‘Chalmer’s capitalism’ will leave Australia broke … or worse

‘Chalmer’s capitalism’ will leave Australia broke … or worse. By Dimitri Burshtein.

Chalmers did not articulate what values would power values-based capitalism but did hint towards those of “many forward-looking businesspeople and investors”. Not the values of the working class or of general Australians, but the values of the upper bourgeoisie who have access and proximity to government.

More than 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union and nearly 40 years since the start of the Hawke-Keating-Walsh reforms, Chalmers apparently believes it is time to give government economic planning another go. To provide centralised management and guidance through “reimagining and redesigning markets … with co-ordination and co-investment”. …

Chalmers does not dismiss markets out of hand but rather proposes government-designed and managed markets “through the efforts of business, labour and government”. We have seen the consequences of a tight coalition of big government, big business, and big labour. This is not neo-capitalism but rather neo-oligarchy. …

Chalmers’s description of capitalism is a straw man. In Australia, total government spending sits near 50 per cent of GDP and there are 2.2 million public sector employees. In the past six months, the Albanese government has further increased labour and energy market regulation and placed price caps on key domestic commodities. It has delivered a budget projecting an 11 per cent increase in net debt over nine months and flagged further regulation of already highly regulated financial and capital markets. This is not the “more market” economic orthodoxy Chalmers decries.

Ironically also, many of the poor economic results he describes are the adverse outcomes of prior government interventions. Chalmers’s prescription for a values-based capitalism is not capitalism but a rhetorical recycling of prior failed economic policies. … Chalmers’s “new” model of capitalism with government-designed and chaperoned markets will lead to the same place –- poverty and penury. Possibly worse.

Milton Friedman frequently noted capitalism does not require democracy, but democracy requires capitalism. Values-based capitalism is not just a threat to Australia’s economic prosperity but to our democracy.

And the greatest government price-setting of all? A bunch of bureaucrats set the short term interest rates, which are the price of money.

The left is pretty keen on threats to democracy nowadays, isn’t it?