Opportunity cost

With yet another publicly-funded round of Liberal Party advertising looming, this time on climate change, I’ve been thinking about how other parties ought to respond to this. One way is to point out what the money could have bought instead. With 150 electorates, each $1.5 million spent on advertising is $10 000 per electorate. So, the $60 million or so spent advertising WorkChoices (or whatever it’s going to be called now) amounts to about $400 000 per electorate, enough to employ 8-10 primary school teachers or police officers. I’m sure there are plenty of particular local projects that could be pointed out as foregone opportunities. For example, the money to be spent justifying the government’s inaction on climate change could have paid for thousands of tree plantings in every electorate.

6 thoughts on “Opportunity cost

  1. There are numerous projects which could be funded. Imagine the difference that could be made to long term unemployed, single parents and the disabled if there was investment in skills training rather than the mickey mouse courses currently available. Imagine if there had been an investment in emergency housing through councils. $400,000 in each electorate would help councils purchase computers for residents or upgrade playgrounds.

  2. Of course, if the money was spent on people or projects that were “not deserving”, as distinct from spending it to the profit of advertising companies it would be a moral cost. In this context, economic concepts such as opportunity costs do not mirror the political reality.

  3. Oops looks like I stuffed up the pseudo-html! The opinion piece is at:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/governments-hard-sell-is-a-sellout-of-others/2007/05/29/1180205243194.html

    The previous post should have read:

    In today’s SMH there is an opinion piece by Tanya Plibersek which states that the $1.8 billion spent on advertising by the coalition so far while is has been in power would have been better spent on Aboriginal health. It also states that the AMA has estimated that closing the life expectancy gap would cost $2 billion.

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