Let me ask… Can you fix the economy? The ‘mortality question’.

I had coffee today with one of my favourite industry guys (who shall remain nameless!), when we meet there is generally a very active dialogue on any topic that comes up, when we got onto the economy I told him I have a question that I like to ponder called the ‘god question’, it’s simple you ask a person ‘if you had godlike powers what three things would you do in the morning to fix the economy’ [you can ask this question for any topic, it often brings out some surprising answers].

I asked Dan O’Brien this at a conference and he didn’t have an answer, but he said it was a good question. The next person I tried it with was Karl Whelan, his answer was only two things, ‘raise taxes and cut spending’. Suffice to say the question is flawed because giving godlike powers infers that resistance will be futile or non-existent, Karl copped that straight away and answered accordingly.

So there is a new question to replace it, we can call it the ‘mortality question’ and it was brought up by my colleague over coffee today. It goes like this:

‘If you had one year to turn the economy around or you would be publicly executed, what policies would you enact?’ This question is far superior as it solves the issue of resistance and makes the game ‘for keeps’.

So, if you have what it takes to fix the economy, give no more than 6 specific policies that you would use if you were in the position of having to resolve it fast or die.


  1. Cut public spending dramatically, print money, and eliminate all taxes for at least 1 year.

  2. Hi John,

    Thanks for dropping by and for your comment too! The question to follow up though is this: why aren’t we doing most of that right now? And how would we meet short term spending requirements if tax was abandoned? While spending has to be rationalised you can’t simultaneously remove ALL income in tandem with it can you?

    talk soon!

  3. thanks for the pronunciation tip! oddly, you put it on a post from the 26th of June 09 when i said that word wrong on the 10th of nov 09. look at this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline

  4. Kevin

    Apologies if it appeared to be a veiled criticism, it wasn’t, you appear to be a clever and interesting guy but given your appearence recently on TV it was a friendly heads up before a snide remark was made by an interviewer or critic, it was there I heard your mispronunciation not in any post or anywhere else for that matter, pronunciation of words incorrectly is a matter of life in a normal life but on TV or Radio there is no spell checker.

    The reason I contacted you via this Blog is that it’s the only place to get in touch.

    Best of luck.


  5. gerry rossiter

    hello karl,
    just saw your very astute commentary on primetime. you’re absolutely right with your comments. I’m in my fifties and own a negative equity on my house. why prolong the agony for 90,000 people for 5 years? With the IMF around the corner and the cost at 2bn per, over that time, why not relieve the pressure on those people of which i am one. While I understand that we need a viable banking system I do not believe that the ordinary guy in the street should be the victim of the irresponsibility of lenders and government.

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