Cameron K Murray’s and Paul Frijters’ Game of Mates: How Favours Bleed the Nation is of supreme importance to the future of Australia. You can’t say that about many non-fiction books but, whether or not you read it, the direction of our social and economic health will be integrally affected by how we react to the errant situations it exposes.
Warning: if you do read it, the ‘James’ part of you will feel affronted, if not made naked, whilst the ‘Bruce’ in your nature will be gob-smacked and seriously challenged. The two characters, James, who is a receiver of unearned incomes or ‘grey gifts’, and Bruce, who always loses out to James, are metaphorical constructs to lighten Murray and Frijters’ well-documented Game, which clearly demonstrates in almost any direction we care to investigate, Australia has gone sadly awry and is in deep trouble from these corruptions.
I disagreed with one sentence only. In the penultimate chapter How Much Does the Game Bleed You? : “This does not mean that the total income of Australia would be twice as high if we went to best-practice in all areas.” In an overarching study for the Land Values Research Group, I showed if we were to put an end to the Game, our GDP would indeed double.
Game of Mates is an excellent ‘must read’ for every Australian, if not for those beyond Australia. They will find incredibly upsetting parallels.