Monday, August 16, 2010
Frank Newman: Straight talkingLabels: Frank Newman, Local government
“Let me tell you about economists, in particular those we hear on the radio and on television and read in the newspapers. They are fundamentally, intellectually dishonest. They are not to be trusted because they are deeply compromised.
For a start, they know nothing anyway. Flash talk never necessarily means a person knows anything. They know no more than you or me. What's more, they've never run a business where you buy something over there and have to sell it over here for a better price and so make a profit….You would be better off listening to the cackle of chooks or trying to interpret the squeal of dolphins.
“God knows who the man [the Governor of the Reserve Bank] listens to. He should hire a Toyota Corolla and drive round the country for a fortnight. Here is the news: no one is buying. Everyone is kicking tyres. But… there is nothing anyone can do. Not at this end. We have to wait for the great economies to start spending again.
“We just have to get by, handing out the money and piddling it away on the least productive, those who expect to get it for sitting on their backsides because that is the way they've always got it, sitting on their backsides, and who for some reason simply cannot bear to contemplate the idea of work.
“We just have to tolerate that and wait for the economic cycle to turn again in the world. When that happens, once again we'll depend on those with basic human pride to get busy and see opportunities and get to work making a dollar.”
There’s more, it’s very good, and worth a read. Go to the Holmes article >>>
There’s not much I disagree with, except when he says there’s nothing we can do to revive the economy.
There is one major thing that politicians could do – they could get out of the way of ordinary decent folk - local body politicians in particular; they are the worst. If Holmes thinks economists are “fundamentally, intellectually dishonest” he should spend some time sitting around the local council table listening to councillors and senior staff.
Trouble is unlike economists who can be and are largely ignored, the local busy body politicians actually cause community harm. Instead of letting people get on with things, they stand with their clip boards between the present and the future, and make demands until all of the little boxes are ticked - usually stupidly silly demands.
It’s not that they don’t trust us - it’s that they need to make our lives difficult to keep them in their job and justify their salaries upon which so many depend.
The sad thing about them needing us, is that we don’t need them. They are certainly not going to admit that the majority of people they are herding into pens are more able than themselves.
No one should be surprised consent based activities have come to a stand still. When property prices are doubling every few years the outrageous cost of dealing with the box tickers can be absorbed and the frustrations and futilities tolerated. Not so when property prices are flat. People give up, at a time when we need to encourage go-getters not whack them with clip boards and fraudulent fees and charges.
The best thing local councils could do is tell the staff to put their clip boards away, stop writing silly reports about the perils of living, and start helping others get things done. They could scrap their fraudulent development impact fees, cut rates by ditching needless expenditure on airy-fairy reports and policies coming out of their policy departments, and stop spending on capital projects that have a dominant purpose of making politicians look good.
Start encouraging people. Radical stuff for governments I know and not as easy as the lazy “do this or else” approach they have always taken, but hey, it's election year so come on you local body politicians, at least include it in your list of promises!
at 7:16 AM