Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kevin Rudd on the economy

Kevin Rudd has written a long essay on the Australian economy again. This time it is in the Sydney Morning Herald. Shaun Carney at The Age predicts that:

The article will, predictably, be dismissed and ridiculed by his opponents and other media outlets, not only for what it is but what it argues. Rudd has, as a small part of his argument, quite intentionally climbed right up the noses of free marketeers and neo-liberals over what he sees as their culpability for the global financial crisis. This is a reprise of another one of his long-form essays, which appeared in The Monthly magazine a few months ago.
Anyway, here is part of the article. The rest can be found here.

When Australia last experienced a global recession worse than this one, Jim Scullin and Joe Lyons were prime ministers of Australia, Don Bradman had just begun his Test cricketing career and Charles Kingsford Smith had just made his first flight across the Pacific. Of Australia's current population of nearly 22 million, only 1 million of our number were alive to experience the traumatic impact of the Great Depression.

In its response to the global recession, Australia has sought to learn some lessons of recessions past. To cushion the impact, the Government took strong, early and decisive action through the Nation Building for Recovery plan to support jobs, small business and apprenticeships today by investing in infrastructure for tomorrow.

The alternatives were to do nothing or, worse, effectively replicate the Premiers' Plan of 1931 when governments cut expenditure, thereby compounding the problems created by a private sector already in retreat. The result, of course, was an economic rout, appalling unemployment and a decade of negligible growth through the 1930s.

By contrast, the economic data today suggests the Government's plan is working so far. Australia is performing better than most other economies, with the fastest growth, the second-lowest unemployment and the lowest debt and deficit of all the major advanced economies. And we remain the only advanced economy not to have gone into recession.

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