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We have had many challenges to face in 2020.

Which to tackle first?

Without the traditional wisdom of a reliable business or political roadmap to guide us, where to turn for inspiration?

The daily media onslaught continually reminds us that politics, at all levels, is broken, and business leadership has been displaced by the “corporate social responsibility” brigade, far removed from their prime task of “building an enterprise”.

We see constant calls for politics to be fixed and for capitalism to be fixed, however, might I suggest that both these blockbuster items are not the problem?

Both politics and business have the capacity to “mug us” unexpectedly as we travel through life, but, as Ayn Rand said, “they can only do to you, what you let them do.”

Therefore, the problem may be us.  We, as individuals, have set unachievable expectations for both politics and business. We have allowed a blurring of “what is the correct role for government” and “what is the correct role for business”?

Everything that falls outside these role specifications, are things that we should be doing for ourselves.

We should adopt a position of “responsible individualism”.

If we do not, and if we allow governments (taxpayers) to take over any tasks that we (or business) should be doing, we do so at great risk!  This gives government and politicians the opportunity to claim the many success stories that rightfully belong to the initiatives of individuals.

This tendency is highlighted in the below video in which Barack Obama is mocked for his infamous claim that “you did not build this!” – inferring that without subsidies and government granted protectionism, nothing would be built.

It is easy to be offended at Obama’s claims, that are now being regenerated by Nancy Pelosi – Speaker of the House, however I was equally offended by the U.S. Captains of Industry flying to Washington in their private jets, all seeking bailouts, as the Global Financial Crisis arrived in 2008.

All these previously respected “Captains of Industry” were proving was that they were incapable of steering their companies through a downturn in the traditional business cycle.

Let me give you a closer-to-home example of the blurring of roles of politics in business.

The role of government is to govern; and the role of mining companies is to explore and mine.

Are you aware that you, the taxpayers of Western Australia, are funding high risk, exploration drilling, that is deemed to be too risky for company shareholders?  This State Government annual payment has been in place for many years, and the taxes paid by struggling families in the outer suburbs are being spent on high risk exploration ($15 million per year). This may be bordering on scandalous, but the exploration companies are not going to complain about this free money are they?

If they had any moral compass they would send the money back.

Here is a fact: there is no shortage of investors’ money to fund soundly based exploration.

And now this year, to make it worse, the federal government, watching on have – instead of sounding the alarm – decided that “this looks like an effective way for politicians to buy votes, so we will start a similar Federal Fund,” announcing an annual contribution of $125 million to the same scheme.

This misuse of tax dollars “buys” the politicians an opportunity to claim credit for the success of our mining industry, à la Barack Obama.

Our responsibility is to unblur the lines of responsibility.

Unreasonable demands are constantly being thrust on our politicians and in their desire to be popular they have lost the ability to say “no”.

This is only one example of how the politicians are “mugging” us, the taxpayers. We must be forever vigilant to guard against being mugged either by politicians or protection-seeking businesses.

Have you too been “mugged” recently?

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  • Well said Ron. I hope the media reports on this clear example of a mining figure like yourself opposing government “help” for mining. I hope other mining figures join you in speaking out.

    Political muggings are so scary; they feel they can get away with anything, even in broad daylight. It’s a mug’s game, with those who are mugging for the camera more deserving of a mug shot. They have more in common with China than they admit.

  • Recall the famous quote “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I take exception to this statement, and note that the Swiss system of direct democracy is a far better option. Ron has recorded in ‘Heroic Misadventures‘ his support for the Workers Party endeavour which shows problems were evident with our system of government years ago. Currently Ron writes “The daily media onslaught continually reminds us that politics, at all levels, is broken, and business leadership has been displaced by the “corporate social responsibility” brigade, far removed from their prime task of “building an enterprise”.” Now this problem is becoming critical – particularly given the likely wash up from the Covid19 issue.
    I define our current government design problem as a Top Down system rather than the preferred Bottom Up alternative. The Swiss government has much to recommend it as a Bottom Up system, and I think we could have a similar form of democracy if we made a single addition to Section 128 of our constitution. Details at There is much to do after this modification is introduced, but we would be on a road to reclaiming our government back.

  • The below image is a copy of my letter to the editor of The Kalgoorlie Miner in 1979 where I address the issue of the government seeking to dabble in mining and exploration endeavours by proposing to auction off successful gold discoveries. Who in that situation would pay for any exploration losses? Presumably the taxpayer.

    Fashionable to Blame the Government

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