||Issue No. 254||04 March 2005|
Thatís Our Team
Workplace: Dirt Cheap
Industrial: Daddy Doesnít Live With Us Anymore
Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
International: From the Wreckage
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Meat and Three Veg
Savings: Super Seduction
Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Poetry: To Know Somebody
Review: Off the Rails
The Locker Room
Janetís Job No Victory
Royal Finger Lickers
Will $20 Restore Carr?
Thatís Our Team
Now I'll make it harder. Who saw the finance? How did the All Ords go? What's the Australian dollar trading at? How's the Nikkei travelling?
These days the business reports are being presented like the weather - statistics that are presented as acts of God reeled off night after night until it becomes wallpaper.
It leaves us, as a community, with a very superficial understanding of our economy.
We know there are all these indicators, we know that a rising share market is good, interest rates should be low, unemployment and inflation are bad. But do we really take the time to understand the game?
Compare it with the way we follow our sports - it's not just the results that we are interested in, but all the intrigue and machinations behind the final outcome.
We pour over updates on our star player's knee injury; we follow the judiciary hearings as though they were a criminal trial; we wait on the team selections breathlessly; and we hold the coach to account for the ultimate performance of the team.
So how would we talk about the economy if we were to invest the time and energy we put into our sports and held the government to the same standards as the coach?
Well, we'd be start by ensuring our junior base was strong - we'd be investing in education to ensure our stars emerge on merit rather than who they know in the club.
We'd be making sure we had the right players for the right conditions - right now we have a skills shortage because our coach has failed to see the changes in the game and alter the training regime to match.
We'd be demanding the team played smart as well as hard - if it takes 120 tonnes of iron ore to buy a plasma TV, why are we digging holes rather than manufacturing high value products?
We'd be setting rules to ensure the team can play all the way through to full-time - at the moment we have a tax system that encourages real estate speculation which could see us run out of gas early in the game.
Finally we'd hold our key players to account, rather than allowing them to run roughshod and set their own rules, move their assets off shore and pull out of the club when we need them most.
And most importantly, we'd live by the universal sporting principle that if the side stops performing, the coach goes.
My point? If we spent the same energy analysisng our economy as we do our favourite footy team we may have a government that was as accountable for our performance as the coach of our footy team.
Such a government could not win office sprouting lies on interest rates; it could not hide unemployment behind low paid casual jobs and it could not get away with slashing our work rights as a diversion from the hard yards of building up a sustainable economy.
As long as we look at the economy the way we look at the weather, our politicians will get away with being as accountable as a metereologist - armed with all the stats, but invariably wrong.
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