John Tanton – Australia – The Social Contract Press

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Many people in the Anglo world and now Europe may ask where does the current transnational white nativist or white nationalist ideology, promoting eugenics and immigration restrictions, come from?

Many would suggest that the fulcrum of ideology or ideas has been the ‘most influential unknown man in America’ (New York Times) John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton, along with his network of anti-immigrant organisations informing the White House, also the Social Contract Press which Tanton was central in founding, and his influence also bisecting the Koch influenced ‘bill mill’ ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council.

In earlier days Tanton along with Paul Ehrlich, with support from Rockefeller Bros., Ford and Carnegie Foundations, founded ZPG Zero Population Growth in the US (according to the Washington Post 1977) then later in Australia and UK; becoming Sustainable Population Australia while in the U.K., Population Matters and Migration Watch.

The Social Contract Press has been described by Southern Poverty Legal Center (SPLC) as:

The Social Contract Press (TSCP) routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists. The press is a program of U.S. Inc, the foundation created by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement. TSCP puts an academic veneer of legitimacy over what are essentially racist arguments about the inferiority of today’s immigrants.

SPLC also describes John Tanton as:

John Tanton was the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement. He created a network of organizations – the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA – that profoundly shaped the immigration debate in the U.S.

Tanton, his network and associated people, including Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ Birrell and Dr. Katherine Betts (whom interviewed Jean Raspail author of Steve Bannon’s favourite tract ‘Camp of the Saints’) have been influential in informing Australia’s immigration policy, post White Australia policy.  Further, TSCP also have a representative via John Tanton in Australia, Denis McCormack who explains below in a TSCP article.

From The Social Contract Press:

Fond Memories of John Tanton: The ‘Grand Master of Life’

By Denis McCormack Volume 30, Number 1 (Fall 2019)

Issue theme: “John Tanton: His Life and Legacy (1934-2019)”

While transiting an Australian airport in early 1990, not long before our Federal Election, Dr. John Tanton picked up a discarded newspaper left on a nearby transit lounge seat. Inside the paper John spotted a brief news item in The Age (a prominent newspaper), written by the late Pamela Bone, a “respected” feature and op/ed writer of long standing. Her work often reflected her firmly held support for high levels of immigration and welcoming more “refugees.” She was a classic Social Justice Warrior (SJW)…..

……From the airport, John posted a quick note to Bone, enclosing his contact details, and asking her to pass them along to me. This she eventually did. I soon wrote to John, thanking him for his interest, and enclosed some AAFI materials. By return mail I received a large package full of TSC, FAIR, CIS, and ZPG publications. John invited me to keep him informed about our doings Down Under and to tell him what we tried to popularize resistance to high levels of immigration-fueled population growth.

In 1992, John invited me to attend the annual Writers’ Workshop (WW), which was held in San Diego, California that year. I have attended eight of these in-gatherings for like minds. On the morning of my trip to San Diego, I met Dr. Tanton and Professor Garrett Hardin having breakfast, and asked them, straight off the bat, if they had ever read The Camp of the Saints. “YES” they both responded, and we three brothers in arms discussed this essential book in our common cause…..

…….Prolific reader that he was, John had read All for Australia (Methuen Haynes, 1984) by Australia’s pre-eminent historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey, whom I knew and was able to introduce to him. John was later interviewed by Terry Lane, a well-respected long-term ABC-Melbourne presenter. Lane was unafraid to call for reducing immigration, and was a critic of the multiculturalism policy mania. This made his interview with John easy to enjoy.

In 1992 John invited me to serve as The Social Contract’s Australian correspondent, and am happy to remain so today.’

For more blogs and articles about Australian politics, demography, immigration, population growth, populist politics and white nationalism click through.

Libertarian Economic Policy Promotion and Think Tanks

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The Anglo world, especially the US, UK and Australia have conservative governments all pursuing similar or even identical radical right libertarian economic policies informed by think tanks, like Australia’s IPA Institute of Public Affairs.

However, the many lobby groups masquerading as think tanks now populating Anglosphere media, politics and academia have much in common including a need to promote libertarian policies to MPs, governments, media and society.

Further, most if not all policy their ideas emanate from US based proponents of radical right libertarian policies including James Buchanan, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Hayek and von Mises.  The support, communication and promotion of these ideas comes from Koch Network(s) of think tanks, especially the Atlas Network which includes AEI American Enterprise Institute, ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council, Heritage Foundation etc., while in Australia it is CIS Centre for Independent Studies and the IPA.

From the IPA Institute of Public Affairs, recommendations for then Australian PM and now UK Brexit trade envoy Tony Abbott:

Be Like Gough: 75 Radical Ideas To Transform Australia

John Roskam, Chris Berg and James Paterson Started 5 August 2012

If Tony Abbott wants to leave a lasting impact – and secure his place in history – he needs to take his inspiration from Australia’s most left-wing prime minister.

No prime minister changed Australia more than Gough Whitlam. The key is that he did it in less than three years. In a flurry of frantic activity, Whitlam established universal healthcare, effectively nationalised higher education with free tuition, and massively increased public sector salaries. He more than doubled the size of cabinet from 12 ministers to 27.

He enacted an ambitious cultural agenda that continues to shape Australia to this day. In just three years, Australia was given a new national anthem, ditched the British honours system, and abolished the death penalty and national service. He was the first Australian prime minister to visit communist China and he granted independence to Papua New Guinea. 

Whitlam also passed the Racial Discrimination Act. He introduced no-fault divorce.

Perhaps his most lasting legacy has been the increase in the size of government he bequeathed to Australia. When Whitlam took office in 1972, government spending as a percentage of GDP was just 19 per cent. When he left office it had soared to almost 24 per cent.

Virtually none of Whitlam’s signature reforms were repealed by the Fraser government. The size of the federal government never fell back to what it was before Whitlam. Medicare remains. TheRacial Discrimination Act – rightly described by the Liberal Senator Ivor Greenwood in 1975 as ‘repugnant to the rule of law and to freedom of speech’ – remains…..

Libertarian Wish List of Policy Actions:

1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

6 Repeal the renewable energy target

7 Return income taxing powers to the states

8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

12 Repeal the National Curriculum

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’

16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law

17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations

18 Eliminate family tax benefits

19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme

20 Means-test Medicare

21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

22 Introduce voluntary voting

23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations

24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns

25 End public funding to political parties

26 Remove anti-dumping laws

27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions

28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board

29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency

30 Cease subsidising the car industry

31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction

32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games

33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books

34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws

35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP

36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit

37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database

38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food

39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities

40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

41 Repeal the alcopops tax

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:

a) Lower personal income tax for residents

b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers

c) Encourage the construction of dams

43 Repeal the mining tax

44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold

46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent

47 Cease funding the Australia Network

48 Privatise Australia Post

49 Privatise Medibank

50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function

51 Privatise SBS

52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784

53 Repeal the Fair Work Act

54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them

55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors

56 Abolish the Baby Bonus

57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant

58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state

59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16

60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade

61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States

62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts

63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport

64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering

65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification

66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

67 Means test tertiary student loans

68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising

71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling

72 Privatise the CSIRO

73 Defund Harmony Day

74 Close the Office for Youth

75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme’

For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, climate change, conservative, economics, environment, government budgets, libertarian economics, media, political strategy and populist politics click through.

Covid-19 Coronovirus Data and Statistical Literacy

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During the Covid-19 or Coronavirus pandemic our media, including social media, has presented many sub-optimal or plainly wrong statistical conclusions due to a lack of data or statistical literacy, and to justify libertarians’ and sovereign citizens’ beliefs placing the politics of economy and individuals’ freedom above the health of community and society.

From Wikipedia on statistical literacy:

Statistical literacy is the ability to understand and reason with statistics and data. The abilities to understand and reason with data, or arguments that use data, are necessary for citizens to understand material presented in publications such as newspapers, television, and the Internet.’

From The Conversation:

Now everyone’s a statistician. Here’s what armchair COVID experts are getting wrong.

If we don’t analyse statistics for a living, it’s easy to be taken in by misinformation about COVID-19 statistics on social media, especially if we don’t have the right context.

For instance, we may cherry pick statistics supporting our viewpoint and ignore statistics showing we are wrong. We also still need to correctly interpret these statistics.

It’s easy for us to share this misinformation. Many of these statistics are also interrelated, so misunderstandings can quickly multiply.

Here’s how we can avoid five common errors, and impress friends and family by getting the statistics right.

1. It’s the infection rate that’s scary, not the death rate

Social media posts comparing COVID-19 to other causes of death, such as the flu, imply COVID-19 isn’t really that deadly.

But these posts miss COVID-19’s infectiousness. For that, we need to look at the infection fatality rate (IFR) — the number of COVID-19 deaths divided by all those infected…..

2. Exponential growth and misleading graphs

A simple graph might plot the number of new COVID cases over time. But as new cases might be reported erratically, statisticians are more interested in the rate of growth of total cases over time. The steeper the upwards slope on the graph, the more we should be worried.

For COVID-19, statisticians look to track exponential growth in cases. Put simply, unrestrained COVID cases can lead to a continuously growing number of more cases. This gives us a graph that tracks slowly at the start, but then sharply curves upwards with time. This is the curve we want to flatten…..

3. Not all infections are cases

Then there’s the confusion about COVID-19 infections versus cases. In epidemiological terms, a “case” is a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19, mostly by a positive test result.

But there are many more infections than cases. Some infections don’t show symptoms, some symptoms are so minor people think it’s just a cold, testing is not always available to everyone who needs it, and testing does not pick up all infections.

4. We can’t compare deaths with cases from the same date

Estimates vary, but the time between infection and death could be as much as a month. And the variation in time to recovery is even greater. Some people get really ill and take a long time to recover, some show no symptoms.

So deaths recorded on a given date reflect deaths from cases recorded several weeks prior, when the case count may have been less than half the number of current cases.

5. Yes, the data are messy, incomplete and may change

Some social media users get angry when the statistics are adjusted, fuelling conspiracy theories.

But few realise how mammoth, chaotic and complex the task is of tracking statistics on a disease like this.

Countries and even states may count cases and deaths differently. It also takes time to gather the data, meaning retrospective adjustments are made.  We’ll only know the true figures for this pandemic in retrospect.

For more article and blogs on academic integrity, climate changeCOVID-19, critical thinking, economics, evaluationlibertarian economics, media, populist politics, science literacy and statistical analysis click through.

Conspiracy of Denial – COVID-19 and Climate Science

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Some would not be surprised with the doubts and confusion being created round the COVID-19 crisis, especially by those wanting all economic activity to continue and ignore the human costs.  

 

However, much of this agitprop, astro-turfing and junk science used by non experts has much in common with the information, media and political techniques used by radical right libertarian think tanks funded by the fossil fuel sector and related media, to influence society on climate science to avoid constraints and preserve income streams, with some eugenics in the background.

 

The following article from DeSmog explains the tactics in the UK, which also replicate those of elsewhere, especially the US and to a lesser extent Australia:

 

How the UK’s Climate Science Deniers Turned Their Attention to COVID-19

 

By Zak Derler Monday, August 10, 2020

 

On December 31, 2019 many of us were reflecting on the past year and thinking about what opportunities lay ahead. Few were paying close attention to early reports of unexplained cases of pneumonia thousands of miles away in Wuhan, the large capital city of China’s Hubei Province.

 

But less than three months later, on March 23, Boris Johnson was ordering a national lockdown to try and stop that virus, by then known worldwide as COVID-19, from raging across the UK. This came 52 days after the chief medical officer of England had confirmed the nation’s first two cases.

 

The coronavirus crisis once again saw the UK divided — between those putting their trust in public health experts and their recommendations, and those quick to question the science on which the government claimed to base its decisions for controlling the pandemic. For those who have watched the decades-long efforts to slow climate action, this was a familiar phenomenon. And the coronavirus pandemic seemed to give fresh ammunition to some familiar faces.

 

A close look at commentary on both COVID-19 and climate change reveals significant crossover between unqualified voices casting doubt on experts recommending action.

 

Why?

 

“There’s nothing mysterious about this,” says Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of cognitive science, who studies the persistence of misinformation in society at the University of Bristol.

 

“I think COVID is just climate change on steroids in a particle accelerator,” he says. “The same forces are happening: you have the inevitability of a virus which is the same as the inevitability of the physics. And opposing that you have politics which motivates some people to deny the inevitables and instead resort to bizarre claims.”

 

‘No need to panic’

 

Commentators with a history of casting doubt on established climate science first turned their attention to COVID in the days just after Chinese authorities ordered the 11 million residents of Wuhan, a city the size of London, into lockdown.

 

On January 24, Ross Clark, a columnist for The Spectator who has lamented “hysteria” around COVID-19, said there was “no need to panic about coronavirus” despite warnings from leading epidemiologists about the potential spread of the outbreak.

 

On January 29, British economist Roger Bate similarly argued on the website of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a climate science denying free-market lobby group, that news reports around COVID-19 were unnecessarily sparking a major political reaction.

 

“A contagion will happen at some point, and it’s important we recognize it and react. Unless the coronavirus mutates into something far more dangerous, this isn’t it,” he wrote.

 

The idea that governments and the media were overreacting to the coronavirus threat was echoed by libertarian online magazine Spiked, which has taken funding from notorious backers of climate science denial the Koch family, and has included Bate and other AEI scholars among its contributors. It published an article as early as January 30 saying there was “mass hysteria in the newsrooms” around COVID.

 

By mid-February, the World Health Organization had declared that the threat of COVID-19 spreading across the world was “high” — yet a relaxed attitude continued to prevail among some commentators.

 

On February 19, centre-right blog ConservativeHome published an article by Daniel Hannan, a columnist and former Tory MEP, claiming that COVID-19 was unlikely to be as lethal as the common flu.

 

Hannan, a leading figure in the UK’s campaign to leave the EU, has links to various American lobby groups that have spread misinformation on climate change including the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. He encouraged ConservativeHome readers to “cheer up” and discouraged “panic” over the virus. That message was taken up by Clark in another Spectator article, arguing that “coronavirus hysteria” was “the latest phenomenon to fulfil our weird and growing appetite for doom.”

 

Miracle cures and conspiracy theories

 

These commentators’ contributions to the debate haven’t been without consequence. Some have spread conspiracy theories that have had real-world impact, while others have admitted to ignoring official safety guidelines, putting the public at risk of catching the disease…..

 

…..Theories about miracle cures can take hold partly as a result of personal politics, Lewandowsky argues. Under lockdown, “you’re asked to stay at home and to look after other people by not doing what you’d like to do, and that is very challenging if you’re a believer in personal freedom and autonomy,” he says.

 

The same can be said of the motivations for spreading misinformation on climate change: “A lot of climate denial is very high-pitched, frenetic, emotional, angry, toxic – and that’s all triggered because people’s identity is at stake.”

 

The desire to reach for conspiracy theories may also stem from a need to feel that individuals still retain some control, says Evita March, a senior lecturer of psychology at Federation University Australia. “Conspiracy theories offer the believer some comfort in that there is still behavioural predictability,” she says.

 

And there were plenty of conspiracy theories flying around, pushed by long-time climate science deniers….

 

Distrusting modellers

 

Many commentators directed their fire at a familiar foe — scientific models.

 

On April 1, the same day the United Nations announced the postponement of the annual UN climate change conference, two prominent UK climate science deniers argued in The Wall Street Journal that the pandemic had “dramatically demonstrated the limits of scientific modelling to predict the future.”…

 

Attacking environmentalists

 

As well as attacking coronavirus experts on their response recommendations, many commentators who oppose climate action also attacked those looking further ahead by putting forward proposals to ensure recovery plans were consistent with governments’ environmental pledges.

 

For months, commentators who regularly question the veracity of mainstream climate science denounced environmental activists for supposedly distracting the world with climate change amid the threat of pandemics……

 

Political impact

 

Unlike in the EU referendum or Trump’s presidential campaign, pushing anti-expert rhetoric may no longer be a winning strategy in the wake of COVID-19. Polling shows that despite worry about the pandemic and its impacts, the public still wants governments to tackle climate change. And politicians attaching themselves to the anti-science bandwagon are now struggling in the polls.

 

For the Centre for Countering Digital Hate’s Imran Ahmed, attacking the concept of expertise around COVID-19 is “the first truly great strategic mistake by those who espouse this radical world view.”

 

For more related blogs and articles on climate change, COVID-19, critical thinking, environment, fossil fuel pollution, libertarian economics, media, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy and statistical analysis.

 

Buy Local – Not Global – Issues of Nationalist Trade Policies

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Many people including voters are encouraged to think that exports and self sufficiency are good, while imports are bad.  Many economies have degrees of protection for supposed societal or national benefit but closed economies and tariffs although good for some companies or a sector, are not good for local industry nor consumers.

 

With the rise of Trump we have witnessed trashing of trade agreements, attacks on trade blocs or regions e.g. the EU European Union, WTO and claiming GOP policies protect workers’ jobs.

 

In fact it seems more of a libertarian trap appealing to voter sentiments and beliefs but bypassing rational analysis and allowing rentier class or dominant corporate entities to take policy advantage, behind political power, how?

 

The libertarian right has been successful both economically and socially in claiming autarkist or closed national socialist economies as good for the environment and workers, back grounded by simultaneous attacks on immigrants, imports, globalisation and trade agreements.

 

In fact the early ‘70s Club of Rome (sponsored and hosted by corporate oligarchs) promoted the ‘Limits to Growth’ theory (or PR construct) which was then applied socially to population and immigration by ZPG (also sponsored by corporates) Zero Population Growth’s Paul ‘population bomb’ Ehrlich and John ‘white nationalist’ and ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton, viewing any growth as bad, especially non WASP humanity.

 

Further, Herman Daly applied the same ‘limits to growth’ to his autarkist ‘Steady-state economy’ theory which also presented antipathy towards the ‘other’ and anything new by dismissing the need for free trade agreements, trade blocs, globalisation, migration, economic growth etc.  predicated on simply constant capital and people; similar was promoted during Brexit, by Trump and used to persuade the left or unions.

 

A more vivid example, has been demands in the Anglo world to do less trade with PRC or China, driven by US corporate lobbyists and the right, whose clients see their influence waning and China rising.

 

Why a ‘libertarian trap’?  Because those corporates who support the promotion of such theories and implementation would benefit from already existing global infrastructure, influence in national politics, shaping of opinions, then being outside of trade regulations and standards while precluding new competitive threats.

 

The following article from Inside Story looks into the disadvantages of trying to closely manage the balance of a national economy, with more losers than winners.  This has been back grounded by US trade tensions with China and Australia supporting the US with claims that Australia is too dependent upon trade with China (not true), therefore must decrease its dependency, and then find new markets to replace China…..

 

The trouble with “buying Australian”

 

Adam Triggs – 10 AUGUST 2020

 

The campaign risks reducing our living standards and hurting poorer Australians the most.

 

‘Buy Australian’ has been the catch cry from many in politics, business, trade unions and industry bodies for as long as I can remember, and Covid-19 has upped the ante. But while many groups advocate Buy Australian, one group is conspicuously absent: economists. The reason for this is counterintuitive: Buy Australian doesn’t help Australians, it hurts them, and particularly the most disadvantaged.

 

To understand why, consider that Australia, like any country, has scarce resources — workers, capital, energy, materials — with which it can produce goods and services. Since producing more goods and services in one area at any point in time means producing less in another area, the question is: what should we produce?

 

Without trade, the answer is easy: everything. Without trade, anything we want to consume we must produce ourselves. This means we have to make the things we are really good at making compared with the rest of the world, such as agriculture, mining and education, as well as the things we aren’t very good at making, like airplanes, defence equipment and LCD TVs.

 

This is not ideal. Luckily, trade offers an alternative. Trade allows Australia to focus its resources on making the things that it is good at making (and earn an extraordinary $400 billion each year on international markets in the process — more than a fifth of our GDP) and then import the rest. This is the whole point of trade: it is about specialisation. When trade is properly understood to be about specialisation, it becomes clear that imports are just as important as exports.

 

This is the problem with Buy Australian. If we decide to stop importing a particular product, then we have to start making that product (or, at least, more of it). If we have to make that product ourselves, it means we have to divert labour, capital, energy and materials from producing the things we are good at making (and that earn us a lot of money overseas) so that we can make more of the things we are bad at making (and that earn us barely anything overseas). This is a recipe for a poorer, less productive Australia. It means lower living standards for Australians.

 

For proof, look no further than the land of the free and the home of the brave. Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel imposed a government-mandated “Buy American” policy that made foreign-made steel much more expensive than domestic-made steel. This was fantastic news for America’s steel mills. They saw an increase in production, an increase in employment and an increase in the prices of the steel they sell.

 

But, sadly, there are no free lunches in economics. The benefit to those in the steel mills came at the cost of their sisters and brothers in their neighbouring industries. American industries that use steel to make cars, whitegoods and building materials saw the cost of their inputs skyrocket. They begged the Trump administration to reverse its decision, but with no success. Many had to lay off workers. Some closed up shop.

 

The result of Trump’s policy was textbook economics: the Buy American tariffs meant the United States was now producing more of the stuff it is bad at making and producing less of the stuff it is good at making. America was left poorer, with higher unemployment and more government debt as a result….

 

…..So why is Buy Australian so popular? There are two main reasons. One reason is that Buy Australian sounds like a good idea. It’s intuitive. Exports sound good. Imports don’t. But when we understand that trade is not about “opening markets” and “boosting exports” — the rhetoric we normally hear from politicians that implies (suspiciously) that there are no losers from trade (a free lunch) — and is in fact about specialisation, suddenly Buy Australian doesn’t make much sense.

 

The second reason is that there is a big difference between the incentives of the individual and the incentives of society. It is perfectly rational for individual businesses or industries to advocate Buy Australian when it comes to the products they produce, since they get all the benefits while their neighbours suffer the costs. It made perfect sense for US steel mills to stand in the Oval Office and applaud Trump’s tariffs, just as it makes sense for individual Australian industries and firms to advocate Buy Australian….

 

….The risk is that Covid-19 encourages policymakers to institutionalise Buy Australian policies through tariffs, quotas or the onshoring of supply chains. This is a recipe for a less prosperous Australia and a slower recovery from Covid-19, the overwhelming burden of which will fall on poorer Australians. As the old proverb goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So is the road to a prolonged Australian recession. 

 

For more blogs and article about the Asian century, Australian politics, climate change, economics, environment, EU European Union, GDP Growth, global trade, libertarian economics, limits to growth, political strategy, populist politics and WTO.