Odds and Ends 13 March

Liberty Quote

It is the highest impertinence and presumption… in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense… They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will. — Adam Smith

The Swedish welfare state is parasitic on liberal economic policies.

The glory days for Sweden economically took place prior to the 1960s, when they had a free economy, low regulation and lots of wealth. Between 1870 and 1950, Sweden had the highest per capita income growth in the world and became one of the richest countries, behind only Switzerland, the U.S., and Denmark.

Another downside of the welfare state, surveys in one of the Scandinavian states show that the percentage of people who thought it was unacceptable to accept welfare without genuine entitlement sank from 95 to 57 in a generation. And that was before the recent demographic changes. I wonder what it is now?

Big Government. Dan Mitchell on seven adverse consequences of big government. Come on Dan, is that all?

CIS Policy on line is now available (on line!). Come to CIS next week for a great debate on immigration. With Mark Latham, Judith Sloan and others of less note.

Intellectual Takeout. Why kids need real books, the time US parents spend on the homework, Jane Austin and the theme of marriage and much more.

Art and Culture. Photos of women around the world.

Gratuitous advertising. Something to read. The Rathouse for people who have not seen it before, The site of Kilmeny Niland who designed the Rathouse. My favorite Rathouse page, with the liberal economists Peter Bauer and William Hutt, Protectionism in Australia and the history of international cricket tours.

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11 Responses to Odds and Ends 13 March

  1. mundi

    One thing I always admired about the older generation is the large number who refuse welfare. I have known several terminal cancer patients who didn’t want disability support pension and the idea that they would end there life as a burden on the state was repulsive.

    Today, that is almost unheard off. Entitlement is everywhere. Tweak your back doing your first ever hour of labor? DSP for life please.

  2. Gengis

    Rafe,
    You do talk BS as Australia had the highest Standard of Living until the early 1950’s because of the prolonged gold boom.
    Get your facts right!

  3. Spring is coming

    Our family came across the ditch in the 70s. My father a tradesman worked from day one. I recall my cousin came to visit on a working holiday. My cuz eh bro went to the CES looking for work. They couldn’t offer him anything but some forms to apply for the dole, which he duly completed not wishing to offend the local customs. When my old man found out he was furious an demanded the cuz tear up the forms. He was old school . Welfare was never intended for that purpose. My cuz tore up the forms. My mates thought my Dad was nuts t knock back free money.

    But there you go , OPM , who cares how it’s spent! And it’s been going on for years !

  4. papachango

    wasn’t Sweden’s social democratic ideal somewhat helped along by mass emigration to the US in the early 1900s?
    It’s kind of cheating if all your poor leave

  5. duncanm

    One thing I always admired about the older generation is the large number who refuse welfare.

    That’s mostly now gone. Talk around the grey nomad circuit is all about how to structure so you retain the old age pension.

    Only took a generation or two..

  6. Usual suspect

    Let’s get real. The big issues are in sacred cows. The untouchable free gifts and soft options. I’d start with defence, which is full of idiots who arrogantly tender projects over any sensible spec and drive huge cost blowouts. Efucation is a federal wasteland. It should simply be given up to states or negotiated as a federal system. Dfat is a basket case. Austrade should be privatised and built on performance fees to industry. The industry portfolio is a total waste of space and only serves lobbyists. Health also should be nationalised or carved up. And so on.

  7. Rafe Champion

    Gengis, thanks for your comment although it is peripheral to the point of the post.
    It may be a mistake but you might like to check bearing in mind the comparison is growth rates, not absolute levels of wealth.
    Australia led the world round about 1870 but in the 20th century our rate of growth and productivity slipped, and we dropped many places on the ladder.
    I don’t think we were anywhere near the top in the 1950s and I don’t know how much gold had to do with our position, I would have thought wool was more important. Although the high price of gold in the 1930s produced great changes in South Africa (as an aside).

  8. Ellen of Tasmania

    Re: Why kids need books.

    Our sons are adults now with families of their own, but one of their most treasured memories of childhood is our family read-aloud times. We read hundreds of books aloud together.

    Now they have households of their own, they read aloud to their wives and kids.

    We all have audible accounts and hundreds of books that we listen to and bless the technology for making it possible, but we still all have family read-aloud time.

    I cannot recommend it enough. It builds vocabulary, an appreciation for fine literature and a shared family experience that bonds you together.

  9. old bloke

    Rafe, would you know if the CIS debate will be available online?

  10. Rafe Champion

    They seem to be putting most things on line nowadays, just phone 02 9438 4377 and ask.

  11. old bloke

    Thanks Rafe, shall do.

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