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

Malcolm in the middle « Previous | |Next »
August 6, 2009

What are the chances of Malcolm Turnbull surviving as the leader of the Liberal Party and winning the next election? It's zilch on the latter. It is extremely unlikely that Malcolm will ever became PM. His ambition will be thwarted as the Liberals look to be going backwards after the attempt to king hit Rudd and Swan in the Ozgate episode backfired so spectacularly:


They need to do everything in their power to reduce the electoral damage. The Australian will continue to campaign for Turnbull to be dumped, whilst the Nationals will continue to distance themselves from the Liberals as they realize that they need to develop a more independent political profile to survive.

Will the Liberals rethink their faith in self-correcting neoclassical economic model--question the elegant self-correcting free-market equilibrium theory?

Or will they continue to cover up the anomalies with the theory with the claim, along with the IPA that the current economic crisis is due to regulatory, and not market, failure and that we are witnessing the financial market self-correct in the most dramatic of fashions. Those who think otherwise express an anti-market bias The anti-market bias is the tendency to under-estimate the benefits of the market mechanism. The corollary is that the benefit of government intervention is over-estimated.What we can infer from this is that most macroeconomists are still blinded by the idea that efficient markets will take care of themselves.

Will the Liberals continue to defend big central government in opposition to the small government ethos in classical economic liberalism and neo-classical economic theory. Just how committed to liberalism are the Liberals?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:57 AM | | Comments (9)


Senator Eric Abetz should fall on his sword to protect his noble leader. I'd like to see it as a public performance in a tabloid style. That would give the LIberals a lift in the polls.

I don't think the Liberals could care less about the market at the moment. And their only concern about the size of government is how much bigger the ALP side of it will be after the next election.

Abbott wouldn't go even close to winning an election ever, but he'd be a good choice for them now, and he's the only one interested in the job. He's strong enough to stand the loss that's coming, and he's a Liberal down to his DNA. He could be a sturdy conservative harbour to shelter them in the storm.

Agreed. somebody has to go and Abetz is the logical choice. I don't know that it would give them a lift in the polls, but it would give the impression that the culprit has been punished.

It is still hard to get my head around the idea of the Liberals being a bit government centralist supporting organisation. But for the majority of voters who vote the same way through tribal allegience it doesn't make much difference.

Though the Liberals appeal to small government and the self-regulating market, they are not about small government. They are big government conservatives who also love the market. That tradition goes all the way back to Edmund Burke.

Hence we have the more consistent libertarian strand of the Institute of Public Affairs: free markets and small government.

I was thinking less about the market per se and more about the Liberals commitment to economics as a discipline and profession.

Ever since modern economics started in the 18th century economics it has presented itself as a predictive discipline, akin to a natural science. The failure of the economics profession – with a few exceptions – to foresee the coming collapse does discredit its scientific pretensions. Economics is revealed to have no more clothes than other social science.

The economics profession has problems, given their identity in economics' status as a hard, predictive natural science. It's mathematical turn reflects a persistent bias towards an idealised account of human behaviour and markets. It works in terms of an excessive abstraction that conceptualizes the world as a mechanical world of interacting robots driven by the instinctual springs of a fixed human nature. The economy is simply the sum of microeconomic decisions of rational agents pursuing their own self-interest. Reality has to be shaped to fit with the utopian model of a decentralised market system.

Not that an Abbott or a Turnbull will give this a moments thought, even they rave on about the utopian tendencies of the Left, or that--in Abbott's case---people are not superbly informed and do not understand the deep complexities of the world.

Is News Ltd really trying to ditch Turnbull now? They only just finished their anti-Nelson campaign. Is that all they do now - criticise Labor while simultaneously white-anting the leader of the opposition? Someone should take Milne and company aside and explain gently that Costello is going and never coming back, and the glorious days of the Howard/Costello Governments have gone forever.

I know this means they will have to learn all kinds of new concepts and maybe even re-frame their view of politics but them's the breaks guys. Now they can empathise with all those Labor supporters who spent the years from 1996-2001 waiting for the inevitable return of the Hawke/Keating brand under new leadership.

Nothing's sadder than political groupies who can't come to terms with the fact that their heroes are out of fashion forever.

It does appear that there is an internal Liberal Party smear campaign designed to push Turnbull out, now that the crash or crash through approach has stalled in crash mode.

Michelle Grattan in The Age does a good job on the deeply divided Liberals leadership woes. Basically they are stuck with Turnbull as no one wants the poisoned chalice and, secondly, that Costello is right about then needing to develop a narrative about the direction in which it wants to take the country" and it should be "thinking about how to use the downturn to strengthen Australia for the recovery".

However, Costello's only suggestion is changes that allow flexible agreements in the workplace! He's not much use. So much for those who dream that Costello could be enticed back as he walks out the door.

I read the objectivity and and balance of The Australian as the Fox News of Australia.

Yes, vintage Grattan!
The complete reversal of a now disappeared SMH peice by Phillip Coorey trying to reduce it all to an ALP smear campaign against the Libs.
It was sad to watch Turnbull on Q and A last night, it took a truly bad performance to make Gillard, stubbornly still trying to justify school "league tables", look good.
Gary's response to Lyn had mer in mind of an old Ken Davidson comment concerning the circular "self referentialism" of neoliberalism- the aim is to maximise profits, not benefit humanity.

Also must applaud Nan's comment re Abetz. They are despicable, aren't they?