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Viv ForbesOur Sacred Land & Other Essays (first published by Business Queensland and Common Sense in 1995), issue no. 105.About the Author»

At the Loveridge Coal Mine in the US on one particular day, the manager counted 32 state and federal inspectors, each looking for reasons to stop the mine, reduce production or increase costs.

On another day, in Victoria, we saw eleven shop inspectors employed by the government giving evidence against Frank Penhalluriack, who employed fifteen people in hardware shop. The inspectors were part of the government army employed to keep shops shut at certain times.

Last century’s heroes were producers, pioneers, builders, explorers, inventors, prospectors, timber getters, miners, squatters and drovers. We still build monuments to their efforts and slap heritage orders on the things they built.

Today’s heroes, however, are those in the anti-industry — those who make well-paid careers out of stopping things. They are anti-business, anti-mining, anti-farming, anti-development, anti-trade, anti-change and anti-foreigners. Their neurotic pre-occupation with the ways and things of the past is destroying prosperity and jobs and creating a generation of of children afraid of change, fearful of risk and suspicious of the productive process which supports them.

The anti-industry flourishes in five great allied empires — education, bureaucracy, the unions, the greenies and the media. It is no coincidence that each of these empires depends heavily or totally on government for their funds, their monopoly power, or their right to exist.

Education has become that greatest negative force in our society. The problem was distilled well by Charles Porter, one of the few Minister for Education who was out of step with his department: “Teachers have moved from the concept of endowing children with the tools needed for living to imbuing them with distrust and almost loathing for the society that bore and sustained them.”

They have fanned a genuine and healthy concern for the past, the environment and the disadvantaged into a hatred of the present, a distrust of all man’s achievements and a disdain for this successful and the productive. They have diverted the natural concern we all have for health, safety and security into a morbid fear of the unknown, the unplanned and the unlicensed.

Instead of preparing children for hope, freedom, risk, discovery and self-regulation in the grand arena of life, they lure them into dark cocoons of conformity, forced equality, compulsory co-operation and government guaranteed security. Or they recruit them to their own crusades — we are becoming overrun with deeply concerned people doing postgraduate studies.

The bureaucracy, of course, prefers to deal with subservient platoons of little comrades. They enforce the anti-industry edicts made popular by their tool-pieces in the captive education system. With all the communication skills of a stop sign, their punitive over-regulation has produced widespread institutionalised timidity.

Unions too have reach their position of dictatorial power by relying on laws drafted by their mates in the bureaucracy and passed by other mates in Parliament to conscript their grey regiments of due payers. Forced amalgamation is designed to weld these diverse regiments into fearful and obedient industrial armies.

Not all unions are wholly anti-business, but their general effect is to be so.

The public sector and welfare unions, by consistently supporting higher taxes, are anti-business. All unions, however, are hostile to those businesses out of their control and this generally means small businesses, farmers, non-union shops, and, most importantly, any new business likely to compete with a unionised industry, business or company.

The greenies are the most dangerous arm of the anti-industry alliance. They have picked up the ideological baton dropped by the comrade societies. Their secret agenda is to manipulate real or manufactured environmental “crises” to enforce their control via a world bureaucracy. They will continue the policies of taxes, regulations, red tape and welfare that have already done so much harm all over the world.

The last arm of the anti-industry is the media and propaganda industry, chiefly those parts funded or controlled by governments. Picking up consumerism and environmentalism like a holy crusade, the media has fed the public a steady anti-business diet of scaremongering stories about doomsday weather, overpopulation, pollution and land degradation, all of which depends for its solution on higher taxes and more money and power for the anti-industry.

The worst aspect of the anti-industry is that its negative influence is heavily focussed on new businesses. Those who oppose change are naturally moved to oppose everything new — new mines, new buildings, new work methods, new industries. Their motivation is usually just grubby fear of competition. Sometimes it is genuine fear of the unknown or opposition to change.

The growth of jobs, the maintenance of wage rates and the vibrancy of our economy depends on the rate of investment in new roads, new tools, new factories, new ideas and new businesses.

Two factors are needed to encourage the formation of new businesses. There must be easy access to the factors of production (land, resources, capital and labour) and minimal legislative or industrial barriers.

Neither of these factors are present in today’s Australia. Despite a million people out of work and more youngsters seeking jobs every year, the anti-industry has made business building an unattractive proposition.

Firstly, they have made it difficult to obtain the factors of production. Land, minerals and timber that could support new businesses are increasingly locked up in nationalised parks, aboriginal homelands or heritage areas. Capital from foreigners is spurned and taxes on production and savings is diverting private capital from new business to capital consumption. Finally, competition from the dole and the public payroll has made it impossible to find workers for arduous, risky or unpopular jobs.

Secondly, they have made it difficult to start new businesses with a daunting thicket of licenses, permits, enquiries and approvals which spring up like brigalow suckers around every good idea.

The anti-industry has committed a great crime against society. They deny hopes, dreams, opportunities and jobs for the new generations.

They have perverted a fascination with the past into a fear of the future. This prevents us from recycling old resources and from generating new ones.

History will judge them, their victims will sentence them and I, for one, will applaud their inevitable execution.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
  2. Put Windmills in National Parks
  3. Magnifying National Disasters
  4. Please Don't Feed the Animals
  5. Buy Birdsville Made?
  6. The Economics of Flood Risk
  7. Touring Bureaucrats
  8. Our slip-shod laws to blame
  9. Why Wind Won't Work
  10. A Profusion of "Prices"
  11. R.I.P. Ron Kitching - pioneer, explorer, author, family man, entrepreneur, scholar
  12. The Carbon Pollution Lie
  13. Closing Down Australia
  14. The Anti-Industry
  15. The Pyramid Builders
  16. Carbon Tax Bribery
  17. Crown Monopolies
  18. Carbon Tax Job Losses
  19. What Next, a Tax on Water?
  20. Carbon Health Warnings Coming Soon
  21. Growth Mythology
  22. The Tax Collection Industry
  23. Propaganda Puts Paid to Proof
  24. The Milk of the Welfare Teat is Watered Down
  25. "Crops for Cars" as Bad as Everlasting Drought
  26. Poll speech sets record
  27. The Emissions Trading Casino
  28. The Contract Society
  29. A Model Ministry
  30. The Five Point Plan to kill the economy with High Cost Electricity
  31. Put a Sunset Clause in the Carbon Tax
  32. Stuck on Red
  33. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  34. Carbon Tax Lies and Bribes
  35. The Middle of the Road
  36. United against taxes
  37. Call for Govt administrator
  38. Property & Prosperity
  39. "The Science is Settled" BUT Durban Climate Summit Not Cancelled
  40. No End to Fuelish Policies?
  41. The Right to Discriminate
  42. Sell the CES
  43. Free Water Costs Too Dam Much
  44. Creating Unemployment
  45. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  46. 1985 news item on Tax Payers United, Centre 2000 and the Australian Adam Smith Club
  47. Having the numbers is not the same as having the truth
  48. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  49. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  50. Caught in a welfare whirlpool
  51. Global Warming Season
  52. Mining in Queensland, Past, Present and Future
  53. WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
  54. Political branch formed
  55. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  56. Viv Forbes on Libertarian Strategy and the Constant Resources Myth
  57. The New Brisbane Line?
  58. Carbon Lies
  59. We Mine to Live
  60. Save the taxpayer
  61. Solving Three Canberra Problems
  62. Vested Interests in the Climate Debate
  63. Carbon Tax Retrospective?
  64. Carbon Price Propaganda Taxes the Truth
  65. Don't Burn Food for Motor Spirit - Feed People not Cars
  66. Two Big Climate Taxes
  67. Greens Rediscover Hydrogen Car
  68. Atlas of Australia
  69. Shutting Out The Sun
  70. Safety Mania
  71. Coal - Sinking in the Swamps
  72. Hobbling the Competition
  73. Cubic Currency Coming
  74. "Dear Government"
  75. Viv Forbes mocks Flannery in 1988
  76. What we have is not a drug problem but a drug law problem
  77. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  78. Privatise Now! while they are still worth something
  79. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  80. The New Federalism
  81. Sunset for Solar Subsidies
  82. The mouse will roar
  83. The Road to Homelessness
  84. Planning & Prosperity
  85. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  86. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  87. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  88. Our homeless regulation refugees
  89. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  90. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
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Forbes has long been active in politics, economic education, business and the global warming debate, and was winner of the Australian Adam Smith Award “For outstanding services to the Free Society” in 1986.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5