BOB CARR SETS OFF POPULATION DEBATE
Bob Carr, Premier of New South Wales kicked off a debate about overpopulation and its adverse effects on the environment with an article in the Sydney Morning Herald (6/1/00). Carr pointed out, correctly, that the world's population reached 6 billion last year. In fact the world's population has doubled since 1960, and is projected to rise from somewhere between 7.3 and 10.7 billion by 2050.
India has already reached one billion and will soon overtake China. Infant mortality in India is 75 per 1000. Rising living standards and education are thought to slow down population growth but only 52% of India's population is literate.
Living standards in much of sub-Saharan Africa are going down.
Meanwhile problems with global warming, destruction of the ozone layer, desertification and other aspects of environmental degradation continue to worsen. Carr admits that advanced nations like the United States and Australia contribute to these problems more than Third World populations with their lower levels of resource use.
Carr's article spurred others to write on this topic, some in support and some in disagreement. Peter Cursor (SMH 7/1/00) claims that desertification in the Sahel has as much to do with climatic variability as anything else. In the same edition of SMH Bernard Lagan points out the most dire predictions of the Club of Rome, Paul Ehrlich and others have failed to materialise. He points out that world food production has outpaced growth, and food is now more abundant and affordable than ever. Lagan refers to Dr Bob Birrell who admits that countries like India and the Philippines will never reach the living and consumption levels of Australia. Birrell asks whether we have the right to stop masses of migrants from the Third World coming to enjoy our standard of living. He admits that even if we took in 500,000 a year it would be a negligible amount compared to world population growth and would destroy Australia's favourable population-to-resource ratio.
Ron Brunton of the Institute of Public Affairs contributed to the debate with an article in the SMH (20/1/00). He claims that in country after country the predicted human carrying capacity has been exceeded and in most cases the people are better off. In advanced countries the environment is also better. Brunton makes the dubious claim that in parts of Africa, rapid population growth had been a driving force for prosperity and environmental improvement. (It is probably more the case that prosperity in certain regions has attracted population.)
Francis Castles, a professor of political sciences at ANU contributed an article called Population Paradox (SMH). Castles believes that a declining fertility rate is a greater threat to Australia and the West than over population. He claims that with Australia's declining birth rate our population will fall to 3 million in about a century (presumably with no immigration). Our fertility rate is still above that of Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Japan and South Korea. Nevertheless he proposes a system of parental benefits to recompense for the costs of having children; similar benefits have been used by Scandinavian countries to raise their birth rates. As Castles says It will not help the Third World if advanced nations are panicked into population policies which undermine their own economic viability and political stability.
Acting Prime Minister John Anderson weighed into the debate, supporting higher immigration, apparently in the mistaken belief that it would help develop the our north (SMH 12/1/00).
Mike Archer of the Australian Museum tells us that Australia has the worlds highest percentage of endangered species (SMH 13/1/00). We have lost 49% of our original native forest and suffer $5 billion a year in land degradation costs. Archer points out that setting aside small reserves to protect endangered species is not sufficient even large areas can be wiped out by natural catastrophes. Archer makes a number of suggestions. These include reducing numbers of sheep and cattle, and utilising certain native animals as agricultural resources. He also sees a need to conserve our rural communities and wants to encourage ecotourism. Archer is supportive of the mining industry, which he says contributes 10% of our GDP but uses only 0.2% of our land area.
As can be seen, the issue of population drew a large number of responses and different points of view. The issue ended up a little inconclusive and no doubt more research needs to be done in relation to population matters and the carrying capacity of Australia. The matter of race hardly entered the debate; ignoring this factor may be politically correct but it is one of the more important things that should be considered.
As some of the writers pointed out, the most dire predictions have generally not come to be realised. Most western cities are not as polluted now, as they were two or three decades ago. Tree planting and re-vegetation have made many advanced countries greener places than they have been for years. Nevertheless, most still show signs of environmental degradation somewhere the salinisation of land in rural areas for example. Perhaps the most worrying are not the obvious physical problems but the social problems that have tended to escalate along with population. The gap between the wealthy and the not so wealthy that used to characterise undeveloped countries is coming to be the rule in developed nations. Chronic unemployment, drugs and violent crime that hardly existed forty years ago have become commonplace in Australia. It is not simply the size of our population that we should worry about but the quality.
One of the afflictions of what may be called the modern white man's burden is so-called multiculturalism. We are apparently supposed to celebrate all cultures except our own and that of our ancestors who built this country.
In early March, just a few days before this editorial was written in fact, a taxi driver was murdered by four young men in Granville, one of Sydney's predominantly migrant areas. The driver was Indian and the four arrested for the killing were Pacific Islanders, apparently Tongans. The crime could be called a multicultural event but no one seems to be celebrating. According to some (unconfirmed) stories about this killing, there was no theft involved but the victim was mutilated, including having his eyes gouged out. Once the arrest was made little was said about it in the media, something in stark contrast to any racist crime (that is one where the victim is non-white and the assailant white).
Another example of this multicultural hypocrisy is the protest against the Northern Territory's mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders and the fact that those jailed are almost invariably Aboriginal. Not so long ago four New Zealand youths were jailed for four weeks for calling a black man nigger. No hysteria from the elites about young people being jailed for a trivial, and basically political, offence. Similarly there was little concern shown when revisionist historian, Fred Tobin was jailed in Germany for what he had placed on the Internet. Apparently the race of those being convicted in the NT is of more importance than matters of justice.
Another hypocrisy about multiculturalism in Australia is one of its most basic tenets: Basically, multiculturalism is said to be about people integrating into Australian society but not assimilating. Migrants are supposed to be part of our society but still practice a separate culture. This is more than a bit silly. If one wants to practice a particular culture it makes sense to live where that culture predominates, not where it is in the minority. If people live in the same suburbs, work together and have their children educated at the same school, the chances are that assimilation will occur naturally and cultural differences will dissipate. Add to this the influence of television, the Internet and mass Coca-Cola culture and it looks even more likely that different ethnic cultures will tend to wane.
Cultural homogenisation is a world phenomenon as Western dominated media and globalisation spread their influence. Not that Anglo-Australians are immune from this; many of our youngsters are probably more conversant with the menu at McDonalds than with the history of their own country. Recently a schoolteacher had to give special lessons to his class so that they would know who the Queen is when she visits later in the year.
So what is left of multiculturalism apart from hypocrisy? We still have politicians trying to curry favour with various ethnic groups and we still have ethnic lobby groups asking for, and often getting, special favours. Nevertheless many of the ethnics are still not impressed. Pauline Hanson's One Nation polled better in many of the migrant suburbs than in the better-off metropolitan areas. The southern Europeans, for which multiculturalism was meant to appeal to in its earlier years, have been declining in numbers, at least partly because many of them are returning to their countries of origin.
Multiculturalism is not a success. To the extent it is paid for by the taxpayer the money could be better spent elsewhere and its effectiveness in capturing the ethnic vote is doubtful. It is about time the whole concept of multiculturalism was thrown on the scrap heap.
CHANGING ETHNIC MIX OF AUSTRALIA'S POPULATION
Charles Price, demographer and immigration consultant has made estimates of the different ethnic components (or ethnic strengths) in Australia and how they have changed over the last fifty years or so. He has based an article in People and Place on these estimates. The ethnic strength is based on the number (or proportion) of a particular ethnic group in Australia after averaging out for inter-marriage. In other words it is the proportion that an ethnic group would be if there had been no ethnic (or racial )mixing.
According to price there has been a lot of ethnic mixing and in fact the largest growing group in Australia are those of mixed descent. Price estimates that 60% of the population are ethnically mixed, while 20% have four or more different ancestries. (Remember however that much of this mixing is between groups that are already pretty much alike e.g. English and Scotch).
Price has lumped the ethnic components into broader groups. His estimates of the broader groups and the major ethnic strengths within each group (as per June 1999) are as follows:
Ethnic Grouping Number Percentage
Anglo-Celtic 13,262,310 69.88
English ( 8,277,310) (43.61)
Irish ( 2,292,400) (12.08)
Scottish (2,165,100) (11.41)
North West European 1,306,950 6.88
Netherlander (258,610) (1.36)
German (670,000) (3.53)
Southern European 1,320,620 6.96
Greek (345,000) (1.82)
Italian (644,970) (3.40)
East European 827,180 4.36
Polish (168,300) (0.88)
Croat (160,000) (0.84)
Macedonian ( 98,000) (0.52)
Jewish 126,000 0.66
West Asian (Middle East) 466,270 2.46
Lebanese (270,670) (1.43)
Turkish (47,000) (0.25)
South Asian 249,400 1.31
Indian (126,000) (0.66)
Sinhalese ( 53,000) (0.28)
South East Asian 481,300 2.54
Filipino (145,600) (0.77)
Vietnamese (176,000) (0.93)
North East Asia 516,800 2.72
Chinese (438,500) (2.31)
Korean ( 43,000) (0.23)
Pacific 101,200 0.53
Maori (35,000) (0.18)
African 25,000 0.13
Price has also given estimates of the changes that have occurred recently and are expected to occur in the next century. For instance the Anglo-Celtic component was 89.82% in 1947 but is expected to fall to 62.24% in 2025. It would probably be lower if it were not for an influx on New Zealanders of Scottish and English descent. The Southern European component was only 1.5% in 1947 and rose to 8.06% in 1978. This group has been declining proportionately and is expected to fall to 5.66% of the population in 2025. Meanwhile the Asian groups have been growing from fairly insignificant proportions fifty years ago to notably significant proportions today. This trend is expected to continue. Price estimates that by 2025 West Asians will grow to 4.85% of the population, South Asians to 2.14%, South East Asians to 5.48% and North East Asians 6.62%. These are significant changes and Price's estimates are probably on the conservative side.
Source: Australian Population: Ethnic Origin in PEOPLE and PLACE Vol.7 No.4 1999
LOST CIVILISATIONS OF THE STONE AGE by Richard Rudgley, Century, London, 1998 (ISBN 0 7126 77585)
Richard Rudgley argues that our ancestors living in the stone ages were not primitive cavemen. They were in fact much more advanced than has generally been thought. In fact these people practised basic technological, industrial and even medical activities even as far back as the early Neolithic or even the Palaeolithic Age,
For instance it has been generally accepted that writing originated in the Middle East and was developed by the ancient Sumerians about 3,000 BC. The earliest texts were found in the remains of the city of Uruk in what is now Iraq. The complexity of the script used makes it highly likely that it evolved over the eons rather than having been simply invented on the spot.
It has been suggested that the ancient Sumerian script developed somehow from an ancient form of accounting. It appears that over much of the ancient Middle East clay tokens of various shapes were used in some sort of accounting system. Thousands of these tokens have been found, some dating back to 8,000 BC. The exact relationship between the tokens and Sumerian writing, however is still a matter of conjecture.
Nevertheless there is evidence of a more ancient writing found in Europe. Artifacts dug up in Transylvania and Bulgaria show markings that appear to be some sort of writing. The artifacts are about six or seven thousand years old and hence are more ancient than the Sumerian script. The old European script seems to have lasted until around 3,500 BC when the Aryan (or Indo-European) hordes invaded. There are however similarities between the old European script and the Linear A script of ancient Crete. Unfortunately no one has yet deciphered either script.
Could there be an even older form of writing? Abstract markings on the walls of caves and artwork dating from the Ice Age show similarities with some of the characters used in ancient written languages from the Mediterranean to China. Even ancient swastikas have been found and a few of the other characters are uncannily like the letters we use in modern writing.
Needless to say the idea of writing having its origins in the Palaeolithic Age is highly controversial and has not been accepted by most authorities. Nevertheless there is plenty of other evidence to show that the people of the stone ages were more able and sophisticated than has generally been accepted. At a site in Russia an intricately carved figurine of a mammoth, one four hundredth the size of the real animal was found. Spear throwers used by Stone Age Europeans (similar in purpose the Aborigines woomera) were found that have incredibly fine carvings of animals. Remember that these were done without the use of metal tools.
Pottery was, until recently, thought to have originated in the Neolithic period but earlier examples found in Siberia and Japan date back 13,000 years ago. Ceramic technology appeared in Moravia in Europe as far back as 25,000 years ago.
Underground mining would seem to require fairly sophisticated technology. Nevertheless Neolithic people developed a flint mine at Grimes Graves in England around 1,800 BC. There was an even earlier example of underground mining in Egypt dating from about 30,000 years ago. Aboveground quarrying goes back 40 to 50 thousand years ago.
Dentistry and surgery, believe it or not, date back to the Neolithic. A Neolithic skull found in Denmark had one of its teeth neatly drilled with a round conical hole. Another skull found at the site showed evidence of trepanation. This involved the removal of part of the skull without damaging blood vessels, membranes or the actual brain. This operation is still used in Africa today.
Incidentally, drugs that would act as an anaesthetic were used in the Neolithic. Alcohol was being made as far back as 3,500 BC. Opium poppy was being grown in the western Mediterranean from about 6,000 BC. Cannabis was used by people in central Asia in the third millennium BC.
The evidence presented in Rudgley's book shows that the people of prehistoric Europe were not as backward as once thought. In fact many of the ideas and inventions that eventually led on to modern civilisation did not start in the so-called cradles of civilisation in the Middle East, the Indus Valley or China, but actually came from Europe.
MASTER RACE : The Lebensborn Experiment in Nazi Germany by Catherine Clay and Michael Leapman, Hodder and Stoughton, London 1996 (Price $16.95)
Master Race deals with the Nazi, and particularly, Heinrich Himmlers, program to populate Germany with the right racial stock, those that conformed to the Aryan ideal.
During the Nazi regime, male members of the SS were encouraged to father children to women considered of good Aryan background, whether they were married to them or not. Crucial to the program were the Lebensborn homes where the pregnant women would give birth to their babies. The homes also acted as orphanages for children not adopted out. The homes were generally in rural areas and do not appear to have been badly run. Infant mortality among children born in the homes was significantly lower than in the rest of Germany. In fact many Nazis sent their wives to the homes to have their babies.
Lebensborn homes were not restricted to Germany. The Nazis established similar homes in Austria, Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. Nine more homes were established in Norway. Between 1936 and the end of the war, thousands of children were born in these homes.
When Himmler toured Poland, just after it had been invaded, he was surprised by the number of fair-headed children. Many had the features typical of the Aryan ideal. Himmler hit upon a scheme of taking children of suitable appearance from orphanages (or their families) and Germanising them so that they could be assimilated into the German nation. This stolen generation of Polish children may have numbered as many as 200,000 children. They were separated from their parents; the older ones put into boarding schools, the younger ones adopted out to German families. Many were never to see their natural parents again, and many, no doubt, grew up believing they were German. Surprisingly, some of those adopted out developed a strong attachment to the German families who adopted them. Even after being returned to their natural parents after the war, some kept contact with their German adopters.
Despite the appeal of the blond Polish children, the nationality considered to be of the finest Nordic type was the Norwegians. Almost as soon as the Germans invaded Norway their soldiers were being encouraged to form relationships with young Norwegian maids. These liaisons resulted in thousands (at least 12,000 according to one estimate) of German-fathered children being born in Norway during the war. In addition thousands of Norwegian women went to Germany to have their children. Some mothers kept their children, others had them adopted out to Norwegian or German families. In some cases the mother married the father of the child. As with some of the Polish adoptees, many of these children grew up thinking they were German and knowing nothing of their natural parents. The children who grew up in Norway after the war often had a hard time. As a reminder of the occupation they often faced abuse and ostracism. Some are still trying to track down their fathers.
After the war some of the members of the Lebensborn organisation were put on trial. A number were found guilty of being SS members but only a few were convicted of more serious offences. Compared to other members of the Nazi regime, those running the Lebensborn homes seem to have been treated leniently.
Nevertheless there was a lot of hypocrisy involved in putting these people on trial in the first place. During the war, countless thousands of German children were killed in Allied bombing raids. More children died during the expulsion of German-speaking people from Eastern Europe. During the post-war Allied Occupation German people were deliberately denied sufficient food; how many children died as a result is a matter of conjecture but the infant mortality rate in the worst affected areas came close to 100%. The authors of Master Race, Clay and Leapman, seem happy to ignore these matters.
They have not ignored the fact that eugenics still has its supporters. Eugenics for those not familiar with the term is pretty well what Himmler was attempting with the Lebensborn scheme. Basically it attempts to have those with desirable traits, such as intelligence, produce the most children, while reducing the fertility of those with less of the desirable traits. The idea goes back well before the Nazi period and in fact the Eugenics Society was founded in London in 1907. After the Nazi experiments in eugenics (which also included the killing of the insane and the feeble-minded) the term itself was generally dropped.
To Clay and Leapman's disgust, the idea that intelligence is largely inherited and that average intelligence varies between racial groups is still alive. They refer to the work of people like the late Hans Eysenck, Charles Murray and Philippe Rushton. While its true that the ideas of these men are controversial they have not been disproved. In fact, most research supports their findings.
Something that Clay and Leapman ignore is the dysgenic situation that has arisen, at least in part due to the welfare state. The least capable tend to have the most children and receive the most family support. This is the opposite of what a eugenics program would aim at and does not bode well for the future.
Clay and Leapman have ideas on race and inheritability that are politically correct but which fly in the face of evidence. Nevertheless they have written a highly informative and interesting book.
CONSILIENCE : The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson, Little, Brown and Company, London 1998 (Price $24.95)
If one believes all the stereotypes about Americas Deep South with stories about Klansmen and burning crosses one might expect that a graduate of the University of Alabama would rate low on the political correctness scale. Edward Wilson has said many controversial things in his life but it appears that he has never donned the white hood of the KKK.
Wilson entered the University of Alabama in 1947 to further his knowledge of the natural world. He had a particular interest in entomology and in 1971 his book on this subject, The Insect Societies was published. His thoughts on the relationship between biology, especially genetics and social behaviour led him to create the subject of sociobiology. His controversial book on the subject, Sociobiology: the New Synthesis came out in 1975. Both the subject and the book have created a lot of heated discussion.
Nevertheless, Wilson has continued with his original and controversial ideas. In Consilience he puts forward the idea of a basic unity of knowledge. This involves the linking of facts and fact-based theories across various disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation. Barriers between different physical, biological and social sciences, as well as between the sciences and the humanities hence appear superficial and unnecessary. Ways of learning in one field can be applied equally as well in another. Reductionism, or breaking down something complex into its smaller elements helps us understand complex physical phenomena. Can reductionism be applied to all sciences and the humanities? Can a small number of fundamental natural laws underlie our understanding of every branch of learning?
What of the mind? Wilson devotes a complete chapter to the human mind. Consilience relies on the hypothesis that mental processes have a physical grounding and can be understood using the natural sciences. Wilson, like most modern thinkers sees no dichotomy between mind and brain; they are one and the same. The concept of mind is no longer just the realm of philosophers but biologists and physiologists. Cognitive neuroscience represents the alliance of the two and discourse on the mind involves the language of nerve cells, neurotransmitters, hormone surges and neutral networks.
Nevertheless Wilson claims that much of social science falls back on folk psychology and the residue of historical precedent. They rely on the paradigms set by theorists like Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Franz Boas, and Sigmund Freud, rather than taking on board developments in biology and psychology.
On the other hand there are social sciences like econometrics and biopsychology (a term not used by Wilson) that do show a convergence of once separate fields of learning.
Parts of the book appear contradictory, especially in the chapter From Genes to Culture. On page 139 Wilson writes that Culture is created by the communal mind, and each mind in turn is the product of the genetically structured human brain. Genes and culture are therefore inseverably linked. On the next page he continues the human species has evolved genetically by natural selection in behavior, just as it has in the anatomy and physiology of the brain. He seems to be confident of a relationship between genes and culture and gives a number of references to back this up. On page 157 of the same chapter however we read Nurturists and hereditarians generally agree that almost all the differences between cultures are likely to be the product of history and the environment. While individuals within a particular society vary greatly in behavioral genes, the differences mostly wash out statistically between societies. The culture of the Kalahari hunter-gatherers is very distinct from that of Parisians, but the differences between them are primarily a result of divergence in history and environment, and are not genetic in origin. How Wilson equates this with his previous words on gene-culture coevolution is beyond me. To make it worse he gives no references to back up the latter assertion. One is inclined to think that Wilson started in the right direction but made a rapid about turn when he saw these ideas heading in the direction of political incorrectness on racial matters.
Wilson again touches on race later in the book. With rapid growth in the developing countries there is a shift in the relative frequencies of racial traits such as skin colour and hair type. Wilson could have been more blunt and stated simply that whites are becoming a much smaller proportion of the worlds population while non-whites are becoming a larger proportion. Wilson states on page 303 That amount of change is having an effect on the frequencies of previously existing genes, but none of the traits involved, so far as we know, have world-shaping consequence. None affect intellectual capacity or the fundamentals of human nature.
Wilson again seems to have chosen political correctness over scientific correctness. There is in fact evidence that brain size and intellectual capacity are largely genetically determined and vary between racial groups. Those races with smaller brains also have the highest birth rates while the more intellectually gifted races have close to zero-population growth.
Going further into racial matters Wilson claims that the human race is becoming homogenised. This is due to porous national borders and international migration. He ignores the fact that most migration is into white western countries. Many east Asian countries are virtually closed to immigrants while others resorted to ethnic cleansing during the economic crisis of recent years. Black African countries tend not to draw large numbers of migrants, some have resorted to expelling Asian and other minorities, and the high birth rates of black Africans will counter-act the limited amount of race mixing that occurs in those countries. Whites are losing out due to migration and race mixing.
As to Wilson's broader argument; that regardless of the question there is intrinsically only one class of explanation. One can see some degree of consilience already occurring in regard to the mixture of biology and psychology in explaining human behaviour, but will we ever see the same occur in the fields of learning concerned with ethics, arts and religion? Much of Wilsons ideas seem to be still in the realm of metaphysics rather than practical research techniques. His ideas are interesting nevertheless and the book makes demanding reading. His inclinations to political correctness about race are a minor distraction although one is tempted to suggest that he should have spent a little less time in his youth chasing insects and a little more time wearing a white sheet and burning crosses.
VICTORIA POLICE CORRUPTION by Raymond Hoser, Kotabi Publishing, Doncaster 1999 (Price $30.00 plus $5.00 postage)
Back in 1978 Mick Skrijel, a professional fisherman stumbled upon a heroin smuggling operation. He contacted the police but no effective action was taken. Why? Because the police were heavily involved in the smuggling operation themselves. This is only one of many cases of police corruption dealt with in Raymond Hosers book.
Another case is that of the Maryborough rapes. The rapists in this case were the local police. Complaints by the women got nowhere; in fact in one case the complaint was leaked back to the culprit. The victim was subject to police harassment, which culminated in a trumped up assault charge. It could have been worse, one of the rape victims was murdered and another died in suspicious circumstances.
Needless to say crook cops could not operate without the connivance of corrupt judges and bureaucrats.
Hoser also deals with the notorious police shootings in Victoria. There are more than twice as many people shot by police in Victoria as are shot by police in the more populous New South Wales. Some of these shootings are extraordinary. One victim was on the toilet when police burst in and shot him, another had just crawled naked out of bed when he was shot. One victim was driving his car down a suburban road when police shot and killed him. More often than not the police were cleared of illegal killing.
Hosers book is quite lengthy and only one of a number written by him on corruption. It would seem that Victoria is overdue for a Royal Commission into corruption similar to those set up in Queensland and NSW. Unfortunately Hoser has at times had trouble distributing his books. If you want a copy of Victoria Police Corruption or any of his other books on corruption and cannot obtain it locally you can write to:
Kotabi Publishing, PO Box 599, DONCASTER, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA 3108.
AUSTRALIA IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION
After struggling for years, Australia, already in recession, was hit by the Great Depression in 1929. The depression was worldwide but countries like Australia that were heavily reliant on primary exports were the worst affected. The depression hit home as international trade contracted. The problems were exacerbated by our large foreign debt and the need to maintain or increase our export earnings so as to service this debt. Needless to say, inflow of capital slowed considerably. In fact it actually ceased for a few years in the early thirties. Australias terms of trade declined, as did our income. Prices for exports fell. For instance the price of wool fell 49% between 1929 and 1932. Imports tended to fall and, as in the 1890s, the balance of visible trade (i.e. goods and services) tended to be in our favour for most of the thirties. Unfortunately interest and dividends sent overseas tended to throw our current account balance into deficit more often than not. The number of people out of work doubled and then doubled again. Unemployment peaked during 1931-32 with 560,000 out of work. Domestic prices and wages tended to fall and wages did not rise significantly until the Second World War.
Population still increased but at a slower rate. The birth rate fell and immigration almost ceased. In fact during the years 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1935 there were actually more migrants leaving Australia than were entering. From 1921 to 1930 our population grew by 1,089,454 of which almost 28% was due to immigration. From 1931 to 1940 our population increased by only 576,835, of which 5.2% was due to immigration.
The lot of the unemployed was not good. Charities were overwhelmed by demand. The limited amount of government relief was provided by the states although the federal government did make grants to the states. Nevertheless the states still had to increase the tax base to pay for relief works, and for rations or sustenance payments to those who could not join the work gangs.
Surprisingly the government exhorted farmers to produce more. This they did but the extra produce seems only to have depressed prices. Most countries were now taking less of our exports, although for a short time Japan and China actually took more. Fortunately, Britain was still taking a large proportion of our produce and in fact their demand for our butter and wheat actually rose. Partly this was due to subsidies for butter exports and to the devaluation of the Australian pound. Meanwhile the federal government sought to restrict imports by embargoes, quotas and a rise in tariffs. Imports, including those from Britain declined. Proportionately, imports from the United States declined the most, while Japan actually increased its share for a while.
Various plans were put forward to improve the situation. The bank of England sent Sir Otto Niemeyer to Australia in July 1930. He recommended balanced budgets, slashing expenditure, dismantling of tariffs, and the satisfaction of debt. His recommendations seemed to be more concerned with the welfare of our overseas creditors than with the welfare of Australia.
Reactions to Niemeyers plan ranged from cautious support to outright hostility. In June 1931 the Premiers Plan was agreed to by all states except NSW. The plan included a 20% reduction in government expenditure, increases in taxes and duties, and a cut in the interest rate paid to Australians. Mortgage rates were also to come down. These were a mix of deflationary and reflationary policies.
J.T. Lang, Premier of NSW, had his own plan which included withholding interest payments on loans to British bond-holders, reducing interest on loans from Australian creditors, and abandoning the gold standard. Other premiers were afraid that if they defaulted on interest payments they would be unable to take out loans in the future. As it turned out, when their loans came up for renewal the new loans were at a lower rate of interest, and completely new loans were not floated off-shore during the 1930s. In light of this, it probably would not have mattered much if the states had defaulted on loan interest payments.
Meanwhile the Governor of NSW dismissed Lang from office in May 1932.
Recovery from depression was slow and painful. Things tended to improve after 1932 but even as late as 1937-38 the unemployment rate was 9% and actually rose to 9.5% the year after. Nevertheless per capita National Income began rising from 1933-34. Little capital flowed in from overseas; the amount that did enter in the 1930s was a quarter of the amount that came in during the 1920s. With low or negative immigration and low birth rates the population grew at less than 1% per annum throughout the decade.
Under the Ottawa Agreement of 1932, preference in trade was given to countries within the British Empire. Britain took a larger proportion of our exports, generally over 50% for most of the 1930s. Other important trading partners were the USA, Canada and Japan, although Japans demand for our exports declined from the middle of the decade. The Japanese showed an early interest in developing our iron ore deposits and in 1936 the Nippon Mining Company made its initial investment in iron ore at Yampi Sound. Two years later it was reported that more Japanese companys intended investing in Yampi Sound and Cape York. Fearing that this would lead to the Japanese taking over most of our northern coastline the government placed an embargo on exports of iron ore. The embargo was not lifted until 1960.
Meanwhile Holden had been taken over by General Motors in 1931 and Australian Iron and Steel was taken over by BHP in 1935. Low interest rates had allowed firms that survived the depression to Buy out less successful rivals. Low rates also helped firms renovate or enlarge their plant.
In 1939 World War II broke out and Australia went to the assistance of Britain. By the second year of the war, one in eight working Australian males was in a military uniform. Unfortunately, even as late as 1940-41 the unemployment rate was still around 5%. The Great depression was over but boom times had not yet arrived.
Source: AUSTRALIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY in the Twentieth Century by Barrie Dyster and David Meredith, Cambridge University Press 1990
RACE AND SCIENCE
How scientific is the concept of race? We have been told by experts that race is purely a social construct and has no scientific basis. At the best, so they claim, racial differences are only skin deep.
According to Glayde Whitney, an American professor of psychology, race is a very real fact and scientific evidence supports this.
Part of the Human genome Project has been the establishment of a genetic linkage map. Landmarks or DNA markers have been determined at intervals along the entire genome. The markers are used in the forensic technique known as DNA finger printing. This technique can identify an individual with a high level of accuracy even from a microscopic sample. These markers can also be used to determine a persons ethnic background with virtually 100% accuracy.
Genetic markers can even reveal or confirm ancient racial ancestry. The Bantu-speaking Lemba people of South Africa have and oral tradition maintaining that they are of Semitic (Jewish or Moslem) ancestry. Researchers found that Lemba men do indeed have genetic markers not found in other Bantu but common among Semites.
Genetic markers can be used to identify both diversity and convergent relationships. For instance genetic comparisons will show some differences between Germans and Italians but a clustering which identifies both as Europeans. Hence by using DNA techniques we could differentiate between North-East Asians and Europeans. Similarly we could differentiate African blacks from Pacific blacks (such as Melanesians). Remember that all this information can be obtained from tiny specks of blood. The argument that race is purely a social construct appears totally fallacious.
Professor Whitney also demolishes the claims rising from the genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees. Scientists have found that about 99% of human genetic material is the same as that of chimpanzees. Egalitarians claim that if only 1% of our genes are different to chimps then the differences between human races must be insignificant. This ignores the fact that small differences can matter tremendously. Much of our DNA relates to that part of our physiology that we share with all mammals. Furthermore it appears that sex is determined by one gene; a regulatory gene that determines whether the individual will be a male or not. Hence sharing large parts of the human genome with another primate hardly disproves the importance of race. In fact science appears to be pushing politically correct ideas of race aside.
Source: Diversity in the Human Genome in THE REAL AMERICAN DILEMMA, New Century Books 1998
Scientists who dig up the bones of ancient people often find bones of animals nearby. The animal bones often have butchering marks where meat was torn off to be eaten. Recently in France bones of Neanderthals with similar butchering marks have been uncovered. This has been taken as evidence that Neanderthals sometimes resorted to eating other members of their own race.
Source: Discover December 1999