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03 December 2016


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All the different tier governments including the national governments over the years have failed informal economy sector participants.

They and the bureaucrats ought to bury their heads in shame for failing the majority of PNGeans who work so hard, try so hard and end up with very little to even save for the rainy day, let alone putting food on the table or sending kids to school or cater for their family when they get sick.

Papua New Guineans are already doing some things to help themselves. They need support mechanisms to give them hope, and support them with capital, skills and markets and avenues to market and sell what they are doing.

We are tired of the empty promises and rhetoric from the politicians and the bureaucrats!

Paul is dead right - 'government should stay out of business and business should stay out of government'.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a post office that concentrated on delivering letters instead of making a profit, for instance?

As Bob Ellis makes plain in his book, 'The Capitalism Delusion: How Global Economics Wrecked Everything', privatising government functions doesn't work. Services fall off, the service costs a lot more, people get sacked and inept CEOs pay themselves obscene wages.

I regret I have to agree with you Peter. It won't be long before those of us who knew how things used to work are gone and leave those who are left wondering why things aren't working like they were supposed to?

Kinda reminds one of how we've seen PNG go from a viable colony where the rule of law was mostly followed to a mishmash of corruption.

Mi bel hevi lo displa samting.

Paul Oates is bang on the money with his comments on this as far as I am concerned - running a business is not the same as running a government and the two entities require quite different attributes in those who run them.

I would, suggest though, Paul that it won't be long that there will be none left in Australia who would have had the experience of being subject to governments who strictly govern and business who carry out commerce irrespective of the cut of the government's cloth.

It's interesting that the only comments on this article are from Australians. Perhaps that's because of our experience in matters concerning government intervention these days in almost everything.

When I grew up it was an acceptable practice that government was there to debate and if necessary, legislate to ensure the public's interests were effectively looked after. Public Services were there to provide services to the public and no one expected them to become involved in business or to try and make a profit.

Business had it's own code of ethics but primarily, could only exist where it could make a profit from providing something people wanted to buy.

Then came a revolution of social engineering where the lines between public servants and business people became hopelessly blurred through politicians wanting to become more than just legislators and seeking self aggrandizement by mixing business principles together with public service objectives.

The resulting mixture of apples and oranges has ended up as a blanc mange of ineffective public service 'businesses' and malfeasance and corruption that constantly threaten to involve those seeking funding to buy votes to stay in power.

Since this situation has becomes accepted throughout most of the developed world, it seems like there will be no real answer to the problem as anyone with any effective alternatives will be quickly 'white anted' by those in power who are doing very well, thank you.

The poignant lesson that should be learnt from these muddied waters is that government should stay out of business and business should stay out of government. They are two operations that have totally dissimilar objectives.

The second lesson is that when any politician wants to combine the two operations they can be only trying to enhance their position and at the expense of those they claim they are representing and trying to help.

Co-ops are all very well if there is sufficient profits made to support a small bureaucracy but unless they are run by those who are owners themselves or totally on a volunteer basis they will go the way of all bureaucracies and ever increase until they collapse through lack of resources.

The object lesson must surely be: Whenever someone says to a business 'I'm from the government. I'm here to help you.' You can bet your bottom dollar the reverse is true. Much the same scenario is to be applied in reverse when business tries to run a public service.

Em nau. Toksave bilong displa lapun ipinis olsem.

In PNG today the well-off people seem to love the western life style and worship places like Vision City.

I feel they are ashamed to see the poor people trying to make a living in the informal sector.

The other day a little boy was trying to sell native brooms on the side of the road. People said "How shocking, he should be in school!"

I reminded them, he had the makings of young businessman.

I agree with Phil, the informal sector need to be accepted and helped by those in the formal sector. Hopefully these small informal businesses will grow into an indigenous run business sector.

The broom boy could well end up running his own broom factory one day!

The very nature of the informal economy is such that regulating it is not only difficult but, potentially at least, likely to have adverse consequences for participants.

I am not a fan of unregulated capitalism, especially as practiced by huge, unaccountable trans-national corporations, but I know that when governments get involved in any branch of economic activity then things tend to go badly.

So, for example, consider the track record of governments across the globe in their management of railways, airlines, power networks, banks (especially banks!) and, in the case of my state, timber resources.

I think that the evidence clearly shows that, basically, politicians make crap business people and, as Donald Trump is already demonstrating, vice versa.

Also, think about how well Mr O'Neill's cunning plans for things like mining, gas production and timber harvesting have worked out. That is your government in action and it is not a comforting sight.

So Busa, by all means organise the informal economy to the extent necessary to keep the damn government out of the way but do not, under any circumstances, let them touch or regulate anything.

The last thing PNG needs right now is yet another futile, expensive and counter productive intervention in the economy.

Organising the informal economy in PNG brings to mind the expression "herding cats".

Furthering the pussy cat analogy it might be true to say "the cat is well and truly out of the bag" and it is too big and too late to do anything about it.

I'm not sure organising anything is a good idea. In this case it will just create jobs for public servants and hurdles for the most cash-strapped and desperate members of the informal community.

Better perhaps to concentrate on protections for them and places where they can safely trade.

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