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YAY FOR THE STATE

Invited to nominate the industries he would nationalise, John Quiggin does exactly that. Well, in a limited sense; he calls for one renationalisation. But if nationalised industry is so good, why stop there?

Posted by Tim B. on 06/11/2006 at 08:30 AM
  1. <crickets>

    Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 06 11 at 11:47 AM • permalink

  2. Holy crapballs! The government could “renationalise” Drizabone, Bundy Rum, parts of Kraft Australia (for Vegemite) or pretty much any now foreign-owned Aussie icon brand and guess what? The government would suffer no political damage whatsoever! Until the economy collapses in a pathetic heap thanks to the foreign capital flight, anyway.

    Wow, Quiggers, stop the presses! New headline required: “Nationalistic tub-thumping isn’t necessarily unpopular!”

    Posted by James Waterton on 2006 06 11 at 11:54 AM • permalink

  3. Nationalize McDonald’s!  They’re already everywhere and staffed, why can’t folks get their passports or pay their taxes in the drive-thru?

    Of course, nationalize it and a Big Mac will cost $9.00…

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 06 11 at 01:30 PM • permalink

  4. Here’s a bizarro-world fact for you. In these alleged glory days of economic neo-liberalism, all of Canada and Sweden’s retail liquor is sold through government-owned shops!

    Then again, here in big-time Perth, all our shops have to shut at 6pm. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.

    Posted by James Waterton on 2006 06 11 at 02:53 PM • permalink

  5. I should amend that - most of our shops.

    Posted by James Waterton on 2006 06 11 at 02:54 PM • permalink

  6. ...and will take five weeks to arrive in the mail…

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 11 at 03:06 PM • permalink

  7. #6 post was in ref to #3, sorry about any confusion

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 11 at 03:08 PM • permalink

  8. Canada and Sweden’s retail liquor is sold through government-owned shops!

    I’m surprised at Canada, but not Sweden.
    Sweden: the socialist capitalists, who seemed to have the best of both worlds. It works for a while, then the money runs out. The wonderful Swedish model is coming to an end.

    all our shops have to shut at 6pm

    that’s over-regulation, but it’s not even in the same ballpark as nationalised liquor outlets.

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 11 at 03:22 PM • permalink

  9. Speaking of bizarro-world, I notice Quiggin cites the renationalization of Railtrack in the UK, which he said took place to widespread applause. Unfortunately for him, that whole episode has been a disaster.

    Posted by Blithering Bunny on 2006 06 11 at 04:58 PM • permalink

  10. # 8 daddy dave

    I’m surprised at Canada

    Yeah it’s quaint, isn’t it? At least those were my thoughts when I first visited Canada in the 70s.  I suspect the practice may have been a carry over from the prohibition days south of the border, but I’ve never bothered to check that out. 

    And talking about checking things out, how about this for Ontario and remember it’s a government web site?

    But it looks like some of the western provinces may have privatised their liquor boards.  Hmm, some things do change and perhaps we should drink to that! Cheers.

    Posted by Wand on 2006 06 11 at 06:10 PM • permalink

  11. NZ renationalised ACC for no apparent reason other than ideology. The results were (of course) higher insurance premiums for businesses and less safety (the privatised system allowed insurers to reward good safety records with lower premiums).

    Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 06 11 at 06:58 PM • permalink

  12. So instead of satisfying the market, Quiggers would have Telstra et al. satisfying govt beurocrats and politicians. Does anyone here remember the bad old days when it took months to get a phone line?

    Posted by niobium2000 on 2006 06 11 at 07:09 PM • permalink

  13. When I was in Toronto in 05 they were arguing the need for change to free-market liquor.
    As with most things govt. the complaints were about lack of price competition, poor variety and poor service.

    It couldn’t be retained in a place that has a dynamic wine industry, like Australia.

    Posted by Barrie on 2006 06 11 at 08:28 PM • permalink

  14. Remind of the Churchill antecdote relayed, I believe, in William Manchester’s biography.  (I paraphrase, mind you)

    One day, Clement Atlee was in the House of Commons mens room, relieve himself at the first urinal.  Churchill walks in, starts at Atlee and storms off to the one furthest away.

    “Feeling a little stand-off-ish today, are we, Winston?”

    “Yes, Clement, I am.  Every time you see something big you wish to nationalize it.”

    Posted by Andrew on 2006 06 11 at 08:31 PM • permalink

  15. It’s odd that his argument for renationalisation starts off by citing the lack of political damage to parties doing it.

    Oh, right. Silly me… Should pay more attention to Tim’s titles.

    Posted by Hanyu on 2006 06 11 at 09:26 PM • permalink

  16. #15 - Exactly. If something is popular doesn’t make it correct. Is this appeal to polularity the result of a lack of sound economics behind the idea?

    Posted by niobium2000 on 2006 06 11 at 11:26 PM • permalink

  17. Quiggin, like most on the far left, favors nationalization for political reasons, not economic ones. One dogged poster on his site, Dogz by name, chases Quiggin halfway around the world trying to get him to list the ECONOMIC reasons he favors nationalization. Quiggin, backed into his usual corner, comes out with the usual insults, in lieu of rational argument. Dogz deserves a medal for his efforts. But Quiggin will not be pinned down on the economic benefits. Maybe because THERE ARE NONE for the public?

    He should simply face the fact that he’s for nationalization because he LIKES nationalization, not because it works better or has any economic benefits for the public. His mention of Railtrack in Britain is quite bizarre, even the BBC recognizes what a disaster that has been. But that’s the point. Quiggin doesn’t care that it’s been a disaster, Railtrack was re-nationalized and that alone makes it a success in his view. Perhaps someday, Quiggin will recognize that what doesn’t work in practice also doesn’t work in theory.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 12:41 AM • permalink

  18. uh-oh Tim, he’s onto you.

    “Tim liked this suggestion, and now he wants more. Next cab off the rank, in my view, should be airports. The privatisation of these monopolies was followed by massive increases in navigation charges, as well as a whole string of petty imposts on travellers.”

    Apparently the privatization of airports was responsible for massive increases in navigation charges AND petty “imposts” (could you BE any more pretentious, Quiggers?) on travellers. I guess people who own shares in airports LIVE to be able to make the lives of travellers, without whom they would have no business, miserable. Probably because they are just mean, awful people who have too much money.

    Just imagine, had airports not been privatized, there would have been no increases in navigation charges, as operating costs like salaries for airport employees and fuel costs would not have continued to rise, there would have been no security requirements due to the war on terror. It must be nice to live in complete isolation from reality.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 12:57 AM • permalink

  19. It is an irrational notion that the nationalisation and/or re-nationalisation of industry and their conversion to a monopoly status will lead to greater efficiencies and lower costs.  Govt control of free markets increases the likelihood of corruption and leads to nepotism, waste and poverty.

    Posted by rog2 on 2006 06 12 at 02:27 AM • permalink

  20. #19 Yeah, but airports, and possibly Telstra, are a natural monopoly, regardless of who owns them. Like any monopolist, airport owners can charge the profit-maximising price with little worry about competition. So it’s not really a free market in practice.

    Posted by Lionel Mandrake on 2006 06 12 at 03:07 AM • permalink

  21. “It must be nice to live in complete isolation from reality.”

    Indeed. In the real world, fuel costs and (most) security costs are borne by airlines, not airport owners.

    Posted by John Quiggin on 2006 06 12 at 04:29 AM • permalink

  22. Yeah, but airports, and possibly Telstra, are a natural monopoly

    Not true, Lionel Mandrake. Airports and Telstra are only natural monopolies because they were formed by governments, controlled by governments and denied any direct competition whatsoever by governments for most of their lives.

    Depending on the zoning regulations, airports need not necessarily be monopolistic in nature. Take Gatwick airport in London, from which all the budget airlines fly from - most notably, the wildly successful Ryanair. I don’t know who owns Heathrow and Gatwick - it could well be a government-owned corporation. The point is, however, there is no reason why these two airports would not compete with each other (and thus drive prices down) if normal market forces were present.

    Governments could quite easily sell crown land for secondary airport development, which would compete with the major hubs.

    John Quiggin - I think you’ll find that fuel and security costs are a substantial component on an airport’s balance sheet. For starters, what do you think powers all those runway vehicles? And I don’t think all the security guards, baggage screeners and marshals patrolling airports these days are provided by the airlines.

    Posted by James Waterton on 2006 06 12 at 04:53 AM • permalink

  23. John Quiggin - is the portrait of Pol Pot you have above your mantle personally autographed?

    Posted by AlphaMikeFoxtrot on 2006 06 12 at 05:41 AM • permalink

  24. Quiggler is a dishonest oaf. He totally misrepresents what jerryS was trying to convey. Of ocurse there are costs associated with running an airport. Depreciation of runways being one example.

    What Quiggerly is trying to do here is ingratiate himself to a possible future labor government in the hope of consultancy cheques. He has often been questioned about his motives and never disavowed that this accusation.

    Gerry Jackon at brookesnews cleaned the floor with the same arguments Quiggler presents sending him off with tial firmly between his legs.

    The oaf brings these issues up at different times hoping people will forget the original argument previously.

    What a quack of an economist this lazy dope is.

    Posted by powderkeg on 2006 06 12 at 05:49 AM • permalink

  25. Bugger my comment- I’ve dropped my M&M’s.

    Um… Quiggin- you ass…

    Posted by anthony27 on 2006 06 12 at 06:40 AM • permalink

  26. Increased rents charged by airport operators reflect a lack of commercial expertise by previous operators (Govt) and increased compliance placed on airport operators.

    Compliance includes new security measures placed on airport operators by various Acts and Laws.

    Commonly charges are based on a per tonne rate.

    Posted by rog2 on 2006 06 12 at 07:07 AM • permalink

  27. 19 - Govt control of free markets increases the likelihood of corruption and leads to nepotism, waste and poverty.

    In Victoria think trams, trains, water/sewerage, and power generation. Huge, overstaffed, tax-payer subsidised, strike-prone, inefficient union-captured monopolies.

    Posted by walterplinge on 2006 06 12 at 07:31 AM • permalink

  28. Yeah, but airports, and possibly Telstra, are a natural monopoly

    No, they aren’t. Apart from what has been said eariler, airports compete with other forms of transportation, and electronic communications (in business at least).

    Posted by cmarshall on 2006 06 12 at 07:36 AM • permalink

  29. What is it about the Queensland water? The Quigster, and at the other end of the spectrum, Russ Hinze…….

    In further confirmation of Blair’s Law up here in sunny Queensland we have the spectacle of the state Australian Labor Party wanting to build a brace of dams (of course, once in power reality always intrudes on what one promises in opposition, and on this occasion makes for great fun and games).

    The good bit is that one of the proposed dams is at Traveston in the Mary Valley.  This particular area was a hot bed of One Nation (lunar right) supporters during the late nineties, and even though the local member, Eliza Roberts, definitely has a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, even after she left One Nation the locals still keep electing her. 
    Meantime, in the neighbouring electorate of Noosa, the local (ALP) member, Cate Malloy, a local nudist and well to the left of most members of the Qld ALP, has come to the fray.  In an unholy coalition, the greenies and the ex one Nation voters have united in an effort to stop the dam, with Ms Malloy as their spokewench champion. 
    You may recollect that we had a lot of fun with Ms Malloy’s husband, Ivan Malloy, who briefly came to prominence in the 2004 Federal Election that he soundly lost, no doubt in part due to Malloy in a previous life being photographed toting guns with Philippine terrorists (sorry couldn’t find a link to a pic) but mostly because of his backing of his wife’s “comments blaming the Coalition for the Bali bombing.”

    For the ALP, Ms Malloy’s views were OK as far as Bali went, but going against ALP policy on building a dam, and she is O-U-T OUT, and plans to run as an independent at the next state election.

    Posted by entropy on 2006 06 12 at 08:07 AM • permalink

  30. “John Quiggin - I think you’ll find that fuel and security costs are a substantial component on an airport’s balance sheet. For starters, what do you think powers all those runway vehicles? And I don’t think all the security guards, baggage screeners and marshals patrolling airports these days are provided by the airlines.”

    Quiggin won’t find any such thing. He’d have to be open to the possibility that he’s not 100% right about everything to even research the issue.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 08:40 AM • permalink

  31. John Quiggin - is the portrait of Pol Pot you have above your mantle personally autographed?

    come on…
    in fairness to Quiggin, he’s not exactly rabid left: two recent examples are he cheered at Zark’s death (many lefties didn’t) and disavowed the environment doomsdayers.

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 12 at 01:06 PM • permalink

  32. Quiggler didn’t exactly “cheer” Zark’s death AND he managed to get a swipe in at the US for not getting Zark earlier, in the header of his thread on the subject.

    Quigs IS an environmental doomsdayer and he calls anyone who disagrees with him in the slightest a “denialist”.

    If these aren’t rabid left, what is?

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 01:47 PM • permalink

  33. Quigs IS an environmental doomsdayer

    Yep, you’re right and I was wrong. I got sucked in by his “I’m the reasonable voice in the middle” line. I went back and looked at what his position is, and it’s basically (put on a cheery voice) “all we have to do is reduce global GDP by five percent and everything will be fine!”
    (otherwise we’re all going to die)

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 12 at 02:05 PM • permalink

  34. “all we have to do is reduce global GDP by five percent and everything will be fine!”

    And nationalizing a few key industries could put us well on the way to that. Yay!

    Posted by PW on 2006 06 12 at 02:18 PM • permalink

  35. Why do Australian universities put up with such shoddy academics? Wait, American ones do too. I say throw them all out into the real world, that ivory tower has fossilized too many of them. They no longer have any even tenuous connection to reality. Which wouldn’t be so bad if Quiggler could be polite to people. But he’s nasty ON TOP of being fossilized. I pity any student he’s ever had.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 02:19 PM • permalink

  36. And nationalizing a few key industries could put us well on the way to that. Yay!

    LOL! I guess it all makes sense when you join all the dots together and look at the big picture!

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 12 at 02:43 PM • permalink

  37. While I can get pretty snarky myself, I think the Pol Pot allusion is going too far. Prof Quiggin has condemned commie dictators in the past.

    Posted by niobium2000 on 2006 06 12 at 07:20 PM • permalink

  38. Quiggin is a fan of dictators, particularly if they don’t care for GWB. Read his blog. In fact, Quiggin has trouble even identifying who is and isn’t a doctator.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 08:27 PM • permalink

  39. uh, make that dictator

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 12 at 08:28 PM • permalink

  40. #39 I looked through his blog and found no support for dictatorships. There was one entry on Pinochet, but it was more a stab at westerners who initially supported him.

    However some people posting at his site tend to be outrageously left-wing, anti-american, anti-bush, etc.

    Posted by daddy dave on 2006 06 12 at 10:21 PM • permalink

  41. John Quiggin:

    Indeed. In the real world, fuel costs and (most) security costs are borne by airlines, not airport owners.

    And just who builds the airport, John?  All that concrete and steel doesn’t come cheap.  And the other infrastructure.  Plus the land.  This stuff didn’t for free, nor do airlines chip in.  Government is involved somewhere, and usually by fiat…..and often the increased business associated with a major airport go to the government that sponsored the project in the form of taxes and fees.  Airlines pay fees to use the airport…...and that’s how many operating costs are covered.

    “Privatization” for an airport generally means that some government (e.g., a state chartered port authority) contracts out the daily operations, and continues to set policy and strategy.  It does not always mean that the deed to the airport is given to some greedy corporation; instead, there is “government furnished property” involved.  At least in the United States, I can’t say about Australia.

    There’s too much at stake (politically) for that government to completely release control (e.g., aircraft safety, security, or noise pollution).  Certainly this is true in other privatization efforts I’ve seen.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 06 13 at 03:15 AM • permalink

  42. One clarification: “Airport owners” are generally governments, or government agencies.  Some smaller airports are an exception to this rule, but not always.  It depends on the land values in the area, I think.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 06 13 at 03:20 AM • permalink

  43. To clarify, JeffS, my post concerned Australia. The airports were built by a government corporation which was profitable at relatively low charges. Privatisation involved selling the entire airport (actually a 99-year lease) including control over strategy, though of course the owners are subject to regulation of various kinds. Charges were increased greatly after privatisation. Most of this took place in the late 1990s, before the events suggested above as explanations for the price increase.

    Posted by John Quiggin on 2006 06 13 at 04:20 PM • permalink

  44. “However some people posting at his site tend to be outrageously left-wing, anti-american, anti-bush, etc.”

    If you’re NOT all those things, Quiggler will bann you or put you in moderation.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 13 at 05:44 PM • permalink

  45. “Charges were increased greatly after privatisation.”

    whereas, of course, charges would have remained the same or gone down had it not been privatized.

    Posted by JerryS on 2006 06 13 at 05:45 PM • permalink

  46. Quiggler doesn’t like anyone diagreeing with.

    The only thing Quiggler does these days is peronally attack anyone he disagrees with.

    Let’s keep paying this loon out of our pockets.

    Posted by powderkeg on 2006 06 14 at 01:11 AM • permalink

  47. doctator.

    Papa Doc? (Haiti)

    Posted by cmarshall on 2006 06 14 at 06:18 AM • permalink

  48. the Quiggler?  sounds like a sex aid or batman villain.

    i’ll take 2

    Posted by phillip on 2006 06 15 at 03:09 PM • permalink

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