Policy Vacuums and Beautiful Lies

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… in a policy vacuum a government can do many things to serve sectional interests at the expense of the national good.

The self-interest of various sectors of Australian society is powerful indeed, and all too often they justify their lobbying with more retailing of beautiful lies. Business needs population growth to generate huge and easy profits, and it is from the business community that some of the most rosy-spectacled optimists about population hail. In the United States, illegal immigration is openly welcomed by business, for it provides a pool of unprotected workers that can be used in a “just in time” basis, like any other commodity of modern business enterprise. Australian industry is not yet calling for more illegal immigration, but its cries for more migration overall are incessant and clamorous. The boosters justify their position either by denying that the environment represents any constraint at all on population growth, or by asserting that changing technologies and human cunning will solve all problems the future may throw up.

Page 65-6 of “Beautiful Lies: Population and Environment in Australia”

Tim Flannery Quarterly Essay Issue 9

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