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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

slipping behind yet again « Previous | |Next »
November 10, 2003

The Australian Financial Review(AFR) is on a mission to sell the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. It has opened up its new political front of the FTA being an instrument to lever another round of reforms to Australian society. These reforms are designed to do away with our social democratic heritage and transform Australia into a market society. Our social democratic ethos, conventions and institutions are seen to be shacklng a market economy and frustrating its free workings.

The older round of reforms, those pushed through under the Hawk-Keating Labor Government, are seen to have their course. They are not delivering productivity increases. Hence a new round of reforms need to pushed through. So argues the AFR last Friday in a column entitled , 'The Race is on to catch up with future' (subscription required, 7 11 03, pp.1 & 80-81).

The Howard Government is showing reform fatique. It needs a booster injection to enable it to continue shaping society so that it is in harmony with the free market. Harmony is beautiful. Progress must be maintained. Otherwise Australia wil drift downhill, and fall behind the race to acquire the wealth of nations. There is no other choice but another major round of micro-economic reform. It's time to do the hard yards says the editorial in the AFR.

What are these reforms? Those mentioned include: further deregulation of the labour market and reducing the minimium wage level; reducing tariffs on manufacturing, accelerating progress on the market-orientated reform of our universities; more market-orientated reform of the public health; a greater rationalization and shakeup of welfare; lower taxation to attract mobile capital to Australia.

And while we are at why not throw some golden oldies into the mix. Population needs to be increased. Australia needs a bigger population if it is to be internationally competitive.

Why? Why is that necessary in an open economy integrated with the US?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:54 PM | | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (2)

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Australia has both federal and Westminster institutions of government. The emphasis of the former is on diversity and difference, whilst the latter emphasizes unity and efficiency. The Westminster system of parliamentary democracy is one a majoritarian... [Read More]

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Those who oppose, or resist the negative effects of corporate form of globalization fostered by the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fuind and the World Bank are usually characterised as the anti-globalization movement. It is usuall... [Read More]



I must admit I'm getting a bit confused myself Gary. On the one hand we have Lew Owens confessing openly on Stateline the other night that the result of privatisation and competition in electricity supply was all about finishing cross subsidisation from big users to the consumer(and some small business) OK I can accept that. However when it comes to water, my Labor Govt introduces a Save the River Murray Levy (a fixed quarterly rate of $33.75 for business no matter what your usage) and introduces water rationing. Now I'm a market man and I'll cop the higher energy prices, but why is this bloody Govt making me continue to cross subsidise cotton and rice-growers and making me queue up for the privilege? Welcome to the Rann Liberal Country Party Govt folks!(mustn't upset big business or the farmers) I'm starting to join the paranoia mob and believe in conspiracy theories.

According to the economic theorist water trading will stop the cross subsidisation of rice and cotton farrmers, unless they get very efficient.

I don't believe it myself. Water trading etc is all about ensuring the big agri busnesses have access to highly priced water at the expense of the little folk eg. the family farmers.
It may well come down to Adelaide fighting Murray Irrigation LTD for precious water in the future.