Creating Prosperity: its few friends and many enemies

I have a piece in Quadrant on interest groups and economic advice.

Read the whole article and see if you agree with the its conclusion, which is as follows

Business group now constitute an unlikely source of policy guidance – and their lack of finance means in any event they have very few resources to develop new approaches.  Then there are trade unions and environmental activists, neither of which can offer anything other than interventions that would force down living standards, and government agencies, the universities and “think tanks”.

Today’s leadership in the reform debates largely stems from one-man-band outfits and their contributors in QuadrantCatallaxy Files, the Spectator, the Menzies Institute as well as the Bolt Report.

Sadly,  Fairfax Media and government funded institutions like the ABC are still pulling towards greater corporatism and stultifying political correctness.  Much the same goes for most of the work coming out of universities.  The public service, even nowadays Treasury and Productivity Commission, which in the 1980s reform era were leading advocates, have retreated from deregulation to promoting an enlarged role for government.

We can only hope the torchbearers for smaller government advocates prevail. The Trump victory, together with some promising rollbacks in Eastern Europe, offer comfort.

There is however a possibility that the tax and regulatory dependent class has now grown so large that reform involving elimination of waste and reduction of the government take from earned income is an ever-receding prospect.  The futuristic novel The Mandibles portrays a US where the ‘leaners’ require 78% of GDP and form an unassailable voting block that ensures terminal economic decline.

Though government spending in Australia is presently only half that share it is proving impossible to reduce and has, in reality, been growing as a result of regulatory impositions.

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9 Responses to Creating Prosperity: its few friends and many enemies

  1. herodotus

    The Productivity Commission used to be hard edged analytical office, particularly against anything with even a whiff of agri-welfare. Nowadays they’re another SJW outfit with a veneer of economics.

  2. BoyfromTottenham

    Good article, Alan. I have read The Mandibles – it is a truly graphic view of a dystopian future for the USA when (the inevitable?) economic breakdown occurs. Of course Ayn Rand’s 1957 classic ‘Atlas Shrugged’ has a similar theme, but with a different outcome because the heroes are smart enough to plan for an alternative, self-reliant life, free of the ‘leaners’ that destroyed the US economy. It will be interesting to watch how actual self-reliant groups such as the Catalans and the Visigrad EU countries fare in resisting the cancerous effects of the ‘leaners’ being in the majority in an economy.
    I agree, and am also very concerned by the dearth of organised resistance to this destructive trend in Australia, and the constant rise of (overt and covert) groups supporting the ‘leaners’. If a credible group were to be formed to voice these concerns I would gladly help crowd-fund it. Failing that, bring on the next recession.

  3. Dr Faustus

    Government is the common enabler to all the interest groups that make up the “tax and regulatory dependent class“.

    In this symbiotic relationship it is unrealistic to expect ‘policy guidance’ to include anything that threatens to diminish the scope and reach of government – indeed quite the reverse. This is a wholly rational response; the cost of attempting to do this is to risk access to the feeding trough that flows unearned value to the right people.

  4. Art Vandelay

    The Productivity Commission used to be hard edged analytical office, particularly against anything with even a whiff of agri-welfare. Nowadays they’re another SJW outfit with a veneer of economics.

    It doesn’t help that their current Chairman is a Gillard government appointee. I’ve heard through the grapevine that morale there is very low and that many good staff have left.

  5. RobK

    Thanks Alan,
    A fair assessment in my view. The resources to protect private property rights are largely individual volunteers on committees. It is difficult to get widespread support because people seem unaware or unconcerned until it effects them….by which time it’s too late in most cases. It appears to be the same for the other economic issues you raise. Keep up the good work.

  6. manalive

    Good article Alan Moran.
    I was one of Frank Penhalluriack’s faithful customers at his Caulfield hardware store in the ‘70s.
    If memory serves the Liberal government of Dick Hamer looked the other way, I think the Big State clampdown came when Labor took over under John Cain.

  7. H B Bear

    Big Government. Big Union. Big Business. Australia’s holy trinity.

    Too bad for the rest of us.

  8. Eyrie

    HB Bear, that’s why I couldn’t stomach the Hawke government of the 1980’s. Fascist pricks.

  9. Fulcrum

    A professor of maths in the State of Illinois has stated that an knowledge of algebra and maths perpetuates white privilege.
    You might agree with this logic but there must be at least a hint of racism on that comment,

    As there are many fine mathematicians who are not white and not privileged.this professor should stick to her now doubtful area of expertise, whatever it is.
    She seems to a walking contradiction as there is some suggestion in het name that she may not be white, not that is a barrier to achievement

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