Gittins wants to get off…

… and forcibly take the rest of us with him.

An opinion piece which caught my eye this week was written by long‑serving economics correspondent at The Sydney Morning Herald, and equally long‑serving proponent of socialistic ideas, Ross Gittins.

The piece, titled ‘Why we can’t give business free reign,’ decries the emergence of a ‘market society’ that threatens traditional norms and values, such as the observance of weekends as rest days devoid of commercial activity.

He also argues that markets are inherently volatile, and ‘so we have to ensure profit‑obsessed businesses work within government‑imposed guardrails designed to protect them and us from their greedy excesses.’

It is here that I seek to respond to these two major themes in the Gittins piece.

The most obvious point to make about the idea that, somehow, weekend trading is corrosive to the soul, or family or social cohesion, is that the emergence of seven‑days‑a‑week market trades does not prevent the deeply spiritual to engage in their religious practices, or prevent agnostics or athiests seeking weekend rest (or rest at any other time of the week) to acquire it.

Indeed, what liberalised trading hours have done has enabled the religious to retain their choice in observing their beliefs, whilst allowing those of irreligious bent the opportunity to relax and/or purchase goods and services under the mode of voluntary, and mutually beneficial, exchange. Naturally, the religious can attend worship services and/or buy and sell, too.

As for the regulatory imposition of penalty rates, as the expression of a desire to see to it that employers acknowledge the sanctity of a ʻcommerce‑freeʼ weekend, well, one might say that is certainly a ʻbaptistʼ interpretation of the matter.

Conveniently, though, Gittins ignores the overly inflential role of the ʻbootleggingʼ trade unions who desire the very same penalty rates as the sanctimonious baptists, but for the implicit purpose of locking out service workers (especially young people) out of the opportunity to provide weekend labour, should they wish to provide it.

As many readers of this blog would be aware, there have been many a story in recent years concerning the pernicious effects of penalty rates shutting down businesses over weekends, particularly in the restaurant and catering industries.

Gittins seems pleased, at least, with the idea of penalty rates, and warns against their prospective dilution in the name of economic reform. However, he doesnʼt seem to mourn the consequently reduced chances for young people to earn an honest dollar, build up some skills, and economically write their own life stories by climbing ladders of opportunity.

I wonder what he makes of other developments, such as the engagement of women in the labour market and out of the kitchen, as it were, which unambiguously promote individual freedom but which challenge traditional norms?

We get some idea when Gittins tries to make a sharp distinction between what he sees as commercial (apparently, at least in some senses, ʻbadʼ) and non‑commercial (apparently, in some senses, ʻgoodʼ) activity.

Making a broader point, the general idea, shared by many socialists and conservatives alike, that market activities are somehow alien to the human condition is an utterly preposterous one.

Production, distribution and exchange activities undertaken within the marketplace can, in fact, be construed as a constituent aspect of that wider, and interlocking, network of human relationships we colloquially refer to as society.

And just what is society? Well, the great, yet underappreciated, French liberal economist Destutt de Tracy profoundly described it as follows:

Society is purely and solely a continual series of exchanges. It is never anything else, in any epoch of its duration, from its commencement the most unformed, to its greatest perfection. And this is the greatest eulogy we can give to it, for exchange is an admirable transaction, in which the two contracting parties always both gain; consequently society is an uninterrupted succession of advantages, unceasingly renewed for all its members.

In its simplest of terms, what de Tracy is getting at is that individual human beings are naturally prone to get together to talk, to laugh, to love, to share, to trade, and they must receive some benefit out of these interactions.

If Gittins, and his like, still find disagreement with my view that to trade, and engage with others through markets, is to be human and thus not incompatible with other social activities, then they might try to explain how it is that evidence of trading activities can be found throughout the annals of recorded history.

These remarks provide me the means to respond to the second general point of Gittins, which is that governments are obligated to provide fiscal and regulatory ʻguardrailsʼ to ensure ʻsafeʼ market activities.

As Steve Kates helpfully, and often, reminds us, in his Free Market Economics book, the misalignment of production and preferences structures regularly do take place, often on a very small scale (e.g., the closed corner milk bar) and sometimes on a very large scale (e.g., economy‑wide recessions).

In no small way, these misalignments often come about because of changing consumer preferences, technological developments, alterations to resource supplies, and other factors which are the direct manifestation of human beings collaborating through the never ending trial‑and‑error processes of the market.

These processes, as affected by the interplay of supplies and demands rendered by innumerable individuals, are, in the scheme of things, beneficial to those participating in them. This is because fallible, yet capable, people get to discover the things that others want, how they want them, when they want them, and even why they want them.

Gittins acknowleges the profit‑and‑loss mechanism provides an important signal directing entrepreneurs to more effectually cooperate with consumers, in turn leading to economic growth, but then qualifies that point to near non-existence by leaning on the perennial, and silly, notion that people who strive to provide outputs for consumers are somehow inherently greedy (note that I happen to disagree with the ʻgreed is goodʼ school of thought).

Gittins qualifies the beneficial aspects of dynamic market processes, implying that the process outcomes are characterised by ʻmarket failuresʼ which, in turn, require government intervention. He puts the idea in this way:

Anyone who didnʼt know before the global financial crisis must surely know now that if you let businesses do whatever they want in their search for greater profits, the system will run off the rails and cause horrific injuries. So we do have to ensure profit‑obsessed businesses work within government‑imposed guardrails designed to protect them and us from their greedy excesses.

The ʻgovernment as guardrailʼ analogy is a useful metaphor for the conception of the public sector that modern socialists, of all stripes, subscribe to, and that is: people in their private capacities cannot be trusted, through ignorance, stupidity or greed, to do the right thing ‑ in this context, to edge towards an ʻecological rationalityʼ in the market provision of goods and services ‑ and, conversely, politicians can be trusted to do the right thing on behalf of untrustworthy private sector agents.

To the classical liberal mind, or at least anyone who understands the institutional legacy of Western civilisational development, the Gittins intimation here is ridiculous, and cannot be sustained.

Sharply contrasting market processes, in which the dissatisfied can exercise their own veto over unsatisfactory productions by exiting consumption or producing their own alternatives, individuals cannot escape (or, at least, very easily or costlessly) the full brunt of regulatory and taxation force imposed over them by people in political offices, with exclusive, monopolistic access to those forceful instruments.

It is in this context that the prospect of political abuse of individual rights to express themselves and enjoy freedoms, including in the economic realm, is magnified. How could a senior journalist like Gittins not appreciate, from everyday newspaper accounts, the truth of what the liberal‑cum‑socialist Pierre Joseph Proudhon said in the 1850s?

To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law‑driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorised, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolised, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice, that is its morality.

As the daily abuses of individual freedom rendered by governmental actions show, politicians and bureaucrats, who increasingly disrespect constitutional and other restraints, undesirably act to, use Gittin’s analogy, progressively reduce the width of the guardrails within which people can move about.

Furthermore, governments routinely use fiscal and regulatory instruments to try to alter the direction in which the guardrail points, nullifying the scope of discretion of individuals to exercise their own choices.

These coercive acts are highly disruptive to free conduct, and in many respects increasingly so, and so the great liberal project of reform to enlarge the scope in which economic and personal freedoms are realised remains undiminished.

Like it or not, we have all benefited enormously from the diversity of experiments in living that Gittins criticises, afforded, in some respects, by the partial rollback of regulations allowing private entrepreneurs to strive cooperating more effectually with the discerning customer.

It is a Great Fact that the outgrowth of decentralised, dynamic market processes over the last two centuries, fuelled by increasing perceptions of dignity attached to the acts of buying low and selling high, have made our material living standards what they are today.

One of the most incredible aspects of this is that the improvements to material living standards have continued to come about, even as economic agents are subjected to routine and increasing political abuses. The spirit of human resilience in the economic domain thankfully remains alive, and liberals must be on guard to ensure that people, with prospectively great ideas, are allowed to chance their arm at serving others, through honest and satisfying market relationships.

In the end, what Gittins is advocating is an unrealistic vision of a benevolent, omnipresent government, which will somehow implement his personal preferences of a quieter, gentler, and less wealthy state of life.

He may not be worshipping Mammon, but let there be no doubt he is worshipping something much worse in its effect: the (partial, to be generous) invalidation of the natural human inclination to truck, barter, and exchange which, ultimately, feeds, clothes, houses, transports and entertains us, however and whenever we want.

For mine, I would much prefer to have no part in the Gittins project, whatsoever.

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85 Responses to Gittins wants to get off…

  1. .

    profit‑obsessed businesses

    What you have to realise here is that Gittens was trained as an accountant and an auditor.

    He was trained to help businesses. He has made his whole adult life a crusade to ruin as many businesses as possible.

    Familiarity breeds contempt, however, I still hold this bizarre mission of his after his education is simply mind blowing.

    We will see other gems soon, such as

    “freedom obsessed libertarians”
    “sex obsessed newlyweds”
    “generosity obsessed charities”
    “power obsessed politicians”

  2. Chris Brockway

    I’m not against government regulations as a rule. I work in the chemical industry and I see the need for companies to comply with pollution and safety requirements. What I will stand against is dumb regulations. And these are usually regulations that apply to internationally traded goods. An example? My bicycle helmet is one of the best available, from Italy. It’s actually illegal in Australia because it hasn’t been tested to the Australian regulations. The manufacturer decided it wasn’t worth the time and money. Even though it would likely pass. The sensible thing to do would be to pick up the international regulations and apply them. Instead we have people in Canberra beavering away at producing regs that apply nowhere else on the planet. Truly nonsensical.

  3. nerblnob

    Does this man really look at the small , medium and large businesses that keep his world comfortable and safe, and see nothing but greed and profit obsession?

    What a sad materialistic Git.

  4. Percy

    Outstanding article Julie. Unfortunately it will go completely over the head of those poor sods that already struggle to comprehend the points that we’re arguing.

  5. H B Bear

    We also need to understand that, if we left it to profit-seeking business people – and their public-policy consultants, economists – they’d gradually turn every aspect of our lives into a marketplace, with everything commercialised. Everything changed into a profit-making opportunity.

    What utter nonsense. Makes me miss Jessica.

  6. candy

    He comes across to me as if he is preaching to people, that he knows best what makes people happy. I tend to think that’s a bit presumptious of him. Only the individual can determine what makes them happy and strive for it according to their own lights.

    Also he has a go at the royal commission into union fraud, so I think that’s what he’s on about really. Perhaps he’s a socialist.

  7. Tom

    On my reckoning, each of Gittins’ anti-capitalist rants is looked forward to as an exercise in confirmation bias by 10,000-15,000 Green-voting public servants, as well as a few hundred Green-voting landscape gardeners and graphic artists — such a powerful demographic that renders him essential reading for anyone needing credible economic analysis.

  8. Rabz

    Perhaps he’s a socialist.

    He’s definitely an idiot.

  9. Squirrel

    The penultimate paragraph in the Gittins article sums it up nicely:

    “Trouble is, what we want is for us to be able to shop and be entertained, but not be required to work ourselves. We’d like to be part of the upper class that doesn’t have to work, served by a lower class that can’t afford not to.”

    Quite so, and I didn’t see any solutions there, particularly for those who – shock, horror – are not covered by awards – the self employed and the (very) small/micro business propietors, as well, of course, as those who work outside the award system because they need and want work.

    I would also suggest that Gittins is looking at the past with rose coloured glasses, and forgetting that for many (even if not him), weekends and public holidays in Australia were little more than ennui writ large.

  10. Demosthenes

    What a great article. I hope you can publish it somewhere, it deserves a very wide readership.

    He also argues that markets are inherently volatile

    Well, yes. That’s the point, isn’t it? The creative destruction of capitalism, the self-cleaning aspects of profit and bankruptcy – these are dynamos powering progress, not cantankerous machines whose own workings threaten to tear them apart.

    people in their private capacities cannot be trusted, through ignorance, stupidity or greed, to do the right thing ‑ in this context, to edge towards an ʻecological rationalityʼ in the market provision of goods and services ‑ and, conversely, politicians can be trusted to do the right thing on behalf of untrustworthy private sector agents.

    Or, more generously, they know that game theory shows multiple equilibria are possible, even ones that leave everyone objectively worse off.

    Market forces are the best way we have of guiding economic decisions, and in general terms a discussion of incentives is a complete defence to the various accusations of “market failure”. But we mustn’t fall into the trap of considering them infallible, or omnipotent or omniscient. That necessarily follows from my earlier point about creative destruction. In specific examples, normal market forces can have suboptimal outcomes.

    I say ‘suboptimal’, but that’s from my perspective, and it raises the critical point – who decides? How, on what basis? Importantly – at what cost, and for what benefit? It may be that we identify a genuine case of market failure, but still can argue that the cost of rectification is greater what we gain from changing something ‘suboptimal’.

  11. Empire Strikes Back

    Gittens is part of the 1%.

    Well said Gab. Yet he seeks to impose his wrongology on the 99%. Hypocrite.

    Perhaps he’s a socialist.

    Not perhaps Candy, definitely.

    Eventually, Gittins and his ilk will be tried for prospericide. On conviction he will be placed in stocks in Martin Place. I look forward to throwing rotten fruit (preferably durian) at him when the day comes.

  12. Ant

    For me the most obvious point to make about this complete effing idiot’s idea is that he thinks while business, particularly big business, is something to be wary of or worse, big government is just great. And, it can be trusted to protect society from the excesses of the former.

    I think we have just experienced 6 years of what having complete incompetents in power can give us. Not to mention, what they’re prepared to do to shore up their power by manipulating laws and the rules of parliament to shaft everyone else just so long as they’re protected.

    Just take a moment to look at what Gillard did to maintain power and how she and her stinking party fixed it so that that pathetic loser Craig Thompson held onto his seat.

    Yeah, sure Rossco, only an idiot like that would bend over and take what comes from government – especially when it’s infested with the morons and thieves from the Left.

  13. .

    He also argues that markets are inherently volatile

    Certain stages of markets, under certain circumstances, of particular goods and services, are volatile.

    Others are not.

    The USSR was less volatile, but they had very little growth. It was volatile however in socially significant ways – power, water, food and medical shortages.

    Market forces are the best way we have of guiding economic decisions, and in general terms a discussion of incentives is a complete defence to the various accusations of “market failure”.

    Let’s not forget Government failure.

  14. Demosthenes

    The USSR was less volatile, but they had very little growth.

    Average GDP per capita growth 1950-1973: 3.6%. 74-84: 0.93%. 85-91: -1.3%

  15. youngster

    Hey, I’m a Baptist, and I want my kids to have the opportunity to work on the weekends. In fact, my long-term financial health depends on it :) I think alcohol is a terrible scourge on society, but I’m rational enough to know that Government cannot stop it, plus, it’s not my job to decide everyone’s else’s morals for them.

  16. John Montgomery

    He’s wrong about the events of 2008 too, which were caused at root by government intervention in the mortgage market. Followed by a gung-ho period of putting interest rates down and up and down…. A double whammy of socialistic do-goodery and Monetarism, and the selling on of dodgy mortgages bundles into ‘securities’.

  17. .

    Well said John,

    How can Federal PMI, which held the whole stinking mess together, along with CRA loans, the $2 trillion line of credit from US treasury to Freddie and Fannie etc, be considered “market failure”?

    Because Ross wants it to be so.

    I also want to b married to Kate Upton and Ana Beatriz Barros.

  18. Toiling Mass

    …what Gittins is advocating is an unrealistic vision of a benevolent, omnipresent government, which will somehow implement his personal preferences of a quieter, gentler, and less wealthy state of life.

    Beautifully and concisely put.

    You meet so many people who believe in (and find comfort in) this, even if they have never actually articulated the idea to themselves.

  19. Baldrick

    Gittins has made a comfortable living from a bourgeois capitalist society and now wants to complain about it in his twilight years.

    If Gittins wants more government control over business I suggest he moves to Cuba or North Korea.

    Even in the most stoic of communist countries, China, private enterprise is no longer severely restricted but encouraged, largely free from Government interference.

  20. lem

    …what Gittins is advocating is an unrealistic vision of a benevolent, omnipresent government, which will somehow implement his personal preferences of a quieter, gentler, and less wealthy state of life.

    Big Brother.
    Or in Gillard’s case, Big Mother.

  21. Roger

    Julie, in my considerable experience a lot of employees who would like to attend religious services on Sunday do not actually have that choice because their employer does not cater to their choice. If they are rostered on, they must work, or lose their job. At least that’s what they’re told, maybe one day someone will test that sort of dismissal in court. It would certainly be very bad publicity for the companies and businesses, big and small, which make these threats. Of course, you could argue that the employee has a choice of employer, but we know that in these days of rising unemployment, particularly among youth, that’s not the case. So, the choice is really between being employed or attending worship on a Sunday. I’m not against Sunday trading in principle, but I do believe more respect should be given to those who have genuine religious scruples. In this case, the freedom of the market and the freedom of religion need to be better reconciled. After all, the social benefits of religious observance are well documented.

  22. Andrew

    Or in Gillard’s case, Big MotherChildless Serial Adultress

  23. .

    In this case, the freedom of the market and the freedom of religion need to be better reconciled. After all, the social benefits of religious observance are well documented.

    8 am or 5.30 pm

    Or the Saturday vigil

    or be self employed

    Take your pick.

  24. Tintarella di Luna

    I look forward to throwing rotten fruit (preferably durian) at him when the day comes.

    But you’d have to charge a fee-per-throw. That cunning plan could save the farmers, better still put the entire Gillard cabinet in stocks and the two hayseeds along side and the national debt would be repaid in no time.

  25. That is a beautifully written article. I will be foisting it on my dependents.

  26. H B Bear

    Gittins gives real old duffers a bad name.

  27. lem

    After all, the social benefits of religious observance are well documented.

    So are the social benefits of atheism. Personally, I have found it really frees up my Sundays!

  28. candy

    So, the choice is really between being employed or attending worship on a Sunday.

    Roger,
    God, whoever your God is, would expect a person to look after their family financially first, it’s their duty.
    You may have cottoned on to some odd idea of christianity there, methinks!

  29. JohnA

    youngster #1196445, posted on February 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Hey, I’m a Baptist, and I want my kids to have the opportunity to work on the weekends. In fact, my long-term financial health depends on it :) I think alcohol is a terrible scourge on society, but I’m rational enough to know that Government cannot stop it, plus, it’s not my job to decide everyone’s else’s morals for them.

    Only one problem with that, youngster: government legislation defines a minimum level of morality for the whole community. It encapsulates an accumulated definition of “right” and “wrong”, so the real question is WHO will define the moral standards to be legislated?

    Everyone wants to be the Lord Chancellor:
    “The law is the true embodiment
    Of everything that’s excellent
    It has no kind of fault or flaw
    And I, my lords, embody the law”
    (Iolanthe)

  30. Combine Dave

    Julie, in my considerable experience a lot of employees who would like to attend religious services on Sunday do not actually have that choice because their employer does not cater to their choice. If they are rostered on, they must work, or lose their job. At least that’s what they’re told, maybe one day someone will test that sort of dismissal in court. It would certainly be very bad publicity for the companies and businesses, big and small, which make these threats. Of course, you could argue that the employee has a choice of employer, but we know that in these days of rising unemployment, particularly among youth, that’s not the case. So, the choice is really between being employed or attending worship on a Sunday. I’m not against Sunday trading in principle, but I do believe more respect should be given to those who have genuine religious scruples. In this case, the freedom of the market and the freedom of religion need to be better reconciled. After all, the social benefits of religious observance are well documented.

    Swap your roster time with a buddy (who needs to go to church on sat) or resign and find a better job :P

  31. Gab

    Julie, in my considerable experience a lot of employees who would like to attend religious services on Sunday do not actually have that choice because their employer does not cater to their choice. If they are rostered on, they must work, or lose their job. At least that’s what they’re told, maybe one day someone will test that sort of dismissal in court. It would certainly be very bad publicity for the companies and businesses, big and small, which make these threats. Of course, you could argue that the employee has a choice of employer, but we know that in these days of rising unemployment, particularly among youth, that’s not the case. So, the choice is really between being employed or attending worship on a Sunday. I’m not against Sunday trading in principle, but I do believe more respect should be given to those who have genuine religious scruples. In this case, the freedom of the market and the freedom of religion need to be better reconciled. After all, the social benefits of religious observance are well documented.

    Oh Hi, Alan.

  32. JC

    @jc6543: @1RossGittins Hey Ross, the Catallaxy miscreants are making fun of the ridiculous crap you wrote today. Tough crowd over there.

  33. JC

    @1RossGittins ever given it some thought the market economy pays for the sludge you write. That requires large surplus to pay for it

  34. The Beer Whisperer

    Instead we have people in Canberra beavering away at producing regs that apply nowhere else on the planet

    Chris, this makes no sense from a society viewpoint, but from a public servant perspective, it makes perfect sense.

    To them, it is okay to reinvent the wheel as long as there’s a job in it.

  35. The Beer Whisperer

    There’s no such thing as a socialist economist. He’s a sociologist playing economics, that’s all.

    I take it from his anti-greed rant that he’s not interested in how many hits his article had. A try local socialist, doubling down on hypocrisy.

  36. David

    Was in my local Post Office about an hour ago and there on sale was “The Gospel According to Gittins” so I asked the lady behind the jump how many they had sold. None, nada, zilch, zero, sfa was the reply. More trees needlessly sacrificed on pulp that could have been used to build stocks in which to pillory the likes of Mr Gittins.

  37. The Beer Whisperer

    How does an iPhone get “try local” from “typical”?

  38. .

    Julie, in my considerable experience a lot of employees who would like to attend religious services on Sunday

    Yeah it’s bullshit.

    “I vote and go to church, hence I’m gonna vote for the party which supports a union boss ripping off members…”

    Why we tolerate such bullshit shows how big our hearts are…

  39. Balatro

    My old Scots grandfather, a master cabinetmaker from Lyffe, near Dundee, started a business in the garage of his house making folding wooden camping stretchers. He sold them for 1 shilling and sixpence.
    It was during the Depression , and he had lost his job. The stretcher business was the salvation of the family, and he went on to sponsor the migration of eight members of his family to Australia, all to work in his steadily growing business.
    He was dismissive of the value of unionism. He saw it as cronyism and an impediment to a person seeking to improve himself. He spoke about rules regarding the hours of trade in the woodworking industry – 7 p.m. finish Monday to Friday, 12 noon on Saturday in the context of the court imposed penalties for breaches. These were punitive, about 15 shillings for each offense, with half the fine being given to the court informant. This was usually a local union organiser. The publicly stated reason for the law was to restrict Chinese workers from producing low cost goods from cheap labour, and thus taking jobs from “honest Australians”. The Chinese worked in local factories using local materials. The difference was they were resistant to unionisation, and usually were given bed and board by the empl0yer ( usually they slept under the work benches!).
    He was also critical of the requirement that meat displays in general stores had to be covered from view and not sold at certain times, I think from memory Saturday mornings. The reason was trading hours for butchers limited to Monday to Friday, and to sell meat outside these hours, was to rob that honest Aussie worker of a job.
    The Grandfather’s view was, as long a tradesman butcher cut the meat up, were was the harm in what day it was sold on?
    I can recall the restrictions on meat sales lingering into the late ’50′s, early ’60′s. I think the woodworkers fines were mid ’40′s.
    Maybe Ross Gittens is recalling these past glories and pines for their return?
    Or is he just a Baptist Socialist?. My Grandfather sure weren’t!

  40. Token

    profit‑obsessed businesses

    Like Dot I believe this statement by the Git all that needs to be highlighted in this article.

    Of course he is one of the opinion leaders at FauxFacts which is focused on any objective aother than profit with the result the business will be sent to the glue factory soon.

  41. Token

    Julie, in my considerable experience a lot of employees who would like to attend religious services on Sunday

    LOL, churches are not picky any more.

    They will accept people & help them save their sould on any day of the week including Saturday night. Their followers really should note the example and do the same in their lives.

  42. The Beer Whisperer

    Worse still, Elizabeth Farrelly at the Silly has called for the banning of private schools, claiming that they add nothing to education. She even implied racism at the low enrollment levels at a Surry Hills school with a high aboriginal ratio, which I find funny considering she inadvertently implicated a heavily leftist population of being racist. It was the one claim that had any truth in it.

  43. Token

    …save their sould on any day…

  44. Tintarella di Luna

    Gittins is the privileged chump who now not content with being oppressed must now become an oppressor.

  45. Token

    …Elizabeth Farrelly at the Silly has called for the banning of private schools…

    Oh I do hope she does convince her local member, Tanya “Israel is a rogue state” Plibersek to make this ALP policy. You go for it girlfriend!

  46. Tintarella di Luna

    Elizabeth Farrelly at the Silly has called for the banning of private schools, claiming that they add nothing to education.

    Seeing as they educated between 33-35% of the student population and saves the taxpayer over $5,000 per student she’s obviously one who wants people to pay more tax for her hair-brainedness.

  47. JC

    BW, give him his dues. Gittins is not as stupid as Liz. Liz is uniquely stupid.

  48. .

    Yeah right.

    A public school kid costs 22k, private 14k and this “adds nothing” besides a consistently higher quality of education and instruction of ethics, along with higher achievers, enrichment and teaching independent learning?

    JT Gatto would be sick. Public schooling doesn’t even aim to create well rounded individuals.

    Farrelly is a useless, bitter old sow and ought to be pensioned off as soon as possible.

    Gatto on how elite private schools are so good:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qArZMuqE4FY

  49. manalive

    I

    ’m not against Sunday trading in principle, but I do believe more respect should be given to those who have genuine religious scruples …

    The answer to that very legitimate concern is freely entered individual contracts.
    Gittins’ article is reminiscent of the infantile nonsense spouted by Yassmin Abdel-Magied on Q&A last Monday as if we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya.
    Obviously government cannot eliminate conflicting interests except by coercion.

  50. JC

    @jc6543: @bencubby Hey dude, did you read the stupid shit Liz farrelly wrote today? How much are you guys paying her and why. In god’s name why?

  51. Token

    Tint I think you need to restate your case as you are missing a key part of the message.

    The story is actually how the parents of children at private & Catholic schools subsidize public students by over $5,000 per student (I think it is $13,000 in subsidies from these parents to the state per child).

  52. The Beer Whisperer

    I noticed Farrelly pooh-poohed the idea that private schools saved taxpayers money.

    Obviously she forgot that school attendance is compulsory. D’oh!!!

  53. candy

    Ms Farrelly must be really hard pressed for an idea, to write about banning private schools, something that will never happen.
    Surely with all the interesting things happening in the world, she could pick something relevant?

  54. Tintarella di Luna

    Tint I think you need to restate your case as you are missing a key part of the message.

    The story is actually how the parents of children at private & Catholic schools subsidize public students by over $5,000 per student (I think it is $13,000 in subsidies from these parents to the state per child).

    You are exactly right Token I just wasn’t able to express it as concisely as you have, you’re obviously an old hand at this. Thank you

  55. Tintarella di Luna

    And I think perhaps it should be made quite clear that private schools are actually parent-funded schools.

  56. Tintarella di Luna

    Surely with all the interesting things happening in the world, she could pick something relevant?

    I think Ms Farrelley may have run out of labourers to abuse.

  57. Token

    And I think perhaps it should be made quite clear that private schools are actually parent-funded schools.

    I must thank the Cat and posts by Sinc which helped me understand how crazy the spin spouted by Lefties really is.

    They really do believe that if you divide the same amount of money among more children you will get better outcomes.

    Think about how much worse the education outcomes would be for children in public schools if all those children now going to to private & Catholic schools join the public system.

  58. Token

    Of course lefties will state the solution is to increase taxes so the money the parents put into the private school is taken from those families and given over to the gubbermint to give to the teachers unions to cover the increase in students.

    I am not making this all up. This is what the California Teacher’s Union has been doing since the D’rats were able to establish a permanent control on the state parliament.

  59. .

    School is what makes education expensive.

    Enterprising tutor/teachers, learning webs, part time school and independent learning along side with strong mentoring could see teachers earn more, standards rise and costs fall – and “school” will be more fun.

  60. Jim Rose

    I stopped reading gittins 20 years ago

  61. I’m religious and I actually enjoy going to the shops and pottering around on a Sunday.

    Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about the whole work on Sunday thing:

    A day of grace and rest from work
    2184 Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,”121 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. the institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.122

    2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

    The charity of truth seeks holy leisure – the necessity of charity accepts just work.124

    2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.

    2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.

    2188 In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country’s legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which lets us share in this “festal gathering,” this “assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.”125

  62. H B Bear

    Does the Pope get overtime?

  63. Tim Williamson

    I always think of that quote by Margaret Thatcher, something like “The facts of life are conservative.” I think the leftoid zeitgeist is related to the growing proportion of people who are divorced or insulated from the “fact of life” which allows them to strike leftoid poses without suffering the consequences.

  64. entropy

    What about Muslims, Jews, seventh day Adventists, seventh day baptists and concerned brethren? They don’t worship on Sunday, but are forced to miss out from weekend shopping if you prevent Sunday trading. Culturally insensitive bastard, Gitnis!

  65. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    Gittins wants to get off…

    Well at least that proves he was not one of Shagger Thomson’s mates!

  66. Leigh Lowe

    The piece, titled ‘Why we can’t give business free reign,’ decries the emergence of a ‘market society’ that threatens traditional norms and values, such as the observance of weekends as rest days devoid of commercial activity.

    A couple of points here.
    Firstly, I am bemused that atheistic lefties are so keen to observe the sanctity if the Sabbath.
    Secondly, if weekends are sacrosanct, what about those in the performing arts, who are bound to perform for the convenience of Gitts and his fellow travellers on Friday and Saturday night. Not good enough. Plays will now be staged on Wednesday mornings, Gitts.
    Or what about sportspeople? Surely they can’t be expected to work on Saturdays. Move the matches to Thursday afternoons.
    And busdrivers? And hospital staff? And what of the goat’s cheese vendors?
    Fuck it. Let’s go the full orthodox Amish.
    Shit the whole lot down from Friday night until Monday morning.

  67. Leigh Lowe

    I stopped reading gittins 20 years ago

    It’s like “Days Of Our Lives” mate.
    If you start reading him again you’ll have no trouble picking up the storyline.
    It hasn’t changed much.
    I thought the Berlin Wall being knocked over might have put a crimp in his socialist jottings, but no.

  68. RBarker

    A few years back (in the days when I used to read the Herald) Ross G wrote an entire opinion piece on ‘showering’ castigating us all for showering every day. Obviously not necessary as we don’t really get dirty and the bit of grime we do accumulate can be dealt with using a basin, water, soap, flannel and doing the good old APC common back in the 19th century when there was limited plumbing and access to water. Lecturing us sternly he suggested that the main reason we all shower at least once daily or, horror of horrors, even more than once was because it woke us up, soothed and relaxed us, was enjoyable and had nothing to do with cleanliness. This he declared was, in these Global Warming times of rapidly decreasing water, sinful, wasteful and absolutely unnecessary.
    He may call himself an economist but the man’s a preacher.
    And, where did Elizabeth Farrelly’s kids go to school? Fort Street or Sydney High I’ll bet. Can’t imagine they toddled off to the local comprehensive.

  69. brc

    Like all fashionable thinkers, what we see here is the kind of thinking that PJ O’Rouke coined as “too many of you, just the right amount of me”. This question was once put to Milton Friedman – to which he asked if countries with larger governments were somehow nicer, fairer places? Countries like north korea, ussr, Cuba. Even Singapore which is more authoritarian has more control which the likes of Gittins would not enjoy.

    I’d rather live in a place where capitalists work themselves to death on the weekends, than a place where authoritarians put them to death on weekdays.

  70. wreckage

    We also need to understand that, if we left it to profit-seeking business people – and their public-policy consultants, economists – they’d gradually turn every aspect of our lives into a marketplace

    Or to put it another way, we would eventually have specialized and sophisticated goods and services delivered for every possible need; but only should we choose to avail ourselves of them.

    The market leaves you the choice of putting any given aspect of your life beyond its reach; as such it is far less grasping or greedy than government or ideology.

  71. Does the Pope get overtime?

    He certainly has to work on Sundays. Every priest does.

    Most priests take Mondays off as their ‘weekend’.

  72. dover_beach

    Just compare Gittins to the Catechism; chalk and (blue) cheese. Thanks, Philippa.

  73. JC

    We also need to understand that, if we left it to profit-seeking business people – and their public-policy consultants, economists – they’d gradually turn every aspect of our lives into a marketplace

    He’s absolutely insane. Gittins works for a firm which forgot the profit motive and they’re on the verge of folding, or at least folding those parts of the business which forgot how to make a dollar…. ie the masthead Gittins works for.

  74. No wukkas, Dover. Thank the people who wrote it.

    Gittins is what happens when religiously-inclined people stop going to church, forget their common sense, and start trying to be groovy social workers instead.

    The Greens are the logical extension of this trend – all piety and sentiment, but no reason.

  75. “Anyone who didnʼt know before the global financial crisis must surely know now that if you let businesses do whatever they want in their search for greater profits, the system will run off the rails and cause horrific injuries. So we do have to ensure profit‑obsessed businesses work within government‑imposed guardrails designed to protect them and us from their greedy excesses.”

    Which completely ignores the interventionist policies of the US Government that precipitated the bloody mess. The GFC wasn’t a failure of markets, it was a prime example of why we should limit the role government plays in them.

  76. dover_beach

    Philippa, the Catechism is a treasure, without a doubt. I think them (and Him) every day. And what you say of the Greens is true of many others as well.

  77. Peewhit

    Phillipa, priests are the same as the rest of us who are , not self employed necessarily, but more self energised, and I am still searching for the correct word, and do what the job demands of them rather than what they have to do to keep the job. Their belief is the driver rather than our common social ideas.

  78. 2dogs

    What about Muslims, Jews, seventh day Adventists, seventh day baptists and concerned brethren? They don’t worship on Sunday, but are forced to miss out from weekend shopping if you prevent Sunday trading. Culturally insensitive bastard, Gitnis!

    Abetz needs to take this angle against penalty rates. I’m envisaging he could give individuals their own choice of calendar from which their penalty rates are determined. e.g. For a muslim, Sunday for the purposes of penalty rate calculations occurs on Friday. The text of the award itself could otherwise be left unchanged.

  79. Tel

    “freedom obsessed libertarians”
    “sex obsessed newlyweds”
    “generosity obsessed charities”
    “power obsessed politicians”

    Readership obsessed newspapers.

  80. .

    Which completely ignores the interventionist policies of the US Government that precipitated the bloody mess. The GFC wasn’t a failure of markets, it was a prime example of why we should limit the role government plays in them.

    Correct, compare laissez faire little Australia compared to the compromised, politicised US mortgage market.

  81. Paridell

    The heading of Gittins’ piece was actually “Why we can’t give business free rein” (not reign).

    At least that’s how it reads now.

  82. Crossie

    … for exchange is an admirable transaction, in which the two contracting parties always both gain;

    Gittens writes on economics yet fails to grasp a concept as basic as this.

    … notion that people who strive to provide outputs for consumers are somehow inherently greedy

    Gittens obviously never watches any of the pawn shop programs where they point out over and over that something is worth only as much as someone is prepared to pay for it.

    Anyone who didnʼt know before the global financial crisis must surely know now that if you let businesses do whatever they want in their search for greater profits, the system will run off the rails and cause horrific injuries.

    Successful trade had gone on since tribal societies and yet it all grinds to a halt once we start putting a thumb on the scales and Ross does not see a connection. All I can do is share my head.

  83. sdfc

    Correct, compare laissez faire little Australia compared to the compromised, politicised US mortgage market.

    If you think we don’t have a household debt problem you’re dreaming.

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