Monday, May 31, 2010

Resource rent tax

I prefaced my original comments on the resource rent tax by noting the difficulty of pursuing reform and balancing policy and politics in a democracy. More recently I noted my concern that we think it a legitimate exercise for corporations to be actively engaged in politics and in particular political campaigns.

Ross Gittins has today written on similar lines. He notes first that the move to resource rent taxes from royalties is a piece of economic reform, not revenue raising, supported by many economists such as these.

He also notes that people crying out for further economic reform, need to reflect on whether a sectoral campaign by the mining industry meets their objectives.

Note: My friends from the right will want to argue the toss about the relative position of collectives to engage in politics, on the thesis that unions started it. My response would be to note that unions are still actually conglomerates of individual people, and within them there is a one-man one-vote democracy. Corporations are not, they are aglomerations of capital, usually only tenuously responsive to the concerns of shareholders and definitely structured on one-dollar one-vote.

As a person involved in the delightful world of "Regulatory and Corporate ffairs" I define my responsibility as being to provide well structured information into the policy process so that the desired outcome of "evidence based policy" can be achieved. I would never propose a direct political campaign and suggest that Telstra's attempts to do so after Sol arrived were destructive to more than just shareholder vale.

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