Mark Latham at his finest

As Alan suggests below Mark Latham has a must read op-ed in the AFR ($) this morning:

The wonder of Australian car manufacturing is not that it’s closing down; it’s that governments wasted so much public money ($30 billion since 1998) on unsustainable jobs in an unsustainable industry. In the past decade, no Australian-based car company has recorded an operating profit.

The industry’s demise is a tipping point in Australia’s political economy. It’s a victory for consumers over the ineffectiveness of subsidisation. It’s a sign that after 23 years of continuous economic growth and wealth creation, the consumption side of the economy has become more powerful than the production side. Cashed-up shoppers are exercising greater purchasing muscle than the feeble industry plans of union hand-maidens like Carr. Consumerism has finally beaten interventionism.

The political class does not want to hear this, but we have entered an era of marginalised government. Each day, the big news in the Australian economy is the strength of millions of consumer decisions, but this is essentially unreported in the electronic media. Where’s the headline or controversy in people shopping? If politicians focused on the importance of consumer decision-making, how could they blame each other for economic uncertainty and unemployment?

In Canberra, it’s business-as-usual. The opposition has latched onto a fear campaign, holding out false hope for “jobs plans”. The media have a new round of conflict-based stories to report, interviewing workers and managers from ailing industries. No one’s told them the war is over. Consumers have won.

Good to Mark Latham channelling his inner Ludwig von Mises.

Neither the capitalists nor the entrepreneurs nor the farmers determine what has to be produced. The consumers do that. The producers do not produce for their own consumption but for the market. They are intent on selling their products. If the consumers do not buy the goods offered to them, the businessman cannot recover the outlays made. He loses his money. If he fails to adjust his procedure to the wishes of the consumers he will very soon be removed from his eminent position at the helm. Other men who did better in satisfying the demand of the consumers replace him.

The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers. They, by their buying and by their abstention from buying, decide who should own the capital and run the plants. They determine what should be produced and in what quantity and quality. Their attitudes result either in profit or in loss for the enterpriser. They make poor men rich and rich men poor. They are no easy bosses. They are full of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. They do not care a whit for past merit. As soon as something is offered to them that they like better or that is cheaper, they desert their old purveyors. With them nothing counts more than their own satisfaction. They bother neither about the vested interests of capitalists nor about the fate of the workers who lose their jobs if as consumers they no longer buy what they used to buy.

This entry was posted in Economics and economy. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Mark Latham at his finest

  1. C.L.

    Australian car workers are headed for the scapheap because they’re lazy, entitled bums.

    And nobody gives a rat’s arse.

    Not after years of paying ridiculous prices for their shitty cars.

    Adios, deadbeats.

  2. Gab

    Latham back on the lithium. Good.

  3. Sean M

    Remember this next time someone mentions that Rupert Murdoch ‘owns’ 75% of Australian newspapers.

  4. entropy

    I have always found Latham an interesting character. Rational one minute in articles like this, and totally unhinged the next. And like so many ALP types, a great hater.

    This article is consistent with his support for dairy deregulation back in 1999, where he championed the consumers in his electorate against the rent seeking dairy farmers who generally have much more wealth than the “single mothers in [his] electorate”.

  5. Token

    Any moment now Latham will get a phone call from the ALP troglodytes and will be back to preaching something as sensible as Medicare Gold.

    What makes Latham appalling is it is clear he gets why the economic reform is important and he has strength to fight, it is he refuses to stand his ground and fight for the issues he know are right.

  6. .

    Why couldn’t he be this rational and sane all of the time?

  7. H B Bear

    Latham back on his meds?

  8. Mr Rusty

    the consumption side of the economy has become more powerful than the production side

    Hmmmmmm. I’m only an amateur in economics but isn’t production supposed to drive growth – according to the Austrian school?

  9. Rabz

    I’ll be interested to see MWD’s take on this apparent outburst of rationality from the Lair of Liverpool.

  10. Docket62

    FMD. I never thought I’d see the day that I actually agreed with something Latham wrote…. My gob is suitably smacked.

  11. Alex Davidson

    Latham’s assertion that we have entered an era of marginalised government is complete nonsense, and just the sort of demagoguery we hear from politicians all the time. By any measure the size of government and it’s intrusion into our lives has never been greater, and I don’t see any signs at all of this changing without a big fight.

  12. Fleeced

    Latham’s an odd duck. I’d suggest bi-polar, but then someone who actually suffers from it will probably go all manic at me…

    The funny thing is, his more rational pieces read like “Introduction to Free Markets” – i.e., fairly basic, common sense stuff.

  13. Alfonso

    To what part of Australia can I move to experience the “marginalised government ” I crave and of which he speaks………alas, with forked tongue.

  14. brc

    What makes Latham appalling is it is clear he gets why the economic reform is important and he has strength to fight, it is he refuses to stand his ground and fight for the issues he know are right.

    Most ALP politicians understand it, most of them get it, but their patronage model forces the to say stupid things to the media. This is why they always come across as dishonest and shifty. Even Gillard would have ‘got it’, even she would have known that the carbon tax was a crock, that her ‘industrial’ policies were bad news. But she was a mere puppet of union strongmen and she had to work twice as hard to get their patronage, being unable to take the shagger route of just shouting brothel visits. So she said duplicitous and shifty things. Sure, she was a hardcore communist feminist deep down, but even they understand that central planning is a crock these days, even if they don’t express it.

  15. Ty

    Docket62
    #1206238, posted on February 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm
    FMD. I never thought I’d see the day that I actually agreed with something Latham wrote…. My gob is suitably smacked.

    +1

  16. Splatacrobat

    A number of years ago I worked for an icon work wear manufacturer. Australian (family) owned and made when I started. When I left it was Australian owned but moved some of it’s manufacturing overseas. A few years later it was neither Australian owned or made. Now the brand now no longer exists another victim of Pac Brands poor brand management. I only read the other day that Pac Brands posted a loss mainly due to the writing down in Goodwill value of some of the brands they fucked.
    The market decided long ago that it preferred cheaper work clothes with the same or better quality and with a greater depth of choice long ago.

    When we first went overseas there was a huge outcry from the unions and other fair wether (buy aussie made” friends who were always too willing to tell you that they will never buy another work shirt from us because we had betrayed local workers. Fucking hypocrites the lot of them (especially the farmers as they drove their fully imported Toyota land cruisers and wore their Ralph Loren polos made in Vietnam. Those same cow cockys are now just as equally fucked when it comes to RM Williams. It’s now 49% overseas owned and it won’t be long before they move offshore.

  17. but even they understand that central planning is a crock these days, even if they don’t express it.

    Because Marxists are pure politicians. They say only what they want you to hear in order to get your vote. The purpose of the narrative is to capture and keep electoral groups, which is why they all sound like parrots. They are the ultimate exploiters, which explains why their causes always have a modicum of merit. Their entire political base is made up of captured political groups. The working class was easy. The independent, learned and well-travelled much harder. They didn’t invent feminism or environmentalism, they captured them merely as vehicles to power.

  18. Jazza

    Is Mark Latham bipolar or similar?
    Usually he seems ruled by some wild emotion,and is prone to extreme language and actions, but then as in this article, he very occasionally makes good sense!

  19. Toiling Mass

    Mark Latham’s occassional incursions into reason remind me what David Lloyd George said about Lord Kitchener:

    “(Kitchener) was like one of those revolving lighthouses which radiate momentary gleams of revealing light far out into the surrounding gloom and then suddenly relapse into complete darkness.”

  20. Baldrick

    We may agree with Latham’s article but for sure those of the left are now saying he’s unhinged and off his mesds.

  21. Baldrick

    I hate auto- correct …. meds.

  22. Fisky

    Latham did an honours degree in economics and was an unabashed Keatingite when he entered parliament. So he’s always had some economic sense.

  23. johno

    the consumption side of the economy has become more powerful than the production side

    Hmmmmmm. I’m only an amateur in economics but isn’t production supposed to drive growth – according to the Austrian school?

    Quite right, Mr Rusty. This is complete tosh. In fact, much of his arguements make little sense.

    Very typical of Latham. Kinda sounds good, until you think about it a bit, then you realise there is a lot of BS in there.

  24. eb

    the consumption side of the economy has become more powerful than the production side

    He simply means that the consumers have decided with their wallets, and have rejected the goods the (subsidised) producers wanted to sell them. Its no great ecomonic treatise disputing Say’s law.

    See the second para of what von Mises said.

  25. johninoxley

    The only words I want see about Latham is his obituary. This also includes the alp and their moronic supporters. If the numbnuts take this personally, it is meant to be.

  26. manalive

    Hmmmmmm. I’m only an amateur in economics but isn’t production supposed to drive growth – according to the Austrian school?

    Producers supply the variety for consumers to choose from, the wider the diversity the more choice for the consumer.</a.

  27. David

    Latham did an honours degree in economics and was an unabashed Keatingite when he entered parliament. So he’s always had some economic sense

    Not sure if doing an honours degree in economics necessarily relates to “always having some economic sense”. I have a couple of friends who have Doctorates in Engineering but, good theoreticians as they are, I wouldn’t let them design and/or build a Lego block house.

    I’m no expert in either economics or engineering so I’ll take all comment on advice and with a suitable amount of scepticism.

  28. Tel

    Has anyone else got a spam mail recently offering outsourced essay writing by highly qualified economics majors in India and the Phillipines? Good price, good outcome. Win/win situation all round.

  29. entropy

    Fisky
    #1206395, posted on February 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm
    Latham did an honours degree in economics and was an unabashed Keatingite when he entered parliament. So he’s always had some economic sense.

    most of the time, particularly his backbencher phase. Unfortunately he swallowed his beliefs and pandered to the left faction to become opposition leader. Clearly part of the deal was to drop rational economics. Hence the descent into madness.

  30. egg_

    The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers. They, by their buying and by their abstention from buying, decide who should own the capital and run the plants.

    So forcing their ABC to show ads, like SBS, and cutting funding should see if Aunty can stand on her own merits, non?

  31. hzhousewife

    Has anyone else got a spam mail recently offering outsourced essay writing by highly qualified economics majors in India and the Phillipines? Good price, good outcome. Win/win situation all round.

    Must be the outfit Mt Conboy used to get his credentials.

  32. hzhousewife

    oops , MR Conboy …….. on second thoughts, I am being way too noice here

  33. Jim Rose

    In the past decade, no Australian-based car company has recorded an operating profit.

    companies receiving public subsidies have every incentive to show a paper loss

  34. Perfidious Albino

    Perhaps he thinks there may be an opportunity to resurrect his political career in the offing if he starts to come across as vaguely sensible… (Heaven forbid)

  35. James In Footscray

    Ha, to think – Latham’s as mad as the proverbial, but he might have made a good PM.

  36. David

    he might have made a good PM

    Wasn’t Latham a disciple of Saint Gough the Magnificent? We know what he turned out to be and if we had had a string like Saint G, Latham, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd we would have been properly shafted like a goat in an Arab tent.

  37. Squirrel

    “Ty

    #1206266, posted on February 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Docket62
    #1206238, posted on February 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm
    FMD. I never thought I’d see the day that I actually agreed with something Latham wrote…. My gob is suitably smacked.

    +1″

    I, too, am contemplating a fish fork, although I would take exception with:

    “The political class does not want to hear this, but we have entered an era of marginalised government”

    Much of what I heard the PM say in Question Time today amounted to this – it’s Latham’s former colleagues who still seem to pretend that slogans like “standing up for jobs” “fighting for jobs” (which I assume basically means throwing open-ended amounts of borrowed money at SOME jobs) are a solution. In turn, I am reminded of this almost forgotten tome (perhaps time for a post-script in e-book format):

    http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=api_reviews&flexedit=&flex_password=&menu_label=&menuID=48&menubox=&Review=5002

  38. Yohan

    The Latham Diaries were a true ‘tell it like I see it’ book, unlike 99% of other political memoires. It really was a bit like Dorothy pulling back the curtain on Australian politics.

    I found it quite instructive that both sides of politics viciously attacked Latham for releasing that book.

  39. Mark

    James In Footscray
    #1206754, posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm
    Ha, to think – Latham’s as mad as the proverbial, but he might have made a good PM.

    What you say when you are outside the tent with no hope of ever getting back in is quaite different to when you are inside and beholden (geddit?) to the union masters.

  40. rickw

    ” It’s a victory for consumers over the ineffectiveness of subsidisation.”

    This says it all, used 1998 Jaguar XKR Portfolio
    Australia – A$90,000
    GB – A$40,000

    Consumers have been getting robbed blind by a consortium of Government (tax) and Distributors / Manufacturers (pricing).

    We need New Zealand vehicle import regulations NOW !!!

  41. simonh

    Shame Latho didn’t get in as PM. It’s well known you need to be bit unhinged to be the best leader … mental instability is a pre-req for top leader apparently. Last of the smart but proper old school Aussie blokes at the top

Comments are closed.