Saturday, October 11, 2014

Australian discussion of market design

For some reason, the public discussion of market design in business and government in Australia seems to hit a lot of the right notes, at least as superficially reported in the press. I don't always have the context to know what they are talking about, and whether I agree or disagree, but I like discussions that operate on the level of market design.

 For example, here's a story on the market for something they call vocational and educational training:
VET market ‘doesn’t work for everybody’: BCA’s Jennifer Westacott

"FAD-DRIVEN market reforms have left vocational education and training more disjointed than ever, according to two of the country’s biggest employer groups.

"Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacottsaid that governments were pursuing contestable funding as “a policy vision in and of itself”, with no clear idea of why they were doing so.

We can’t just say let the market work, because it doesn’t always work for everybody — and I say that as the queen of capitalism,” Ms Westacott told the TAFE Directors Australia conference.

“It doesn’t often work for disadvantaged people, it doesn’t work in certain locations (and) it doesn’t work for emerging skills. Whenever you hear people say, ‘Let the market just run,’ you say: to what end and what purpose?

“Market reform has to be about outcomes, not fads.”

"Ms Westacott said she did not think it would ever be possible to establish a “completely free” market in VET. She said locational issues, low demand for some qualifications and special needs of some student groups would force governments to assert a degree of control.
"Ms Westacott acknowledged that market design was no simple task. “If this were easy, they’d do it,” she said."

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