Episode 57 – 29th October 2010

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Industrial Relations (1:42) by Drew Rae
Animal Testing (7:02) by Dean Burnett
Data Retention (17:09) by James Firth
Catholic School Selection (22:25) by Salim Fadhley (ft James Gray)
Journalism Shortcuts (30:28) by Marsh
Kat Akingbade at QED (36:53) by Jon Treadway

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9 thoughts on “Episode 57 – 29th October 2010

  1. What a brilliant podcast. Especially loved the torfu-based gluten-free horse and other very funy segments but the blend of humour and serious issues. Never knew about data storage by governments. How freaky, guess we’re all crims and terrorists now so better treat us like so…

  2. Thank you so much for the animal testing part, loved it! Trying to figure out how to make a compelling link to it on Twitter so any rabid animal rights activists who happen to follow me would get the f-you message… :)

  3. Regarding industrial relations; I feel that generally the liberal position to take on industrial disputes is that in favour of the unions (unless they are being wildly and self-evidently unreasonable) – simply because they represent a nexus of political power outside that of the government and corporations which I think most of us view as being too powerful.

    This is not to say I wouldn’t evaluate each industrial action on a case-by-case basis, but simply that I am generally biased towards power being exercised by those who generally have least of it, as a matter of public safety.

  4. Pete,
    That’s an interesting position. It reminds me of a Philosophy Bites podcast on inequality, where the point was made that inequality should not be treated as an evil in itself, but as a critereon for allocation of resource: those with the least should get first claim.

    Here, it seems as if you say that those with the least power should have first claim on “benefit of the doubt”. I guess I’m wary because there have been cases where unions have represented their members rather than workers in an industry more generally. This doesn’t contradict your principle, just questions whether the union is always the party with “least power”.

    In Australia, our worst industrial relations fights have occured at the waterfront and the power plants. In both cases, the issues were compounded by “closed shops” – the unions were protecting _their_ workers; and unions fighting to protect inefficiency. No one had clean hands of course.

  5. Well, you just kind of proved my point, because you agreed except for specific cases – you sound like you would give them the benefit of the doubt but didn’t when you learned more information about particular disputes.

    As for closed shops, an advocate would argue that they give unions more leverage, but they do start to weaken the position of unions claiming to stand up for workers if they actually act against workers who don’t align with them.

  6. Pete, I guess that’s one area where my doubt comes in. If I had the same information on the other cases, would my opinions swing the same way? Hence, I don’t trust my emotional instincts on this one. Anyway, you’re right that I instinctively do agree with the principle, even though I never thought to articulate it like that.

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