When the Red Cross stepped up this morning to address our climate crisis, I saw an opportunity. A wide range of services including unemployment concealment, homelessness, communications, large parts of education and general health, aged care, mental health and suicide prevention, transport, roads, debt collection and energy have all been given away (see outsourcing). They are no longer the Federal Government’s responsibility. If something goes wrong, it is someone else’s fault. These services have been given to private businesses, churches, charities, church-based charities and church-based businesses. Why? Because as we have seen, they do things better. They certainly pay their workers less and that has to be good. As we all know, there is a surplus to save.

At this moment of apparent crisis, can there be a better time to bury the concerns of socialists, mensheviks and try-hard pseudo-lefties?  It is now time to turn to the free market to help with the smothering of our burning country.  After 30-40 years of experimentation, it is time to put the free market to a real test.

Privatise our Fire Services

I call for the privatisation of the Fire Commissioners’ roles, that of their staff and all related services across all states of Australia.  We’ll soon find out whether they have the entrepreneurial skills that these turbulent times need.  Privatising or at the very least corporatizing our fire management systems would instantly put an end to the Bolshevism of volunteer firefighters for a start with their squealy calls for compensation.  Don’t they understand the definition of volunteer? If the free market can’t find the effective demand (economic term) to fight these fires then obviously the affected towns are uneconomic.  There is one way to address that demand under a free market system and that is to pay for it.

Fire services could, perhaps, be sponsored by insurance companies.  Even now, these companies have to balance the risk of fire damage against the boon of rising premiums based on the precarity of your location.  Much of this balancing will be done by you. Terror has an upside.

In addition to insurance costs, fire protection under the new regime would no longer be free.  The capacity to defend your town, suburb or even your house would depend on your ability to draw the attention and interest of the relevant fire commissioner and his staff.  You and your neighbours might think of doing the firefighting yourselves but how many helicopters can you afford?

Competition is very good

We’ll see competition, beloved by so many in our modern society, at its best as towns compete for services using whatever enticements their communities can muster.  This offers unimaginably rich opportunities for exploitation.  At least one shopkeeper on the south coast has shown a laudable willingness to seize just such an opportunity.  

The process could even be atomised to a street by street or house by house arrangement.  As in 19th century England, your insurance or firefighting licence will be demanded before our entrepreneurial Commissioner deployed a hose with one of his staff on the end of it.  Do you see competition between insurance companies and the Commissioner? I do; bring it on.

We could also give the Commissioner exclusive rights to the sale of hoses and other equipment including helicopters and other aerial services.  Of course, Bunnings may resist but they could set up their own Commissioner in competition.  We are talking about a truly free market. A mutually satisfactory accommodation between these behemoths would soon be found.

Whose fault is it anyway?

You may reflect that a key battleground will be responsibility.  Whose fault is it?  Who will get the blame and thus be responsible for compensation?   Will it be the Greens and other enviro-spivs who resisted backburning (another commercial opportunity).  Will it be councils who allowed building in fire prone areas?  Could fossil fuel producers be blamed for heating our brains till our bonces bubble like a lid on a boiling pot? Surely not.

Thankfully, by placing this problem in the invisible claws of the market, the question of blame will be removed.  Under a true free market system, the only failure is one of reading the signs incorrectly and those signs take the form of price. Everything has its price. 

If you meet a fire after buying in an area that has become fire prone in the last day then you have failed to read an important market signal.  If you can’t afford the services under the new entrepreneurial fire protection structure, you have failed to meet the terms of a market where everything is for sale.  If your kids are caught in this mess and are forced to suffer then they have chosen the wrong parents.  They should look to adoption or fostering with a better-heeled and more attentive family.  

To put it simply, under this system all success or failure is personal.  Can you read the market signals?  These can be false (fake news) or true.  How good are you? Roll the dice. 

Achieving this new vision won’t be easy.  However, what would have been impossible thirty years ago and would never have sold to our parents may today have a market.  I look to the support of the “Quiet Australians” and others who see opportunity in disaster. People who can frank a dividend are just the type we’re looking for.

A role for our typing pool

The media can help too and we have some of the most entrepreneurial stenographers in the world; people who appear ready to sell anything.  A lot of fine work has been done in recent years to damn any form of collective action as socialism.  The type of blindness to privatisation and love of collective action that we see at times like the current bushfire emergency remain one of the last obstacles to freedom.

Much of the work that goes into fostering our freedom goes on unnoticed, like this worthy contribution from the great John Howard’. Here he explains his climate agnosticism (of course climate change isn’t cause by fossil fuels). John has never lost faith in a future for nuclear energy and continues the work he started many years ago. As an agnostic, it is often to difficult to share your views with people of prejudice. In this room of mining executives and prospectors, he was very comfortable and expansive. Rarely, do we see John uncut. I know I can count on John but am looking to the support of people like Gerry and Anne Henderson (Sydney Institute), IPA. CIS, AIGN, BCA, ACCI, CRAI , ACA and many others who feel inconvenienced by this climate change beatup.

Achieving this vision won’t be easy, yet, in a week where ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) has been privatised, anything is possible.  There are probably people in the Prime Minister’s Department and the Menzies Research Centre who have taken these ideas way past my feeble framing.  Still, the goal of freedom and proof of Maggie Thatcher’s dictum require everybody’s involvement whether as an advocate, enabler, enforcer, victim or languid observer.

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