Time to abandon ‘reform’ as a policy and as a word

In the early years of this blog, I spent a lot of time trying to find a sensible way of handling the word “reform”. But now I think it’s been corrupted beyond any hope of redemption. My conclusion is that we should never use the word, and be instantly suspicious of anyone who does. Most Australian voters have already reached this position, I think (see also, “productivity“).

33 thoughts on “Time to abandon ‘reform’ as a policy and as a word

  1. All interesting comments, but Ikon’s comment referring to the Brown Green dichotomy
    resonates keenly with me.

    Ken L, it is also sad that the day of the unionist community activists seems to have passed.

    Oh, for a few Jack Mundys, say in IT, let alone the forests, waterways and arable land ruined by agri practices and products.

    Although I think many are about, but todays media is so straight-jacketed as to deny their inclusion into debates on issues arising.

  2. @Ken_L Not entirely true, many workers are free riders to conditions that were achieved by unions. Unions in Aust are a product of a history of adversity and have been unable to properly achieve their true function of representation. Class/culture myths and wars still separate workers from management.

  3. Reform ….. that is for another time and another generation ….. as is the payment for the lifestyle that we wish to enjoy today.

  4. @Joseph Langford
    This idea that there is a massive intergenerational transfer of wealth/debt is a myth. More than that, it’s a contradictory myth – we are paying the debt right now in the form of the debt + interest payments Australia makes on its bonds every month. It’s totally contradictory to claim simultaneously that we are borrowing from the future and that we are spending too much of our budget servicing our debt.

    Furthermore, an awful lot of Australian government debt is held by Australian banks and superannuation countries, which are funded by Australians; so, to a first approximation, the people “we” in the form of the government, are borrowing from, and paying back to, are our own savings and superannuation accounts. (Our net foreign debt is higher than the US, where the debt is almost entirely internal, but most of that debt has been invested in building enterprises, especially mines, here).

    The debt we ARE transferring to future generations to “fund” our lifestyle is the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  5. I’m glad John is apparantly supportive of precision in terminology, and so by all means get rid of ‘reform’. But surely stopping the (mis)use of the term ‘economic rationalism’ should get priority. Its misuse by many on the Left, including by John, often sees economists being tarred with the same brush as economic rationalists, even though they often do not support the policy positions that are said to be held by economists rationalists.

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