Ok, as I’m fond of reminding everyone, trying to be a prophet is dangerous. As Yogi Berra said, “Making predictions is difficult, especially about the future.”
When I tell you that I doubt that Tony Abbott will last the year, I’m overlooking the obvious fact that this current government has shown itself to be so incompetent that – while it’s common knowledge that most of them are committed to replacing him at the first available opportunity – they remain incapable of organising a coup. And while I suspect that many of you are thinking of phrases involving, breweries and brothels, I’m far too classy to use words like “piss-up” and “root”, so shame on you.
I’ve been spending a fair bit of time this week trying to find a way to send up Joe’s idea that it’s outrageous that we have bracket creep during one of the slowest periods of wage growth in this country since the Great Depression, while suggesting that maybe it’d be a good idea to extend the GST to things like healthcare, so that the government can not only add ten percent to your health costs, but ten percent to the health budget as well. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that Joe’s own words are enough in themselves.
Still, I must say that it’s reassuring to know that when he speaks to Tony, the conversaion is so chock-a-block with ideas about JOBS and GROWTH, that there isn’t time to utter a parting, “By the way, Tones, I’m thinking of bringing up the Republic in the next month or so. No need to discuss, but didn’t want you to be caught unawares. TTFN.”
Nah, the conversation is all about lending money to Adani to build a railroad to its non-existent mine. And the Government needs to do it because banks have an obligation to thier shareholders not to lend money to enterprises that are liable to be non-existent within a few years. I know this because when I suggested to a bank manager that I’d like to borrow a billion dollars to help out the local video store by training carrier pigeons to deliver videos directly to the house, he didn’t want to know about my plans to expand this into a world-wide video chain like Blockbuster. He seemed to be under the mistaken impression that the future may be different to the past and that video stores were a dying industry. I tried to tell him that they were good for humanity and that people liked going to the video store and that they’d always be there, but he said something about “disruptive innovation” and the video store shut before I could approach the government for a subsidy to enable me to use the unemployed to sit on pigeon eggs in order to help them hatch.
At this point, I decided to look up what he referred to as “disruptive innovation” and it was quite interesting in the way that watching a car crash from the other side of the road is quite interesting, or the visits to a counsellor to deal with your post-traumatic stress is “quite interesting”.
Put simply, “Disruptive innovation” is when a product comes along that changes the game. Businesses exist to service their customers. While they want to attract more customers they’re not really interested in people who aren’t likely to be customers, so they ignore the innovation which will replace what they do and this ultimately leads to their downfall.
The best recent example is the computing industry. Many of you would be familiar with the following quote:
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943
Of course, computers in those days were as large as a house, and even when they became smaller, the business model involved companies taking their computing needs to a place where these large computers were stored. It would have been silly to have taken up so much space at the business itself, when you had so little need for computing.
Apple’s early computers were “toys” and no threat to the business model, so the big companies could afford to ignore them.
Ok, we all know how this turns out. And there was probably a point when some of the now-defunct companies that made large computers could have adapted. But that wasn’t what their customers wanted. And the customers always right, eh?
Well, that’s sort of where we’re at now. The Abbott Government thinks that if they just keep supplying their “customers” – like the coal industry – they’ll be ok. They fail to see that coal can become as irrelevant as a source of power as quickly as the car industry shut up shop once the Abbott Government was elected.
In the meantime, I guess, all we can do is write to the government and urge them to do the right thing. And while you’re at it, suggest that they’d be better off subsidising me.
After all, I have a lot of pigeon eggs that need hatching and that seems a lot more realistic than anything we’re hearing about Adani.
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