Monday, 15 April 2013

The law of unintended consequences...

Wikipedia defines the law, popularised by American sociologist Merton as follows:
that an intervention in a complex system tends to create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes..(here)
This is being seen in Australia.  Deutsche Bank's efforts to assist Sri Lankans affected by the 2004 Tsunami have resulted in firm-branded boats entering Australian waters carrying the 'Lankans seeking refugee status (only for the boat and occupants to be detained upon reaching Australia) (here).  Similarly and more expectedly, the boom in commodities and in particular the labour costs for Ozzie workers and new infrastructure costs are crippling big Ozzie projects, including the offshore Browse LNG field:

....Yet mothballing four years of work implies Australia has become too expensive a destination for big greenfield development. The industry will be watching what happens next with interest because many of the biggest projects are almost as costly. ...Analysts previously estimated that floating LNG could take $9bn off the $40bn-plus cost of Browse. Nice.. (here)

Unprofitable projects means asset sales:

...THE list of assets Rio Tinto is seeking to sell keeps getting longer. So does the list of banks getting a slice of Rio Tinto's business....Investment banks ranging from the best-known names on Wall Street to small Australian boutiques are on the roster as Rio Tinto, under new leadership, embarks on a program to sell off assets. (here).
and declining industries:
...Contraction of the industry has been blamed on the strength of the Australian dollar and fierce competition from overseas rivals who enjoy lower costs on wages, power and raw materials. Some manufacturers have called for industry to get access to cheap gas by government decree, but large resources companies such as Santos and BHP have fought such a market intervention....Mr Nasser said as recently as two years ago he was confident the car industry could survive in Australia, but had become more pessimistic since then. (here)

No comments:

Post a Comment