Home > Economic policy > Should we retire later?

Should we retire later?

June 2nd, 2010

I’m working on a longish piece on how to pay for the global financial crisis, and it seems like a good idea to deal with some side issues separately. One of the standard post-crisis responses of governments, i has been to increase the age at which people become eligible for public old age pensions. This change is likely to flow through to other policies, for example by shaping the presumptions around the tax treatment of private retirement income.

I want to step away from these financial positions and ask the question: does it make sense, in general, for people to retire at older ages than in the past? For those who want the “shorter” version, my answer, on balance, is “Yes, at least in Australia”.

There are two main factors that should influence the age at which we retire. First, improving productivity means that any given standard of living can be achieved with less work, and we would expect at least some of this benefit to take the form of an increase in leisure, including more years spent in retirement. Second, and going in the opposite direction, we are living longer and (because of higher education levels and increased difficulty of entry to the workforce) starting work later[1]. So, with a fixed retirement age, the number of years out of the workforce is increasing, while the number in the workforce is decreasing.

At least in the Australian context, the second of these factors is dominant. In the last 30 years, the expectancy of remaining life at 60 has risen from 18 years to 24. I’ll guess that average age of entry to the workforce has also risen by about 5 years, say from 17 to 22. That implies a “typical” 1980 life course for full-time workers retiring at 65 of 48 years with 30 years pre- and post-work. The comparable figures now are 43 and 41. So, a proportion of the productivity growth in this period has been used to reduce the proportion of lifetime years spent at work, from over 60 per cent to just over 50 per cent.

By contrast, at least for full-time workers, there has been no reduction in annual hours of work. Official full-time conditions were fixed in the early 1980s at 38 hours/week with four weeks annual leave + public holidays and some long-service leave. That hasn’t changed, but there was a big increase during the 1990s in people working longer hours, and that’s been . Given that prime-age adults also have responsibility for children, this doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Those who think employment conditions reflect voluntary bargaining might argue that this apparently unsatisfactory outcome must reflect the preferences of workers and employers. I don’t buy this, at least as far as workers are concerned. But even if it were true, preferences are affected by policy settings such as pension ages. Leaving the pension age unchanged when life expectancy changes pushes people to work harder since their required savings increase. This is, on the face of it, a bad outcome. So, it makes sense for public policy to encourage later retirement, and discourage ultra-long working hours.

fn1. This assumes that time spent at school/uni should not be regarded as “work”. There are some complex issues here I’ll try to discuss more.

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  1. Alice
    June 14th, 2010 at 21:40 | #1

    @Jarrah
    Actually Jarrah – have you seen Macquarie uni lately (actually you cant see Macquarie uni anymore). Its surrounded by private companies who have bought chunks of its land. No – it isnt about providing a good service to students Jarrah. Its about cramming educational export units into overcrowded rooms, posibbly because they can, possibly because those educational export units really want to emigrate here.

    Shame they cant get good service Jarrah along the way, at least, Jarrah. No its not about service. Jarrah – thats naive.

  2. Alice
    June 14th, 2010 at 21:47 | #2

    Id really like to get up one day and not read about “our crumbling train system”, “our dysfunctional public hospitals”, “our neglected public infrastructure”, “our road congestion problems” “our ailing school system / budilings” “our sick dental systems”

    and now “our ailing universities”.

    I just dont know why you people think the private sector can do it all. If it could…why are all these systems, that people want, ailing?

  3. Jim Rose
    June 14th, 2010 at 21:51 | #3

    @Alice

    You are making the case for a privatisation of universities.

    Standard arguments for privatisation is government providers of services such as higher education are politicised, they are giving multiple and conflicting goals, lack an incentive to invest in a long-term vision, and they lack capital and other funding.

    Private universities invest in values you cherish such as research, teaching quality, student experience, supporting and developing academic staff, promoting academic freedom and serving the public well because fee paying students value degrees awarded by such universities.

    The private U.S universities invest in these education and research values you cherish and those that do not lose enrolments.

    Fee-paying students can take their money elsewhere unless they are offered a degree by the private university that is of high standing. Students of Australian public universities cannot vote with their feet.

    The private U.S universities invest in the best student facilities, the best faculty and strong sports teams and lead the bidding wars for the top faculty members with the best reputations for research and public intellectual leadership. Their fee-paying students will pay for nothing less than a faculty of high quality.

  4. June 14th, 2010 at 21:54 | #4

    Wow. Never seen my name five times in one comment before.

    “Its about cramming educational export units into overcrowded rooms, posibbly because they can, possibly because those educational export units really want to emigrate here.”

    You mean they are fulfilling a market need? The shock! The horror!

    Unis are doing what they can to survive and improve. The withdrawal of a tonne of government money in recent decades means they have to find it elsewhere. It’s a half-arsed situation, with unis subject to stringent regulations – quotas, price caps – but told to behave commercially. Either have a nationalised system (and accept universally low international rankings), or have a commercial system (and have a couple of unis, maybe a few, do quite well and the rest lag behind). Not this crappy compromise.

  5. Jim Rose
    June 14th, 2010 at 22:04 | #5

    @Jim Rose

    Every one of the services that you listed as ailing you every single day is publicly owned and/or funded.

    That is why privatisations became popular. Decades of failed public ownership!

    Ailing private businesses go broke and their assets are sold to someone who can run them better.

    Private firms survive by selling what to the public wants at a price that covers costs. It is a lot easier to sell what the public wants rather than try to sell them something that they do not want or have rejected time and again.

  6. Jim Rose
    June 14th, 2010 at 22:05 | #6

    @Alice

    Every one of the services that you listed as ailing you every single day is publicly owned and/or funded.

    That is why privatisations became popular. Decades of failed public ownership!

    Ailing private businesses go broke and their assets are sold to someone who can run them better.

    Private firms survive by selling what to the public wants at a price that covers costs. It is a lot easier to sell what the public wants rather than try to sell them something that they do not want or have rejected time and again.

  7. June 14th, 2010 at 22:12 | #7

    #2 + #4 = slam dunk

  8. gregh
    June 14th, 2010 at 22:42 | #8

    @Jim Rose
    It is clearly the case that – looking globally – there are great public and private educational institutions. Therefore public or private has little to do with quality – something else is at work. Any other conclusion is false on the evidence.

    Similarly you make the strangely tangential point that “Private firms survive by selling what to the public wants at a price that covers costs. It is a lot easier to sell what the public wants rather than try to sell them something that they do not want or have rejected time and again.”

    Yet clearly both private firms and public institutions have failed, therefore the nature of the ownership cannot be a necessary cause of failure.

  9. Jim Rose
    June 14th, 2010 at 22:59 | #9

    @gregh

    Public firms that fail do not go bankrupt. This is massive difference.

    Can state-owned entreprises go bankrupt?

    Can the receiver sell the assets of bankrupt state-owned enterprise as a going concern to private buyers?

    if the CEO of a failed public firm is sacked, they are appointed to various sinecures and get other perks to avoid the tell-all book about how I was just doing what the minister wanted and I warned them many times privately of the perils ahead.

  10. gregh
    June 14th, 2010 at 23:08 | #10

    But surely Jim Rose you have noticed CEOs of failed firms doing quite well? And it is not always the case that “Ailing private businesses go broke and their assets are sold to someone who can run them better. ” Firstly firms have cultures, expertise and staff who do not necessarily get ‘sold off to be run better’. And secondly companies get asset stripped with consequent reduction in productivity – AWA being one mentioned earlier.

  11. Michael of Summer Hill
    June 14th, 2010 at 23:24 | #11

    John, latest reports indicate CCS technology ‘is an essential component of a portfolio of technologies and measures to reduce global emissions and ….contributes significantly to the least-cost route of reducing and stabilising the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere’. Seems like Rudd government has taken the correct course of action. Thumbs up Labor.

  12. Jim Rose
    June 14th, 2010 at 23:27 | #12

    @gregh

    Insolvent firms are often sold as going concerns by receivers to save the organisational capital that you mentioned. Their assets are more value if kept together as a going concern.

    Firms are broken up because they are more value separately than remaining together.

    Large firms are often denounced for being to big, and when new owners sell-off assets to trim them down to a more manageable size, they are denounced as aseet strippers.

    future employers invest a lot in learning about the past performance of top employees, and CEOs in particular, when recruiting.

  13. Ernestine Gross
    June 14th, 2010 at 23:56 | #13

    Jim Rose :@Ernestine Gross
    When I was an under-graduate, a number of my lecturers did not have a PhD and now they all have PhD at my old department.
    I said “likely to have”. Likely means things like more often than not. Not as you claim “identical circumstances and standards across all academic disciplines.”
    Seen a LOT of ads for lecturing positions that do not require a PhD even at dawkins universities?
    Would you want to have your PhD examination panel made up of any people who did not have a PhD?

    Jim,

    I had asked for statistical data to support your assertions. Apparently you have none other than your own experience. As mentioned, my observations do not correspond to yours. So I’ll tell you a bit about mine.

    1. Differences across disciplines: For the past 25 to 30 years I have observed significant differences in entry requirements for academics across academic disciplines. You, by contrast, assert there are none. I give one example from within one faculty at a major Australian research university. For the entire period, a PhD was required for Economics but not for Accounting. Finance required ‘near completion’ at the time of entry, interpreted as at least one research paper having been presented at a conference. After a few years, entry requirements for Finance lecturers were lowerd. During my undergraduate studies at an Australian university I had a Prof. as lecturer in first year math, PhDs in Economics, Statistics and Computing, and post-grad students in Accounting.

    2. Prior to the Dawkins universities, there were tutors, lecturers, senior lecturers, Ass. Prof. Profs. Now there are level A, B, C, D, E academics. In point 1 above I am talking about entry to level B. What are you talking about?

    3. It is a commonly known ‘secret’ that ‘instructors’ teach undergraduates in the U.S.A.. These people are typically Phd students. And there is the so-called ‘meat market’ for PhD graduates in the U.S.A. In 1990 I met a French academic who had worked in California. Her contract was not renewed because she had failed some students. In the late 1980s there was a visiting academic from the USA at UNSW who taught a 2nd year subject. Two years later we saw the effect in the honours class – an increase in numbers (on the grounds of their grade point averages) and incredible problems with their theses as well as their course work.

    4. During my time, there was no “PhD panel” in Australian universities, there was a supervisor, a Head of Department and three external examiners. (I had one from Finland who happened to have been editor of JET, one from Australia who moved to Canada and one from Germany who was on the Economic Advisory panel for the German government and had significant research funds for theoretical research, and later was chair of a PhD program). I didn’t have to defend my PhD to a panel but I sweated a bit before presenting my work at a mini-conference at Sydney Uni in honour Prof. Gerard Debreu who was visiting and present.

    5. In Germany only Professors are allowed to teach at universities (at least before the Bologna agreement.) To become a Professor requires a) a Phd and b) a Habilitation (a second major research). I understand there is already dissatisfavtion with the Bologna agreement, not only among students but also from industry.

    The point I am trying to make is that the USA style is probably suitable for the USA but not necessarily for other countries. In my time, one could study anything in Australia to the extent one was motivated by curiosity rather than driven by bureaucracy and useless managers shuffling paper. I enjoyed my time. By contast, I recall an academic from the USA at Sydney uni who, ten or more years after completing his PhD was still complaining about the horror of the experience. I am very sorry your experience was not as good as that available in Australia at the time.

  14. Michael of Summer Hill
    June 15th, 2010 at 06:46 | #14

    On a last note on RSPT, I must admit that in its present form the new tax and threats of a pullout by sections of the mining industry will present new opportunities for others at a ‘significant discount’. Have a good day.

  15. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 06:55 | #15

    @Jim Rose
    Jim Rose and Jarrah – everyone of the services I listed as failing everyday is because the incredibly selfish amongst us wanted to shrink the public sector, make it “as efficient s the private sector” (joke now because they are ailing) , sack bottom line public service workers, and used top line public sector administrators to do it, so that they could pay lower taxes

    Game over Jarrah – all you get is ailing public services and fat cat bureacrats or middle managers in the public sector left and all the expertise of running and delivering public infrastructure at ground level gone.

    Eroded by the policies of neoliberalistic gobbledegook…and now ailing because of it. These policies were designed to destoy our infrastructure obviously, if todays public service institutional sick rate is anything to go by.

  16. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 07:00 | #16

    As for international rankings of universities – they are about as reliable as using Moody’s. These rankings and accreditations are entirely spurious and designed to favour US universities.

  17. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 08:16 | #17

    @Alice

    My point precisely!!!

    The capital funding and product ranges of state owned enterprises and state service providing agencies are politicised. Giving their services away only heightens this budgetary stress.

    If you are a buyer in the private market, you do not need the permission of others to buy this or that or buy more or less.

    You do not need the agreement of the majority, of interest groups and of every passing busy body to buy more or less of what you want. There are no monopoly privileges preventing entry by law.

    The decisions of consumers to buy and, just as importantly, abstain from buying decide what is produced.

    Consumer preferences decide willingness to pay. Entrepreneurs must then forecast whether they can bring the product to market at price that covers costs.

  18. gregh
    June 15th, 2010 at 08:23 | #18

    What decides consumer preferences Jim Rose – that seems a critical aspect of your position.

  19. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 08:26 | #19

    @Ernestine Gross

    thanks.

    You might wish to look at a few papers by ben jones on how the burden of knowledge.

    In The Burden of Knowledge and the Death of the Renaissance Man: Is Innovation Getting Harder? Review of Economic Studies, January 2009, he says

    “If knowledge accumulates as technology advances, then successive generations of innovators may face an increasing educational burden. Innovators can compensate through lengthening educational phases and narrowing expertise, but these responses come at the cost of reducing individual innovative capacities, with implications for the organization of innovative activity – a greater reliance on teamwork – and negative implications for growth.

    Building on this “burden of knowledge” mechanism, this paper first presents six facts about innovator behavior.

    I show that age at first invention, specialization, and teamwork increase over time in a large micro-data set of inventors.

    Furthermore, in cross-section, specialization and teamwork appear greater in deeper areas of knowledge while, surprisingly, age at first invention shows little variation across fields. A model then demonstrates how these facts can emerge in tandem.

    The theory further develops explicit implications for economic growth, providing an explanation for why productivity growth rates did not accelerate through the 20th century despite an enormous expansion in collective research effort.

    Upward trends in academic collaboration and lengthening doctorates, which have been noted in other research, can also be explained in this framework. The knowledge burden mechanism suggests that the nature of innovation is changing, with negative implications for long-run economic growth.”

    In Age and Great Invention Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming, Jones showed that great achievements in knowledge are produced by older innovators today than they were a century ago. he used data on Nobel Prize winners and great inventors.

  20. Ernestine Gross
    June 15th, 2010 at 08:35 | #20

    @Jim Rose

    Why is it that the education system you described @2, p6 did not prevent the global financial crisis?

  21. gregh
    June 15th, 2010 at 10:27 | #21

    @Ernestine Gross
    The granularity of delivery is still dependent on the old public education model. If students had been able to choose from providers at the single sentence level then the GFC would have been avoided. Once competency frameworks are rolled out in their entirety and all possible knowledge that is useful is quantised and specified according to a rational schema of transparent and publicly verifiable observables it will be possible for multiple providers to bundle individual competencies for sale to education consumers. The market will then provide the lowest cost education possible, perfectly tailored to individual goals of consumption. Providers of unpopular sentences will suffer the abjection they deserve.

  22. Ernestine Gross
    June 15th, 2010 at 10:58 | #22

    ha, ha, ha , ha. Good one, gregh. Obviously, people will have to retire much much much later – any idea on how much later in calendar time?

  23. Ernestine Gross
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:00 | #23

    “Providers of unpopular sentences …” I really like it.

  24. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:04 | #24

    @gregh

    I do not have much time for the notion that consumer preferences are manipulated by sellers.

    It is a lot cheaper to find out what consumers want and just market it to them.

    This is low-risk business strategy compared to trying and persuade consumers to buy something they do not want when they have countless of other product choices more to their liking.

    Those trying to sell unwanted products must compete with countless competing advertisers crowding them out by striving to remind consumers of their more desirable and market proven products

    Also, persuasive advertising is less likely to work with inspection and experience goods and where there are frequent repeated purchases.

  25. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:13 | #25

    @Ernestine Gross

    You may seem to be a fan of Hayek’s notion that the problems of the world stem from intellectual error and you change the world by converting the intellectuals.

    The process of Hayekian conversion assumes that everyone, or at least the intellectuals, are interested solely in the truth, and that economic self-interest never gets in the way. The problem is that the intellectual elites benefit from the current system of corporate capitalism.

    The global financial crisis was the product of loose monetary policies, rent-seeking, moral hazard arising from government bailouts, and regulatory privileges and housing mortgage subsidies to pressure groups.

  26. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:56 | #26

    @Ernestine Gross

    The GFC was the product of an orgy of greed and parasitic fraud perpetrated by army of mindless libertarian zombies followers of Hayek, Friedmanic and Rand. Prominent in that army was uber libertarian zombie Alan Greenspam who used loose monetary policy and collaterally proved that Wilton Friedmanic was wrong about money and inflation, as there was no general inflation from his loose monetary policy just bubbles in asset markets. The fraud was facilitated because the libertarian zombie Hayeckian converts had infiltrated government (not by democratic means) and had removed the regulations that stopped their mischief. In the wake of the abysmal failure of their Hayeckian-Friedmanic religion, the undead have risen once more and are wailing in chorus to deny the obvious failure.

    Don’t feed them and their maggot ridden corpses will hopefully return to their graves where their Hayekian ideas already are. Or continue to feed them and let their continued wailing be the best form of pre-release advertisement for JQ’s forthcoming book!

  27. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 13:08 | #27

    @Ernestine Gross

    The only way libertarians make money from markets is through commissions for selling or fee for providing ‘advice’. When libertarians play the market they invariably lose money. This is because they neither understand economics or markets. Nor do they understand humans or business people.

    Take for example:

    “I do not have much time for the notion that consumer preferences are manipulated by sellers. It is a lot cheaper to find out what consumers want and just market it to them.”

    But the stuff people want, good dependable quality goods, is expensive and doesn’t offer such a profit margin. That is why business people who are somewhat less guileless than libertarians find ways to sell what people don’t want. The profit margin if you can sell someone crap is very attractive. Not only that, you don’t have to worry that the customer becomes sated. They never wanted it is the first place, and when they find out that they have brought crap, you just sell them some different crap. Snake oil merchants in the 19th century new so much more about economics, markets and humans than libertarians will ever know! But libertarians are so funny in their risible stupidity and they are so willing to continue to display that stupidity because they are so stupid they don’t even know they are humiliatingly stupid as evidenced in the silly things they say and continue to say!

    Maybe continue to feed them so they stay and we can continue to laugh!

  28. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 13:11 | #28

    The Jim Rose Circus continues to entertain! (However inadvertently.)

  29. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 16:09 | #29

    @Freelander

    You say your usual scapegoats “removed the regulations that stopped their mischief”

    What were these regulations?

    Was the mischief the departure from the monetary policies that delivered the great moderation from the 1980s as suggested by the Taylor Rule in 2007? The early 2000s obsession with the specter of deflation?

    Did Friedman favour discretionary monetary policy ever?

    Was it the removal of the requirement for banks to lend to people who could actually pay the mortgages back?

    Was it removal of the limit on government charted underwriting to mortgages that might be sound? Was it Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac using an implicit government guarantee to underwrite these dud mortgages?

    Was it Joe Stiglitz saying in 2002 that Fannie Mae’s 2% capital ratio was sound, was not under-capitalisation, and represented no risk to the taxpayer?

    You blame libertarians for rentseeking and the creation of regulatory privileges, and the too big the fail syndrome?!! Next thing you know, you will be accusing Friedman of being a double secret democrat who voted for George McGovern, Carter, and Mondale.

  30. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 16:14 | #30

    @Freelander

    The shadow open market operations committee minutes since 1973 are all on the web.

    The post-2000 minutes repeatedly warn of inflationary pressures and the need to tighten the stance of monetary policy.

    Anna Schwartz participated in most of these meetings post-2000 and many before.

  31. Ernestine Gross
    June 15th, 2010 at 16:22 | #31

    @Freelander

    And there I was, @21, convinced to have found a link back to the topic of the thread – an elegant one at that, if I may say so myself, without wishing to omit to acknowledge my great indebtedness to gregh’s wit @20.

  32. June 15th, 2010 at 18:24 | #32

    Jim,
    It was the same scapegoats that were so committed to free market principles that they ensured that government directed spending in most economies has continued to increase to the point where now it is typically above 40% of the economy, and in many of these “mindless libertarian zombie” economies it is above 50% – and then there are more regulations on top of that directing where and how we can spend the remaining amounts.
    Isn’t this “mindless libertarian zombiesm” wonderful?
    Just one question – how do we tell “mindless libertarian zombiesm” apart from democratic socialism?

  33. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 18:34 | #33

    Ouch! The Zombies are turning on each other. Greenspam is covered in bite marks!

    Inflationary pressures were identified in 2000. Monetary policy didn’t address them. Yet, still no inflation. Refutation complete yet… Wilton worship continues undiminished.

    Despite turning on one of their own, the veritable Greenspam, (was he ever alive some question?), the libertarians zombies remain still true to their creed.

    Mindlessness rules OK!

  34. Michael of Summer Hill
    June 15th, 2010 at 18:38 | #34

    John, I can’t resist one more jab at the Mineral Council & the rabble within the Shadow Cabinet who continue to resort to lying about the RSPT. Today the government argued that ‘on the 2nd of May 2008 the government announced it would be having this review into the tax system. On the 6th of August 2008 a discussion paper was released on the tax review entitled the Architecture of Australia’s Tax and Transfer System. “That discussion paper raised the inefficiencies of royalties and pointed to a profits-based tax. It says these royalties can discourage high risk investments … it said a resource rent tax does not apply until the firm has earned above normal profits.” Time to stop the rot and let the Government get on with the job of governing. Bloody drongos.

  35. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 18:40 | #35

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Yes, it is an elastic sneer.

    Its main user on this blog got most upset when I suggested he had said Hong Kong is a libertarian hell-hole.

    This is despite Friedman saying “if you want to see capitalism in action, go to Hong Kong” and that Hong Kong was perhaps the best example of a free market economy.

    At the end of World War II, Hong Kong was a dirt-poor island with a per-capita income about one-quarter that of Britain’s.

    In 1958 Cuba had a higher GDP per capita than Hong Kong.

    By 1997, when sovereignty was transferred to China, its per-capita income was roughly equal to that of the departing colonial power, even though Britain had experienced sizable growth over the same period.

  36. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 18:51 | #36

    @Freelander

    You and Alice have never come clean on who was the libertarian infiltrator ALP MPs and ALP cabinet ministers from 1984 to 1996? Disciples of Friedman all, you say!

    Yours was a fantastical allegation to make against the Hawke and Keating governments.

    They were the last labour government to be run by products of the labour movement.

    The 1984-96 ALP generation were groomed for years working in the party, on the backbench, years in opposition or working their way up the union movement.

    These days, the ALP parliamentary party and MP’s offices is overrun by well-educated careerists happy to swap talking points with the opposing viewpoint if today’s focus groups tells them so. Their greatest frustration is Kerry Packer is no longer around to offer them a plum political consulting job after leaving Parliament.

    These careerists are straight out of university to go into MP’s offices and then parliament, some with a side journey as paid organisers for their faction, their party or in unions. As soon as their career falters, they jump ship with their pensions.

    The ALP used to be the cream of the working class.

    These days, it is the self-serving spawn of educated middle class, ABC born and raised; every ready to eat their children if this gets them up in this week’s polls. Not a true believer in sight.

    Rudd’s youthful inner circle in his office is a prime example of this careerism. They have never had a real job.

    Given the hours Rudd makes them work since their days together in opposition, the only time they brush shoulders with ordinary people is while taking notes at photo opportunities at hospitals, shopping malls and construction sites.

  37. June 15th, 2010 at 19:24 | #37

    “The GFC was the product of an orgy of greed and parasitic fraud perpetrated by army of mindless libertarian zombies followers of Hayek, Friedmanic and Rand.”

    If your abdication from the reality-based community was ever in doubt, this sentence proves those doubters wrong.

  38. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 19:57 | #38

    @Freelander

    Conspiracy theories make a little more sense if their leaders are actually alive to give guidance, are well-known so enough people listen to this guidance, and preferably they are in robust enough health to be active on the public stage.

    Hayek is not well known outside of economists, and even among economists, and was very ill from 1985. His last significant books were published in the late 1970s and all were difficult to read, much less translate into policy action. Rand is an obscure figure indeed.

    Friedman semi-retired from active public life over the course of the 1990s. His last significant book was published in about 1980 – Free to Choose.

  39. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 20:32 | #39

    @Jim Rose
    I hereby find myself accused of making allegations at Hawke and Keating that I never made…not here…but seeing as you thus come to accuse me of such…(one more accusation in a sea of blatantly erroneous accusations, labelling and falsehoods – what do I care JR? You lie. Most already know that.)
    I will admit it JR…Hawke and keating followed the neoliberal model to a point too far (and further than Menzies) whereupon the biggest idiot of all three of them, Mr Howard, kicked the winning goal of neoliberalism.

    You see JH’s daddy was the victim of government regulation, or so he claimed, when he lost his motor repair service station (but perhaps JH’s daddy was the victim of monopoly oil power and not the government at all). Since then millions have been the victim of John Howard’s myopic revenge agaisnt “the government”.

  40. Michael of Summer Hill
    June 15th, 2010 at 21:17 | #40

    John, I should add at #33 that yesterday, the ACTU, Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and Consumers’ Federation of Australia urged the government not to baulk at necessary reforms to make the tax system any fairer. ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence made it very clear that the RSPT misinformation being spruiked by the big miners is a disgrace, that is correct a bloody disgrace, and that “Mining magnates are putting at jeopardy improved superannuation savings for the workforce of more than 10 million, billions of dollars of infrastructure spending that our nation needs, and a cut to the company tax rate for 770,000 businesses”. Thumbs up Jeff.

  41. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 21:34 | #41

    @Jim Rose
    You mention “conspiracy theories JR – would you care to cite, quote, or explain any conspiracy theories you have come across here in this blog? In this discussion?

    Nothing I have read would come across as a “conspiracy theory” of course unless you mean those who dont agree with you.

    Consiracy only against JR and Jarrah. Wow. Its a huge conspiracy…not.

    Or perhaps you mean conspiracy against the government of the sort you two are engaged in?

    Isnt that the normal meaning of the words “conspiracy theory”? Perhaps you two should be charged and lose your liberty for your thoughts here? You dont seem to like government after all..and promoting anti government sentiments could be seen as a conspiracy I suppose.

    JR – are you really sure the government wont come knocking on your door?

  42. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 21:38 | #42

    @Jim Rose
    Somalia is a libertarian holiday destination Jim – have you booked your hotel yet?

  43. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 21:46 | #43

    And Jim R
    Why dont you watch this and decide for yourself whether Friedman was libertarian in the propensity to to tell the truth or not..

    Who amongst us believes Central park would still exist if it was privately owned? Lying till he was 90, the old conservative bastard.

  44. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 21:48 | #44

    Freidman was a lying opportunistic cretin.

  45. Alice
    June 15th, 2010 at 21:53 | #45

    I forgot the link – the dodo thought Central Park would be “cleaner and safe” in private hands.

    Ludicrous. Old and biased and conservative and trapped in his “free to choose” self aggrandisement. Not pretty.

  46. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 22:11 | #46

    @Alice

    Maybe you shouldn’t feed the desperate duo — ‘Tweedle Dee’ and ‘Tweedle Considerably Dumber’. Question is can you starve a libertarian zombie?

    I see they are up to their usual tricks — making things up. Making up facts, and making up views and claims for phantom debating opponents, who they then give our names.

    I think I will go back on holiday. After all, if anyone is reading this blog it might be considered an insult to assume that the desperate duo’s repeatedly displayed stupidity requires any annotation!

  47. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 22:21 | #47

    Jim Rose :
    …when I suggested he had said Hong Kong is a libertarian hell-hole.
    This is despite Friedman saying “if you want to see capitalism in action, go to Hong Kong” [Insert maniacal Wilton worship here] … blah, blah, blah….

    Here is a comprehension exercise for you. How about you read what I said, and see how it accords with what you claim I said? Be careful, I have seen Zombie head explode before! Putrid brain matter everywhere!

  48. Freelander
    June 15th, 2010 at 22:31 | #48

    @gregh

    In education as you say “providers of unpopular sentences will suffer the abjection they deserve”. In the fully market driven Nirvana, Judges will also suffer a similar fate if they too turn out to be ‘providers of unpopular sentences’. They will find criminals no longer patronizing their establishment with concomitant loss of income; in which case they may have to turn to providing other services, perhaps by turning their former courts into taverns, reinforcing the stereotype ‘as drunk as a judge’?

  49. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2010 at 22:57 | #49

    @Alice

    Good to see you have repudiated Freelanders’ accusations of libertarianism infesting Australia, and that the “GFC was the product of an orgy of greed and parasitic fraud perpetrated by army of mindless libertarian zombies followers of Hayek, Friedmanic and Rand”. Armies of conspirators?

    Neoliberalism is yet another sneer designed to set up a straw-man argument.

    It is an intellectually suspect sneer because it associates a particular policy agenda promoting economic freedom with a supposed ideology that serves a corporate elite.

    How can the removal of regulatory barriers to entry serve incumbent businesses? This exposes them to more competition. the increase in australian domestic airlines from two to four and the bankruptcy of ansett did not seem to serve big business well.

    Efficient taxes lead to higher taxes and a larger public sector. How is closing all those tax loopholes in the interests of big business?

    You confuse corporate capitalism with a free market economy. As Friedman noted, “if you want to see capitalism in action, go to Hong Kong”. Regulatory privilege and rent-seeking opportunities are minimal and tariffs are zero.

    Regulation is intended to create monopoly power at the expense of smaller competitors and the consumers. Self-styled progressive intellectuals such as you are vital propagandists in duping the public into thinking that the suppression of competition is in their interests.

  50. June 15th, 2010 at 23:26 | #50

    @Freelander
    “I think I will go back on holiday.”

    Thank you.

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