| My Land, My Country
LAE - In school, economics wasn’t really my thing. At the end of one semester, the girl who became my partner got the highest grade and I nailed the bottom of the list.
But years later, the great journalist John Eggins said I had to venture into the realm of business and economics, because I had “the flair for it.”
I didn’t really believe I did. All I ever did was blunder through and try to make sense of the textbook theory.
Then I began talking to Sir Mekere Morauta and Bart Philemon.
The ease with which Sir Mek explained economic theory in the PNG context brought to life the knowledge crammed into my brain by my long suffering Austrian economics lecturer, Dirk Volavsek.
As opposition leader, Sir Mek differed in opinion with then Treasurer Bart Philemon’s push to achieve a balanced budget.
Mr Philemon (excuse my simplistic explanation) argued you must have the cash in order to spend and that deficit financing was dangerous for a small economy like Papua New Guinea.
Sir Mek argued that deficit financing is necessary for serious growth.
Both men understood how the economic machine worked from different perspectives. And I learned from both of them as they argued the theories from their schools of thought.
I was young and ignorant. But they never looked down on my lack of experience.
Sir Mek explained how strategically placed debt could propel a resource rich country to become an economic powerhouse in the Pacific.
Sir Mek was a guru, a thought leader and a brilliantly articulate economist politician.
Only upon the passing of brilliance, and in that void that follows, are people recognising the visionary leadership that, at the time, many people resisted and criticised.