Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Regular readers will know that this blogger's arch nemesis is Ross Gittins!

As a member of Generation X, some of that enmity arises from the naturally hostile posture one should adopt towards ones baby-boomer betters.

But, in all honestly, this blogger cannot hold himself entirely responsible for his Gittins! rage. The man himself must take some of the blame. The superior tone, the inconsistent positions, the selfish optimism, are all a part of a world view fogged by a contented, asset-rich lassitude that ignores all later generations.

One can only surmise that Gittins! shares the same intergenerational horror, only in reverse.

Anyway, as readers The Lorax and Chris B. point out, today Gittins! has outdone himself with a piece that is so utterly insensible to risk that it cannot pass without comment.

On to the smoking room prattle:
If it exercises my doctor's mind I imagine it occurs to a lot of people: are we a stuffed nation living off our mineral wealth? The thought that we're making a lot of our income merely by digging stuff out of the ground and shipping it overseas seems to worry a lot of people. Is that the best we can do?

Considering the fuss politicians, economists and the media are making about the resources boom, you could be forgiven for thinking mining had taken over the economy, but it isn't true. A lot of people think a nation makes its living by selling stuff to the rest of the world. That isn't true, either. Roughly 80 per cent of all the goods and services Australians produce (gross domestic product) is sold to Australians, not foreigners. Similarly, roughly 80 per cent of the goods and services Australians buy is bought from Australians.

In other words, our economy is roughly 80 per cent self-sufficient. At a pinch, we could make it completely self-sufficient, though this would involve a significant decline in our standard of living. Why? Because we'd be denying ourselves access to all those goods and services that other countries produce better or more cheaply than we could.

Gittins! "pinch" would be the greatest economic calamity in Australian history. This blogger notes the affected distance, the false sense of control, the belittling of epic suffering and just wonders why? What is the point of this optimistic straw man? Gittins! might just as well have written: "Depression: It's all good". And left rest blank.

(No Gittins!s were harmed in the writing of this post).


tanmedia said...

Yes, I rolled my eyes when I read this too, particularly the nonsense regarding self-sufficency. Obviously, this completely ignores our reliance on foreign debt to sustain this sufficiency. Nevertheless, people will swallow this garbage and feel good about themselves as usual.

The Lorax said...

One wonders what part of Gittins life could function in a 100% self-sufficient Australia? Imagine the IT infrastructure that supports Fairfax today. What part of that (hardware or software) would be made in Australia?

No doubt Ross occasionally pontificates remotely from his laptop. Would that be possible using Australian-made hardware and software?

Everyone knows that when they look around their home or workplace, or visit the shopping centre, what they see is overwhelmingly imported. Is the percentage 60% or 90%? Does it matter? Either way, Australia would struggle to supply 5% of what we import today.

For a long time now I've considered Gittins' opinions wrong-headed and dangerous, but yesterday he crossed the line into outright lies.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday Gittins! wrote an article on how Australia doesn't need mining, which directly contradicts an earlier piece where he acknowledges our dependence on mining to pay of our massive foreign debt.

Torchwood1979 said...

I don't know what happened to good ol' Gittins. I once held him in high regard, as he wasn't afraid to go against the grain and showed independence. But now I think he just needs to go into a home.

I'm looking forward to George Megalogenis returning to work at the Oz in January. That place has been much poorer without him.