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book review

The Carbon Tax - If Only They'd Listened to a Gen Y Female and Dick Smith

With the revelation that the recently released carbon tax would exclude petrol, there was much protest and disappointment from climate change activists. But once again everyone missed the elephant in the room as far as meeting Australia’s emissions targets – the immigration rate.

Dick Smith's book, Population Crisis, and how one rich man may get to heaven

An unusual thing about Dick Smith's book, "Population Crisis," is that it is written by a wealthy man who points out the failings of rich people. He says that most rich people give nothing away and describes them as very selfish. "Our economic system comes equipped with only one forward gear: foot to the floor growth. The poor want to be rich, and the rich want to be richer. It's an endless treadmill, and none of our leaders appears to know how to get off." Also inside article: Win $1m if you are under 30 by solving the population puzzle.

Mark O'Connor reviews The Final Energy Crisis, edited by Sheila Newman

Nothing is more vital to the survival of human populations than an abundant flow of cheap energy. Most well-informed persons are vaguely aware that oil and gas supplies are peaking or have now peaked; yet there are still government departments and many news media that would prefer to know and think about this as little as possible.

First published in People and Place magazine Volume 17 No 2 of 2009. See also: Final Energy Crisis blogs, Mark O'Connor's web site, australianpoet.com, review of Mark O'Connor's Overloading Australia.

Human destiny revisited ?

An Italian evolutionary meta-theory says planetary health depends on humans and that humans will in the future free themselves from the unbearable weight of the world by stopping reproducing. "Si spegne, signori, si chiude” Review by Marisa Cohen

Review by sociologist, Katharine Betts of Overloading Australia

For those with their eyes open population growth and the immigration that fuels it are never out of the news. ... unaffordable housing drives young families into debt slavery (even pushing some to the less-expensive urban fringe where a number died in Melbourne’s recent fires)... strained infrastructure leading to blackouts, cancelled train services... traffic congestion, draining energy from the economy and from human lives...hospitals that can no longer care for the people they serve... water supplies that dwindle as drought and growth desiccate cities and stretch the capacity of farms... pleasant suburbs degraded by intensive redevelopment; greenhouse gases ...and a natural environment wilting under the burden of numbers.

The Secret Life of Sharks by A. Peter Klimley

This exceptional book about shark behaviour, not only makes personal connections with individuals among schooling sharks, but it explores the sensory field of geomagnetic navigation - in a shark's-view of the world to which we poor humans are blind, deaf and dumb. Seeing as there is a new film out - Shark Water- www.sharkwater.com - which may move people to rethink our own kill instinct, it seems appropriate to review this excellent book which had a similar impact on me.

Jaws 2009 coming soon to your shores

The final version of Jaws dwarfs all the others. This new monster is eating towns up alive. This is not just a battle to the death; this is WAR! In the novel, Jaws, the monster was not really a white pointer shark, it was the property development lobby, which metastasized with the colonisation of a modest fishing town by rich people from other places. Developers drew power from the wealthy tourists and sea-changers. They took over the original fishing town for their own purposes and democracy seemed fatally wounded. Right to the point of the shark (the developers) trying to eat the boat (symbol of the fishing industry which had begun the town). Until an odd bunch of people had the guts to stand up to the big developers.

Book Review: Peter Andrews - Back from the brink - agriculture for Australians

This book paints a picture of the ecological mechanics of this continent, using clear, concise prose. It is a painlessly educative book. The bold claim of its subtitle, "How Australia's landscape can be saved," stands up to scrutiny.

Take a new look at thistles, dock plants and other hardy weeds. Enjoy trialling the author's theories in your neglected front garden or replot your broadacre farm. Re-examine the cause of total re-nativisation in the light of galloping desertification. Peter maintains that his simple hydrological theory holds true for the entire continent. He re-interprets the history of this land; he may well be right.

Sheila Newman (Ed.) The Final Energy Crisis, 2nd Edition - A Review

With The Final Energy Crisis, the editor, Energy and Population Sociologist Sheila Newman, gives us the opportunity to examine the theory, measurement, history and future of fossil-fuel depletion within a social paradigm where thermodynamics is the primary social constraint. This is 'applied peak-oil' - a multi-authored, but tightly integrated, collection of social and physical science writing, where the authors test the strength of the hypothesis that industrialised society faces an imminent energy crisis which will bring civilization as we know it to an end.

See also: Review of The Final Energy Crisis by Mark O'Connor author of Overloading Australia (RRP AU$20) on page 8 of the December 2008 newsletter (pdf 923K) of Sustainable Population Australia.

Why is Naomi Klein uncritical of mass immigration to the First World?

The disempowerment of the modest middle classes and the poor in the industrialised world is, through mass immigration, extending the third world into the Richworld, and shoring up the exploiting classes and their corporate servants - the banks, property developers, international tourism, the military, the mass-media - the whole globalisation machine.

Overloading Australia - new book about Australia's overpopulation problem

"To keep stable and just replace itself, a relatively young population like Australia’s would currently need something even lower than Western Europe’s rate of around 1.3 children per completed family. More like 0.93. And that’s without immigration!"

John Locke in Ellen Meiksins Wood's The Origin of Capitalism

It is amazing that so many of us accept that it is our lot to work for others and to pay rent. Was it always so or did this come about through sophistry?

How to make sense of the "Pig Iron Bob" dispute?

In some popular left-wing versions of history, the Conservative Australian Governments of Lyons and Menzies which governed Australia in the 1930's are depicted as appeasers of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. Also they are depicted as having subordinated Australia's own national economic and strategic interests to that of the United Kingdom. However historian Andrew Ross in Armed and Ready - the Industrial development and defence of Australia 1900-1945(1995) has shown that this view is borne of the acceptance at face value of the double game that Australian Governments were playing with Great Britain.

Review of Naomi Klein’s "The Shock Doctrine"

I hate to resort to clichés, but this is a ‘must read’ book – the kind that only gets published once in a hundred years.

The theory Klein develops is that the main reason for the rise of democracy and social-welfare with its old age pensions, public hospitals, public housing, and universal education after the Great Depression of the 1930s was that the beneficiaries of the robber-baron culture which had dominated until then were aware that if people were kept sufficiently miserable, they would turn to communism and socialism.

Reading of the desecration and live dismemberment of Iraq and seeing the name KPMG, I could not help but think of how our recent Premier, Steven Bracks, who was so fond of public-private partnerships, and whose government gave away 20 ha of public land in Royal Park to private 52% owned Singapore developer, Australand. In a move which even the departing Queensland Premier criticised, Bracks recently began to work for KPMG Peat Marwick, which, incidentally, is involved in reconstruction efforts in East Timor.

Also published on Web Diary. See also: "Shock Doctrine's Shocking Short Shrift" of 8 Nov 07 by Carolyn Baker.

Book Review: Immigrants: your country needs them by Philippe Legrain

Some angst was caused in February 2007 when Philippe Legrain (with this book in tow) was featured at Perth Writers Week. The problem was not that a debate on migration was irrelevant to a literary festival but that there was no debate---and that the supposed expert (Legrain) seemed ignorant of Australian conditions.

Book Review: "National Insecurity - The Howard Government's Betrayal of Australia"

This book, by by Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews, the authors of "How to Kill A Country", is a damning expose of how the same Howard Government which cites 'Australia's national Interest" as an excuse to sabotage international efforts to act against the threat of global warming, has, in fact, betrayed those very same interests. Subjects covered include Energy, Rural Industries, Culture, Defence and Blood.

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