eFocus                                                 March 2018

Dear <<First Name>>
Talk of an Uber-tax and banning Uber drivers from the new Perth stadium is part of a fight between vested interests and disruptive business models.

At its core, Uber is the application of economic concepts to new locational-based technologies and cashless payment systems. One of its features, known as Surge Pricing, serves as a signal to both drivers and customers about scarcity and matches the demand and supply curve in real time. This feature is despised by some people, who feel it is unfair. The reality is that it involves a voluntary exchange and settles on a market rate which allocates scarce resources — transport services at peak times — to people seeking to get from A to B.

Allocation of a service determined by price is seen as somehow different to allocation based on time spent in a queue. There is an allocative process in both cases. Why is a price signal somehow less virtuous than a time signal? For those who remember the challenge of getting a taxi on New Year’s Eve or after a derby, this trade-off between waiting time and willingness to pay will be understood.

The opposite of surge pricing is discounting. Reducing prices during slow periods is a common tool for those providing services. Think of discount movie matinees or cheap red-eye flights. The Western Australian government even does this for seniors in the middle of the day with free public transport. In industry this is referred to as load shifting.

With new technology, there is much more ability to price differentiate, be it through discounts or surge pricing. This should be celebrated as a good thing. Markets will naturally cater to people across the cost curve. When governments interfere, they inevitably hurt the poorest the most. The introduction is of Fuel Watch is a case in point. By smoothing the traditional price cycle of fuel sold at service stations, the government effectively eliminated the peaks as well as the troughs. Long queues for cheap fuel means that some people valued a variance in prices and were willing to spend the time to get the benefit of a cheaper product.

Political interference and government involvement in markets inevitably create inefficiencies and customers receive a substandard service. To get a practical insight about this, ask someone over 40 about the responsiveness of Telecom repairmen to a fixing a fault.

While previous governments created an effective property right with taxi plates, the McGowan Government is now responsible for dealing with these legacy issues. It is not their fault, but it is not possible to continually defer a resolution. However, the funding of the transition payments is secondary to quickly shifting away from the current halfway house. The removal of the Potato Board and compensation did not result in a potato tax. Solutions are possible.

It should be expected that more and more services and goods will be subject to variable pricing. This is best done by the market and private entrepreneurs. For all of those who want this to be fixed or made “fair” by government intervention, the first question they should be asked is: why do you want to disadvantage the poorest in society who will have to pay higher prices or have less choice because of your demands? We need to stop apologising for markets and the benefits that it provides to all members of society.

Yours in liberty,

Andrew Pickford
Executive Director


Do you want a 'strong' dollar or a 'weak' dollar?


Kyle Williams (ATA)

Why Not a Flat Tax?
Upcoming Events
Mannkal's Emerging Leaders Showcase
Wednesday, 7th March 2018
UWA Club

Our annual returned scholars event is back! Held in conjunction with Mutual Trust Pty Ltd at the UWA Club, we are excited to see our alumni and supporters for a night of celebrating the future of Western Australia.

Invitation only.
Club Showcase with Mannkal
4:30pm - 7:30pm, Friday, 9th March
Curtin University
Come down and hear all about our 2018 opportunities! RSVP here.
Student Seminar: Free Market Security with Andrew Hastie
12pm - 2pm, Tuesday, 13th March
"Hayek on Hood", 3/31 Hood St, Subiaco
Seats are limited - RSVP to today! Seminars are considered mandatory for internship applicants.

Elizabeth was a 2016 End-of-Year Mannkal Scholar at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs in Kuala Lumpur and subsequently interned at the Mannkal office. Having recently graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Law & Society), she is has now secured her first professional job.

"Thanks to the opportunities and experiences that Mannkal has provided me over the past 18 months, I have recently started a two-month contract at Rio Tinto as a Procurement Administrator! My responsibilities include analysing and updating contract summaries, as well as updating the Procurement intranet site so our key partners can understand our role a little easier! 

I cannot thank Ron and the Mannkal Team enough as they have provided me with the skills to be able to take on this next step with ease!"

Mannkal @ Murdoch
1pm - 2:30pm, Thursday, 15th March
Murdoch University
Mannkal's Executive Director, Andrew Pickford, will visit Murdoch alongside recently returned Scholars! RSVP here.
Student seminar: Mannkal Opportunities with Andrew Pickford
12pm-2pm,Tuesday 20th March
'Hayek on Hood', 3/31 Hood St, Subiaco
Seats are limited - RSVP to today! Seminars are considered mandatory for internship applicants.
ALS Friedman Conference - APPLICATIONS OPEN!
25th - 27th May

Now in its 6th year, the Friedman Conference is back and bigger and better than ever before! Confirmed speakers include Jeffrey Tucker, Dr Tom Palmer and WA's own Hon. Aaron Stonehouse. This 2-day event brings together more than 300 freedom-loving people from across the libertarian spectrum.

This is a fantastic way to get started with Mannkal - CLICK HERE TO APPLY - applications close 25th March.
Introducing our 2017/18 Mannkal Scholars
Clockwise from top: Tej Patel, Mannkal Scholar at FEE in Atlanta, out for lunch with Lawrence E. Reed. Olivia Maso, Mannkal Scholar at The British Taxpayers' Alliance, with colleagues in London. Kyle Williams, Mannkal Scholar at The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance, with two top freedom fighters, Senator James Paterson and Tim Wilson MP.


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.
Applications close 31st March.

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

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

(08) 9382 1288

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