Democracy theorist Jean-Paul Gagnon writing for The Conversation has suggested:
“If our underwhelming politicians don’t pass the test, perhaps its time to make them sit one..[like doctors, dentists, teachers, lawyers, veterinarians]
We need to focus on building both citizens and politicians in such a way as to lead to the improvement of politics in Australia and beyond.”
How many of us wonder if ‘representative government is an exhausted paradigm’?
Libertarian and centre right economist, Judith Sloan, writes:
“How do we sort out the link between industrial relations and productivity?..it was Julia Gillard, then workplace relations minister, who said, “the best thing about Labor’s industrial relations plan is that it will be good for productivity”. But the recent below trend growth in productivity appears to be real. So much so that even the Governor of the Reserve Bank is expressing concern about Australia’s poor productivity performance and the implications for the conduct of monetary policy.
The bottom line is that fiddling around with periods of different labour market regulations and trying to line them up with macro figures on productivity, particularly changes in labour productivity within incomplete cycles, is a futile and unconvincing exercise.
The alternative is actually to analyse the mechanisms whereby labour market regulations affects productivity (and costs), both directly and indirectly. Considering the different facets of regulation – modern awards, rules in relation to bargaining, unfair dismissal laws are examples – detailed workplace analysis can reveal their impact on productivity. Any economy-wide assessment will be difficult, but such an approach will reveal the direction and magnitude of the impact of the various regulations on the productivity of workplaces.
To suggest that such an exercise would simply be a pretext for cutting wages – something that is likely to be an accusation of the ACTU – is not true. In fact, many of the impediments to greater workplace efficiency have nothing to do with wages but everything to do with restrictions on the way in which workplaces can be managed. Ultimately, real wages can only grow in line with productivity. So the trade union movement has every incentive to see productivity grow rapidly.”
There were a lot of comments on the above, with John51 saying:
“I am afraid Judith’s argument has been lost in its complexity, and to come up with the conclusion that Work Choices was not the problem is a long bow. Judith can argue all she liked that Work Choices was not a pretext for cutting wages all she like, but that is largely what it was used for.
Work Choices and this argument is simply an excuse for companies to not do the harder tasks of what they need to do. If any company wants to improve its productivity efficiency it needs to first examine its management systems; its level of investment in its workforce skills and training and, its level of investment in the areas of technology and infrastructure to meet their business and industry needs.
It does not matter what area of business they are involved in we can only compete at the high skill/ high technology end. That also means that their management systems need to have the skills to understand the market they are operating.
They need modern people skills that understand the need to value the people they have working in their business. This means they need to not only value the input of those working within their business, but have systems in place to feed that input back into that business. If they are simply operating as a top down business style business than they will not understand how to get the best out of their business, let alone out of the people they have working for them.
To simply argue that Work Choices will give this country greater productivity is to demonstrate how little you understand of how to improve or gain greater productivity out of this economy. And this is without dealing with the huge infrastructure deficit we have in the areas of 21st Century transport, communication, energy etc. At least this government have a greater understanding of this need than the opposition has now, or did, when they were in government.”
Is this all about small..er government and Adam Smith’s invisible hand?