Christopher Lee


Why It Could Be Wizard If Keynes & Friedman Get The Edge On Harry Potter in Oz

9th January 2013

It had to happen, Australia knows how to prevent future financial and economic crises. Simply really, just ask the six year-olds.

The cunning plan is in an idea from Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth Peter Garrett.  He wants primary school children to be taught economics and business studies. These kids should, according Mr Garrett, be financially literate (probably means numerate, but there you go) and have a basic understanding of how the economy works.

As the economy in Australia does work reasonably well and mostly hasn’t taking the big hits experienced elsewhere in the world, everyone should either listen very carefully at what he has to say or simply follow the Australian model.

Now Mr Garrett is instinctively a campaigner with ideas that most people think matter but most people do stuff all about. He was a member of that great Australian band, Midnight Oil.  It was the Oils who through their music hit sensitive spots including homeless youths, green issues and the Exxon protest from a truck in New York.  thirteen successful albums and clever lyrics suggest Mr Garrett sings more than music.

But kiddies into economics?

Could be good for working percentage increase in pocket money demands. They would certainly be sharper at picking up on-line Nerf gun bargains.  But that’s taking the wind too far.  Mr Garrett’s reasoning is not for cheap headlines.
“For young Australians not to be aware of the basics of economics and business [is] for young Australians not to be aware of the potential in terms of their employment, the subject choices that they might make in high school, and young Australians not to be able to manage their personal finances, which even at that age can be an important issue in someone’s life,” he says.

So this is take-away childhood time. That’s clear.  What’s this about being aware of their terms of employment? Under tens already dealing holiday times, pension rights and sickies in one year? And when older, what’s this about Young Australians not being able to manage their personal finances. Where does he get that from?

Young Australians can work out their finances OK. They seem to get by when it comes to the pub or best flight buys when heading overseas.

There has to be another opportunity here. If you want a bigger allowance then the best way is not to simply whine into one.  You have to work out the financial state of the old man, show him how to better balance and then get a percentage of what he saves. He’d probably call it being a personal financial adviser. Teeny Australians would call it squeezing more out of the pint pop.

says the curriculum is already quite full and he worries that by adding to it, other subjects might have to be dropped.
Sounds good but you’d have guessed right if you’d expected the Australian Primary Principals Association to clap both hands and feet at the prospect of numerate kids. Their President Norm Hart says the curriculum is quite full.  Good.  Teach the youngsters the finances and numbers game and they’ll soon adjust it for you. I mean, I mean Norm mate, you reckon you can beat any of them on a DS?

“If we are to have it as an add-on to an already extremely busy working week for primary school students, then I think we need to ask some questions around what goes instead.”  That’s good old positive Norm.  Sounds to me the teachers just want a quiet life, don’t want any minister telling them what to do and maybe, could be maybe, they don’t know much about economics anyway.

Best of all, I like the Garrett idea because you never know, we could be teaching in primary schools and there in the back-row we discover a nine year old genius for this stuff. Imagine our worthy PM Julia Gillard getting to hear about this wizard of bought ledgers and then at the next Cabinet meeting she takes secret glances at the record of her Treasurer Wayne Swan. Treasuer Swan hasn’t quite got the 2+2 thing together has he?

He said he was going to get the economy right by 2013.  It isn’t right is it.  Spotty youth at the back says “No it isn’t Miss and as Mr Swan in May 2010, just the year I started school  promised a surplus in three years and hasn’t made it because the tax revenues are too low, well miss, you could as they say at Goldman Sachs let him go.”

Then what?  Spotty youth at the back, picks up his books (no Harry Potter. Just Milton Friedman, Keynes, Berner, Carney) and works over to Ms Gillard, takes her by the hand and whispers “When do I start?”  Swan clears his desk. Spotty moves in but on the understanding there’s twelve weeks holiday a year especially when surf’s up.

It could, it just could work.  Nine out of ten Mr Garrett.

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