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The Forum > Article Comments > Time for the 'reform' mantra to be modernised > Comments

Time for the 'reform' mantra to be modernised : Comments

By Nicholas Gruen, published 24/9/2014

And yet our policy elite speak as if 'reform' is well articulated and will take us back to the glory days of the 1990s Australian 'reform boom' that preceded the subsequent resources boom.

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In the final analysis, goods and services can either be provided on the basis of the voluntary actions of the people in buying or selling, or by coercive central planning by bureaucracies on the basis of rules and regulations.

That's it. There is no "third way". All talk of improving the ethical consensual way always degenerates in practice into going back to the second way.

And the coercive approach immediately raises the economic calculation problem: as Nicholas Gruen demonstrates and admits, its advocates have no rational criterion by which to decide what to produce, how, or for whom, let alone whether it's fairer. So it turns out that their claims of making a fairer and more productive society are always false, and always degenerate into crony capitalism, which they always consider some kind of strange coincidence - nothing to do with their policies of government irrationally, or corruptly, picking favourites.

Nick, if the possibility of a consent-based monopoly is bad, how did you reason that the certainty of a coercion-based monopoly is better?

"And building on those glimmerings is our only way to build on our proud legacy as a standard bearer for neoliberal reform by moving beyond it."

So we're going to "move beyond" consent-based social relations by coercion-based relations - the government arbitrarily banning and confiscating and ordering anything it wants, and ordaining crony capitalism?

Nick can you please at least sympathise with those who - before the socialists of the last century caused such huge economic and human destruction - already knew from sound theory that it wouldn't and couldn't work?

Can you understand how painful it is to be looking at people advocating what is self-contradictory, self-defeating, anti-economic, and demonstrably wrong?

Please at least try to understand the nature of the huge gulf between what you want, and what stands in the way of your achieving it:
"Profit and Loss" by Ludwig von Mises
http://mises.org/daily/2321

"Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" by Mises
http://mises.org/pdf/econcalc.pdf

You yourself admit that you don't know the answers. At least consider learning the theoretical basis why you don't and can't?
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 9:06:44 AM
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Well, when so called reform transfers wealth from the have nots, to those with more than they can honestly use?
It is hardly reform, just cleverly camouflaged theft?
Or Clayton's reform, you know, the reform you have, when you're not really having reform!?
And readily identified, I believe, by an invariable increase in complexity!
A very wise man, a Republican Senator visiting here as a guest speaker on Q+A, is on the public record as saying, "at some point complexity always becomes fraud!" Quote unquote.
One of the mantras that support this too clever by half, transfer of wealth, "is the government has no business in business!"
The only problems with public ownership was the monopoly model it usually constructed, and the jobs for life model that seemed to come with it?
I mean, a mandatory duopoly model, that enabled bench marking and performance/apples with apples comparisons, and bonuses, when one participant outperformed the other, or earned a larger share of a largely unrestricted free market, is the way to go!
The privatization you have, and its personal incentivate model, when you're not having privatization!
Nowhere have I seen so much as a single example of lower fees, charges, or reduced price structures due to privatization, just gold plating and or, allowing infrastructure run downs, in order to lay off essential staff/maximize short term profits!
Then ask the consumer to pay for all the patent mismanagement!
We need real reform of the tax system, if only to remove an entirely unnecessary, 7% (averaged) impost on the bottom line, and all the parasitic unproductive practices, that leech their livings/personal wealth from that!
Another overdue reform is essential to wind up the profit demanding middle man/broker baron, who ought to be simply taxed out of existence.
And given that result, halve the cost of living/doing business here.
Finally, we need as never before in our relatively short history, to massively simplify and harmonize the trade practice act.
And for exactly the same reason, to reform and massively simplify the tax act.
Read my previous tax reform posts!
Rhrosty
Posted by Rhrosty, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:41:46 PM
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Jardine,

Thanks for the comment. I think - I hope - we could probably both agree with Mark Twain when he says that it's not what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

Cheers, NG
Posted by Nicholas Gruen, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 2:58:35 PM
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Nicholas

Yes indeedy. The question is how you know the difference.

If the possibility of a consent-based monopoly is bad, how did you reason that the certainty of a coercion-based monopoly is better?
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 8:33:34 PM
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Jardine, Unfortunately can't really follow what you're arguing. And it's not that I'm unaware of the socialist calculation debate. I'm quite well across it.
Posted by Nicholas Gruen, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 9:08:05 PM
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Nicholas

It was a question about monopoly not an argument per se. I can't see how you can argue without self-contradiction that the possibility of a monopoly that is the result of consensual transactions justifies the certainty of a coercive monopoly.

Can you? If so, how?

However both in relation to what you have said about regulation of monopoly, and about moving beyond neoliberal reform, I can't see how your policy suggestions do not involve you in the insoluble problems of the economic calculation argument. Why don't they? Aren't you just re-asserting the unreconstructed assumptions about the beneficence of socialist provision of goods and services, and if not, why not?
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Thursday, 25 September 2014 12:48:30 AM
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