eFocus                                                  August 2018

Dear <<First Name>>
The famous economist F. A. Hayek produced some of the clearest writing on the role of prices in communicating information. He understood that interfering with these signals would dull responses from entrepreneurs and result in ever-increasing government interventions to correct supposed failings. Nowhere is this more obvious than the Western Australian electricity sector.

The front page of The West Australian on July 31, 2018, highlights issues with solar subsidies. This is but the most recent chapter in over a century of local and state government involvement in the electricity sector. However, this was not always the case.

Most Western Australians would not be aware that the first electricity service was offered by a private company in the Great Southern town of Katanning. Independent of government, a generation plant was financed and built. Subsequently, the inaugural residential electricity offering was launched. This was made possible through private investment in a flour mill and related infrastructure.

The initial private offering of an electricity service reminds readers that there is no reason why governments should control the commanding heights of the economy. When
government is involved, the service is often poor, old technology is deployed and there is limited product range and choice.

In contrast to government delivery of energy, entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by satisfying customer needs rather than moving kilowatts. This is a fundamental difference. It is this customer-centric approach instead of an engineering-centric approach that drives innovation, choice and puts downward pressure on prices.

When government owns electricity utilities it often sets prices which do not reflect underlying cost structures; distorts markets; and favours a standardised rather than tailored product. In recent years, governments have also begun to mandate green schemes which add costs to system users and operators with little positive environmental benefits. Residential solar panels are a prime example. Generous feed-in tariffs under the initial Western Australian scheme resulted in an effective wealth transfer from poor to wealthy households. Efforts to unwind these expensive indulgences continue.

Despite scare campaigns and dubious analysis by those fundamentally opposed to markets, private entities operating in a competitive market will result in lower electricity prices. This is why Mannkal is working with a number of senior energy economists and drawing on Hayek’s insights to produce further commentary on the role of prices in the electricity sector.

Andrew Pickford
Executive Director


Read all about their adventures here!
Clockwise from top left: Cian Hussey (Centre for Policy Studies, London) at Westminster; Loic Munso (Asia Institute for Political Economy, Hong Kong) at Crown Headquarters; Emma Watson (Foundation for the Advancement of Liberty, Madrid) overlooking the Spanish capital; Camille Cross (Adam Smith Institute, London), at her host think tank.


Over-regulation and the Entrepreneur
Samuel Griffith Society Conference
3rd - 5th August

The Society was founded with the aim to protect the Australian Constitution and the integrity of our parliamentary institutions; its next Conference will take place in Brisbane. Mannkal is sponsoring 14 lucky students to attend.

Mannkal applications have closed and selections have been announced.
Freedom Friday!
Friday, 10th August from 5.30pm
The Village Bar, Subiaco

Join Mannkal & friends for our monthly casual get-togethers!

Please let us know if you are able to attend by clicking 'Going' on our Facebook event.
Imagine Conference
10th - 11th August

Imagine Conference is an annual event brought to you by the Adam Smith Center, an independent organisation dedicated to promoting humanities education in the tradition of Adam Smith. Featuring both local and global thought leaders, this yearly conference will explore the big ideas that will shape Singapore's future. Speakers include Dr Tom Palmer and Prof Randall Holcombe. 

Mannkal applications have closed and selections have been announced.
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10-11th August, Singapore
28th - 30th September

Now in its second year, this is a free-thinking conference of genuinely dangerous and disruptive ideas. The most disruptive idea in the world is that “all men (and women) are born equal”, and the consequences that flow from that. This conference features speakers who are intellectual disruptors exploring a vast array of areas like free speech, climate change, indigenous affairs, democracy and economics.

Mannkal applications have closed and selections will be announced shortly.
Mont Pelerin Society General Meeting: Competition, Discovery, and the Pursuit of Happiness 
30th September - 6th October
Gran Canaria (Spain)

The Mont Pelerin Society welcomes you to the Canary Islands to engage in a lively discussion of modern issues, such as competition, separatist movements, cryptocurrencies, overlapping jurisdictions, and the free movement of people, goods, and capital.

Mannkal applications have closed and selections have been announced.

2nd-5th August, Brisbane


Mannkal offers international scholarships to Western Australian students. These unique scholarships grant interested young adults a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern at an international think tank.

To apply please email the following documents to Kate Wagstaff at

  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (up to two pages) including photograph (within CV)
  • Statement of Academic Record (an unofficial transcript is sufficient)
  • Cover Letter (1 page) addressing one of the opportunities on offer. Choose one host think tank opportunity from our list here, and explain why you are the best candidate for that particular scholarship and what you hope to gain from the experience
  • Please write on only one of the opportunities on offer. Applicants who progress through to the interview stage of the selection process will be considered for all opportunities.
Our multi-step application process involves getting to know you through research reports, events, interviews and workshops. The process can take several months, beginning with your application - so the sooner you apply the better! 

Each year, mid-year internship applications close in early March, and places are determined around April/May. End of year internship applications close in August, and places are finalised in October/November.

Students who are not successful in receiving a scholarship in one intake will still be eligible for the next intake. The longer we have to get to know you, the better we are able to potentially match you with a suitable host think-tank. 

Now is the time to apply, whether you're in first or last year at University. 
Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Visit our website 

Hayek on Hood, 3/31, Hood Street, Subiaco, Western Australia 6008

(08) 9382 1288

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