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16 September 2016


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Arthur Williams

Paul - Unlike 2008, apparently in Obama's last speech to UN he never mentioned hope. Eight years a long time in politics.

Just been talking to my daughter in PNG on mobile at over £1 a minute she said Daddy don't even think of coming home.

PNG is in a mess and seems to be getting worse...she is one of the millions of subsistence citizens once luckier than many of them have never got past mere daily existence seeing no benefits of he 41 years of Independence that has seen hundreds of billions lost in poor accounting, auditing and by downright evil elites.

God forgive them

Bernard Corden

It is often said that there are three types of economists, ones that can count and ones that can't.

However, Paul Flanagan and Steven Keen are currently the only ones making any sense and actually evaluating the evidence.

Two of my favourite economists, Bernie - evidence based and not constricted by (now dodgy) theory - KJ

Hefung Hati

Appreciate the views, much of which are reflective of poor governance since independence. In fact, the whole picture painted here simply implies the issue with PNG's economy lies with the kind of policies it has had over the years and not the resources it has enjoyed over the years. What I don't understand is, was this mess done out of ignorance by policy makers or were they ill-advised?? I hate to leave a room for the reason of "lack of awareness".

Lawrie Cremin

Thanks Paul. An informed view well presented.from my perspective, simply put the revenue from natural resources needs to be directed into developing primary production (and appropriate secondary industry). Natural resources are finite.

Paul Flanagan

Hi - Thanks for all of the "likes" - I'm flattered.

For context, the article is a summary of a longer chapter I've prepared for a possible Monash/ANU book on PNG 40 years after Independence.

So other issues around fiscal performance, institutions, wages, prices, market frameworks, differential gender measures, external trade performance and broader measures of development were not included - for issues of length as well as keeping the publisher happy.

The plan is that the book as a whole will provide a much more comprehensive overview - mainly with PNG voices - on experiences since Independence.

This will cover in more depth issues such as progress with the very important informal sector of the economy as well as key social investments such as education and health.

Let me assure Franklin that I see education as a key part of the "people focus" rather than the "resource focus" for future development (and I do think you'll find a quick reference to education, teachers and classrooms).

And Corney, I agree that a measure of PNG's development must go well beyond formal sector jobs (which cover only 5 to 10 per cent of the workforce). This is why I've also sought to include measures beyond just GDP (a good summary of the limits of GDP measurement are provided in the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission of 2009).

And Alex, I remain in hope. I liked Obama's 2008 comments that he was a "hopemonger" - but things have been pretty mixed since then for the US.

And Peter, I think more comprehensive community to community engagement with PNG would respect our history, even if there is a price tag.

Pasko and others, thanks again.

Corney Korokan Alone

Singular archaic measurements on matters like jobs growth is annoying. What are jobs for in the PNG context?

Cash, spending, economic growth, improved lives and national prosperity, Corney - KJ

Philip Fitzpatrick

The current government (and previous ones) have taken an oppositional stance to anything Paul Flanagan says. The reason they do this is that they don't like the truth and it interferes with their political games and various rorts.

I'm surprised he still bothers but I guess that's his job, preaching to people with their heads buried in the sand.

Franklin Konral

I am surprised that Mr Flanagan seems to see no big value in investing in human resource development through education.

In fact, I don't see education being mentioned at all in this article. Is education so unimportant in determining economic growth?

I think you are looking for too much from a single article, Franklin. Flanagan's survey was taking a whole-economy view over 40 years. I am sure he has much to say about education. Perhaps we can look forward to reading his thoughts in a future article - KJ

Pasko Walter

Best observation on PNG's Economy. The application of such analysis would strengthen our nation's global competence.

Alex Nicolson

Thanks Paul. I cannot share your optimism in the short or medium term and in the long term we are all dead! I see little chance of PNG accepting your excellent policy prescriptions either. Cheers.

Peter Sandery

I don't think Paul has in any way implied or intended this interpretation but I can see some commentators using Paul's connection of the decline in domestic revenue to the decline in Australian aid to therefore call for an increase in such aid to former levels, which by itself would do nothing but exacerbate the problem.

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