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The Forum > Article Comments > Regional policy hanging by a thread? Lessons from Europe > Comments

Regional policy hanging by a thread? Lessons from Europe : Comments

By Bruce Wilson, published 20/9/2010

The government needs a more considered and comprehensive understanding of the patterns of regional inequality in Australia.

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Talk of "inclusive and comprehensive policy ... for cohesive and sustainable development for all parts of the nation" is all very well. But it can mean only one thing: pork-barrelling. The gumment will take property from city people to give to country people specifically so they can engage in unproductive or wasteful activity.

Hayek had it aright:
"Such attempts to preserve particular members of the agricultural population by sheltering them against the necessity of changing strong traditions and habits must turn them into permanent wards of government, pensioners living off the rest of the population, and lastingly dependent for their livelihood on political decisions.":
http://economics.org.au/2010/09/hayek-rural-affairs-lobbyists/

Mencken too:
"Let the farmer, so far as I am concerned, be damned forevermore. To Hell with him, and bad luck to him. He is a tedious fraud and ignoramus, a cheap rogue and hypocrite, the eternal Jack of the human pack. He deserves all that he ever suffers under our economic system, and more. Any city man, not insane, who sheds tears for him is shedding tears of the crocodile.

"No more grasping, selfish and dishonest mammal, indeed, is known to students of the Anthropoidea. When the going is good for him he robs the rest of us up to the extreme limit of our endurance; when the going is bad he comes bawling for help out of the public till. Has anyone ever heard of a farmer making any sacrifice of his own interests, however slight, to the common good? Has anyone ever heard of a farmer practising or advocating any political idea that was not absolutely self-seeking that was not, in fact, deliberately designed to loot the rest of us to his gain? Greenbackism, free silver, the government guarantee of prices, bonuses, all the complex fiscal imbecilities of the cow State John Baptists these are the contributions of the virtuous husbandmen to American political theory."
More: http://economics.org.au/2010/09/mencken-on-rural-affairs-lobbyists/
Posted by Jefferson, Monday, 20 September 2010 1:56:49 PM
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My big question is can we really learn that much from Europe? Isn't it apples and oranges? Some European countries are so densely populated that the urban/rural continuum in terms of numbers is quite problematic...yet in Australia there is a clear distinction between our cities (where the vast majority of people reside, around two-thirds) and the country...surely this needs to be considered in any regional policy developments...
Posted by matjabsa, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 12:42:31 PM
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