Australia the Innovator

There has been a lot of oxygen and ink expended in the last couple of days about Australia as an innovative nation and why Australia lags in global innovation rankings.

The answer is clear.  There was a consultant report written a number of years ago by a political expert.  It was written about a different country, but the themes are the same.

The following is from the executive summary:

After having thus taken each individual one by one into its powerful hands, and having molded him as it pleases, the sovereign power extends its arms over the entire society; it covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated, minute, and uniform rules, which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot break through to go beyond the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I have always believed that this sort of servitude, regulated, mild and peaceful, of which I have just done the portrait, could be combined better than we imagine with some of the external forms of liberty, and that it would not be impossible for it to be established in the very shadow of the sovereignty of the people.

For those who would like to read the full report, it can be found here.

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8 Responses to Australia the Innovator

  1. bemused

    Choice!
    That describes Straya.
    Once I hit the link I thought as much, that is, the author. A number of years ago! Mmmm.

  2. stackja

    Gough decided Australia should not be innovative.

  3. bollux

    And the sovereign power gave them safe schools, and all was good.

  4. vicki

    Having been stupefied by the bureaucratic requirements of the latest “Biodiversity” Plan mandated for all farmers after October 1, I think these words of de Tocqueville are SO apt!

  5. vicki

    Sorry – that should have been “Biosecurity” Plan.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    The problem with innovation in Australia is twofold.

    1. Universities are owned by the Left. The type of people they attract are people who want comfy safety. They aren’t the sort of people who take risks or embrace capitalism. Being lefties they also exclude anyone who doesn’t sing to their tune: so risk takers and righties tend not to get academic positions, then tend not to get the funding which is gate-kept by the lefty academic hierarchy.

    2. In Australia to start a business you need mountains of approvals and paperwork and money. As soon as you employ someone you are up for workers comp, payroll tax, rates, rent, withholding tax, GST and you name it. As Gina once said: a new mine needs something like four thousand separate approvals. R&D support used to be a 125% tax deduction instead of a 100% tax deduction, for which you have to jump through flaming hoops, produce oodles of filled-in forms and wait until you actually make a profit to be able to deduct from it. Woopedoo! It has improved somewhat since then (2011) at least for SMEs. And of course when it comes to actual grants they are controlled by the Left, so don’t bother.

    These are generalizations, there are always exceptions, but they do illustrate the issue.

  7. True Aussie

    Having been stupefied by the bureaucratic requirements of the latest “Biodiversity” Plan mandated for all farmers after October 1, I think these words of de Tocqueville are SO apt!

    I received a letter two weeks ago notifying me of all the new red tape in order to keep growing cattle. More bureacratic nonsense dreamed up by an office drone in the city trying to justify his pathetic existence.

  8. RobK

    I am heartened that 180 years ago someone was able to articulate how things work in politics. It’s a shame this has not translated better government. The words you highlighted in the post are an accurate description of what I see as a fundamental flaw of centeralized control and big government.

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