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The Forum > Article Comments > Labor's view of Australia - a nation of shopkeepers? > Comments

Labor's view of Australia - a nation of shopkeepers? : Comments

By Arthur Thomas, published 21/4/2009

Australians can do without the rhetoric, waffling and political expediency. Australia needs a reality check and a clear crisis management plan.

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A competent analysis but with no precise recommendations.
We need as a nation to produces our own socks and jocks and our own refrigerators, washing machines, nails and screws etc.
Between developed nations there are few comparative advantages and importing from counties with slave labour conditions is no different to having slaves within our own borders. Business utilising factories in such places want you to overlook that fact.
An industry in which we are up with the best, the steel industry, is struggling because there is little or no demand for steel from the whitegoods and fastening industries. Even reinforcing steel for the building industry is being imported (probably dumped is an appropriate description).
Surely a tariff is warranted on imported goods if it compensates our common weal for the employee taxes which would be paid if our unemployed were employed in manufacturing industries (if such existed or were re-established). Presently we lose two ways; we pay unemployment benefits and the unemployed pay no tax.
Years ago, a parliamentarian, writing as a "Modest member" advocated that we would be better off if we paid our clothing and footwear employees to stay home and instead imported such items. Starting down that slippery slope contributed to replacing real industry with the financial and services industries and we can now see the outcome of doing just that.
Why do our politicians believe that it make sense to import, for example, Honda cars produced in Thailand while our own employed pay unemployment benefits to unemployed steel workers and vehicle assemblers. Certainly Australia should be producing a more appropriate range of cars than we do currently but any Australian industrial manufacturing or assembly activity up with current world's best practice should receive adequate protection (to remain in busines and keep up with total demand).
Posted by Foyle, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 3:30:35 PM
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What a profoundly poor grasp of economics.

Most of the $43bn has not yet been spent, and while the Aus economy has matured to a mostly service economy, so has most of the OECD for very valid reasons.

Comparing Great Britian with its empire of colonies to any other economy ever is like comparing apples and oranges.

Only the most naive would suggest that tarrifs would revitalise the economy.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 4:07:02 PM
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Shadow Minister 21 04 09

Surely you mean : "Declined" to a mostly service economy ?
Posted by ShazBaz001, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 10:50:15 PM
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ShazBaz et al,

The natural progression of economies has been roughly as follows (excl hunter gatherers):

- The economy starts with about 90% of workers employed in agriculture. Manufactured goods are hand made, expensive, and 90% of effort is directed towards basic necessities.

- Efficiencies in production enable goods to become more widely available, increasing efficiency in food and other production, and creating disposable income and demand for goods. Employment in agric drops and the focus now becomes on industry. The service industry grows with disposable income.

- Efficiencies in production increase to such a point that less than 10% of employment, and goods are plentiful and cheap, and disposable incomes are much higher. At this point basic necessities consume a much smaller percentage, and so do manufactured goods, and so the service industry grows to a point where it begins to eclipse even manufacturing.

Throw in a few other factors like cheap overseas labour, and Aus is firmly in the third bracket.

One effect on the financial crisis is that the service industry is suffering and Coles and Woolworths are getting record turn overs as people have less disposable income and prepare their own food etc.

In short, I didn't mean decline to service economy.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 11:41:53 AM
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Foyle

Is there a solution?

Protectionism as such, is not the solution.

If you research the foundations for globalization and the level playing field concept, you will find that the tools are already available.

Imposition of tariffs requires caution and diligence, and while the tools are there, the intestinal fortitude is missing.
Posted by Arthur T, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 2:42:34 PM
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Shadow Minister
Whether the Australian economy has "matured" or "declined" into a service economy, still raises serious questions for our future.

Both government and opposition parties sing the chorus of "jobs, jobs, jobs" but present no solution.

Gillard rebadged the "clever country" into nation of graduates (like many other countries).

You overlook the reality of evolution in a rapidly changing world where the economic model continually changes to adapt to new concepts including "globalisation and outsourcing" and problems with those new models, require new solutions

A national economy can be compared with the laws of nature in which monoculture can provide a commercial outcome at the expense of the overall natural balance that provides the shelter and food chain for multiple species.

Your narrow duo type economic model relies on the service industry and consumerism, ignoring three serious challenges

1. Loss of a diversified industrial base
2. Restricted skills opportunities for future Australians
3. Employment opportunities for the less skilled

Ask yourself why Australia is in the same predicament as most of the OECD? Research the causes of disarray, rising unemployment, and increasing violent demonstrations in the EU and OECD.

If you view as "shadow minister," reflects that of your party, then we should look to some higher ministry to solve our problems.

Spend time researching the skills base losses between a diversified and balanced economy, and a service and consumer based economy.

Since trade is of critical importance to you, learn to spell tariffs.

Was finding the answer to my question of "what industries will create these jobs" too hard?

Hang on to your day job. Survival in the real world requires original thought, innovation, and adaptability
Posted by Arthur T, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 2:45:05 PM
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