Last night I attended an alumni event at University of Queensland, one of the UQ Business School Global Leadership Series. Professor Ramesh Thakur presented an informed perspective on the G20 but I was disappointed in the assertion as “fact” the opinions of some other panellists.
The Global Leadership Series is a promoted as a lively program of events for alumni and community. Invitation is extended to attend the lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.
In my travels I have met a lot of ignorant academics and some very highly educated individuals who lack basic common sense, the evening was a disappointment not because of the perspectives of those in attendance or on the panel. We are all entitled to our opinions, I believe that we should be able to position our arguments based on actual facts and not emotive or anecdotal experiences.
I was disappointed because the evening was pre-occupied with the mechanics of the G20, with what the leaders were not doing, why they were not setting meaningful agendas and the process of the event. A perfect illustration of this was the first question of the night… “How do they decide what language they will use to run the G20, will it be in English because it’s in Brisbane?”
The G20 and Global Economic Governance
A pretty in depth headline for last night’s event, it was promoted on the basis that it to my mind would have stimulated a lot of in depth consideration of how we should analyse our contribution to global prosperity;
“With the G20 Leaders’ Summit just around the corner it brings into question the benefit and global impact that results from this two day conference. How important is the G20 and the G20 Summit? With limited representation from the poorest countries in the world, is the G20 really an institution for the global economy?
Given international economic uncertainty, these questions are crucial not just for the global economy but for the future national economic outlook of Australia.
You are invited to join our expert panel as they discuss these questions and more. If nothing else, in the context of significant disruption to communities and movement in Brisbane during the event, this discussion is also an opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about.”
What I had thought when registering for the event would be an evening of robust discussion on what the attendees saw as opportunities, suggestions and questions on how the worlds top twenty economies could be tackling issues on a global level instead the night fizzled out into a G20 bash about what they are not doing as if our lives as dictated by 20 people and it’s all their responsibility!
The night was largely self-promotion of opinions…
Keynesian exponents and Equalisation strategists espousing that economic development of nations does not work, equalisation is the only solution to solving the worlds problems, that capitalism has been shown not to work and Government spending as the solution to market downturns were all presented as fact.
The real facts are that the conclusions presented as incontrovertible fact were based on interpretation of micro samples in either size or time and individuals with agendas to promote latch onto data that appears to confirm their view of the world. In over 200 years since data has been collated by the United Nations, against any social development measure you care to choose, the only factor that stands up to any orthogonal challenge is that continued wellbeing of the worlds people is directly related to economic development.
The only conclusion possible from a global sample across a considerable time period is that when GDP per capita increases, social standards improve and when economic development is arrested the standard of living plateaus or declines.
An opportunity to ask the right questions
Last night that opportunity was lost; understanding transaction costs in an economy easily explains the short-term conclusions drawn and further discussion on Equalisation strategies and Keynesian models are in the realm of ephemeral gratification with little or no long-term benefits.
To explain this, economic stimulus largely benefitted big business with big government deciding who the winners in our economy will be. We don’t trust politicians but the policies espoused are based on them deciding how and where to spend our hard earned money.
Pragmatists and Realists make statements that capitalism hasn’t worked, that their view of the world has to be adopted unfortunately the UN data clearly shows that their models are self-limiting. Some of the right questions that we should be asking are; what are the transactional costs that have checked social development in economies across the globe? What have been the unintended consequences of macro government policy? How do we fight the peace across the globe to stabilise and reverse the rise of extremism?
What question would you have asked?
I believe the most important question, what responsibility am I personally prepared to accept and how can I contribute to society?
Yours in Successful Small Businesses…