(Easy to understand if you study one branch of economics)
Is this a harsh headline?
Why the focus on government failure?
How do they get away with it?
What are these stuff-ups I refer to?
- The submarine fiasco. Buying off the French company Naval Group with this unexplained $830 million payment. “In total, the failed French submarine contract will have cost Australian taxpayers $3.5 billion, Albanese said, with almost nothing to show for it.” Al Jazeera June 11, 2022. The “concentrated benefit” in this case went to Prime Minister Albanese as it made him took good for his Paris visit. The costs of course when to us!
- The $200 million “Centre for National Resilience” in Bullsbrook. As WAFarmers chief executive has said, “The government has a $200 million white elephant on its hands so now we have no workers where there are jobs and beds where they are not needed, it’s ‘Yes Minister’ at its best.”
- Textbook rent seeking. This is explained eloquently by Justin Pyvis in his latest edition of The Context – I recommend you subscribe to it yourself.
- The Federal Government’s write-off of $21 million spent on the failed COVIDSafe app, after it located only seventeen close contacts that were not identified manually in 2 years.
- This irresponsible spendthrift style even dribbles down to Local Government, where the Perth City Council awarded a $20,000 grant to a Wine Bar and $194,000 for other “Pick a Winner” applicants, including relocation of a Comedy Lounge.
Yes, I have a folder full of such examples but what do they all have in common? Once you identify just who is receiving the “Concentrated Benefits” of such random largess, you will also note that the costs are widely distributed over many thousands or millions of “suckers” such as us. Because we are unable to clearly identify how much this is costing us individually, we do not rise up and march in the streets.
However, we do vote!
We could even choose to write letters of protest.
It all helps.
Politicians and councillors are not leaders, they are followers, and they follow where they think the votes are.
Public Choice Theory is the branch of economics that clearly explains how politicians and councillors get away with this and it is a recommended study for all of us interested bystanders.
A two-week accredited course in Public Choice Theory is available each year at University of Notre Dame – Fremantle.
Such teaching of Public Choice should be included in all management courses, as it plays an essential part in a deeper understanding of profitable business activity in our country.
If this knowledge of Public Choice Theory becomes widespread, there would be a shift from “silent sufferers”, to “strident questioners”, of this existing self-serving feeding at the public trough.
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