising or lowering the minimum wage will have some job impacts at the edges, but unfortunately its not the utopia by raising it and not the utopia by dropping it. that some would have us believe.

P.S Not sure whether I have my unfortunately right or should it be fortunately?

Huh? Wow, the comments at this site have just been getting worse and worse. Of course we are talking about impact at the edges (or at the margin), we ARE talking about price afterall.

A job only exists if someone is paid to do something for someone else. If the price is such that no one will do it, or if it is priced so that no one is willing to pay, then there is no job.

Consider a job that adds $10 in value per hour to a business. If the job pays $5 and someone takes it, a job exists. If no one is willing to do the job unless they get paid $15, then the job doesnt exist.

The problem is that you focus on the edge, the margin, where there are only a small number, what about the 80% around the mean. thats where the gains ae to be made and where we need the jobs to make a diference.

This large pool of unemployed is the result of the wage race to the bottom, the true cost of cheap consumer goods needs to include the cost of exporting those jobs, i.e. those tha tcan buy cheap goods make a saving that society has to pickup the tab for.

Then there is no business, and there shouldnt be one....simple....the businessman re-thinks and goes and starts up something that earns $15 or $20 per hour.....and pays someone $10.


I don't disagree but there is no business because we have exported jobs to countries with little or no labour laws, lttle or no societal overheads like health, benefits etc.
Thats the race to the bottom and in the long run there are no businesses except around the edges i.e. govt, the odd success story, but not for the bulk of the workers.
Where are all these $20 businesses, to pay $10, businessmen give up, risk too great for the reward in this country, we can't compete with the Asia's and we can't not sell to the big overseas companies who can leverage so we have to be a nation of innovators to create businesses to sell, which doesn't create jobs for the bulk of the unemployed which is the problem. a society is made up of various skilled people, they should be gainfully employed form the well being of the society.

 Good point John - Its not the minimum wage, its the jobs that are missing.

It seems more then half the nation is working in unproductive jobs, filling up supermarket shelves, selling houses to each other and serving tourists. Highly skilled jobs are shifted overseas – the NZgovernment importing in the billions in sectors like telecommunication, transport and energy.

Lets just abolish the minimum wage, I'll start up a sweat shop and enslave, I mean employ Kimble's children. Give them some great experience.

It's not where Kimble's children start off, that matters, but where they end up. And if they don't get a start, they won't be in the race.

My children will be fine. I intend to increase the exploition of a desperate workforce by 5% over the next decade to earn enough to by them a commision in the Kings Own guards. Afterwards I will, ensure they get easy jobs with my cronies, until I retire and they take over management of my plantations in the colonies.

A decade? With CPI at 5.3% and no corresponding increase in minimum wage their exploitation increased by 5% in the last year.

Obviously I was refering to Real Exploitation.


"the NZgovernment importing in the billions in sectors like telecommunication, transport and energy."

Gosh, dont you just wish our government would use their resources more inefficiently?

An argument against government intervention and manipulation in markets is not strengthened by calls for even greater government intervention and manipulation.

This is an interesting discussion. In HK where I live the new minimum wage is $28HK which is $4.14NZ  at today's exchange rate. I ask how then can NZ compete if the minimum wage for a school leaver is raised to $15?

Well we'd be foolish to compete on labour rates alone that's for sure.

we probably wont bother competing with a country having a billion workers and needing a respirator to walk down the street

You will compete whether you want to or not. You will just have little chance of winning.

What I wonder is how people can live on the minimum wage given the high cost of living in NZ. Oh and being young doesn't equate to being on the minimum wage btw. You can be a young person with a sought-after degree and qualifications and start off on the higher tax band.

Good point.

But it's the fruit of Darwin philosophy that we must all compete and there is no mercy for the weak.  That's what we believe - so that's the system we built.

But it is brutal for many.

Well, there is kind of a "mercy for the weak" in the form of various govt assistance/subsidies (WINZ, WFF etc). I think it'd be better if people's wage, even a minimum wage, was enough to cover basic costs instead.

My husband and I work for ourselves and we earn more than twice as much as we would/did as employees for the same job. It makes me wonder how much goes into overheads/inefficient management (and super-high salaries for top management).

Yes, you are right, a form of mercy.

I don't really think you can write a law that creates wealth.  There are all kinds of conseqeunces in legislating wages/wealth.  If it were that simple why not simply legislate us all to be millionaires?

A government can only rearrange wealth someone else made, so I think I prefer the social welfare, it just seems more honest.

I don't think it's about making us all millionaires but more about people "at the top" making the decision to be a bit less greedy/selfish maybe.

We are both on 6-figure incomes and we will likely employ at some point - when that happens, we completely intend to offer any employee more than the legal minimum (not just talking about money here) rather than the minimum package we can get away with. We might make less profit but so long as we do make a profit and the business is viable then I can't see the problem... I think most companies try to offer the least they can get away with (often companies that make heaps of profit too) and could easily make the decision to treat their employees "better" instead.

Greed and selfish are always bad, I agree.

But if it is a moral question, it isn't about what "most companies" do.  It's only a question of what you do, what I do.

That's why there is truth in the phrase 'be the change you want in the world'.

Good can overcome evil -- but it's not by preaching at the evil.

Elley - well I think by providing a better package you will get better people, short term profit mightn't be quite as great, but in the longer term you will be better off, rewarded by staff loyalty, better productivity etc.  Good on you - too few businesspeople think this way, we live in such a short termist world

Yet even Darwin had to include "altruism" in his model of natural selection. And as master of the species, are we not above mother nature, at least most of the time?

Not from where I'm standing.

We are nature.

True, but completely irrelevant to a discussion about the minimum wage.  

There are indeed well-qualified younger people and it's right and proper that they should be  able to command a good wage.   

The problem is for unskilled, inexperienced people, who tend to be (but are not exclusively) young.  The minimum wage acts as a barrier to employment for them and therefore reduces the chances for them to become skilled and experienced and so able to command a better wage.

No, not irrelevant. The article, including its title, and the comments seem to equate being young to being unqualified & on a low wage. Thankfully that's not always the case and just wanted to point it out.

Just wondering if anyone else considered this extract from Roger's article questionable:

"In economics as in any science"

Nice one, heh heh.

Colin Riden - chuckle.

Ain't that the truth. Economists will still be useful, but not until we get to a non-growth fiscal system, and they start to understand why.

I was at a lecture this week, where 500-plus uni students, were discussing  that morph.

They are well aware that incomes will dwindle, both as the underwrites deplete, and as the powerful continue in self-interest. They are also well aware that they will be working - in the real sense(using their energy) - harder.

It was asked how many economics students were there - one!

Says it all.

Roger was I presume responsible for commissioning:

A Review of Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed


Wolfgang Kasper

First published in 2005 by
New Zealand Business Roundtable,
PO Box 10–147, The Terrace,
Wellington, New Zealand

That has this little gem in it:

"Whilst there is entropy in the physical world, economic growth can be open-ended."

CR - ha ha ha ha  - love it.

Something's disconnected - now let me see................

Yep, it's a cranial circuit, for sure. Wonder it we can trace the mitochondrial DNA all the way back? Bet it has something to do with having a suprainiac fossa.

Some of the delusion is genetic, but culture (environment) also plays a part. I am thinking there of time in Wellington (TSY in particular) or in association with any other neoclassical economists.

I'm very sure there are a section of them who know what is unfolding, and think they can 'wealth' their way to immunity. I guess you can buy guns......but in the end, sheer numbers will beat you, especially if death is their only other option (nothing to lose).

There will be others who genuinely believe that money trumps anything real. Those are they to whom you refer - but why the heck ordinary folk don't see through it, beats me.

The media here are the biggest failure - I've just listened to Nat Radio news - and even they are parroting 'an economist said'. You can expect a bit of it from commercial media  - their income depends on continuance of BAU or something like it - but when Nat Radio go down the 'hook, line and sinker' route, well..........

I am not sure why you expect anything different from National Radio. Follow it to keep up with the cutting edge in defence of the status quo. 

This discussion is weird.

Theory tells you that if you increase the price of something demand will fall. When night follows day and the abolition of youth rates is followed by skyrocketing  youth unemployment there are still people trying to argue black is white. That is weird and you know who you are.

In our own little business which is quite new but growing we will probably need to look for some part time help soon. In normal circumstances I would have looked for a smart school kid to help after school and at weekends but there is no way I will take on a teenager and pay them more than I pay myself so I can baby sit them.  I will look around for someone with some experience and some customer service skills.

Does not help kids trying to get some work experience or save some money to get to varsity.

Sue Bradford is still famous for the anti smacking thing which was fun but pointless. It is the abolition of youth rates which is doing real damage.

Roger says "In economics as in any science there can be contradictory studies, and a handful have not supported the consensus on minimum wage laws."

Does that mean he is now renouncing any climate change demial he has had in the past?  I doubt that there are even a handful of peer reviewed climate change studies that have not supported the consensus that climate change is a real threat.

Yes the mild cooling that has happened over the past 10 years and the strong cooling expected is a serious threat.


Yeah right.  You must be looking at the graph upsidedown.  We have just had the warmest decade in the last 150 plus years.  

Treat yourself. Read the latest science update from the Australian Climate Commission instead. The report is called "The Critical Decade" Download it from http://climatecommission.gov.au/topics/the-critical-decade/

Have a look at pages:

7-8 on temperature rise "The average air temperature at the Earth’s surface continues on an upward trajectory at a rate of 0.17 °C per decade over the past three decades."

9 -- graph showing declining Arctic ice extent since 1950

11 -- graph showing increasing sea level rise rate since 1970 28 -- the graph showing the oceans are now the most acidic they have been in the last 25 million years, and projected to acidify further 30 -- what is likely to happen to coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, as the oceans acidify more  


Gosh, those sites are really impressive : piss-take online rag The Register; "Australian Climate Madness"; Some personal blogs; and a home movie on YouTube. Compelling! Not.

Brilliant response, Mush, you watched the 

Jasper Kirkby

Head of the CLOUD Experiment - CERN, Geneva video which lasts 1 hour 5 mins in just 20 mins max. 

Fools rush in or something like that, LOL.

OMG - there was another poster here just like you - onto everything else, but absolutely a climate-change denier. I accused him of being renumerated for this rather unigue anomaly, and he pulled up stakes.


So you think I'll disappear because I cop a bit of childish abuse from watermelons?

Nope. ;-) 

"watermelons" about sums up your view point...anything you dont like comes from the "left" so it cant be right....the fact there is overwelming science doesnt matter....its not right wing voodoo science so its wrong......yeah right.


And the names of these researchers are? Or is it just bullshit and innuendo at work?

 It lies on the hand – many, especially young scientists are lured with (often) big money by lobby groups, such pharmaceutical, banking, oil, mining, etc. companies/ organisations.

I had an interesting talk about that issue with a prominent scientist a few weeks ago - no wonder read below.

Looking into current developments on many fronts – the world will never recover again, simply because among the powerful in societies ethic and moral requirements and standards don’t prevail.


 No David – that’s certainly not his name – try again.

Your answer says a lot anyway.

and I suppose they mentioned that they are pissed because their pet projects etc didnt get funding while AGW work did?.....the reality is the quality of the submisions for funding have to be high and relevent....dont meet these you dont get funding.

and it comes back to you have nothing but un-substantiated inuendo....nothing at all.


I dont have to prove anything either, I have made my own mind up based on the science for AGW and the alternative pathetic pseudo-science, economic mumbo jumbo that is the denier side.

The data is robust as are the conclusions...certianly as far as enough to take on a risk management role...so yes I discount your words, as I have done the deniers they lack any weight.


Absolute crap.....if they were proper academic studies they would be documented, please provide the link(s).

You cant have met (m)any academics.....   Its simple, academics live by repuatation and one thing that makes a repuation is resoundly defeating the competition, your peers. So, solid, correct and verifiable reasearch thats destroys the AGW work would make the academic(s) world wide famous over-night and probably get them a science nobel prize....it would be that big I suspect.



Once you get an overwelming amount of quality papers and evidence from experts on one side of an arguemnt and frankly politicos on the other, from then on its a management exercise in risk management and mitigation.


So if we get a strong heating period/decade where 1998/2005 gets exceeded in 2012 or 2013 and then go on to have a record 11 years you might conceed Watts site is utter rubbish?

Oh and what about extreme weather events? how about this decade we see more extreme weather events and broken records (rain fall, strom counts, hot and cold) than in the last 100 years? 


It can.....

We have basic scientific principles, co2 blocks the infra red spectrum which is how the earth radiates "excess" heat.  We know that the PPM of CO2 has climbed, it has been measured for decades....  Both these at a high level are basic scientific facts. Both at an experimental level can be demonstrated and/or measured and in effect proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

We then have to look at where the CO2 is coming from, and its mostly human activity, there is simply no other explanation, its can even be calculated based on the chemical composition of fuel and how much is burned, again basic scientific facts.




Steven - spinmeistering 101 says turn your vulnerabilities back and throw them at you adversaries.

These folk almost universally, (and I suspect the exceptions are just being being dishonest) start from a belief in economic growth.

They may do so for three reasons -

(1) that they think the message will convince enough of the gullible, to keep their mantra in power. Thus Act and Kerr talking of 'trickle down', etc, while really feathering the nests of the few.

(2) they genuinely believe the mantra, because it has suited them thus far (they think they're 'winning'), and they don't want it to stop.

(3) they are currently 'losers', but genuinely believe they will be winners some day (the cannon-fodder of (1).

They are the ones with the causation / correlation problem - Julian Simon (and Lord Monkton) being classic examples of the stupidity. "as we've gotten richer, we've gotten more oil, cheaper. Therefore, if we keep getting richer, it stands to reason that we'll get even more oil, even cheaper".

Interesting that this poster attempts the return-of-mud service, c'est non?

Economic growth fixes everything!!!

Interesting piece on expotential growth, we are growing at about 2.9% energy use per year, think that sounds like not much? (I know you dont, this is for the cretins)

Annual energy from the Sun is something like 7000Twatts at 2.9% growth, in 400 years we will have reached that output in demand....

"Now let’s start relaxing constraints. Surely in 275 years we will be smart enough to exceed 20% efficiency for such an important global resource. Let’s laugh in the face of thermodynamic limits and talk of 100% efficiency (yes, we have started the fantasy portion of this journey). This buys us a factor of five, or 70 years. But who needs the oceans? Let’s plaster them with 100% efficient solar panels as well. Another 55 years. In 400 years, we hit the solar wall at the Earth’s surface."

or today we stand as someone stood in the 1700...looking forward, or in 2500 years we will be consuming the entire energy of the galaxy, not bad oh wait, who has the faster than light drive?  oh um sorry yes I have one but I dont have any uh energy, you have used it all.....can I borrow some? (we know where that leads!).


So, the believers in growth for ever have to be, cretins....



Chuckle - I suspect there's a small matter of photosynthesis    :)


Lets go on with supporting data.

Climate change does not mean a steady "gentle" increase in temperature,  it means more water in the air as the air is warmer. Warmer airt can hold more water vapour, basic thermodynamic fact.  More water vapour in the air means heavier and more violent storms.  So we can expect to see records broken both in cold events and warm events (mostly warm) and this is borne out by observation of occuring events.

For instance Tennesse had record rainfall in the last 12months this is described as a once in 1000 year event or 0.1% change of happening....Russia just had a heat wave, the hottest on record in 1000 years....so such an event is again a 1 in 1000 (or even longer) or 0.1% chance of happening.....Two 0.1% changes of happening in 12months?  and then all the other extreme weather events.....Insurance companies, these guys do sums, they are not academics or scientsists but business ppl.  They look at events as 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000 events to be insured against and set the premiums to cover such events plus a % profit....they are making losses because 1 in 100 year events are now 1 in 50 or even 1 in 20....

So its simply the case that the scientific, actual and even associated evidence for AGW is overwelming.  So there are no "skeptics" (or very few), there are the acceptors, those that dont know or dont care or the deniers...



bring on Lord Monckton

We have you, why do we need another imbecile?

He isnt an academic /scientist he's a extremist politico with an axe to grind.



Oops thats a bit far, I withdraw the first line.

Why do we need him?

We have Straterra, and Ma Baker's boy:

"We are committed to environmental and social responsibility"

Well, how about it?  We'd like some.

This is one of the debates that would be largely solved by gareth morgan's suggested tax/benefit structure. With guaranteed basic living conditions, minimum wages could be dropped entirely without hurting vulnerable people. Firms could hire at lower wages, and workers would still have incentives to take low paying jobs (at the moment for beneficiaries every dollar they earn is a dollar of benefit payment they don't recieve - there's little personal motivation to get a job if they don't want one)

Is that really true, though, that workers would still have incentives to take low paying jobs?

Given the choice between leisure and an unconditional income, vs. dull and/or unpleasant work (for such is the nature of most low-paid jobs) and a slightly higher income, is it really likely that many would choose the latter?

I think you're right, that there would be people who choose leisure time over low paying jobs. But we already have some people who are beneficiaries who do the same thing.

The level of incentive that G's scheme would offer them top take jobs is higher than the level currently being offered (they would get to keep most of their pay instead of none of it), so I think overall we would see a benefit there.

Also the guaranteed income is not, by any imagination, a generous amount to live on = furhter incentive to supplement it with paid work.

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