Welcome to episode one of Farradio, the radio show… on camera… for Farrago.
Farradio is a monthly podcast, where the articles and issues of each edition of Farrago are dissected. Each episode will feature interviews and conversations with Farrago contributors, as well as some lighthearted banter and games.
In this month’s episode…
Adriane Reardon chats to Matthew Lesh about his edition one opinion piece on the University of Melbourne’s new smoking restrictions.
Timothy McDonald offers his three best tips for saving money at university.
Sean Mantesso chats to Simon Farley about his edition one Declassified piece about Vietnam draft dodgers.
Timothy McDonald tests the other presenters on how closely they read edition one.
Farradio episode one
Produced by Ash Qama
Hosted by Timothy McDonald
Featuring Sarah Dalton, Simon Farley, Matthew Lesh, Sean Mantesso, Adriane Reardon
Video edited by Kevin Hawkins
Music by destinazione_altrove (ccmixter)
Words by Matthew Lesh
Illustrations by Giles Dewing
About a year ago, an 18-year-old was ecstatic when he got the call offering him the factory floor job at Holden. A non-academic type, he entered the workforce straight after school with the expectation of gaining long-term job employment in a safe Australian industry.
But like thousands before him, he had unfortunately been sold into a con, one that the government has been perpetrating for decades. It’s a con so intricate that it continues to see governments piss away hundreds of millions of dollars.
The con is the illusion that governments can create jobs and economic growth through subsidies, taxes on imports, loans, or so-called ‘co-investment’.
The truth, acknowledged by a large majority of economists, is that governments cannot create sustainable jobs by giving money or help to specific businesses.
All this money can do is create short-term jobs. These jobs are lost when businesses do not innovate or respond to demand. All subsidies do is encourage businesses to be stagnant. It enables them to increase their costs and prices, only for them to eventually ask for more money.
Take the car industry. For decades the Australian government has given Holden, Toyota, and Ford the highest subsidies in the world, most recently totalling about $US1885 per vehicle. This amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. These companies were also given a competitive edge through a five per cent tax on imported cars.
Over the past months all three companies have announced intentions to end production in Australia. The 18-year-old process worker, and thousands of others, will lose their job. Their jobs were a fraud that could only exist temporarily, pushing thousands in the wrong career direction.
However, the impact of subsidies on job opportunities and the Australian economy is much worse than just pushing workers into loss-making industries.
Subsidies require higher taxes. This takes away opportunities from other Australians to spend their money as they please and support competitive businesses. Subsidies also lead to a misallocation of jobs; high skilled workers are not available to work in other industries that are naturally profitable.
Ultimately any business that requires a subsidy cannot convince enough people to buy their product. If you cannot convince people to buy your product you either innovate, or exit the market entirely.
This is a constant occurrence, with about 44 small businesses closing their doors every day. Every lost job is unfortunate, but the economy is more dynamic and responsive than we can imagine.
Millions of Australians are trying, with some succeeding and some failing, to find sustainable businesses. This means jobs are constantly created and destroyed. This is how the economy works.
Government intervention hurts this natural process, raises prices, and will ultimately fail with inevitable job losses.
Words by Matthew Lesh
Infographic by Kevin Hawkins
Young and innocent, we enter Australia’s number one university as fools who are easily manipulated by Big Tobacco to begin smoking, only to die soon afterwards of cancer. Luckily, part-time Vice-Chancellor and part-time nanny Glyn Davis is out to save us from big tobacco—and ourselves—by banning smoking on campus this year.
This ban, supported by the ever-watchful and growing army of public health ‘experts’, reflects a whole new world of manipulation and control over individuals.
Rob Moodie, a so-called public health expert, explains in the official press release announcing the ban that “the university’s younger students are also most susceptible to developing potentially harmful smoking habits”.
Well, yes, smoking is harmful. However, plenty of habits are potentially harmful—alcohol, partying, or even walking in the street. But is potential harm to oneself enough to ban these activities for all? Of course not.
Every smoker makes their own decision to purchase cigarettes, based on the high monetary expense, the well-known health impact, and their personal benefit. In a liberal society, smokers’ decision to light up and potentially harm themselves is their choice—not yours, or mine, or Glyn Davis’ or Rob Moodie’s.
In the case of tobacco, a popular rebuttal to this principle is the claimed grievous harm of second-hand smoke. This argument is preposterously weak considering the already limited places one could smoke on campus—only outside and at least six metres away from buildings—and the simple ability to walk away from the few who do smoke. In practice, one would have to actively aim to inhale tobacco smoke for hours every day for second-hand smoke to be dangerous. Just because something is mildly uncomfortable for some does not mean it should be banned for others.
Moreover, this ban reflects the attempts of so-called public health experts to be faux demi-gods of good and evil behaviour.
Wearing shiny suits and spurred by countless Today Tonight and A Current Affair appearances, the experts tell us we must make alcohol more expensive because young people are drinking too much. They tell us we must put taxes and plain packaging on fast food and soft drinks because people are getting fat. They tell us we must ban solariums because some people misuse them.
The experts, driven by the misguided idea that they know best, seek to dictate our lives. The Bolshevist-era apparatchiks could only dream of such a socially acceptable level of control over individual behaviour, and yet we have allowed these people to sweep into the mainstream dialogue.
Central to the arguments put forward by these experts is the authoritarian idea that individuals are not trustworthy or intelligent enough to be free—that preposterous idea that we don’t understand the harm we are causing ourselves when drinking, eating fast food or lying in a solarium.
I have never had a cigarette in my life, I dislike fast food and, despite my pasty, white skin, I have not been to a solarium.
But I fight against proposed policy changes because I want to live in a society where individuals are free to maximise their own happiness without being restricted and controlled. I do not want to live in a society where it is acceptable to manipulate individual behaviour because it is “potentially harmful”.