The ABC has yet another story about economists warning on the need for more productivity. It’s a mixed bag. First up, this from Professor James Giesecke from Victoria University’s Centre for Policy Studies
“We’re going to need a growth rate in multi-factor productivity more like the rates that we saw back in the ’70s and ’80s, about 0.7 per cent per annum, in order to begin increasing per capita living standards going forward
appears to mark an abandonment of the mythical 1990s productivity surge, though he goes on to talk about micro-economic reform. More clearly positively, a bit of attention paid to bloated and lazy management rather than telling the rest of to “work harder and smarter”
Many economists are turning their eyes to the business sector to take the productivity baton from the labour market to galvanise growth.
Finally, there’s this from Peter Harris of the Productivity Commission who has
nominated energy, health and education and other parts of the non-traded sector as candidates for reform. (emphasis added)
Wow! I would have thought that, 20 years after the Hilmer report, the Australian energy sector has been as thoroughly reformed as it can possibly be, short of going back to oil lamps. We’ve had corporatisation, privatisation, pool markets and full retail competition. And of course, the results are evident for all to see. Apparently, though, we are in need of more.
I’ll be charitable on health and education and assume that Harris is talking about Gonski and NDIS rather than the kind of market-oriented reforms that have made a mess of vocational education.