Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannerisms

With so many books on leadership, why are there so few leaders?

Ron Manners, 1 April 2014
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

The title for this Mannerism is borrowed from Chapter 4 of the ‘Three Laws of Performance’, a book by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan, where they attempt to answer this very serious question.

It’s an important question because the answer is not obvious, alluded to by the early Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu:-

…. A leader is most effective when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, his troups will feel they did it themselves.

Leadership, by definition, is disruptive and that’s why it’s often not welcomed by management.

Leadership is a classic example of ‘creative destruction’, the term used by the Austrian Economist, Joseph Schumpeter. Tearing something down, so it can be replaced by something better.

In Australia we now see examples of our business ‘leaders’ actually sabotaging industry by signing defective ‘Enterprise Agreements’ which effectively handed the management of their enterprises over to the Labour Unions. So much for ‘leadership’!

By following soft options, which has entrenched defective cultures into our industrial system, these ‘leaders’ in signing these so-called Enterprise Agreements have caused Australia to be non-competitive on world markets.

Forget their repeated excuse about ‘Australia’s strong dollar’. It is our own ‘leaders’ who have shot Australia in the foot.

Their actions are now being exposed by three well-informed analysts, who are making these various Enterprise Agreements (SPC-Ardmona, Toyota, Ford, General Motors and Qantas), available on the internet, for all to see.

These three well informed people are, Robert Gottliebsen (Business Spectator):

http://www.mannkal.org/downloads/links/How_to_sack_executives.pdf

Grace Collier (The Australian):

http://www.mannkal.org/downloads/links/How_unions_manipulate_us.pdf

Ken Phillips (The Australian Independent Contractors Association)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7CFThlpfpw&list=UU-EI6MCU5uYovdd3mmOXpaA

Yes, Australia does have some great leaders and we have set out on a quest in search of them, so they can be suitably acknowledged. We need more leaders like them to step forward and undo the damage done by the inability of so many who have refused to get up off their knees in front of labour unions, various governments and the battalions of ‘politically correct’ economic vandals.

For details of our quest click here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxLbhBMCNqk&list=UU-EI6MCU5uYovdd3mmOXpaA

From the archives: “Government Funding of the Arts” (1994)

admin, 3 March 2014
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

For this month’s Mannerisms, Ron has delved into his archives to cover “Government Funding of the Arts”…

“WHAT POLITICS DESTROYS, IT FIRST SUBSIDISES” GOLDEN MILE ART EXHIBITION GROUP OFFICIAL OPENING OF EXHIBITION NOVEMBER 18, 1994 BY RON MANNERS, PATRON

For over 20 years I have been involved in a very small way with a University based in Hillsdale, Michigan USA.

Hillsdale is only one quarter the size of Kalgoorlie, but Hillsdale College has become famous throughout the USA and in other parts of the world for two main reasons : · Their high standards · The fact that they refuse to accept any government funding.

Hillsdale College recognised years ago that what politics destroys, it first subsidises.

By refusing to take taxpayers’ money from the government, Hillsdale has been able to set their standards higher than the minimum standards set by government regulations. This shows in the quality of their teaching staff and their students and the fact that employers are prepared to pay a salary premium for Hillsdale Graduates.

I only tell that story as a way of buying into the vigorous debate raging in Australia over Government funding for “the arts”. On one side we have a clamouring mass of so-called artists who have no confidence in their own ability to produce something that the public wants. These people use pressure group tactics to feed at the public trough.

On the other side, is a growing group who feel uneasy at the similarities between our politicians buying votes with other people’s money, and the brainwashing antics of history’s many other pompous rulers who thought they could control the people by controlling the arts.

Adolph Hitler was “big” on opening art exhibitions and one of his henchmen, Joseph Goebbels explained why, in these words, when addressing the 1937 Joint Congress of the Reich Chamber of Culture and Strength Through Joy, just a few years before starting World War II.

“The German artist has his feet on a solid, vital ground. Art, taken out of its narrow and isolated circle, again stands in the midst of the people and from there exerts its strong influences on the whole nation.. To be sure, the political leadership has interfered in this, and today it still interferes daily and directly. But this occurs in a way that can only work to the benefit of the German artist: through subsidy, the commission of works, and a patronage of the Arts, whose generosity is unique in the whole world.

… Germany marches ahead of all other countries not only in art but also in the care which it showers upon artists…. The German artist of today feels himself freer and more untrammelled than ever before. With joy he serves the people and the state, who have accept ed him and his cause in such a warmhearted and understanding way. National socialism has wholly won over German creative artists. They belong to us and we to them”.

The term “Government Grant” itself, is a misnomer as the government has no money of its own, they only have money that has been taken, by force, from the taxpayers, so we should more accurately use the term “Taxpayer Grant”.

Such government funding, by throwing taxpayers’ money at the Arts, will destroy our real art in much the same way as it is destroying our educational standards, As John Lennon said; “Everything the Government touches, turns brown” So where are these comments leading us? They lead me to suggest two things: · The Australia Council for the Arts describes one of its functions as “shaping Australia’s cultural identity”.

Ladies & gentlemen, what is “our cultural identity”? Who has the right to “shape” it? What I suggest is that the Golden Mile Art Exhibition Group doesn’t need to have its “cultural identity” reshaped. The works that you see on these walls illustrate your high level of self-esteem. It’s high enough to project a “cultural identity” of its own.

· I also suggest that the Golden Mile Art Exhibition Group could become famous throughout Australia (in a similar fashion to Hillsdale College), by simply “sending back” the next Taxpayer Grant it receives, with a note, saying “Please give this money back to the long-suffering taxpayers”.

Question the morality of the politicians and the bureaucrats giving you the taxpayers’ money, remind them that it is simply not theirs to give.

Point out to the bureaucracy that the tax-dollars they took from our neighbours’ pocket was to the detriment of our neighbours’ standard of living. Remind them that, these dollars, left in the hands of our neighbours could have helped to provide employment opportunities and even explain to them that unemployment is a greater problem for Australia than funding unpopular Art.

Our art, produced by the Golden Mile Art exhibition Group is not unpopular so it does not need a taxpayer subsidy.

You receive support from voluntary contributions and voluntary purchases and you have enough confidence in your own ability to maintain this support and in so doing, retain your own pride and dignity.

Can you imagine the Australia wide publicity you would receive by sending the taxpayers’ money back unspent? You can’t buy that sort of publicity, but if you could, I suggest that it would be worth several times the value of the taxpayer’s grant itself.

Australia still loves an independent battler and a bold move from your group would bring tremendous support for your activities.

Such a bold move would take courage but the rewards would be worthwhile.

You should be ready with a coloured catalogue for sale to all those who respond to that publicity.

What sort of support would be forthcoming? There are many admirers of the work of your group and this week I was speaking to the Goldfields Mining Expo Executive and they are delighted that you are planning an exhibition to coincide with the 1995 Expo. For a start they have guaranteed the purchase of between $2,000 and $3,000 value in paintings, but more importantly they would like to publicise your exhibit in their publicity material, being distributed world-wide.

This is good for them too as it helps to overcome the image of our Goldfields being “one dimensional”. (i.e. business without a soul).

This is also an appropriate moment to congratulate the group and the individual members whose works were recently acquired by the Holmes a Court Collection.

Ladies & gentlemen, as with all investments, the time to buy is just before the price goes up and the rate at which this Group’s fame is spreading, the time to buy is now, so get hold of those red stickers and quickly put them on the paintings of your choice.

Paying compound interest on a bad investment?

Ron Manners, 3 February 2014
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

The SPC Ardmona and General Motors Holden decisions are important turning points in Australia’s economic history.

In their hearts, everyone who has a grasp of how the world really works, must know that our Government has made the correct decision in bringing to an end this ‘bandaid’ solution of ‘corporate welfare’ where the Australian taxpayer is called on to pick up the tab for weak management.

So the equipment at the SPC Ardmona fruit canning factory is antiquated?

Where has management been hiding all these years?

If I put my hand up to explain that in our business, in 2014, “We are running our business using typewriters and would like to buy some computers so can we please have a taxpayer handout to purchase them?” I would be laughed out of the room.

As hard-hearted, as it may sound, Australia has one of the best business-restructuring systems in the world.

The remedy is already there when businesses are in trouble with profitability, they just simply call in one of the highly qualified Administrator businesses who proceeds with ‘remedial surgery’ and then after suitable restructuring the company is brought back to life and able to proudly participate in contributing to our nation’s economic health.

This is a far better solution than what has so far extracted $1.8 billion from Australia’s long-suffering taxpayers to keep the Australian automotive industry afloat.

So, how does a Government decide who to ‘help’ and who not to ‘help’?

Simply by asking the question whether it is the Government’s legitimate role to make cars or process and can fruit? If it’s not the Government’s legitimate role the answer is simply to step back and allow market forces to restructure that which is damaged.

Our nation will be better for this ‘hands-off’ approach, irrespective of how unpopular this may appear at the time to politicians who are primarily driven by votes rather than brains.

Future generations, in particular, will appreciate a return to sanity as they are becoming concerned at the debt they are inheriting from the so-called ‘leaders’ of the present generation.

They are aware that any ‘bailout’ money needs to be borrowed and their concern is justified as I describe the current situation as ‘paying compound interest on a bad investment’.

No longer are we subservient!

Ron Manners, 7 January 2014
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

A few years ago, revolts were expressed as violent events, often resulting in wars.

How different today, where apart from the well publicized running-wars, we have hundreds of peaceful protests in dozens of countries.

No longer do citizens have to suffer bad governments in silence.

What has changed is simply that the citizens now have social media tools to mobilize thousands of people who share their concerns.

All this is happening at a time when, on a world-wide basis, respect for authority has sunk to an all time low.

Governments have ‘sunk’ by assuming that once ‘in power’ they no longer have to earn the respect of those they ‘serve’.

Similar comments could be applied to our educational system, where the more we spend the less we get.

Informed observers of the international scene can be excused for being cynical about ‘published results’, over a wide spectrum, due to the difficulty experienced in measuring such results.

An example is the United States economy, where we are told it is now performing excellently. However, this is being measured in U.S. dollars, which have devalued by 95% over the past 100 years (since the Federal Reserve was established to ‘protect the currency’). Australia’s figures are similar which makes it difficult to answer the question, “if we can’t even trust our unit of measurement, how are we really performing?”

Am I being too cynical of our institutions and their need to once again focus on earning our respect?

Well, to give you something to worry about, parents who are paying good money to have children educated at universities, should click on the following link and read the article in full:-

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/academic-with-a-murky-past-stirs-fresh-controversy-with-trip-to-damascus/story-e6frg6zo-1226794765060

(If you encounter password problems, simply Google the article’s title “Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus”.

Should you seriously consider a peaceful protest to express your concerns?

Australia hasn’t had a decent protest since the Eureka Stockade Revolt in 1854, but we now have the social media ‘tools’ to send a simple message:-

“We are watching and it’s time to earn our respect.”

Ron Manners

January, 2014

Greenpeace hooligans or heroes?

Ron Manners, 3 December 2013
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

With fascination I observe Australia’s ABC (and media generally) reporting and granting hero status on a group of well funded ‘hooligans’ (to use the Russian term).

In a high profile exhibition of irresponsibility, they attempted to climb on board a Russian oil drilling platform.

Anyone who has physically worked for a living has been trained to be aware and considerate for the safety of those around them.

Possibly the most sensitive physical location, in which to be operating, is on such an oil drilling or production platform when there are enough natural hazards without the injection of an element of human stupidity.

Protecting human lives and preventing environmental damage is itself a major challenge in such a hazardous location!

The so-called, Arctic 30, injected themselves, forcibly, into such a situation.

Before judging their hero or hooligan status let’s pause for a moment and imagine a reciprocal situation where a bunch of Russian ‘hooligans’ pull up alongside one of Australia’s North West offshore drilling or production platforms and with grappling ropes attempt to climb on-board with maximum disruption in mind.

Not only is safety and environmental damage at stake but we would be threatened with total disruption to most of Western Australia’s productivity.

Would we, as individuals or as media representatives, immediately grant them ‘hero’ status or would we decide it to be more appropriate to put them behind bars as they pose a threat to lives and Australia’s national interest?

Also, what about those who finance and encourage such ‘hooliganism’?

How would you judge them?

Your choice!

Ron Manners

December, 2013

More: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24170129

http://news.yahoo.com/greenpeace-activists-storm-russian-oil-rig-063813773.html

Australia’s endangered species- Small Business

Ron Manners, 4 November 2013
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

What are the major challenges facing Australia’s small to medium enterprises right now?

 

According to a study from the University of Newcastle, one-third of start-ups fail in the first year; on a cumulative basis, by year three 62% have failed and by year five 74%.

 

One of the major problems driving small business to extinction in Australia is the overwhelming red tape thrown at us from Federal Government, State Government and Local Government.

 

The cost of compliance in terms of the hours spent on useless documentation is anathema to the new generation of forward-thinking risk-taking entrepreneurs.

 

These people are hard working, but they want to retain focus on productivity and building a business rather than an avalanche of form filling.

 

Every newly elected Federal, State and Local Government promises to ‘ease the bureaucratic burden on businesses’ but they never do. 

 

Regulation only services and favours the regulators, and the regulators have completely captured the process at all levels of government.

 

To understand the size of the problem one has first to look inside the minds of the ‘regulators’.

 

Why do the worst get to the top?

 

This question was answered by one of our favourite economists, F.A. Hayek, in his book The Road to Surfdom when he illustrated the mentality of the people who had come to occupy the positions at the top of government hierarchies’ in a centrally planned economy.

 

Hayek showed how normally tolerant and productive individuals are never attracted to such work and showed that it was for this reason that in any economy drifting towards socialism, ‘the worst get on top’.

 

More recently Geoffrey Brennan and James M Buchanan in their book The Reason of Rules stated, “If institutions are such as to permit a selected number of persons to exercise discretionary power over others, what sort of persons should be predicted to occupy these positions?”  … page 64.

 

Brennan and Buchanan explain why we should expect that the people most willing to work hard to attain political office, will be those who expect to gain the most from holding such office.

 

So what causes me to be writing in such a negative fashion on such a fine Spring day in Perth?

 

Our Mannkal Foundation has just opened a stock-broker account and I’ve added up all the time and effort required to complete what used to be a very simple procedure.

 

Now, after being forced to obtained certified I.D.’s of all our Board Members and completing all the formal documentation three times (on the first two sets of documents couriered, some of the small print requirements were over-looked), we are finally in a position where we can ‘transact business’.

 

Our estimated cost of completing this documentation is $1,500.  This could have been obtained a few years ago with a simple phone call.

 

Similarly, with opening a bank account, it is now necessary to take half a day off, from productive work, visit your bank and complete the ‘100 point assessment test’.

 

No wonder so many people are exercising their freedom of choice and ‘transacting less’.

 

Our country and economy is much poorer and less vibrant when things are made ‘too hard’.

 

Some other examples?  At a time when Western Australia is desperately short of land for new homes our new government is intent on unnecessarily jeopardizing the development of large tracts of ready-to-go subdividable land and the results are ever escalating costs for new building blocks.

 

However, I shouldn’t be surprised at all this.  After all, Western Australia must be one of the few remaining outposts of bureaucratic bungling as it still clings to the anachronistic Potato Board, again intent on driving up the price of potatoes.

 

Anyone else in favour of declaring ‘open season on bureaucrats‘?

“Giving Back or Giving Forward?”

Ron Manners, 1 October 2013
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

The ultimate insult comes when someone suggests that “it’s time you gave something back!”

Yes, it infers that you ‘stole’ something in the first place.

However, how often do you hear that phrase?

From pontificating politicians, through to energetic fund raisers, all of whom feel that they have some claim over your hard-earned dollars.

“Giving back” is not what it is all about.

The sheer joy of giving someone a “helping hand” or “kick-starting someone’s career” can never be described ‘backwardly’ in this fashion.

The only way to capture that joy in words, is to think of it as ‘giving forward!’

This thought was expressed so well in the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow….

“Give what you have. To some it may be better than you dare think.”

Does industry self-regulation work?

Ron Manners, 2 September 2013
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

Industry self-regulation should work, as it is in the best interest of any industry or profession to minimize external regulation.

Self-regulation’s central platform is trust and accountability. Without participants taking due responsibility for their actions, self-regulation of any industry will never work.

Much discussion on Public Policy takes place in the office of Mannkal Economic Education Foundation (that’s what we do).

Our own office building, itself, currently demonstrates the weak link between responsibility and self-regulation.

The architect responsible for this building (different from ‘responsible architect’) designed a building that leaks (only when it rains).

For three years we have placed the bucket under the leak and watched the ceiling deteriorate, patiently waiting for this fault to be remedied.

Read on for the gruesome details of the ineffectiveness of the Architects Board of Western Australia who have been toothless in dealing with an irresponsible member of its own fraternity:-

· Mannkal’s complaint lodgement

· Registration Board’s reply

· Mannkal’s response

The outcome, after three years, is an architect-designed building that leaks and an ongoing debate as to the definition of “unprofessional conduct”.

This is enough to give the great freedom of self-regulation a bad name.

Ron Manners

Topic: Architect, Architects Board of Western Australia, Hillam Architects, David Hillam

Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006) – some personal recollections.

Ron Manners, 7 August 2013
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

A famous writer was once asked what the secret of being a good writer was.  He said that he simply left out the bits that people skip.

I’ve tried to do that tonight given the enormous amount that has already been written about Milton Friedman.

So, firstly, what’s a mining explorer from Australia doing in Hong Kong talking about a famous international economist such as Milton Friedman?

There is an easy explanation for this.

There is one binding theme that links mining exploration together with economics, and in fact all human intellectual pursuits and even all successful careers.

It is best expressed by the words of a Hungarian physiologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1937.

His name was Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, and he put it this way:

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”

For instance, a mere spectator will see the latest smart-phone and say, “Isn’t that great.”

However, the entrepreneur will say, “What can we do to make it better?”

When you really think about Szent-Gyorgyi’s words and their true meaning, you will get a clear understanding of the difference between a good economist and the average politician.

A good economist will see the long-term damage that is likely to flow from bad policy, whereas your average politician only will see votes at the next election.

Our average politician fears a stalled economy.

But a good economist asks why the economy has stalled and knows what to do to revive it!

He knows that when government spending runs up to about 25% of GDP, your economy is in trouble (like France at 50%, most of Europe at 40% and the US almost as bad).

How do the Australian and Hong Kong figures compare with Europe’s and USA’s average of 45%?

Australia’s figure is 32% and Hong Kong only 23.9%.  Interestingly, this directly relates to the percentage of the population directly employed by Government.  Again, the interesting comparison between Australia at 8.2% and Hong Kong at 3.8%

One such good economist with a clear understanding of these ratios was Professor Milton Friedman.

Let me also mention that Prof. Friedman always gave full credit to his remarkable economist wife, Rose, who jokingly claimed half of Milton’s 1976 Nobel Prize.

With parents like Milton and Rose, no wonder their son, David, is also a world-class economist and David’s son Patri continues the tradition of proposing radical solutions that benefit the human race.

Milton Friedman changed the world by using relentless and polite persuasion to help bring about floating exchange rates, the abolition of wage-and-price controls, the legalisation of private gold ownership, dramatic tax reductions, and an end to military conscription.  His 1957 Theory of the Consumption Function fundamentally undermined Keynesian economics.

Friedman’s economics worked because he himself had worked.  He rejected ideas that worked in smart men’s heads but failed in working men’s lives.

As author Daniel J Flynn said, “Fellow economists laughed at him, before the 1970s laughed back at them.”

He debated adversaries with unfailing patience and graciousness.  It was often said that economists liked to debate with Milton, particularly when he was not there.

My favourite two Milton Friedman books are:

. Capitalism and Freedom – it contains all the theories Friedman stressed during his career as a public intellectual.  It emphasised the inseparable link between economic and political freedoms;

and

. Free to Choose – the book that accompanied the ten-part TV series with the same name.

That reminds me of what Queen Elizabeth said to him as the Friedmans boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia in San Francisco harbour.  It was, “I know you!  Philip is always watching you on telly.”

Prince Philip is still a fan of Milton’s Free to Choose TV series which has had tremendous impact around the world, even in Perth, Australia, where the Mannkal Foundation sponsors an annual conference, similarly named, at Australia’s Notre Dame University.

A year before Milton Friedman died, Stephen Moore, from the Wall Street Journal asked him, “What can we do to make America more prosperous?”

“Three things,” he replied instantly.

“Promote free trade, school choice for all children and cut government spending.”

“How much should we cut?” asked Moore, to which Friedman replied, “As much as possible.”

But tonight we are in Hong Kong, a city that Milton loved, almost as much as he loved his wife Rose.

He loved Hong Kong and of often said, “If you want to see free-markets at work; come to Hong Kong.”

I first met Milton Friedman here in Hong Kong in 1978, but first let me explain how I read Milton’s words five years before then.

Has anyone heard of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine?

Anyone here who subscribes to Playboy magazine to read the articles?

I have a lot to thank Playboy magazine for, in fact four things;

- In its first issue, in 1953, it introduced Marilyn Monroe to the world.

- In a 1960 issue, a series of articles by Hugh Hefner with the title ‘The Playboy Philosophy’ introduced me to philosophy and led me to enrol as an external student at the University of Western Australia (UWA) to study Philosophy 1.  Prof. John Hospers (University of Minnesota and University of Southern California) was the author of Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, the text book we studied, and this led me to a lifetime friendship with Hospers until his death, at age 93, in 2011.  Hospers was a member of Ayn Rand’s Group cryptically called “The Collective”, along with Alan Greenspan.  In 1972 he ran as the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate.

- The 1964 issue featured a Playboy interview with Ayn Rand, which was my introduction to her influential book Atlas Shrugged.

- Then, in 1973, there was the famous Playboy interview with Milton Friedman.

Although I’d heard of Milton Friedman before 1973, because of his relationships with several US economic think tanks, I’d not fully absorbed his wisdom and it was the punchy style in that Playboy interview that prepared me for his probing curiosity and the questioning which I came to enjoy on the several occasions that I spent in his company.

At one meeting with Milton Friedman I presented him with a copy of In Support of Free Enterprise, a document prepared by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as an example of the understanding of the benefits of the enterprise system that existed in Western Australia.

He later wrote me a delightful congratulatory letter which made me uncomfortable because I had deserved no credit for the origination of this document. However, his letter showed that he had digested the publication and taken the trouble to write to me.  Not bad for a busy 90-year-old!

Tonight’s 101st birthday party for Milton Friedman, here in Hong Kong, is all about personal recollections and I’ll single out one particular occasion when I was invited to attend the 20th anniversary of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, held in San Francisco in May 2001.

One evening of that Atlas event was called ‘An Evening with Milton & Rose Friedman’ and it formed part of the approaching 90th birthday celebrations for Milton Friedman.

Apart from his own presentation and congratulatory speeches from various notables, several of we think-tank directors then had the opportunity of each spending some ‘personal time’ with him and we all had our list of questions that we wished to ask during that valuable time together.

Professor Friedman’s focus earlier that evening had been on money being too important to be left to central bankers.  He said, “You essentially have a group of unelected people who have enormous power to affect the economy one way or the other.”

Friedman’s proposal was simple, “I’ve always been in favour of replacing the Fed with a computer; in essence a PC could determine the economy’s monetary base and consistently increase it by, say, 3% annually, to keep up with expected growth in population and production.”

My own focus was really on asking Dr Friedman what he regarded as his priority challenges as the clock ticked over to his 90th birthday.

“Yes,” he said, with a smile, with words to the effect, “Yes, by now everyone should know that inflation in the long-run is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon with an unrestrained Fed, and that government’s solution to any problem is usually at least as bad as the problem itself.”

He said, “So, I’m now focused on competition in education.”

He explained how their Friedman Foundation was set up to study this issue as they were totally against the idea of the government running the schools and allocating places primarily by address.

His comments to me were:

“If government has to subsidize anyone, it should be the customer (parents and children) and not the producers (the schools and their highly unionised teachers).”

“Empower the customers, and create competition, and you will achieve much better results.”

“The purpose of having free choice is to have competition and allow the educational industry to get out of the 17th Century and get into the 21st Century and have more involvement.”

Now, largely as a result of the Friedman Foundation’s work, 13 US States and Washington DC have adopted school choice programmes and the momentum is continuing to build.

So, in my own view, if that momentum continues, Milton Friedman may well be judged, in another 100 years, in terms of his major achievement in revolutionizing the education system.

Conclusion

On every one of these occasions, when I was confronted with Milton Friedman ‘live’, it struck me that he always had to have the last word.

If anyone was interviewing him or thanking him for a speech, in any way, Milton always had the final quip.

In the case of my colleague Deroy Murdoch’s session with Milton in San Francisco, Deroy concluded his session with a comment, “Well that’s all of my questions thank you.”

Milton’s response was, “Yes, it may be all of your questions, but it certainly is not all of my answers.”

In my case, I concluded my ‘Individual time with Milton’ by simply thanking him.  He then said, “Just a minute.  Do you know what else we have in common?”

Naturally, I was curious. So he had the last word by saying these profound words—see if they apply to you too!  He said, “I can tell that we both had happy childhoods. That is obvious to me because a happy childhood lasts forever.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Building houses, the legitimate role of Government?

Ron Manners, 8 July 2013
Check out the author's latest book at www.HeroicMisadventures.com

Let’s look at what goes wrong when governments step beyond their legitimate role!

 

Is building houses the legitimate role of government?

 

Last week’s announcement  that the W.A. Government has committed $48M to help build  1,000 new homes, incorporating more than 20% rent subsidy, raises a central question:-

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wa-to-get-1000-cheap-rental-properties-20130623-2oqb8.html

 

Why are houses so expensive in W.A.?

 

Why are they unaffordable?

 

The major reason was given in The West Australian  – 28 March, 2013 under the headline;

 Buyers Slugged – taxes 40% of new home cost :-

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/16460748/taxes-40pc-of-new-home-cost/

 

So, let’s get to the core of the problem.

 

How does the government justify taxing to this level, on new homes?

 

It’s because it needs the money, so that it can build homes for the very same people who it has priced out of the market.

 

Could it be that without such government ‘help’ people could buy their own affordable homes?

 

This is not a new problem.

 

See Viv Forbes 1990 article;

 The Road to Homelessness - Business Queensland:-

 http://think-right.com/2013/06/24/the-road-to-homelessness/ 

 

 

Ron Manners.