Thursday, 21 February 2008

A long long day

I spent today in Sydney. While this is something I generally try to avoid, it was for work and hence compulsory. Or something.

Got up at 5.30 this morning for a 7.30 flight. First meeting in Sydney at 10, which we only just make due to extended waits on the tarmac (at both ends) and a mile-long queue for taxis prompting us to catch the train from the airport.

Not a great deal was achieved in the morning, although there was a nice lunch at The Rocks, up close and personal with the Bridge and the Opera House.

The afternoon brought the real purpose of the expedition; a mini-conference (pretentiously referred to as a "Knowledge Fair") with a few different topical presentations to choose from.

I decided the one I'd chosen a few weeks ago looked boring, so went instead to one about climate change. Or more particularly, the opportunities that emissions trading schemes will offer the financial services industry.

K-Rudd has said Australia will have an emissions trading scheme in place by 2010, which will have a huge impact on the way heavily-emitting companies operate (in Australia, that's primarily the mining and coal power industries). Like any other commodity, carbon credits will fluctuate in value as they are traded between
(a)those that can cheaply cut their emissions and
(b)those that can't.

It'll be a complex and dynamic market, and buy/sell/hold decisions will be best left to the experts.

This'll all become second nature to us soon. In three years' time, the value of a carbon credit will be reported at the end of the news alongside the Aussie dollar and the price of a barrel of oil.

Anyway, this was followed by a plenary session about different attitudes to risk in different demographic segments, and how this affects the insurance market.

Much of it was yawnworthy, but I was interested by the observation that Generation Y, often accused of being blasé about risk, are in fact more aware of risk than any other generation. It was pointed out that Gen Y have lived with a war- and terrorism-laden worldview for most of their lives, have pretty much resigned themselves to never owning their own home, and place a low value on everything except their social network. The upshot is that transience is seen as the normal state of being, and there's just no value in traditional risk-avoidance strategies like insurance.

Sounds plausible. But Corey Worthington's still a dickhead.

At this point we left to get the plane home, which was again delayed on the tarmac for no apparent reason. What's up with QANTAS today? Drip trays giving them trouble again?

Arrived home just after 9. A long long day.


Spoon said...

What Gen are we? From everything I've read we're too young for X and too old for Y. Is there something between? I've tried to look it up on wiki, but even it isn't all that clear. I have noticed in the business mags and newpapers that our management buy for us in our "cafe area" at work (My management are very close minded, and believe whole heartedly that the things they like are the things that everyone likes, and so we have "Boss" magazine to read in our break room) that there is a lot of talk of Generation Y, a lot of analysis done over "how they work" and their attitudes towards stuff. But very few of these articles actually define that generation. It seems like a more validated way of saying "anyone younger than us" or, more to the point "kids of today". If you say "kids of today have pretty much resigned themselves to never owning their own home, and place a low value on everything except their social network" it sounds curmudgeony, but if you say "Generation Y have pretty much resigned themselves to never owning their own home, and place a low value on everything except their social network" it sounds like a study.

And I suspect you're right about the Carbon Credits reporting, although I'm not sold on the idea in general. It smacks too much of those who are too lazy to actually fix a problem buying their way out of a guilt trip. "I could change the way I do things which might be hugely risky given how much the status quo is making me money (and being a human I am incredibly resistant to change) OR I could just buy some carbon credits, and make myself feel like I'm making a difference."

Matt said...

Carbon credits are a bit like that at the moment, but in 2010 they'll be operating in Australia as a cap-and-trade system. What'll happen is a certain capped number of carbon credits will be allocated to companies, and that'll be it. If they want to emit more than their credits let them, then they need to buy credits off someone else, thereby reducing their capacity to emit.

The idea is that if it's run properly (and that's a big if right there) then we'll know in advance just how much carbon we're going to be putting into the atmosphere. And the trading of credits will mean that the carbon reductions will be made by those who can most easily afford it.

On Gen Y, the speaker defined them as those born between 1980 and 1995, although I'm not sure that's universally accepted.
I'm also not sure I agree with the observation at all. I think you're right. There does seem to be a large element of "tsk tsk . . . kids of today" in any observations about Gen Y. It's important to note that Corey Worthington is not typical.

Spoon said...

it's no fun if you just agree with me.

Budge said...

nobody knows what the hell gen x and gen y are... except maybe paul. essentially if you liked or didn't like that ethan hawke winona dancing in a shop movie, you're gen x. or gen y. or you possess a dvd player.

ah winona...

Matt said...

I like to think I'm Gen X.
But for me it's all about the pretentious eye-rolling and subtle mocking of baby boomers.
I don't actually like that movie.

Spoon said...

Reality Bites had its moments. (well actually only one that I can think of.) But overall no I didn't like it.

And yeah, that was really when everyone heard of Gen X, wasn't it? I think the term got coined long before that, but I think that's exactly what everyone thinks of.

I found this, which is basically a bunch of other people doing what we're doing.

My favourite bit is someone saying "My mother was born in `61, I was born in `81. I think the fact that I'm a member of the same generation as my mother actually did give us a bit more of a connection."

Is it actually possible to be in the same generation as your parent?

Matt said...

I don't think so. Statements like that kind of go against the spirit of the whole thing.
In fact, that's probably why the boundaries are flexible, to keep such people separate. I'd say she and her mother were in Gen Y and Gen X respectively.
Not that that particularly means anything.
But then again, nothing means anything.

Yep, I'm definitely Gen X.