Friday, April 07, 2006

Phat Lewtz!

The great thing about this whole nuclear energy thing, from my selfish point of view, is the prospect of lots of job creation in science and engineering. Only if we are smart, though, I guess, and move on from our 'digging stuff up and selling it' paradigm. I was talking to a colleague the other day who is optimistic that science is on the way up here, thanks to demography: we need about the same number of professionals per capita, whatever happens, and in 2010-2020 all the boomer professionals are going to retire, so we are going to need more. It will not be easy to just import them from India and China, because (a) all the rest of the West will be in the same position, and (b) India and China are likely to be able to retain more and more of their own professionals as the years go by. So there will be no option but to train more here, hurrah! Academics will be paid obscene amounts of money just to sit around and look intelligent, I am sure.

Yes, Jenny, we should take all the waste in the world! We should charge a premium if it wasn't generated by our uranium, to extract maximum economic benefit. There are probably good spots for a repository in the Northern Territory and Western Australia as well, but I was thinking a non-tropical location would be better for the nuclear waste deepwater port. And yes, I was thinking of Pig Iron Bob as well...

As for Australia's capacity to moral leadership, I am of the (sadly cynical) opinion that while our government is primarily composed of lying weasels, moral pygmies, and waxwork dummies accidentally left on the front benches, it is *more* principled than any other government in the world, especially if you include all the valiant civil servants like Dave that are actually doing the work. (1) No other country, except the US and some former American colonies in the Pacific, voted with Israel against the UN security wall resolution. This can only be a matter of principle because all the other relatively decent US allies, like Slovakia and the UK, only abstained. (2) No other country is having a gigantic domestic political fracas about abuses of the Oil for Food programme. Sure, AWB is a big company, but so were the French and German and Russian ones involved. (And I am sure there were Americans involved too, that we don't hear about...)(3) Our much maligned immigration department has precipitated us into what may be a full-blown crisis with our biggest neighbour, possibly destroying seven years of careful post-Timor Leste diplomacy, on pure principle.
So we are the best there is.
Although we suck.


Marco said...

Hear, hear. I agree with all of that for a change. Now - what do we do about this exporting business. Do we favour any one country over another? Even with so much leverage, Australia may end up as impotent as Saudi Arabia is with oil. Maybe we should build up lots of excess capacity, so it is much more powerful when we threaten disruption or sanctions.

Dave said...

I don't argue with most of that, although I do think that perhaps the Papuan thing is less 'pure principle' and more 'welcome distraction that puts the media spotlight back on more politically advantageous topics like immigration and those troublesome Indonesians'.

Although I do note today that the only matter of principle apparently required by the Prime Minister of his flunkies is that of keeping your mouth shut and disavowing all knowledge and responsibility. So some things never change.

Dr. Clam said...

Hmm, I don't think it can conceivably be a 'welcome' distraction. It is kind of like your pillion passenger distracting the policeman who is writing you a ticket by setting their car on fire. I think the apathetic majority were already starting to get bored with the AWB inquiry.