Originally published in The Australian Financial Review on August 26, 2014

Many may have bemoaned the dominance of “economic rationalists”, but I’m beginning to miss them. Sure, they often used simplistic and narrow assumptions to justify a wide range of bad ideas but, compared to the economic irrationalists dominating today’s policy debates, at least they were willing to have a fight with vested interests.

The economic rationalists of the 80s and 90s raged against a few main targets, primarily monopolies (therefore the need for competition policy), public sector service provision (therefore the need for privatisation) and high taxes (therefore the need for tax cuts).

Who could have foreseen however, that by 2014, their desire to privatise and cut taxes would see them supporting the creation of monopolies in order to “generate revenue” for governments.

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