ESSA’s night of nights kicks off with a discussion on the topic of “Post Mining Boom”: where will our economy next take us? Judith Sloan from The Australian interestingly posits Higher Education as the next boom, meanwhile Professor Ian Harper captured our imaginations with the possibility of 3D printing being the next boom. Its focus on design relegates constraints on scale of production.
Meanwhile John Daley of the Grattan Institute reminds us all what it means to be Keynesian.
#essaqanda exploded in typical twittersphere fashion when the panel moved on to second issue of “The Economics Behind Asylum Seeker Policy”. Tom Elliot of 3AW suggested working backwards from an agreed future population in order to determine how many boats to let in. After some initial confusion between immigration and asylum seekers –
– the panel unanimously concluded the economics was not the best value system from which to balance the merits and flaws of Australia’s policy. Harper cautioned that a good analysis will not take the issue away from its humanitarian underpinnings. However, even economists are not immune from slipping into politspeak:
The issue moves back into more familiar economic territory. Dr Lynne Williams reminds us that every migrant who arrives adds to both the supply and the demand side of the equation. And Sloan makes a point about the movement of free labour re the asylum seeker debate. She then moves on to speak about how the asylum seeker issue has overshadowed Australia’s “really good” immigration policy, but before she gets there, she’s cut off!
There was some discussion about the lower workforce participation rates of today’s refugees. Sloan suggested that the rising standards of basic numeracy and literacy skills may mean we need to invest more in educating refugees.
The panel then opened up to questions from the floor on any issue. The election campaign was at once raised,
…which transitioned into a discussion of the role of economists in policy-making and how economics and hard evidence is invariably smothered by politicians.
The night then ended with a presentation from ESSA presidents, Dean and Matt. Thanks to the ESSA team for organising such a lovely venue and providing a fertile ground for a prolific night of discussion and tweeting – as seen from these additional 3 tweets: