December 10, 2003 | Graham

Bragging Rights

A friend of mine thinks that authors can earn “sweat equity” in this site (the National Forum one) by giving them bragging rights. I’m still working that one out, as probably are you, but for different reasons. I am wondering about the mechanics, and you are probably wondering about the National Forum site, because there is precious little to see. I think we will both have to have patience.
Still, I have a couple of things to brag about. Recently I suggested that the government look at the economics of providing more childcare places. That they might be an investment from which they could save more than they spend, as they do with private school funding.
I’ve also been suggesting that the Reserve Bank had no reason to raise interest rates if the purpose was to kill the housing boom because the boom would fold under its own weight. Lo and behold, last weekend the newspapers were full of reports that house sales had slowed and prices dropped. The Reserve will have you believe that this is because they have put rates up half a percent (at the same time as they say it is to stop inflation occurring elsewhere in the economy and nothing to do with housing). That is nonsense. There is too much housing supply in some areas, and reality is catching up with demand quite independently of the RBA.
Bragging rights also sent me scuttling in search of Melvyn Bragg, for associative reasons only. His recent book The Adventure of English predicts a future for English like the past of Latin, amongst other things. The search fortuitously also turned up this article from the New Zealand Herald about Daniel Barenboim’s Western-Eastern Divan Orchestra. This is an orchestra composed half of Israelis and half of Arabs, formed specifically for a polemical as well as musical purpose. Barenboim believes an orchestra is a “symbol of democracy”. “Music says everything about unity and harmony. The musicians in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra work together toward a common goal. That in itself is a revolutionary concept, considering where they come from.”
So, if the US really wants to provide a model of democracy in the Middle East, perhaps they should make music not war. Perhaps. Recently in Iraq we have little to brag about and we need to change that soon.

Posted by Graham at 11:04 pm | Comments Off on Bragging Rights |
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