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The Forum > Article Comments > Economic nostalgia won't solve Australia's problems > Comments

Economic nostalgia won't solve Australia's problems : Comments

By Chris Lewis, published 16/4/2013

Wise up Australia (and the Coalition), what seemed to work in the past won't necessarily work in the future.

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Chris, one enormously important factor seems to be entirely missing in your analysis of future economic management in Australia.

This is the size and rate of growth of the population.

Surely one of the most important things of all is to stop the demand for everything from constantly increasing. If we are to significantly improve health, education, roads, water supplies, and everything else, then we need to wind down the ever-increasing pressure on all these services and infrastructure.

I canít see how any economic analysis that omits this can be in any way valid. Similarly, an analysis that upholds very high immigration as a fundamental driver of economic growth is just profoundly flawed right from the start.

When we have a paradigm in which the overall demand is stable, we can hope to win significant improvements if we pour heaps of money into the various issues. But while the demand continues to blow out, we are going to be battling and losing to simply keep up the same low standard for ever-more people.

The implications of an ever-bigger demand base are much broader than this. Iíd argue that our increasing debt and our increasing disdain for politicians has got everything to do with the fact that they simply canít achieve significant improvements no matter how hard they try or how much money they redirect into them, because of the absolutely massive continuously increasing burden upon them!

So surely one of the fundamentally most important tenets of future economic management is to determine what size and composition of immigration program we would need in order to minimise increasing demand on our resource base, services, infrastructure and environment, while maximising the economic returns, and thus considerably increase our per-capita economic growth.

I put it to you Chris that no amount of economic analysis, of the sort that you have presented in this article, is going to cut it, in the absence of a stabilised population or at least a very much lower rate of population growth in this country.
Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 16 April 2013 8:36:04 AM
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Ludwig, yes, i suspect that population, along with energy, are key factors which need to be taken account in our future economic direction.

With this article, it was more about showing problems with existing policy trends, mostly in terms with our reliance upon basic industries. My suggestion for more sophisticated analaysis towards end does not rule out any key factor which is deemed relevant.

In the future, and hopefully i will have more time in my non-work hours to pursue my preference for OLO pieces, i will endeavour to offer some opinion of how better we can meet our future eco needs. Now this will require a lot of work.

In the meantime, i hope others can do this rather than accept pure free trade. Our economic future is a most serious question that will affect almost all other policy areas.
Posted by Chris Lewis, Tuesday, 16 April 2013 8:45:02 AM
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Yes Chris, agree with most of your post.
Free trade?
Well that might advantage Corporate Australia, but given 95% of that is now head-quartered offshore, I doubt it will do much for us, except expand already massive tax avoidance. [Tax reform and cheap energy, would help!]
The US FTA is massively weighted to their advantage, and most foreign investment now equates to even more foreign debt, and punitive interest, that then allows the so-called investor, to avoid a fair share of what ought to be a common liability/responsibility?
I estimate current avoidance is ripping as much as 100 billion plus PA, from consolidated revenue? Simply unsustainable!
We need to ensure we retain and expand a manufacturing base!
We could do a lot worse than invest in our own people and their better ideas.
The basis for the Irish economic miracle and or the Celtic tiger.
Only brought to its knees, by allowing debt laden foreign speculators in, to massively distort the property market and create yet another unsustainable property bubble.
Manufacture?
We would sell all the cars we make here, if people really wanted what is on offer, but they vote with their feet and the chequebook every day!
We lead the world in moulded carbon fibre.
And should be using that current advantage to build relatively low cost carbon fibre bodied cars.
They could be CNG hybrids, with the conventional engine replaced by locally invented ceramic fuel cell, which performs really well on methane, producing mostly water vapour as the consequence and world's best 60% energy coefficient.
Given no one else is making methane powered electric cars, the market is currently wide open and ours, if we want it.
Its not just ideologically bound pollies that are part of the problem, but equally recalcitrant foreign manufacturers, who are basically owned by foreign oil companies, with a dramatically different agenda from ours?
One we need to divest ourselves from, if we would retain car manufacture here, and all that flows from it, in research/R+D!
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Tuesday, 16 April 2013 12:35:29 PM
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Economic nostalgia is no cure for sure. Old nostrums such as Marxism and Mercantilism should be given the punt. The concept of workers v bosses is sooooo 19th century, workers today are those that do, which includes managers, factory hands, front line staff, active investors and researchers. The parasite class to name a few are soft topic Uni students and there enablers, bureaucrats, the vast professional "advocacy" complex and other sundry Taker types. Parasites need to understand that it is not smart to weaken Makers so much as to kill the host.
Posted by McCackie, Tuesday, 16 April 2013 1:26:29 PM
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Thanks Chris for the prompt response. It is really good when an article writer gets involved in the discussion. Doesnít happen very much on OLO, which is a real pity.

And yes, energy as well as population is bound to figure very heavily in our future economic direction.
Posted by Ludwig, Wednesday, 17 April 2013 7:32:02 PM
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