17 October 2007

paperback writer

With the latter day rise of the blogosphere and other various new age variants on the broadcasting if not sharing of the news, the spotlight has fallen on the quality of the mainstream media. In p0articular, and this was a discussion I had with offspring no 2 only last night, any notion of investigative journalism seems to have died, possibly with the Y2K bug if not the end of the Cold War.

As for analysis, it's not so much a cesspit as a vacuum. For every Akerman there's an Adams (well, not exactly, the right is everywhere on the opinion pages) but there are few opinion columns you'd read without knowing, in pretty fair detail, what it was going to say. As a case in point, let's look at Joshua Frydenburg today. It's not so much the tilt of his column that's annoying as the lazy dot-point interpretations he puts on his 'facts'. The link is
here but if you have a sensitive stomach, don't bother visiting, simply understand that it's all about how Peter Costello will make a wonderful PM - at the appointed time, of course.

Costello is the undisputed architect of Australia's $1 trillion economy, having
overseen its growth by more than 50 per cent since 1996. In that period he has
safely steered Australia through challenging times, including the Asian economic
crisis, the dot-com boom and bust, the post-September 11 fallout and, most
recently, an extended devastating drought.

So, what exactly did he do to "safely steer" us through the challenging times. What were the policy levers (so beloved of Keating, of course) that he pulled? '

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has praised
Australia's commitment to structural reform as "a model for other OECD countries"; leading economist Paul Krugman labelled Australia the "miracle economy"; and most recently America's distinguished former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, referred to Costello in his memoirs as someone who is "unusually perceptive on global issues".
So, we're cleaving to the TINA/Washington Consensus approach, then. What a surprise that turned out to be, have to rustlethrough a lot of rubbish bins to find that out? Yes, we adhere to the OECD model, more than other countries, and come what may. That, to my mind, makes us seem rather inflexible.

And, once Costello has been unusually perceptive, what precisely does he do with his perceptions?

Indeed, should Labor continue to focus on Costello's ascension to the leadership, it will offer the Government an important opportunity to showcase the Treasurer's breadth of experience and expertise beyond economic matters. Having previously referred to himself as a "Burkean-type liberal", Costello has made the primacy of the individual the centrepiece of his political thinking.

From the time of his maiden speech to Parliament in 1990, he has emphasised the subservience of government to the citizen, warned against the danger of ideology and made it clear that his allegiance is to the individual over monopoly control.

Anyone accusing the other side of being more ideological than the current band of Libs in Cabinet should take a long hard second look at the words and deeds. Ideology writ large, none more so than on IR.

Like Howard, Costello has also shown a willingness to take the hard decisions to
advance the national interest, irrespective of their popularity. Witness his commitment to the GST, industrial relations reform and the strict fiscal discipline required to bring the budget back to surplus.
He has an ideology that he finds easy to maintain is more likely the interpretation. How about comparing this list (and actually, he's never been the minister for employment so whatever his view on IR, the "plaudits" should go elsewhere, if we were being honest) to the major decisions of the Hawke and Keating governments. In fact if you plot the rise in GDP over time you'll see that floating the dollar in 1983 has had the single biggest impact on economic growth (at it did last time I looked a year or so ago).

So too on the international stage, Costello has completed more than a
traditional apprenticeship. As a proponent of Australia's engagement with Asia
and a longstanding advocate of our alliance with the US, he has been a regular
visitor abroad.

So he's a bit ahead than George Bush was, then, on travel before assuming office. Not a strong argument, one would have thought. All those APEC Ministers meetings.

But it was at last November's G20 meeting in Melbourne that Costello assumed a pivotal role. His chairmanship of this international gathering of finance ministers and central bank governors from economies representing two-thirds of the world's population was the scene of some substantive discussions on the pressing issues of energy security, aid and debt relief, and demographic change.
And the substantive discussions resulted in what, exactly? Doesn't the chair normally sum up the arguments and gain agreement on actions? What were the actions?

Top piece of non-analysis, Joshua. Why didn't you save yourself the 30 minutes and just post the media release?

No comments:

About Me