Productivity and Prosperity? Yes Please!

Last month, the Productivity Commission delivered a damning assessment of Australia’s productivity performance over the last 12 years in the discussion paper Increasing Australia’s future prosperity.

They asked for submissions with fresh ideas. Prosper has a few:

• Attack rent seeking at its source by taxing land rents through a land value tax
• Unwind monopoly abuse wherever it is found
• Reframe the current narrative asserting the private entitlement to gifts of nature
• Lift the tax burden from labour, which sulks, fails to replenish itself or leaves
• Lift the tax burden from capital, which must pass it on or wear out
• Fund infrastructure investment from land rates and charge for it at short run marginal costs
• Democratize the profits of mineral extraction

Prosper’s submission is here.


  1. David Chester16-12-2016

    If the total amount of productivity is really the problem for which an increase is sought, then a policy of allowing immigrants to populate the arable land that is not being properly used would surely contribute. In view of the Australian national policy to having a larger flow of such immigrants (from such countries as in the middle and far east), who surely need a safe place to live, It would appear that this suggestion will fall on infertile ground.

  2. Jesse Hermans18-12-2016

    It tickles me pink how you borrowed some lines from my debt jubilee article. Excellent work.

  3. David Clark18-12-2016


    Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet. Farmers are continually dealing with drought and the ongoing clearing of land for agricultural purposes isn’t helping:

    We’re struggling as it is to keep our endangered ecosystems in tact. Having more people do the same isn’t going to make things better.

    Rapid ongoing population growth has some really bad side effects:

  4. David Chester27-12-2016

    Australians have often opposed the arrival of new immigrants, but since the whole country was begun by them it is really a most unfair and illogical argument. When a new person joins in the population he/she brings not only a demand for sustenance but also the later means for providing much of it, after an initial period of settling in. So in the longer run it is an advantage to have new people arrive and for them to find their place, even if for a few months they do put a strain on the national economy.

    As far as water is concerned, this has been a real problem but today it is no longer so acute. Farmers should be encourage to be more economics with the water supplies that are available as should town-dwellers. In Israel there are many innovations in use which save water and produce clean supplies of it too.

    These range from water sprinklers being used and sometimes being replaced by drip-irrigation. Toilets which flush at two rates, depending on the need. Relatively cheep water cleaning process using filtration and reverse osmosis that ensure that much sewage water can be reclaimed and even sea-water made suitable for drinking.

    It is my impression that in many parts of the world, the cost of introducing water saving and cleaning methods are too high, but today we can reasonably cheaply generate much more of the necessary electrical power from solar radiation conversion and wind-driven turbines, at no addition use and wastage of fossil fuels.

    It is important to plant trees to encourage more rain and to help these trees begin life some water can be used, but like the immigrants, over the long run such investment in meeting their consumption needs will subsequently be repaid. So I find the above comments to be of a too narrow-minded kind, and I feel that Australia is not doing enough to share in the current problems of immigration and power generation for water purification.

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