Tag Archives: craig emerson

Barnaby The Realist Nails Our ‘Core Beliefs’

9 Sep

Wisdom. Common sense. Realism. No-bullshit-ism.

Intellectual honesty.

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Playing a game of cheap tricks

What is a philosophy? In politics, philosophies are sometimes pulled on like a football jersey for a team that you have never played in. They are convenient for camaraderie, the conviviality of the club or to separate a person who by all other examination is unexceptional to yourself.

There are so many platitudes spoken in absolutes in politics but if they were authentic, life must be cheap and the mind must be weak, or the salesman is simply getting where they need to go via feigned fervour.

When I hear Dr Craig Emerson talk about the purity of the market I hear a screaming hypocrisy or an immense analytical laziness. Who is pure, Craig? China with a currency falsely tied to the US or the US with their use of cheap, illegal migrant labour, and the printing of money? Maybe the Europeans with subsidies, a Common Agricultural Policy, bail-outs and tariffs?

There is a golden rule; people will trade where ever they make money regardless of our benevolent world view that extends beyond this concept. Listening to some preach about Australia’s sins you might believe that we are vastly more substantial beyond the reality of our 1.4 per cent of the globe’s GDP.

Emerson and others like to believe in free trade, just like some may believe in Buddhism or Catholicism. Of course in trade very few are put up for canonisation and deal, without much guilt, in the reality of a partially sinful life.

Apparently protecting our pear industry from fireblight disease would be the greatest economic folly; however spending $1.5 billion putting pink batts in the roof for the rats and mice to sleep on is laudable.

If you are authentically genuine let’s actually drill down to some core beliefs. Do you believe in free trade of labour across borders? So if I can get Sudanese to pick the fruit in my orchard for $2 a day, I should be able to do it? That is free trade.

Do you believe in relaxing occupational health and safety regulations or environmental requirements to match those of the countries we trade with? No more renewable energy requirements, certainly no carbon tax, and let us build factories, log and fish in a far wider field, not where the prescriptive zoning laws have restricted us to. That is free trade.

Other ”free trading” countries artificially lower their currencies- maybe we should too? As of tomorrow our currency is to be 60c US. Surely free trade means the freedom to cheat like other countries. At least grant us reciprocity, I will trade with you in the same fashion you wish to trade with me. If your government can buy our farms then our government can buy yours.

Trade purists believe they won’t be taken to task on their beliefs. That the audience is less informed than they are so they won’t be questioned on consistency. It is the division of labour theory. I am too busy so I take on faith your belief.

Maybe I am harking back to that residual of Jesuit instruction which says that it is far wiser to say that I don’t have an opinion on that, or I don’t know the answer to that, than it is to jump in and state an uncategorical belief devoid of any caveats or mitigants on that belief.

Give me a child until he is seven years old, and he is mine for life. Which alternatively might read, present me the absolutists and I will show you the fool. Not even the middle of the night is totally black, in the middle of the day you can only see shapes by reason of shade.

So Emerson and others have now read so many books, or at least pretend to have, that they have the whole thing worked out in all and nothing arguments. On trade, like life itself, if only it was so simple. If on the trade battle one could win the war with one theoretical piece of artillery.

Most of the Australian economy is protected in one way or another. Industrial relations, financial regulation, native vegetation laws, chemical and pesticide regulation. Once you start protecting some things then you start to protect others.

So Emerson, do not get me wrong. I am all for genuine free trade, it is just that it’s never going to happen and you would never support it.

So which is it Emerson? Are you an apostate or hypocrite?

Barnaby is right.

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