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The Forum > Article Comments > Love and economic efficiency > Comments

Love and economic efficiency : Comments

By Mark Christensen, published 2/2/2007

The only way to protect our 'fair go' culture is through a conviction that what we most value canít be delivered by government.

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What does a "fair go" mean? There are so many great writers, artists and intellectuals who are ignored and undervalued here in Australia, simply because they did not go to the same primary school as those so called "free market forces" who get to decided what is worth what! If you have a sense of loyalty to your mates and are incapable of trusting people born overseas, or people who have different religious beliefs, or people who have a different skin colour, then the market is manipulated. And guess who loses out in the long run? Gifted people leave, they go where they are appreciated and valued. We need government forces that understand prejudice and how blinding it can be. For everyone's sake.
Posted by vivy, Friday, 2 February 2007 9:29:55 AM
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I broadly agree with less government regulation, but with the proviso that there is still some form of safety net in place. Also, as vivy has pointed out, even the "free" market generates its own barriers to efficiency, because of the prejudices and limitations of the individuals who make up the market.

A couple of other quibbles with the article - the line "controlling governments are akin to interfering parents who claim to know what is best. Great intentions, unhappy results" is a bad analogy. Very often, parents really do know what is best!

Also, Mark alludes to "the God-like benevolence of Smithís invisible hand"; my reading of Smith suggests the invisible hand is more akin to a force of nature, amoral rather than benevolent. It also presupposes a market made up individuals exercising 'enlightened self-interest', whereas in reality individuals frequently display utterly stupid self interest.

Still, here's to the freedom to make mistakes!
Posted by Rhys Probert, Friday, 2 February 2007 9:48:53 AM
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So why should we pay our taxes
Posted by SHONGA, Friday, 2 February 2007 10:10:18 PM
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It is well to remember that the term free market has nothing to do with the Aussie fair go. John Locke and Adam Smith as well as John Stuart Mill - none of these great thinkers gave onus to competition and marketing as anything to do with fair play or a fair go.

Except to say that because the free market is so much associated with the needed avarice and greed for big companies to ever grow and grow, as shown with the East India Company which was allowed to raise its own military force which enabled it to bring its own rules to the whole of Ceylon, now Sri-Lanka, forcing the angry Buddhists to allow imported Indian Tamils to clear the naturally picturesque Holistic hillsides and grow tea for the greedy British colonialists. Even in the 1930s Ceylonese tea was regarded as the world's choicest, with tins packets and boxes draped with pictures of the loveliest of female leaf-pickers, most working for not much better than a crust.

Nothing on the containers about what the Ceylonese had to give up for it all. Their lush valleys which had supplied some of the highest quality rice in the world, now neglected, because the British could easily grow rice in their other numerous colonies, but not tea.

It is a fact, that when we were studying in Sri-Lanka in 1981, the old global Tea Economy was still a glaring example of the banditry of colonialism and the free-market. Further we were also taught that Brooke Bond, a huge company possibly deliberately not well known, still owned most of the facilities and marketing institutions that Sri-Lanka still has to rely on mostly for its survival even today.
Posted by bushbred, Saturday, 3 February 2007 5:48:01 PM
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Well said, Bushbred. A 'free' market is an ideal, like democracy. Democracy lasts until the first politician opens his mouth, then it becomes a demagoguery. A free market lasts until large companies and multinational corporations gain control of supply and demand. Then we have monopolies and price fixing, exploitation, slave labour and an ever increasing gap between rich and poor. Government intervention to protect all citizens from the excesses of the wealthy is a very recent concept and exists only in a very few countries - Western Europe, Canada, New Zealand and - until recently, Australia. It is sickening to realise that clever propaganda such as this article, is determined to return us to the evil days from which our forefathers extricated themselves with such pain and misery.
Posted by ybgirp, Monday, 5 February 2007 11:38:00 AM
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"Fair go" - what "fair go" in Australia?
Posted by MichaelK., Wednesday, 7 February 2007 12:18:13 AM
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