Part of a note to members from John Roskam discussing a video the IPA has just been released.
We Want To Work is a four-minute video we’ve released at the same time to both IPA Members and the public. It puts a human face to the jobs tragedy befalling Australia. Four Australians – Nathan from Central Coast in New South Wales, Phil from Townsville, and Richard and Julia from Melbourne explain what’s happened to them because of the lockdown and why they want to work.
Nathan and Richard each own and operate a small business, while Julia worked in a small business, and Phil was a pilot working for an airline. Small business has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 lockdown. Because so many politicians and journalists are now so removed from the real economy, this video is a feature of what is happening and what is only now starting to get the attention it deserves. It is noteworthy that on the executive board of the Prime Minister’s advisory panel to help business recover from the lockdown there are four people from big business, three public servants, and one former trade unionist. If ever there was a demonstration of how far the Liberal Party has moved from its base that’s it.
There’s no-one from small business. No-one. Literally no-one. Out of a committee of eight people.
Yet according to the PM “the creation of a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission…will coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.” In Australia, small business is 35% of the economy and employs 44% of the workforce.
The importance of small business to the economy and the community rests on many factors including the fact that small business is what drives employment growth in a way that big business doesn’t, small business is what gives the vast majority of people their first experience of the dignity of work, and small businesses and their owners and employees have a stake in society that big business doesn’t have.
I’ve mentioned to you before the work of an American author and demographer, Joel Kotkin. He’s a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University in California, and two weeks ago he wrote a brilliant piece entitled ‘The Death of Small Business is a Tragedy for Jewish community and democracy’. What he said about America applies equally to Australia.
This is some of what Kotkin said about the impact of the lockdown on small business:
“Small-scale commercial production is, every moment of every day, giving birth spontaneously to capitalism and the bourgeoisie…wherever there is small business and freedom of trade, capitalism appears.”— V.I. Lenin
A great connoisseur as well as sworn enemy of the free market, Vladimir Lenin might smile a bit if he witnessed what is now happening to small businesses in the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The longer the shutdown continues, the tougher things could become for many of the estimated 30 million small businesses that employ roughly half of all Americans. The prospects are particularly bleak for restaurants, small retail establishments and “personal service” establishments like salons and gyms whose primary selling point against larger firms has been their scale and familiarity with customers. According to the JP Morgan Institute, 50% small businesses have a mere 15 days of cash buffer or less.
If the shutdown lasts much longer, as many as three-quarters of independent restaurants simply won’t make it. In the end, once the fog of the pandemic dies down, we are likely to see a great deal more empty storefronts and many of our beloved local businesses abandoned….
If you get the chance read the whole piece. The significance of what Kotkin talks about is that it reveals that in the discussion about reopening the economy we’re talking about something much bigger than ‘the economy’ – we’re talking about the future of our democracy. Which is the reason why the IPA made We Want To Work.
They’re all socialists now.