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[Published 23 May at Independent Australia.]
Take a bow, mainstream media. Your coverage was relentlessly superficial, your selection and commentary heavily biased. You studiously ignored the past six years’ record of train wrecks, extremism, incompetence, brutality and internal warring. You portrayed a one man band, a slick sloganeer, as a viable political party and the most riven, vicious and incompetent rabble since Federation has clung to power.
It is hardly a triumph, regaining minority government or the slimmest majority. The fact that the commentariat is portraying Scott Morrison as some kind of legendary hero is a measure of how low expectations for the Coalition have been, and how desperate they are to keep their man in power.
I already wrote about the failures of Labor and the Greens and the flagrant partisanship of the media in bringing about Labor’s shock election loss. The trouble is these problems have been evident for a long time (Labor, Greens) and there is little sign anyone in those parties really understands what is necessary.
Nor is there any new party in the offing that might seize the day. The US has Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The UK had Jeremy Corbyn to revive their Labour Party, though he may be sinking into the ancient and corrupt mire of British politics. We have no messiah.
Yet this election has shown us the way forward, if we are open to noticing.
Labor failed, again.
It took on the most riven, brutal and monumentally incompetent rabble since Federation and still could not manage to beat them. This is a profound failure that requires a profound explanation. There is one, though it goes against decades of received wisdom.
The problem is the economic ‘reforms’ imposed by the Hawke-Keating governments are a failure. Our anaemic economy and divided society are their continuing legacy.
These claims are of course heresy. They sully the revered memory of Larrikin Bob. They contradict the economic and political mantras of the past thirty five years. Yet the evidence is clear and has been readily available for some time.
Next week, as Parliament resumes, I will mount a protest against corruption of the Parliament, namely a People’s Embassy – to our Parliament. See the explanation on the dedicated page A People’s Embassy.
Corruption of our democratic system is flagrant, but hardly commented upon. Politicians accept money from the rich and do favours for the rich, against the known wishes of the people. It may be all nudge-wink, but it is plainly there and plainly subverting our society.
Several pledges will be available for politicians and candidates to sign up to. The most important are the Sunshine Pledges, to reveal contacts and financial support in real time, and to limit donations to individuals and small amounts.
Professional, disciplined, pragmatism over purity: so enthuse the commentators about another highly-managed national Labor conference.
Don’t end the crimes against humanity being committed on Manus and Nauru, don’t bother with a human rights charter for Australia, address the housing bubble through the housing supply rather than the money supply, propose some new (but not too dramatic) policies on inequality and reconciliation, drop a few crumbs to the complainers. Don’t even think of mentioning the highly counter-productive ‘alliance’ with a rogue super-power. Global w– … what?
Read more …
The Little Green Economics Book is now available as an eBook as well as a paperback.
Buy it on Amazon AU, US, UK or others. See more here.
Don’t shy away from the main game
Whether we like it or not, ‘the economy‘ is the main game in today’s world. No matter the good causes we work for, the present economy will very likely be subverting and trampling them.
What if the economy supported our good causes instead of squashing them?
It can. That’s why this little book can help you.
Read full post
A recent exchange between Jason Hickel (and here and here) and Dean Baker (and here) on whether humanity can have a viable future and still have ‘economic growth’, nicely highlights the way old concepts and words can trap us in unproductive debate and action.
The way forward is to recognise the need for a fundamental re-framing of the nature and purpose of our societies, and their economies. The terms growth, GDP, capital and capitalism are so ill-defined, confused or inappropriate they only hinder debate.
Read the full post
Score voting avoids the vagaries and gaming that are intrinsic to preference ranking systems. It is simpler and more reliably reflects the will of voters. You have probably used it if you have completed a survey. We should use it in political elections.
The 2018 Victorian election has turned up another result in which ‘preference whispering’ by minor parties has distorted the will of the people ($, William Bowe at Crikey), if we take the will of the people to be indicated by first-preference votes.
Minor parties scored 25% of upper house seats from 20% of first-preference votes, whereas the Greens scored only one seat with votes that exceeded almost all minor-party votes individually. In one case a primary vote of 1.3% beat a Greens primary vote of 13.5%.
Read the full article
The economic ‘reforms’ of the 1980s are supposed to have set Australia up for an unprecedented run of prosperity: 27 years, and counting, without a recession. The economy’s robustness is supposed to have saved us from the Global Financial Crisis. In fact our economy has been unstable, and its performance has been mediocre verging on anaemic. Any appearance of robust prosperity is due to a huge run-up of debt, some direct intervention, high immigration, overwork, selective blindness and over-active imaginations.
Continue reading on the new website
Many assertions are being made about Australia’s rates of immigration and population growth, but it’s hard to find a coherent discussion of the issue. There’s not just an elephant but a menagerie of ignored creatures lurking around the living room.
The elephant in the middle of the room is the cost to society of ‘durable assets’ for each new person, imported or home-grown. Durable assets include not just infrastructure like roads, trains, water and electricity but houses, shops and schools. That cost is sensibly estimated by sustainability researcher Jane O’Sullivan to be around $500,000 per person. Some of that cost is public, borne by governments, and some is borne by the private sector.
Read more [and don’t forget to bookmark the new site you will now link to]
Lest we also forget the 1200 brave women from twelve nations, including combatant nations, who gathered at The Hague in April 1915 to consider how to stop the slaughter already well under way, though still to get much worse. Post-war they formed the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Their resolutions fed into the League of Nations and thence into the United Nations. Would that we had heeded the wisdom they distilled, in the face of derision, hostility and dismissal.
[Don’t forget to migrate to the new website, where the above link will take you.]
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