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

after the commodity boom? « Previous | |Next »
May 6, 2013

Roy Green in Beyond the boom: have we frittered away our opportunities? asks a very good question: "Where are jobs and growth to come from after the commodity boom?"

Improved productivity is central to rising living standards and sustainable economic growth especially when Australia is repositioning and competing globally as a “high cost” economy. Consequently, living standards will be even more dependent in the future on increasing our rate of productivity growth, particularly in trade-exposed sectors.

PettyBCompassion.jpg Bruce Petty

Australia has had abundant previous experience of commodity booms, which have all ended badly, with lessons that produced considerable reflection. What Australian policy-makers had to do was reflect on past mistakes The short answer to Green's question is that the jobs and growth will come from building a dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy.

However, as Green adds:

Clearly, structural change is taking place throughout the world economy, as a consequence mainly of technology and business model innovation and the changing patterns of international trade and development. But it is equally clear that Australia has been so lulled into complacency by the resources boom that we are not taking as much advantage of such change as we could be...Even with the pick-up in productivity growth over the past year, it will be a huge challenge to compensate for terms of trade decline in a high cost economy with a continuing strong dollar.

Australia has done so little towards building a dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy based on new technology and innovation. The market changes associated with the deregulation of product and labour markets has shifted much of the jobs growth to casual work in low productivity sectors.

The Coalition's policy behind the sound bite politics of “Stop the boats, "climate change is crap”, and “axe the tax” is that the job of the federal government is to look after the interests of the big mining industry; an industry deeply hostile to climate change and clean energy policies. This fossil fuel industry would scrap all subsidies for renewable energy and cancel all wind farm developments. Like the state-based coalition governments, Abbott's Coalition remains stuck on the policy that deems that renewables are costly and useless, and don’t reduce emissions, and that the renewable energy target should be killed or neutered.

Their coal dependency position is “coal lock-in” due to high capital costs and long assets life spans. That means Australian citizens will be forced to absorb hundreds of millions of dollars in pollution control upgrades for outdated and obsolete coal power plants.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:11 PM | | Comments (4)


wind energy for the Coalition is something to do with Danish turbines on sticks producing some kind of dinky pretend power.

I think The Palmer Pyjama Party (PP Party) will probably get a few votes. Be interesting to see it get more votes than The Greens. It will highlight what crap pollies we have and the intelligence level of the ostralian public.

The ALP had the right idea as to some of this the first couple of years they were in, with computers for schools and national broadband. Unfortunately, the nervous nellies of the ALP right backed off various ecology based reforms for fear of alienating wealthy friends, avoided the chance to deal with the Tories at the polls when these were still weak and allowed themselves to be pushed around by Murdoch and the mining barons.

Warning -incoming rant.

Creating jobs is easy.
Very easy.

All it takes is political will and a bit of political nous.
OK it may require an intelligent and concerned media and that would be a problem but the actual mechanism and means of job creation in Oz could be, should be, a cakewalk.

In the medium term say 3-5 years schools, hospitals and social welfare agencies [just to name 3 major sectors]could employ tens of thousands of persons whose social contribution would be enormous. National parks and local local councils could easily and profitably [in a social currency sense] utilise thousands, probably 10s of 1000s of extra workers to the benefit of the nation and even create exports via tourism.
An extra 10,000 scientists and academics doing practical research in social and environmental areas would be a huge boon this country.
We could have such within 5-10 years tops.
'Lost' manufacturing could be 'found' via public corporations that add value to currently exported cheap and nasty bulk items [various kinds of dirt for example] and/or a revitalisation of the old 'import replacement' concept.
Who cares if subsidies are necessary in the short or even long term?

The key element is that this country has all the prerequisites for the above [and lots of other employment areas] - a highly educated and skilled workforce [by world standards], lots of spare capital, plenty of space, public and economic infrastructure [itself an avenue for job creation] raw materials galore and a large local market [I get a bit irritated by those nay-sayers who look at the fact that we have 'only' 23 million people and ignore the fact that most of those are , by world standards, affluent].

Like I said the only element missing is political will.

Easy peasy.

Won't happen.