Friday, September 29, 2006

Regulating water and abolishing freedom

Professor John Quiggin is Australia's most prominent left-wing economist, but he spends much of his blogging effort writing about political issues rather than any meaningful praxeological and rational economic analysis.

How could a person write this and still call themselves an economist, let alone a professor of economics ?

The water crisis is a political problem and requires a political solution. A pricing scheme that recognises the special status of water as a basic human need, while ensuring that effective prices are in line with economic and social costs, seems like a natural solution.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and in the free marketplace of ideas and opinions, the best ideas are supposed to win out. But when it comes to the overwhelming evidence of unregulated free markets and capitalism being a superior system to socialism and central planning, it still hasn't sunk in with much of our media and politicians.

Hence Pr. Quiggin gets his opinion published in the left-leaning Australian Financial Review and he delivers his grand central plan to regulate how water is supplied to millions of Australians, at the Australian Conference of Economists in Perth.

And to show how far detached this academic is from reality, look at his proposed solutions:

In place of a free or low cost initial block allocation to households, every person in the community could be given a free allocation of water, sufficient to meet basic needs for drinking, bathing, washing and so on. An allowance of 200 litres a week or around 75 kilolitres a year could be considered.
Now most of our so called experts and advisers who guide policy and help formulate these central plans for our regulator to implement, have to consider different complex schemes so that things will be produced and consumed "efficiently" (i.e in a different outcome to how the free market would allocate resources). So he initially suggest that each household is allocated a fixed amount of free/low cost water usage.. but then he admits it discriminates against bigger households, so then he suggest allowing a fixed amount per person ! Imagine that, each resident has to register with some government bureaucracy to show that they live in a certain location during a billing period, to receive their free allocation of water.

Was life ever that bad under the soviets or under Mao ?