Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


Archive for January 2012

History Helps Us Prepare For The Future

Ron Manners, 20 January 2012
Check out the author's latest book at

I’m often asked, “What has been the biggest change to Australia over the past 40 years?”

The easy answer?

In the 1970s, paying tax was optional, but work was essential if one wished to survive. Now, it’s the other way around: paying tax is compulsory, but work is optional and there is very little focus on distinguishing productive work from ‘sawing sawdust’ type jobs, where there is no measurable productive output.

Is Australia a better place as a result of this major change?
The answer probably depends on whether you earn your living from economic activity or from bureaucratic activity. Another big change is that, in the 1970s, there was little discussion about “how the previous generation has ‘shafted’ the next generation”.

All that has changed—and rightfully so—with ready access to current statistics, now available to all at the click of a mouse. These data were only accessible to the ‘elites’ a generation ago. All this makes for some interesting discussions at Mannkal’s office in Subiaco.

There is very little respect for the ‘Harvard Graduates’ on Wall Street who, with the assistance of their friends on Capitol Hill and at the Fed, brought down the US economy. There is also very little respect for Southern Europe’s illogical entitlement mentality where the expectation was that Germany would fund their unsustainable pensions forever.

In this wearisome environment of today, young people are challenged in their search for role models as they move out to take their place in the world. But despite all the challenges, our Mannkal Foundation enjoys this economic and political fabric as we enter our 15th year, finding that we still maintain close contact with many of the 500 young people who we have sponsored for internships, seminars and events, both internationally and within Australia. So many of these young people continually send material back to us, reflecting on their experiences of events from so many parts of this interesting world. Our own experience is enriched through their input. Those participating in overseas internships have established their own input link to our website, where their weekly reports are publicly available:
Mannkal’s Musings is entirely compiled and published biannually by our youthful team, and this December issue is jointly edited by Emma Crisp, who now, after being with us for three years, is completing her studies and seeking career opportunities both in Australia and overseas, and Felicity Karageorge, our new Scholarship Coordinator, who was a former Mannkal Intern with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta).

This constant stream of constructive but sceptical input to our office and to our two Facebook sites* makes my job one of the best imaginable. So, please spend some time exploring this publication** and the various links it contains and be prepared to be injected with this special brand of optimism!