[Forum] In response to Bruce Hyland’s letter to the editor that appeared in edition 251; Mr Hyland writes that I am advocating manufacturing selfsufficiency.
A check of what I submitted confirms that I did not and never meant to either. A manufacturing ability (for strategic purposes) does not imply manufacturing selfsufficiency. I agree with him that advocating manufacturing self-sufficiency for Australia is a failure to grasp reality.
Australia with its lack of economies of scale and high wages (in the international context) is uncompetitive in a general sense in manufacturing and we have just lost our automobile manufacturing.
Self-sufficiency implies independence from other sovereign states which does not necessarily mean producing all the goods and services that we consume.
As Mr Hyland points out we can do better by trading. Self-sufficiency means control of what is vital to our continuing independence as a sovereign state. What I am advocating is strategic self-sufficiency with which Mr Hyland seems to agree. But I go further; I submit we should protect our strategic supply lines and strategic industries (e.g. essential medical supplies and fuel) even at a cost.
Of course, there will be a trade-off between cost and strategic benefits. The alternative is to be under the potential domination of other sovereign states. The world’s strategic alliances are presently in a state of flux.
Email, Jul 22 C Hemmings, Woy Woy