Flat White

Australia: governed by kids that always get what they want

20 February 2022

2:00 PM

20 February 2022

2:00 PM

The kids are in charge. They just look older these days.

The Reserve Bank thinks it can produce full employment by manipulating demand via monetary policy. It ignores the unintended consequences of trying to run the economy at full speed. A bump in the road and you hit a tree called inflation and lose control of the car. If you are driving at speed it is too late to adjust the wheel when the problem appears. It also helps to look ahead through the fog, rather than driving blindfolded.

Modern Monetary Theory is lifted from the same page. It thinks you can get to heaven through the government financing more spending by borrowing, financed by printing money. That is a different route with the same destination.

These are just revised versions of Keynesian demand management – like the unions who think you can set real wages by decree, they miss some of life’s little complexities.

I may really get into trouble now. Climate policy has a similar arrogance. Humans throughout history have adapted their lives to the climate they lived in. The world ranges from the frozen to the desert and yet humans have managed to survive. They did not try to change the world. They adapted over long periods of time.

Our climate warriors think we can change the climate by controlling carbon emissions. No need to adapt. That would be admitting defeat. Pull one lever and all our climate problems will be solved next decade! Changing the way we live is a minor challenge really. We can use moral pressure, or even the price system. If that fails, bring in the lawyers and after that – the police… What history tells us takes decades can be achieved in short order by setting an arbitrary target. The target is the easy bit. The costs and policies that get us there can be worked out later.

Changing human nature has always been a bit of a challenge. Though it has not stopped anyone from trying, be they Christian, Muslim, or Communist. Now we have the humanists with Critical Theory, media pile-ons, and cancel culture.

Every minority needs a law for protection. The obese, POC, LGBTQ, women, the religious, and the disabled have all suffered and politicians think they can equalise the world with the stroke of a pen. Unfortunately, the rights of some often conflict with the rights of others, as the current religious discrimination debate illustrates. You cannot always make everyone happy.

Our companies have embraced the culture of the empty gesture and bowing to the noisiest pressure group. None of the reformers accept the possibility of failure. That is so old hat. If things do not quite work out as expected it has to be someone else’s fault. Those nasty conservatives, the fossil fuel industry, white male pigs and our colonialist past. The list of people you can blame is mouth-watering.

The reformers may not change the world overnight, but they can be morally superior in their failure. The kids now run the show. It will not end well.

I would like to acknowledge Bob Officer, (whose list of accomplishments includes serving as Chairman of the Victoria Funds Management Corporation, Chairman of Victorian WorkCover Authority, and director of Transurban) for asking, why is it so?

He is not responsible for the answer.

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