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Talking About Wealth Inequality

One of the few positive outcomes from the car-crash of Brexit and Trump is that political leaders are finally realising that wealth inequality is not a democratically maintainable situation. Voters in most western democracies have started to resent the growing gap between their livelihoods and those of the richest few, and this resentment is causing mass disaffection with establishment politics.

The problem is that this resentment, so far, has been channelled into counter-productive outcomes such as Brexit and Trump, both of which will do nothing to solve wealth inequality, and quite likely will make it worse. In Australia, our neoliberal-merchant-banker-off-shore-tax-haven-Point-Piper PM has started throwing a few mentions of wealth inequality into his spin cycle. But this rhetoric is laughable when held next to the reality of Turnbull’s pet-policy of a $20 billion tax cut to big business which I can guarantee you will not trickle down and will instead grow the wealth of a few bonus-laden-executives at the expense of everyone else.

One of the reasons wealth inequality has managed to cause mass resentment amongst those losing out from rampant neoliberalism, yet hasn’t benefited the electoral fortunes of progressive political parties is because the language used to talk about wealth inequality has absolutely no relevance to people’s lives. Although there are vague notions of wealth inequality being a problem, progressives don’t have a common narrative, a story of why their policies will make a difference in anything other than a theoretical sense.

So, where the Democrats failed to make the case for universal healthcare and its benefits to reduce wealth inequality, Trump strode in with simplistic ‘I’ll make everything great’ slogans and stole the show. Where Labour UK failed to explain why another term of Conservative government would grow wealth inequality and push everyone-but-the-already-rich further behind, they left the door open for the Conservative deal-with-the-UKIP-devil which brought about Brexit through a back-lash against establishment politics; a backlash which should be electing a Labour platform. And even though Labor in Australia got within striking distance of Turnbull’s neoliberal second term, their primary vote is still being crunched by anti-establishment also-not-going-to-fix-wealth-inequality parties who benefit from wealth inequality resentment.

So what needs to happen? Progressives need to learn to talk about wealth inequality in a way that makes it real for people. The villain of wealth inequality needs a name and the wreckage this villain causes, the unsustainability of this situation, needs a relatable description.

The first thing we need to do is to stop using statistics to explain the problem of wealth inequality. Unless you’re a statistician talking to other statisticians, I promise the minute you start using percentages and ratios to describe a political problem, the audiences’ eyes glaze over. So stop it.

The next thing we should do is to use an analogy to replace any talk of money. The reason for this is that money is a loaded concept. People who don’t have much of it are usually blamed for their circumstances by people who have plenty of it. They’re framed as lazy or just unfortunate. People, conversely, who have a huge amount of money are revered in our culture, looked up to, and are aspirants. So when we talk about those at the top of the income percentiles doing much better out of economic growth than those in all the other income percentiles, peoples’ minds can’t help but avoid equating massive wealth with unhealthy greed, and instead think that wealth is deserved and earned, and therefore should be respected, not questioned.

I would suggest one simple strategy is to swap out money with the analogy of oxygen. Wealth inequality would then be described like this:

People need oxygen to survive. If they don’t have enough air, they will be desperate for every gulp and won’t be able to think very far into the future past their immediate need for the next breath. Only when they reach a certain level of oxygen comfort, can they settle into life and feel able to think long term about buying their family a house, settling into a community, finding a good job or starting a business and ensuring their whole family has enough oxygen to stay alive. As a society, it makes sense to ensure that everyone has enough oxygen to breathe comfortably so that they think long term rather than short term.

On the other hand, the way things are, there are too many people who have more oxygen than they really need and are hogging it all. These people are storing away their excess oxygen in places which benefit no one but themselves, and even sending it overseas where it leaks out and is lost forever. The problem is, these people who have far more oxygen than they could ever need, are also unfortunately the people who control the oxygen supply for people who don’t have very much.

When you go to work each day and the guy who decides how much oxygen you’ll receive for the skills and expertise you contribute is hogging it all, only sharing it out amongst the oxygen-rich-executives who already have more than they can possibly use, and you don’t have enough to keep your family in breathe-easy comfort, it’s no wonder you start to get upset. For one thing, how are you meant to keep turning up to work each day, helping him to earn more oxygen, if he keeps so much of it for himself that you’re too out of breath to keep working? And how can the people who store away all the excess oxygen not see that it’s problematic for their businesses if all their would-be-customers are struggling to breathe and certainly don’t have excess air in their lungs to go shopping?

This is just one example to show why, when you take percentages and the concept of ‘money’ out of the wealth inequality conversation, and use an analogy to show the flow-on effect of a widening gap, the situation is vivid, understandable, clearly unsustainable, and also an urgent problem that needs immediate action to solve. You’re welcome.

 

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62 comments

  1. Jaquix

    Good advice for progressive poluticians (and their speechwriters) Victoria! Typo I think – the outrageous tax cuts for business are costed at 50 billion over 10 years, not 20.

  2. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Victoria Rollison,

    I commend you on your clarification of what is needed to get the message across to our family, friends and neighbours about the present crime of wealth inequality and inequity.

    If anybody (and many do) has ever had asthma, the analogy of lack of oxygen makes very much sense.

  3. Matters Not

    One of the few positive outcomes from the car-crash of Brexit and Trump is that political leaders are finally realising that wealth inequality is not a democratically maintainable situation.

    Really? finally realising that wealth inequality is not a democratically maintainable situation . Pardon, is that why Turnbull et al will improve the Budget bottom line by reducing pension outlays by $2.4 billion over the next four years? The fact! And will introduce legislation to ensure that the 679 international companies who paid no tax in the recent financial year will pay their fair share in the future and also have a fit of conscience and pay their ‘moral’ but not ‘illegal’ obligations going back decades? The ‘not’.

    If so? Then perhaps you have a link? Not to idle theorising – but to concrete proposals. Assertions based on ‘oughts’ without any evidence of any change in thinking and no links to any proposals, only adds to the problem.

    Until then … Things won’t change. Sure the language might be modified but the reality will live on. And the evidence suggests that it’s bi-partisan.

  4. Stephen V Zorbas

    Well I like the identification of the issue, and the consequences politically. I have observed a connection(I think) to last century, where it was “in the people” to be manipulated by fanatics and dictators of that era. I am thus concerned when Brexit and Trump materialised.We must be sure that it is “wealth inequality” at play here, although it makes perfect sense in what you have stated.I like that you have made a great effort to problem solve this with the idea of an analogy. I believe these events you mention are very important, and I fear a parallel to the madness of last century( a cycle perhaps). With your idea of an analogy, maybe some “gauge to measure” a growing problem , as this could be the “tip of the iceberg”. Your article is so explicit it is something that can be referenced for future research in this area. Personally, I find your thinking exceedingly high level.

  5. Pamela

    The problem is that the Democrats and here in Australia the ALP are also neo-liberalists…
    they follow the ideology that a balanced or surplus budget is needed and that taxation pays for Government spending… typical signs of neo-liberalism. And that is why they have lost and will continue to loose because they haven’t embraced the change needed for the betterment of the country for all the people and the people know it… they blame refugees, 457 visa holders etc instead of themselves and their economic policies.

  6. paulwalter

    The old trick of pretending to recognise a problem, so people wait on an improvement, but in vain while the evil policies responsible are sped up to shepherd them through? It is just a ploy to stall resistance from the public until it is too late.

    Do you think someone so low as to not \stop Centrelink from ripping off non existent debts from people on welfare is capable of an ethical decision on anything?

  7. wam

    pamela do you think the rabbott would have got elected if he didn’t use the fear of debt capitalising on the numbing effect of huge numbers??
    When you can explain neo anything but nazi to the voters then your ideals may get you the 10% from the loonies.
    Until then think that voter understanding or caring about neoliberalism is a furphy the brexit got conned by sharpies with lies against dumb arrogance by the sure thing winners. Even here a little twist on medicare nearly lost trunbull the election and who thinks anione who voted for trump was concerned about neoanything they want yesterday and trump promised them their past..

  8. Kaye Lee

    “I promise the minute you start using percentages and ratios to describe a political problem, the audiences’ eyes glaze over. So stop it.”

    I do not agree. Everyone learns differently. I would much prefer the facts to analogies (though I do think the oxygen analogy is a good one). I realise some people don’t like numbers but that doesn’t mean none of us do.

    For example, I think these easily understood statistics make a powerful statement:

    >> the 62 richest billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population.

    >> 1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined.

    >> the wealth of the poorest 50% dropped by 41% between 2010 and 2015, despite an increase in the global population of 400m. In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people increased by $500bn to $1.76tn.

    It should also be noted that our government is doing the exact opposite of what is needed to address the problem.

    Oxfam said a three-pronged approach was needed: a crackdown on tax dodging; higher investment in public services; and higher wages for the low paid. It said a priority should be to close down tax havens, increasingly used by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying tax and which had deprived governments of the resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined

  9. Kaye Lee

    Also relevant to the conversation are the obscene amounts paid to CEOs. It seems apparent that any tax cuts to big business are being/will be used to increase the CEOs’ packages and the shareholders’ returns.

    CEOs in the US are paid around 300 times the median employee wage, while in the UK the ratio is roughly 183:1.

    US companies will be required to disclose from 1 January 2017 the ratio of pay of a CEO’s annual total remuneration to the median annual total remuneration of all company employees.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-28/australia-should-compare-ceo-and-average-worker-pay-like-the-us/7884240

  10. John Brame

    Victoria, I like your analogy with oxygen, it works well.

  11. townsvilleblog

    Queenie, well described as usual although: So when we talk about those at the top of the income percentiles doing much better out of economic growth than those in all the other income percentiles, peoples’ minds can’t help but avoid equating massive wealth with unhealthy greed, and instead think that wealth is deserved and earned, and therefore should be respected, not questioned.Does not apply to me I can see where you are coming from.

    I’d like to pose this question: Why are AIMs three best writers women in the form of Queen Victoria, Kaye Lee and Trish Corry, whilst I am delighted with every contribution from these three women, sometimes the men can be difficult to follow from time to time, these three get straight to the point with a minimum of fuss and push their arguments so very well, congratulations ladies!

  12. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, when I began work in 1970 the General Manager received about 5-6 times a median income employee, how things have changed with the name change to CEO and the accompanying pay packet, in 1978 I was on roughly $25,000 p.a. and my then General Manager was on just over $100,000 p.a. in charge of 2000 plus employees in the Australian owned multinational clerical sweatshop in which I worked.

  13. Ella Miller

    “So what needs to happen? Progressives need to learn to talk about wealth inequality in a way that makes it real for the people”

    Sorry Victoria , whilst your piece sounds great you have forgotten one thing..that being;

    People know what wealth inequality is, THEY LIVE IT,

    every time they walk down isle of a supermarket and they stand next to a trolly brimming with the best, whilst their trolly has only the essentials.

    every time they buy clothing for their family and hanker for better quality and can’t afford it,

    every time they buy second had anything and feel lucky to be able to have that.

    every time they eat at a take away because it is cheaper.

    NO ! THEY NEED TO ACT.

    We have heard so much talk that we switch off because TALK IS CHEAP.

    They could start by redistributing wealth through an ethical and just tax regime…just to name one

    I could go on and on but I won’t.

    I will only say ‘actions speak louder than words!’

  14. jim

    A policy that promotes inequality is unsustainable.

  15. bobrafto

    you have identified a problem but your oxygen solution made my eyes glaze over.

    keep on thinking about it.

  16. oldfart

    “The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied … but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”

    John Berger RIP

  17. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Fantastic quote, oldfart. How true are those words from John Berger.

  18. Terry2

    Social Services Minister, Christian Porter talking about the pension cuts this morning said that these changes had been around since 2015 and should not be a surprise to anybody as their introduction had been well and truly flagged by the government..

    OK let’s just hold on a minute here. In the 2014 budget the Abbott government committed to axe the travel gold pass scheme, which allows former MPs life-time free travel funded by taxpayers. However, due to a pressing legislative program these changes have not yet seen the light of day.

    Now surely what’s ‘sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’ ; or am I just being treated as a goose again ?

  19. Wayne Turner

    Interesting read. BUT, I strongly disagree with what I have quoted:-

    “peoples’ minds can’t help but avoid equating massive wealth with unhealthy greed, and instead think that wealth is deserved and earned, and therefore should be respected, not questioned.” – I disagree.These people are WRONG, ignorant and go by the myth of “meritocracy”.It needs to be tackled head on that this “black and white” view of the world is incorrect. AKA RE FRAME IT and explain to these people how the world really is egs: Luck involved,who you know,where you were born,others help you get somewhere,etc,etc,etc….. Yes work hard,but it’s not certain to make you successful.The oxygen analogy will confuse people.Keep it simple for the stupid.

    Plus,we need to return to a true progressive tax system,with ALL loopholes and benefits to pay less tax closed.The more you earn the more tax you truly pay.

    http://www.vox.com/conversations/2016/11/22/13652860/income-inequality-meritocracy-robert-frank-success-luck-ethics

  20. Kaye Lee

    paulwalter,

    I spent many years as a casual high school maths teacher. If people aren’t grizzling at me I think they are ignoring me 🙂

    It;s all good. I enjoy the debate (well usually – sometimes it goes sour and I hate that but we always have the red x walk away option).

  21. Bacchus

    Kaye Lee – from my perspective, I agree with your analysis. I love my maths too. However, applying your facts to my immediate and extended family definitely causes ‘eyes to glaze over’. My son (with an engineering degree) and my nephew (a Qantas and ex-RAAF pilot) are probably the only ones out of a group of maybe a hundred people who would agree with you.

    Analogies like Victoria’s are needed to get the message through to ‘ordinary’ people. Maybe someone with your background could devise even better analogies to educate the ‘less-educated’?

  22. Kaye Lee

    Bacchus,

    My daughter is a teacher too and we often discuss how you must use different approaches with different kids (people). We all learn differently, react to different stimuli, process things in different ways.

    Teaching is one of my few talents and the stuff I say here is geared to this audience. I have different ways of saying it to different crowds. When speaking to my children and their friends (in their 20s), I say stuff like “They are going to make uni fees heaps higher”….or “They are killing the Great Barrier Reef”….or “They just broke a promise to gives Souths $10 million for an advanced sports program/gym but they gave Manly the bucks for a better grandstand because that’s Tony’s team”. Ya gotta know what their interests are to get them paying attention. I encourage them to whinge – daughter wrote an email to our Federal MP complaining about mobile phone reception the other day and actually got a response (unlike her mother who I think is blacklisted). I also took my very young nephews to the March in March in 2014 and, after talking to them, they decided they wanted to “Save our fish” and drew wonderful signs.

    I find numbers sexy and finding others who do too is like hearing a familiar accent, but I know we are a minority. I am first and foremost a teacher so it is definitely my job to work out how to explain to the individual, or better still, how to interest them. Victoria’s point is well-made and understood….it was the “So stop it” that made me disagree. The mathematical minority are people too yanno.

  23. Bacchus

    I’d like you to be my adopted mother Kaye Lee, but I think I’m around the same age as you, so that’s not going to happen 😉

    I agree, this is a more astute audience, so your approach is appropriate. My question though is how do the rest of us, lacking your talents, get these ideas across to the bulk of the population? Places like the AIMN and The Political Sword and like-minded sites do a very good job of disseminating facts to those who visit – how do we extend the message to those less ‘educated’ or less ‘informed’? I have a hoard of potential ‘listeners’. 😉

  24. Michael Taylor

    Hah, you the same age as Kaye! Now there’s a laugh. You’d be twice Kaye’s age, Bacchie. 😛

  25. Kaye Lee

    Only if he is 118. And I am domestically challenged so sadly lacking in many of the skills most people expect of mothers. Thankfully my children forgive me and compensate by doing the shopping, cooking and cleaning whilst I reinforce that I am an ideas woman. 😉

  26. Bacchus

    LOL @ Michael. I start my 60th year on this blue planet at around 6:00PM on Saturday Migs. I’m not sure if you will be able to remember back to the vitality of that time. 😛

    Come visit me in ‘the Cellar’ on Saturday night. I’m sure we can find a nice red or two to sample, we can dig up a Blackberry Nip for LOVO, and Min could enjoy a Mateus, if we can find one 😉

  27. Bacchus

    I’d be your ‘ideal’ child at the moment Kaye. I’m currently cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing bitch (daughter’s description) – but that’s only because my wife had knee replacement surgery a fortnight ago. She’s really the guru of those activities! At least I can still rely on her organisational and planning skills!

  28. Kaye Lee

    My son came up to me at age 16 with a very cheeky grin and said “What do you do when the dishwasher stops working?” I said “I dunno, what?” He said ” Slap the bitch” and promptly, and very wisely, ran away. I feel guilty recounting that story because, in my household, it made people laugh. In other households, that would not be the case. 🙁

    Bacchus….I turned 59 in December. And now that you know that you can cope with being the domestic slave, why not give wife long service leave for a few decades.

  29. Bacchus

    Very wise of your son Kaye!

    So you’re about a month or less older than me. I typed a paragraph in response to your last question, but this is not the appropriate forum for that response. 🙂

  30. Kaye Lee

    I have basically downed tools on the domestic front. I have told the kids we are 4-6 adults (depending if their partners are staying) sharing the same house. I pay the bills, they do the domestics. Works for me 🙂

  31. Bacchus

    LOL – it sounds like the situation here a few years back. We had six adults living in our home – very crowded and chaotic! Wife was still the domestic goddess (she really does love her cooking and especially those who enjoy eating her cooking). I was still the ‘washing bitch’, as has been the case for about a decade.

    These days, there’s just the two of us – daughter (who now has her own home) stays over on a Monday night and leaves us with granddaughter #1 while she goes to work on a Tuesday. Son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter #2 are less frequent visitors.

    Grandchildren are really amazing creatures – better than your own kids in many ways! (Just don’t tell son or daughter I said that 😉 )

  32. Ella Miller

    Bacchus
    With all the due respect I find :

    Analogies like Victorias are needed to get the message through to ‘ordinary’ people .Maybe someone like you with your background could devise even better analogies to educate the “less-educated”,

    very offensive and more than somewhat elitist.

    Are you all suggesting that because ordinary people like I used to be, (before retiring) who are too busy surviving and have no time to contemplate their own or other people’s navel, are unable to understand the reasons behind wealth inequality? BUNKUM !

    As I said in the previous post THEY LIVE IT.

    The mistake you are all making is that you do not see this, being from your middle class backgrounds.

    Ordinary people can be fooled by lying politicians (Brexit , Abbott etc) not because they ‘ less-educated ‘, but because they do NOT have endless hours to dedicate analysing misleading and deceptive statements put out by our leaders.

    If you think that they can not differentiate between policies that have social justice at it’s core, and those that don’t …. then I don’t know what to say…

    Perhaps we need to demand policies that are clearly stated not the ‘motherhood’ statements we tend to get.

    We need an education that promotes critical thinking …so you don’t need to explain to young adults that their fees will rise…..

    If they are able to use critical thinking then they can work it out for themselves.

  33. Ella Miller

    Michael Taylor,
    I find it very disappointing that you as the editor did not pick up on these offensive undertones and hence comment.

  34. nurses1968

    Ella Miller
    Finally, someone who sees the real world and knows what the situation out there is
    It might help if started talking TO the people not at them or down to them and maybe even start to see the p.o.v from their perspective and drop the superiority crap

  35. Ella Miller

    Just for the record;
    coming from a working class background I did not see education was for me and still remember my high school maths teacher trying to teach a migrant who had no idea what horse racing was…the theory of probability. And when I demanded “I want to learn and it is your job to teach me” I was expelled from his class for a week
    I have been unemployed,
    worked picking fruit, vegetables etc.
    Educated myself and became a book keeper,
    raised 2 daughters as a single parent..one of whom is now a doctor.
    Further educated myself and became a teacher.
    So, I have real life experience in the meaning of wealth inequality , its affects in education, and the rest of life.

  36. corvus boreus

    Ella Miller,
    Over the last couple of millennia, countless people have been enveloped by plagues.
    They lived with it and died from it, but, until ‘germ-theory’ was developed and the practical implications broadly disseminated through societal education, they did not truly understand it.
    Personal experience is only one facet (albeit a very important one) of true understanding.

    Ps, perhaps if Bacchus had said ‘mis-educated’ rather than ‘less educated’ you might have taken less offense?

  37. Ella Miller

    Sorry effects , too eager to print.

  38. Michael Taylor

    Ella, I or any of the moderators did not find anything offensive.

  39. Ella Miller

    corvus boreus,

    I agree and see the value of “societal education”
    BUT
    this piece is about how to convince some one to vote in a way that they may not normally have voted? ….

    USING LANGUAGE…Orwellian… no?

    And it assumes that the ordinary person does not have enough brains to give themselves a head ache !

  40. Ella Miller

    Michael Taylor,
    as much I as love AMIN I am sad to hear that ….perhaps you need to look deeper at the assumptions that are at the heart of this pice and some of the comments.

  41. corvus boreus

    Ella Miller,
    Yes, changing people’s opinions through language is a theme in George Orwell’s writing, but there are many ‘techniques of public persuasion through manipulating the medium of words’ without descending into totalitarian Newspeak.

    Ps; point out where another poster has roundly accused ‘ordinary people’ of possessing sub-standard native intelligence (rather than merely commenting upon levels/quality of education/information) and I will chastise them.

  42. Michael Taylor

    Ella, is it because the term “less-educated” was used?

  43. Ella Miller

    corvus boreus,
    I must say I enjoy your comments, they are not offensive and I really have to think to reply to you…love it.

    “there are many techniques of public persuasion through manipulating using the medium of words”

    You have said it there ;
    “manipulating using the medium of words”
    We are given plenty of miss-information from our leaders…hence manipulating using the medium of words.
    So, once we start down that slippery slope ..what comes next?
    I am starting to believe we hear enough of Newspeak from our leaders and don’t need it from AMIN.

    As for understanding the effects of inequality;
    as a student wanting to be a teacher, I was taught about the effects, on the socially disadvantaged , of seating, questioning, praise etc… at a subliminal level. BUT till you are on the receiving end of such discrimination..can you really understand?
    But I digress.
    With regards to ‘any other poster’…no I can’t think of one.

  44. Ella Miller

    Michael Taylor,
    Thanks for asking.
    No …it was a response to the piece that has deeper implication.
    And I could not put it better than corvus borues “manipulating using the medium of words”
    But then giving it deeper thought ,
    Bacchus;
    I should have made my comments directly to the author…sorry.

  45. Kaye Lee

    Ella,

    I think many people are too busy just trying to survive to be bothered with listening to the lies our politicians speak. The economics of the household are far more pressing than analysing Morrison’s bullshit budgets.

    “you don’t need to explain to young adults that their fees will rise…..If they are able to use critical thinking then they can work it out for themselves.”

    In the case of my children, they don’t listen to the news and find politics boring until I make it personal for them. They should be doing that for themselves but aren’t quite there yet….but little by little I am getting them to realise they need to understand what is being done because it does affect them and they can have a voice.

    It is less a matter of formal education than a lack of interest. Learning is a lifetime pursuit. I never wrote about politics until faced with the spectre of Tony Abbott representing me on the world stage. ARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH

  46. corvus boreus

    Ella Miller,
    Thank you for the compliment.

    Unless we are preaching to the converted (and all too often even then), we tend to shape the language of our message in an attempt to influence the opinions of others.
    For me, a boundary is crossed in ‘linguistic manipulation’ when less accurate but more provocative terms are deliberately employed in place of more appropriate phraseology.
    For instance, when Abbott called a 10% reduction in military expenditure a ‘holocaust’ (literally ‘burn everything’, with acquired connotations of blood sacrifice and the attempted genocide of European Jews), he was deliberately using inaccurate and incendiary language to disrupt rational discussion.
    He should have called it a ‘decimation’ (literally a systematic excision of 10% of a defined population).

  47. Kaye Lee

    Not to mention apocalyptic death cult.

  48. Michael Taylor

    Ella, maybe you had a personal experience that made the comment offensive to you, and not others. It was much the same when Dutton made his recent remarks about 2nd and 3rd generation Lebanese. As a 2nd generation Lebanese I was offended. Many people weren’t, and some of those people could not relate to why I was offended.

    And apart from that, I’ve known Bacchus for over 10 years. He would never intend to offend anybody here unless they are an abusive ‘troll’, which clearly you are not.

  49. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Given the stated aims, methods and power structure of the daesh, I reckon Abbott’s choice of phrase for them, although a simplistic slogan repeated ad-nausea (he does tend to do that), really wasn’t too far off the mark.

  50. Ella Miller

    Kaye Lee,
    I must be getting very old, I forgot that young people are busy with their own life…having fun, friends etc.
    Parents pay fees so how else would they learn..if not taught ? So what I am saying is that I agree.

  51. Kaye Lee

    This parent doesn’t pay fees. My children are learning about debt from a young age 🙁

    I look back and think how lucky I was. No fees and even a scholarship to help survive my first foray into independence with a guaranteed job at the end.

  52. Ella Miller

    Michael Taylor,

    Yes, I guess I have experienced discrimination, …perhaps that is why I get protective of those who
    I see as being treated in similar ways…as a group or individuals.

  53. LOVO

    Off topic, sorry….but Happy Birthday Baccs, my son turned 18 on that day as well 😆
    …..and Migs, Baccs does do ‘offend’…he keeps pushin’ thems damned Blackberry Nip bottles in my direction, now thats offensive 😈
    (now I’ll get the “your an abusive troll” treatment and be banned….again 😉 )
    Sorry everyone…back to it..

  54. Roswell

    Is it Bacchus’s birthday? Gosh, he’s had a few. Quite a few.

  55. Kaye Lee

    Ahem…..I think 59 is a wonderful age to be! Certainly beats the alternative.

  56. Bacchus

    Sorry my words offended you Ella – that certainly wasn’t my intent! I still stand by what I said though, just perhaps not the clumsy way I said it. Different ways of communicating ideas ARE needed – as Kaye said, “We all learn differently, react to different stimuli, process things in different ways.”

    I’m not talking about Orwellian use of language to mislead people, rather using language in different ways that people who aren’t mathematically inclined can relate to. I’m not smart enough (or don’t have the skills) to frame inequality or other political concepts in a way that my daughter or my brother for example (who are both very bright, but don’t relate well to maths) can relate to.

    Victoria’s oxygen analogy made my eyes glaze over as well, but that’s because it doesn’t match my way of thinking. Comments from Jaquix and Jennifer, for example, indicate others here related well to it.

  57. Bacchus

    Not for a few more days yet Roswell – I’ve seen a few, but nowhere near as many as you have 😛

    Yes Kaye – 59 is a wonderful age, especially in my case where the kids have left the nest and return with wonderful bundles of fun to play with, taking those bundles with them when they leave!

    LOVO – still denying your love of the Blackberry Nip I see. How come they keep getting into the cellar then? I know I’m not bringing them, and Migs & Min have better taste than that. That just leaves you… 😉

  58. Ella Miller

    Bacchus, thank you.

    “Different ways of communicating are needed”
    I totally agree…and to me with the electorate fed up with empty words …the best form of communication is action.
    as i said here before:
    implement an ethical and just tax regime for one.
    I too wish I could use words in a clear and concise way…not to mention spell better.

    Just a thought ….I don’t know who said it but but the rough translation rings true,

    “give me nine lines of writing and I’ll hang anyone”…any ideas as to where it came from?

  59. Terry2

    Ella,

    Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642) is frequently quoted as saying :

    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honourable of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”

    Basically it is saying that language can be manipulated and even the most innocent of statements can be misconstrued and used against the speaker. Tony Abbott was a master at this during Julia Gillard’s prime ministership.

  60. Ella Miller

    Thank you Terry 2 I did not realise it was so appropriate. Must look him up.

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