February 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders candidacy for Presidency of the United States has put Socialism back on the political agenda. How could such a failed ideology garner so much support? Particularly from the young.

Mises said Socialism wouldn’t work. And it didn’t. He pointed out that without the price mechanism it is impossible to allocate resources efficientlyand to make choices between economic alternatives. He explained that seventy years before the Berlin Wall fell.

The students who today support Sanders were not alive to witness the failure of communism in post-War USSR and Eastern Europe.

On 9 November 1989,...

August 27, 2015

It was six o’clock on a winter’s night in Melbourne. I entered the Trades Hall and climbed the stairs. The bluestone steps were worn concave from a million workers trudging there before me. The place was dingy, deliberately so, as though it had not changed since the Depression, conveying a message that the workers were still downtrodden. Halfway up the stairs was a large poster of Gough covered in lipstick kisses. I entered Bella Hall and joined a throng of young middle class professionals sipping champagne and beer, and eating sushi. 



Clare O’Neil and Tim Watts were launching the book they h...

Liberty – a superior ethic

The dominant political doctrines of the 20th century failed us economically, socially and morally. The beneficiaries of the welfare state have not been the poor and the disadvantaged; they have been those with influence who can capture and manipulate the system.


It is hard to imagine an ethic better suited to undermining the moral basis of a free society. [Yuval Levin]


The ethics of liberty on the other hand are based on the principle of private property and founded on natural rights theory. For this we are indebted to John Locke:

Every man has a property in his own pe...

April 24, 2015

The reform of the welfare state is going to require courage, intellectual honesty and a willingness to admit that cherished beliefs were wrong.

Politically, many of my friends are a little left of centre. I observe them having great difficulty coming to grips with the moral failures of the welfare state and its financial unsustainability. This is quite understandable. Their beliefs about social fairness are deeply held but seldom subjected to rational debate.

The following quote from Yuval Levin, Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre in Washington clearly articulates what is wro...

April 11, 2015

Now that the majority of voters are the beneficiaries of State largesse, has it become politically impossible to unwind middle class welfare?


The Intergenerational Report has highlighted problems that astute writers like Tom Woods have known for a long time. The social democratic welfare state is financially unsustainable.


"All over the world, the impossible promises governments have made to their populations are beginning to unravel. Millions or people have arranged their lives in the expectation of various forms of government support that will be mathematically impossible to provide." 

March 29, 2015

Noel Pearson is admired as one of Australia’s great political leaders and thinkers.  Last week, he released a 165-page document Empowered Communities: Empowered Peoples recommending radical changes to government policies for Indigenous Australians.


Instead of policies being determined by bureaucrats in our capital cities and delivered by a largely non-indigenous support industry, the report calls for the decision making and its execution to be devolved to empowered communities.


The idea is that is the principle of subsidiarity should apply.  As Craig Ingrey of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal L...

March 22, 2015

I wonder why the focus of our solutions for social problems seems to be to ask strangers to deal with them and government to fund it.


The incidence of family violence in Broken Hill is met by calls to restore funding of a legal aid facility. The incidence of vandalism by 12-year olds in Kununurra is met by calls for improved juvenile detention facilities.


In both cases, attention to the root causes of the problems might be more effective – minimizing or preventing the problems rather than treating the consequences. In both cases, one wonders what family, friends, neighbours and workmates were...

March 11, 2015

Many works by the great Australian sculptor Geoffrey Bartlett juxtapose contrasting elements in surprising ways, delighting the senses and challenging the intellect.


Likewise, I wish to surprise you with the proposition that the apparent evils of capitalism are the consequences of the principles of the social democratic welfare state.


Many modern business corporations do not, in fact, operate in the free market. They use government intervention to provide subsidies, inhibit agile competitors, fund their research and development, give them monopoly positions, enable them to profit from extremel...

February 17, 2015

Throughout the Western World, the Welfare State has been exposed as economically unsustainable.


The regulatory and coercive powers of the State have been captured by sectional interests for their own economic benefit.


The state has become pervasive in our lives. 

We have lost the belief that we can do things ourselves. 

We live with the peculiar notion that if we cannot afford some desired service, it should be provided by the government. 


Government spending expands as everyone seeks funding for their every wish.


The consequences are unmanageable debt, unsound money,  poor investment decisions,...

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