Commentary | Kreitner’s reading coloured by emotion

Re: “Racist immigration policy must change” | Editorial | November 2

I wonder whether anyone at The Daily can explain why the hell their newspaper is reciting the recycled talking points from an economic theory which happened to be almost universally discredited before my mother entered grade six.

Your recent editorial recited the standard diatribe faithfully: “It’s no accident that once-colonized countries have weak economies today. The economic status of the countries in the Global South is the result of centuries of colonial violence and exploitation that continue today.”

It’s no accident you used the noncommittal vocabulary you did, curiously neglecting to declare exactly how colonialism led to the present situation. No one still believes “dependency theory” accounts for discrepancies in economic development across the geographical spectrum, mostly due to East Asia’s astounding economic success in recent decades. Had you attempted to plunge into the depths of the literature looking for an answer, you would have floated to the surface sooner or later, panting for fresh air. Why even bother?
You probably expected readers not to really trouble you about it. Nothing wrong with a little moral absolution with your morning coffee.

The same day, Niko Block happened to gloss over a perhaps inconsequential fact regarding a boatload of Tamils sitting in a small Indonesian port (“Sri Lankan Tamils file for refugee status,” News, November 3). In her [sic] zeal to really make the grade for the special “Migrants” issue of The Daily, Block wrote, “Both [Australia and Indonesia] have refused to let the passengers ashore.” The BBC disagrees: “The Tamils themselves have said they will not leave the ship voluntarily and have refused to co-operate with identity checks.”

Perhaps your science columnist, Daniel Lametti, can help us understand these two strange mistakes. He wrote recently (“Controversy clouds opinion,” Science+Technology, November 3) “When it came time to thoughtfully consider information that went against what they believed in, the subjects simply couldn’t – their reasoning was coloured by emotion.”

Ricky KreitnerU1 Philosophy & Political Science

EDITOR’S NOTE: From the BBC article (“Australia refuses Tamil refugees,” 28 October) that Kreitner cites: “Australian authorities have said 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Indonesia will not be taken to Australia, their intended destination.” Further on: “Indonesia agreed last week to take the group to have their claims examined, but local officials are refusing to allow the Australian vessel to dock.”


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