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Ozonomics in Brisbane

August 28th, 2007

For any Brisbane readers who haven’t already made their plans for this evening, there’s a book event run by the Brisbane Institute at the Customs House tonight. Andrew Charlton will present a talk on the title “Inside the myth of Australia’s economic superheroes” based on his new book, Ozonomics Charlton is the co-author with Joseph Stiglitz, of Fair Trade for All. Of the new book, Stiglitz writes

Charlton makes a convincing case that Australia’s remarkable performance is not because of the Howard Government – indeed, it may be despite it.’

More details here

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  1. mugwump
    August 28th, 2007 at 15:07 | #1

    Let me guess: if things continue to go well after a change of government, Charlton will chalk it up to superior economic management by Labour. If they go badly, it will be the Libs’ fault for failing to seize opportunities when in office.

    Lefty economists have remarkable 20/20 hindsight that somehow miraculously aligns with their political views.

  2. jquiggin
    August 28th, 2007 at 15:34 | #2

    You’re projecting here, mugwump. Why else react so strongly to the suggestion that Howard is not responsible for recent economic performance?

    I don’t know about Charlton, but I think the similarities between recent Labour and Liberal governments are more notable than the differences.

  3. observa
    August 28th, 2007 at 21:30 | #3

    There was of course a bit more to the Stiglitz quote-
    ‘One of the difficult challenges in assessing the performance of any government is estimating how much of the economic success during its tenure was due to factors that were in play before it took office, and how much was due to global forces that would have helped the economy no matter who was in power. Charlton makes a convincing case that Australia’s remarkable performance is not because of the Howard Government – indeed, it may be despite it.’
    In particular-
    ‘assessing the performance of any government is estimating how much of the economic success during its tenure was due to factors that were in play before it took office’
    Now of course it’s often stated that a previous Govt was responsible for the good times now because they floated the dollar, removed tarriffs and globalised the economy, after an Accord with union power to help reduce real wages from their unemployment creating highs, until you raise the obvious- shouldn’t we continue to move in that direction and the subject is quickly changed, much to the annoyance of a certain retired world’s graetest Treasurer.

  4. jquiggin
    August 29th, 2007 at 06:53 | #4

    Indeed, observa, there’s an obvious contradiction in Labor’s economic rhetoric on this point. But all of those good things didn’t stop the 1990 recession, and I doubt that they would do much in the event of a housing-induced crash now.

  5. BilB
    August 29th, 2007 at 07:42 | #5

    I do not have to read this book to draw the conclusion that Howard has done little to improve Australia’s performance. Because that is my assessment of the situation based on remote observation. A convincing proof can be made by observing the New Zealand economy and the way that it works. With just a tiny fraction of the land area, an insignificant proportion of mineral wealth, but on fifth of the population of Australia, New Zealand tracks well beside Australia. The New Zealand reserve bank routinely manages the exchange rate through interest rate manipulation (keeping interest rates a percentage point or 2 above world interest rates) to achieve its trade and economic objectives. Theirs is a very dynamic management process. The Howard government by contrast has acted as something of a “mineral pimp” cashing in on all passers while claiming commercial prowess in the process. The end result will always be the same, the pimp makes the money, the prostitute leads a hagard life and eventually dies in obscurity, as would the body of Australia under a Howard type philosophy.

  6. BilB
    August 29th, 2007 at 07:45 | #6

    addendum passersby

  7. BilB
    August 29th, 2007 at 08:01 | #7

    I should have emphasized that Howard hasn’t added anything to Australia. His entire theme to take from one group and give to another while taking a share of the transfer in a way that makes the government appear to be successful. His greatest slight of hand trick that has allowed him to survive so long has been allowing property prices to escalate to out of all proportion giving the impression of great wealth creation, but the reality yet in the process of bighting now is that great debt has been created. The growth in real wealth has been much lower and more in keeping with general world economic growth. The only thing that has happened is that the future earnings of the young have been transferred their parents through proportional property equity content.

  8. mugwump
    August 29th, 2007 at 22:03 | #8

    I don’t believe the Howard govt was responsible for any economic miracles. But to claim Australia’s good economic performance is “despite” them is just political posturing. They did an *ok* job – certainly could have been an awful lot worse (Whitlam).

    My biggest beef with Howard is he continued Labour’s massive expansion of the nanny-state. But that seems to be a political imperative in Australia these days. Somewhere along the way we abandoned our rugged individualism in favour of European-style state-dependency and control.

    I’d reccommend any Australians who still believe in self-reliance and local community move to the US. I did. I feel a lot more at home. While the Federal government sucks up a lot of money here, it mostly gets pissed away (eg Iraq) so the actual impact of the Feds is relatively minor. And there is enough political diversity between the various states – who also retain a lot more autonomy than in Australia – that you can find one to suit your political leanings (although if you want anything near Australia on the political spectrum you’ll have to travel north to Canada or continue on to Europe).

    [end rant]

  9. BilB
    August 30th, 2007 at 06:03 | #9

    For an unbelievable example of Howardism read LeftE’s 4.__pm post here:
    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2007/08/29/election-speculation-3/#comments

    mugwump, the real costs of Howards time are yet to be felt. The things that he did do are offensive enough, but it is the things that he didn’t do are the ones that are gong to really bite. The US’s big strength is that they don’t believe in this free trade crap that their institutions dish out to the rest of the world. Australia bought it, hence your “nanny state” belief, and the moment the yanks give in to it they will need all of the social welfare they can get.

  10. gerard
    August 31st, 2007 at 15:24 | #10

    “While the Federal government sucks up a lot of money here, it mostly gets pissed away (eg Iraq) so the actual impact of the Feds is relatively minor.”
    The yanks have quite a good system. Why tax and spend when you can spend without taxing (just add a few zeros to the deficit, nobody will notice). What’s more, this expenditure is sensibly “pissed away” into criminal atrocities (a military-industrial nanny state), thereby averting the grave danger that it may be used for the benefit of the public (for example, bridge infrastructure). A shining beacon of rugged individualism in a world plagued by socialist perversion.

  11. September 2nd, 2007 at 09:34 | #11

    (From a larger post which has been re-arranged an broken down in the hope of being able to get around WordPress bug which has prevented me from posting. – JS)

    Further to BillB’s posts above, I have posted some material to the web-site which may be of interest:

    “Myths of the economic competency of the Howard Government” by John Hermann of Economic Reform Australia and “We must bury ‘economic competence’ Big Lie or it will bury us” by myself.

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