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28 January 1972. Thought for the Week: "I believe that the world's rulers will discover that.... the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience".
Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, writing in 1949.
THE FINANCE-ECONOMIC CRISIS DEEPENS
"From the sidelines it is easy to criticise Billy Snedden. But it should be realised that he is in an economic no-man's land. He has tried to cope with the double-bind of rising unemployment and rising prices. If he makes the conventional attack on unemployment by injecting more money into the community, it would feed inflation; an orthodox attack on inflation (by dampening demand) will create more unemployment. Possibly that is why some Ministers are saying that what this country needs right now is an unorthodox Treasurer. Billy Snedden is the man on the spot." - Allan Barnes from Canberra in The Age. Melbourne, January 25.
There have been a number of Federal Treasurers since the present Coalition Government was first elected in 1949, a major policy objective being "to put the shillings back into the pound". Mr. Snedden was preceded by Mr. W. McMahon and Mr. Leslie Bury, both of whom, unlike Mr. Snedden, can claim to have been schooled in the "science" of economics. But while Treasurers have come and Treasurers have gone, inflation has, like Tennyson's brook, continued on. And, as we have constantly predicted over many years, inflation, with all its disastrous consequences, will continue while present finance-economic policies are persisted with.
Both the 1970 and the 1971 Federal Budgets were allegedly designed by the Treasury "experts" to combat inflation. We warned that inflation could not be halted by increasing transport, PMG and other costs. Challenged by their electors, Government Members wrote letters explaining how the Government's anti-inflation strategy would work out "in the long run". It would be instructive to hear now from these Members on why the 1971 inflation rate was the highest since l956!
According to recent press reports, the
Federal Country Party has sought the assistance of the Commonwealth
Treasury for an analysis of a set of anti-inflationary financial
policy proposals being put forward by The Institute of Economic
Democracy, a specialist division of The Australian League
of Rights. Having completely misrepresented the Institute's
Following the announcement that consumer
price index figures had increased by 2.3 percent for the December
quarter, Mr. Snedden issued a statement in which he starts
with the breathtaking comment that "I hope the consumer price
index figures for the December quarter just released will
bring home to all that inflation is the major problem facing
Australia today... .It is an indication, in the plainest terms
that the community as a whole cannot afford to relax its efforts
to beat down this menace."
The free-enterprise system, working within
the financial shackles imposed upon it, has continued to demonstrate
its efficiency and capacity to provide necessary goods and
services. It is instructive to note that Government and Local
Government charges have been the biggest factor in price increases.
Over the past five years, public transport fares have increased
by 56 percent. Local Government rates by 48 percent, and PMG
charges by 41 percent. Although the Treasury eased its credit
restriction policy during December, permitting a credit expansion
of up to $500 million, Mr. Snedden insists that there will
be no "major stimulus" to the economy because of the unemployment
position, which Minister for Labor, Phil Lynch frankly admits
will get worse before improving.
Mr. Edward Heath has the distinction
of creating over one million unemployed in the United Kingdom
with his anti-inflation strategy, but the inflation rate is
still rising. Unemployment is also increasing in all Western
European countries where inflation is also continuing. If
Mr. Snedden wishes to become the "unorthodox" Treasurer, his
political colleagues desire, primarily so that they might
survive politically, he could make a start by obtaining a
copy of the Paper, "A Failure of Economics", given
at the Monash University on July 26, 1971, by the eminent
Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics,
Having faced the truth that the "experts"
have been proved wrong, Mr. Snedden could then become really
unorthodox by informing his two top Treasury advisers, Sir
Frederick Wheeler and the "brilliant" Mr. John Stone, that
what he requires from them is a financial policy which will
enable individuals in a free society, co-operating economically
through the free-enterprise system, to be able to get access
to what they have produced without increasing debt, taxation
and inflation. If these gentlemen insist that they cannot
provide a financial mechanism, which will enable the economic
system to be used without inflation or any other dislocations,
they should be frankly told that they have thereby disqualified
themselves as experts.
INTERIOR MINISTER HUNT'S FANTASIES
"Canberra - The Federal Minister for the Interior (Mr. Hunt) yesterday predicted an end to bad times for farmers. Mr. Hunt said, 'Given a good season the great majority of our farmers will be on the road to recovery by the end of the year'. Speaking at Moree, in north-western NSW, Mr. Hunt said he looked to 1972 as a year of 'some considerable recovery for the rural industries'. He said, 'I can see the light at the end of the tunnel after one of the worst recessions in the rural sector since the 1930's.' - The Age Melbourne, January 20.
Mr. Hunt is clearly suffering from a bad dose of fantasia. His ludicrous comment, like press headlines that "wool prices are soaring", merely provides fuel for those people in the cities who have been misled by a section of the news media concerning the truth about the rural crisis. Much more realistic is the comment by Mr. Fred J, Tritton, President of the Kennedy Inland Division of the Australian Country Party, and Chairman of the Richmond Shire Council, who in an article in Queensland Country Life of January 20, said "Let us leave our drought which is a recurring certainty and price fluctuations, which can only be avoided by socialism, and let us look at the causes......Good seasons will not halt the constantly rising financial costs, which the primary producer cannot automatically recover."
Does Mr. Hunt expect the primary producers'
rates to stop increasing?
THE SOURCE OF JOHN GORTON'S IDEAS
"...the writings that I believe most influenced my early thinking were never published as a book at all. They were a series of articles, described as 'Design for a Book' written by Walter Lippman and published in 1936 in the Atlantic Monthly". - Ex-Prime Minister John Gorton in The Australian, January 23.
Walter Lippman, who in his later years was one of the most widely read columnists in the English-speaking world, was an early member of the Fabian Society. Lippman was constantly wrong on the Communist question, but was presented as a great pundit. If John Gorton did absorb Lippman's basic philosophical ideas, this could help to explain his support for central planning. And his insistence that he was not an anti-Socialist.
THE VITAL IMPORTANCE OF THE NEWSLETTER
One of the most dangerous aspects of
growing centralisation is the rapid growth of monopoly in
the mass media of the world. Rising financial costs are forcing
more newspapers to pool information sources. "Co-ordination"
of news services means that an increasing number of people
throughout the world are being presented with only one point
of view. We have documented over a number of years how the
news media of the world has dangerously misled people on the
great issues of our times.
On Target is such a news commentary.
It is a journal of The Australian League of Rights, but finances
itself. Over many years of international travel lecturing
and writing, Mr. Eric Butler has built up a large number of
contacts. The League of Rights has brought a number of authorities
on different aspects of international affairs to Australia.
Present readers of On Target can ensure that this independent
news commentary continues to provide its vital service by:
FOREIGN TAKE OVER OF AUSTRALIA CONTINUES
"A party of Japanese real estate developers arrived in Melbourne yesterday with plans for investment in hotels, land and office blocks. Mr. Uichi Noda, leader of the delegation, said, "Australia is the most promising country in the world. The Japanese people have big interests in this country and in the future many Japanese will come to Australia to invest". - The Sun, Melbourne, January 22.
One of the most dangerous myths being used to persuade Australians to sell their birthright is that an enormous flood of "foreign capital" is required for Australian development. As has been demonstrated by several of our more realistic economists, most "foreign capital" consists merely of a transfer of bankbook entries. Australia should make every effort to maintain firm control of its own assets by providing its own financial capital. Unless this is done, Australians will find themselves operating an offshore island quarry for the Japanese-Chinese industrial monster now starting to take shape. And Japanese moves to join with the Soviet in exploiting Siberia's vast untapped mineral resources, should warn Australians that they could prove expendable in the future.
ON TARGET BULLETIN
Policy and AdministrationReal democracy is concerned with formulating policy and directing appropriate experts to devise the ways and means of implementing policy. The experts are made personally responsible. In a genuine democracy, with power concerning policy-making in the hands of the individual members of the community, experts are "on tap, not on top". They are left free to devise the most efficient methods of implementing policy, and are held personally responsible. The Socialist concept of "the democratic administration of industry" is about as realistic as talking about the members of a sports team having a committee meeting every few minutes to decide what is to be done next. Once the game is underway, the captain is in charge. There can be consultation, but in the last analysis the captain makes the decisions. The same applies in industry.
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