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Understand why and how productivity has slowed in recent years

Comments on John Freebairn "Evolution of the productivity pariahs", 2/08/2012 https://theconversation.edu.au/australias-productivity-problem-why-it-matters-8584 and

I think governments, businesses and economists probably need to have more realistic expectations and understand where the most important constraints to productivity improvements are and how to go about them to help raise productivity.

It probably means quite a number of new points or more creative thinking.

For example, the improvement in the terms of trade, as a luck gift to many Australians including Australian businesses, may mean they don't want to work that hard to raise productivity in the comparative sense, so they are happy to enjoy the life with better living standards. Alternatively, they need to be given greater incentives to work as hard as they did in the of no improvements in the terms of trade to produce the same improvement in productivity.

So this kind of work/leisure choice must be taken into account in analysing our productivity to really understand the true underlying factors on productivity in Australia.

However, I do share Professor Freebairn's view that government has important roles in raising productivity. Freebairn mentioned two of them: government policies such as taxation and government supply of services, like education, law and order.

Another important area the government has an important role is to ensure consumers get the maximum benefits from adequate competition, including from competition from overseas through trade policy.

It has been reported that Australians are charges much higher prices for many products or services than their overseas counterparts. This is not only detrimental to the welfare of Australians, but also is unconducive to competition and productivity.

The government must examine why that has been the case and develop the most appropriate policies to change it.

It is a mystery why the government hasn't done such work for so long.

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