Peter Boettke with support from Danish businessman Lars Christensen explored how we got to where we are with economies in disastrous declines across the western worlds and what to do about it.
Boettke boiled things down to two solutions. The first was to set up constitutional restraints to democratic populism; the second was to educate the electorate to understand how spending must be paid for; incentives usually mean the spending creates new and expanded demands for more spending, while the revenues raised often fall short because the geese seek to avoid being plucked.
The first solution – restraints to spending – are basically restraints on democracy while the second hopes to educate the masses and is again a pessimistic view of democracy. Lars Christensen explained the conundrum of Denmark where lavish “rights” have been created and the small strata of Productive workers are massively outnumbered by those on government programs together with govt employees. The recipients of the public largesse believe they have the rights to continue receiving these and will vote against anyone that they think will extract these – a pHilosophy that Gillard seeks to exploit. His view was that democracy could not correct the disaster because the voters’
This iS compounded by the discovery that the gainers from looting the rich can extend this into the future (perhaps for decades) by building up debt – certainly in Australia with our low levels.
In debate Ruth Richardson said she had tried to get people to vote for policies that are income enhancing on a sustained basis and sought guidance as to what is possible.
Victoria Curzon-Price pointed out that there is no certainty that economies cannot commit suicide.
How to turn thinking around so that balanced budgets, debt free governments, efficiency in production are the prevailing Views are the key issues. In many ways it is more important to turn around the populist rights-driven view of government than to devise the best policies. The Keynesian pollution of economics built upon fertile ground on behalf of the electorate with the rights drivenphilosophy. Undoing the popular view that governments can do far more than we know to be possible and to recognise that money taken from one group must come from another and the transfer is destructive of wealth generation.