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Soulless Economics 101

Van Dormael (1978: 32) quotes the British Economist John Maynard Keynes in 1941 as saying

‘the secular international problem‘ of maintaining equilibrium in the balance of payments – a problem that ‘had that had never been solved since methods of barter had given way gave way to money and bills of exchange.’

(and)

‘To suppose that there is some smoothly functioning automatic mechanism of adjustment which preserves equilibrium if only we trust to methods of Laissez-faire is a doctrinaire delusion which disregards the lessons of historical experience without the support of sound theory.’

Basically the problem with economics is that there is no way of establishing a rate of exchange. What is fair and what is unjust? Who knows? The only alternative seems to be no rules and that as been a disaster. This leaves a situation where human attributes (or lack of them) determine economic policies and outcomes. If the object is create a society that has a soul and acts humanly towards all its peoples then human qualities such as empathy and compassion have to be the guiding principle of economic decision making. If screwing the poor to give to Rupert Murdoch is the aim then Joe Hockey is the man for the job, but don’t suggest for one moment that there is any empathy, compassion or soul involved in Hockey’s policies.

Presenting spending years of mental and physical suffering in a squalid concentration camp with no charges laid and no prospect of release as being the only alternative of crossing the seas in a leaky boat is the act of a totally soulless country. How can a country that rushes to war in a foreign country at the slightest excuse, and without being asked but refuses to give significant aid to help stop Ebola until being forced to by universal condemnation from the rest off the world say it has a soul.

I used to like Australia when it had a soul, the days before Abbott became leader of what used to be the Liberal Party. The days before Kevin Rudd sent refugees of to concentration camps. But those days are gone. Can those days be revived?

The simple answer would be to bury Abbott and his whole front bench down the same hole as Azazel never to be seen again until judgement day, but that would be too simplistic. The problem is that if a despot is deposed what happens then? Is there any alternative? Sadly in Australia at this time I don’t see any viable alternative. Bill shorten seems a reasonable sort of fellow but he is no match for Abbott and he leads a party that has lost it’s soul. A beginning for labour would be to accept that Rudd’s refugee policy was a political move that failed and that it was also inhuman. If Labour reversed its refugee stance and supported speedy onshore process and humane treatment of all peoples it would be a beginning. A little bit of soul is better than no soul. Bill Shorten moving aside for Tanya Plibersek would be a major step forward. Tanya is a lady who seems to have empathy and compassion as well as the ability to stand up to Abbott.

With only about eighteen months to the next election we need to begin rebuilding Australia’s soul now because if the extreme right of the Murdoch/Abbott government becomes entrenched Australia’s soul could pass beyond revival.

Reference

Van Dormael, Armand. 1978. Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System. United Kingdom: Holmes &; Meier Publishers.

The Great Big F35 Con

The F35 is the last fighter any sane PM would buy. Reports indicate that it flies like a pregnant duck and computer simulations show it is completely outclassed by the Russian Sukhoi fighter, and it’s Chinese copy that are already in service. Even the US Air force don’t want it.

But worse that it is a complete con by the Americans. The F35 comes in three versions. The A, B and C. The A version is the pregnant duck version. The B is a short take-off and landing version for the US Army, and the C version is a vertical take-off and landing version for the US Navy. The con is that Australia and other nations are sharing the development costs of all versions but only getting the pregnant duck at $m90.00 each. The only entities who need Australia to have the F35 are any potential enemies.

We are paying for the development of aircraft for the US Army and Navy and getting nothing, absolutely nothing in return. Without the B and C versions the F35 would have been in service many years ago. It is under-powered slop bucket, completely out-dated that will never do the job we are buying it for. Abbott is robbing money needed make Australia a compassionate country so he can buy a few new, and totally useless toys for the air force. If ever there any decision that emphasis just stuffed Abbott’s decision-making faculties are this is it. We are robbing pensions, the unemployed and many other disadvantaged groups to subsidised the US Army and Navy.

Do we really want to screw the disadvantaged even more that the Abbott government has already to pay for a few useless aircraft?

Clive Palmer the Key to Australia’s future

It is a strange that the maintenance of democracy in Australia should come down to the vote of the Palmer United party.

I would like to see the end of the Abbott experiment but failing that there are two issues I am passionate about, Global Warming and the Australia’s cruelty to refugees. On both these issues Clive Palmer is in a unique position to force changes in the Abbott position. Human induced global warming is no longer a scientific debate. It is a fact and it has arrived. The scientific debate is now what can we do to minimise the effects.

If Palmer is going to stand for his election promise of ‘more love and integrity’ promised repeated continuously in the WA senate election re-run he has to take a long look at his attitude to refugees. This is an issue where humanity must prevail.

I will be lobbying Palmer to take a long look at the issues of global warming and refugees and I ask anyone, from any political persuasion, who has concerns about global warming and the treatment of refugees to do the same. It might just be enough to change the future of Australia.

The Vatican embraces Reganomics.

The Catholic Church’s answer to Tony Abbott, George Pell, is to head the Vatican finance Ministry in Vatican City. Both Abbott and Pell were both disciples of B A Santamaria and Santamaria’s radical fundamentalist Catholicism and way-out economic policies make Attila the Hun look like a green senator. It seems we can expect the Vatican to explain that it has to screw poor so that it can balance its books. But then again mainstream Christianity of all persuasions has been doing that for centuries.

The other thing that we can expect is for Abbott to be summoned to Rome to receive a Catholic Knighthood. Murdoch has already received his for building a church, so with Pell in his new position how can Abbott fail? There is nothing like an old pals network to get where you want to go. Santamaria, Abbott, Pell, Murdoch and the Catholic Church is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Raganomics is the art of making the rich richer in the vain hope that the rich will spend some money that will filter down to the poor at the bottom of the heap. Mainstream churches have practiced this for centuries without it being formalized with a name, but precious little filters down to the poor. Nor will it ever. There could not be a starker example of the failure of Raganomics than the Catholic Church. It has accumulated vast wealth without doing any perceivable good works to alleviate poverty and suffering in this world. Pell has gone where he needs to be and I am certain that there will be a regular comparing of notes with Abbott and Murdoch and regular channelling of B A Santamaria.

Morrison must go

In Modern society there is the concept of shared responsibility. Not only must the person committing an illegal or immoral act be held to account but also those who caused the act to happen must also be held to account. There is growing evidence that Reza Berati was murdered at Manus Island, either by a security guard or by someone the guards let into the facility. Morrison tried to say that the murder occurred outside the compound and outside his jurisdiction. Not only that but Morrison tried to blame Reza Berati for his own murder by saying he had placed himself in danger. There could not have been anything more disgusting than Morrison’s performance blaming Reza Berati for being outside the compound when the truth is that he was inside under Morrison’s care and protection.

If Morrison had immediately started an enquiry based on finding the truth rather than covering up the circumstances of Reza Berati’s death there could have been a case for Morrison keeping his job, but that did not happen. Instead Morrison went straight into cover-up mode the way the whole of the Abbott government goes into cover-up anytime they act in an unacceptable manner. By attempting to a cover-up Morrison became as guilty of murder as the person whole stomped on Reza Berati’s head. Morrison’s resignation is probably the best that can happen for now but I hope that some time in the future Morrison receives the full sanctions available under the law for his actions.

Does Manus Island equal crimes against humanity?

Morrison’s “We do not comment on operational matters” is code for “some bastard is doing something we don’t want you to know about.” Morrison will claim it is the people smuggles that he does want to know what is happening, but that is not true. Morrison does not want the Australian public to know what is happening. The reports coming out of the Manus Island detention centre raises many questions about the treatment of asylum seekers in the care of Australia. It would be unfair to suggest that the reports are all true in total or part, but the lack of transparency and lack of information from the Australian government does suggest that there is a major cover-up taking place.

Did the asylum seekers who broke out of the detention centre do so in order to escape marauding PNG police that were allowed into the centre by the Australian guards? Were the injuries sustained by the asylum seekers a result of attacks by PNG authorities and/or Australian guards rather than the result of authorities defending themselves? What were the circumstances that resulted in the death of the deceased Iranian detainee? Do Australia’s actions at Manus island equal, as many overseas sources including China suggest, constitute civil rights abuses?

It is the duty of everyone who wants to know what is really happening at Manus Island to speak up and demand to be told. Anyone sees what is happening and does or says nothing is as guilty of any atrocities that are taking place in our name as those who are perpetrating those atrocities. I cannot say that any atrocities are taking place, I can say that Morrison and the Abbot government are taking extraordinary steps to make certain that the Australian public does not find out. Does Manus Island equal crimes against humanity? I have no idea, but I can say Morrison is making certain that it is impossible for the Australian pubic to find out. That alone makes me think that overseas sources know more that the Australian public about the true conditions on Manus Island, and overseas sources suggest that the Australian government has many questions that need answering in full now.

Navy Intrusions. What a load of Rubbish.

The report saying intrusions into Indonesian waters by our Navy was because of navy personnel not calculating correctly is the most ridiculous heap of garbage that this government has expected the Australian public to swallow. Is our navy so backward that they still use sextants? Do they not have GPS and Radar? Short of a complete systems failure it is impossible for an inadvertently enter Indonesian waters. Maybe if it was once I might allowed that there was a slim chance, but six times? Total rubbish.

Morrison is saying that the ships went to sea without any knowledge of where the Indonesian territorial waters begin. I am watching Morrison talking on the ABC as I write and he is has a straight face as he tries to feed us this bullshit.

What is particularly galling for me is that the Navy is unable to tell us what really happened. What Morrison is saying on the ABC is an insult to our Navy. When they crossed into Indonesian waters it could have only been because they were told too, but now they are to remain silent while their professional reputations are trashed.

This person Morrison would be a joke if he were not doing so much damage to Australia at home and overseas.

The myth of high Australian labour costs.

There is a myth being perpetrated by the Abbott government that the Australian labour force is expensive and incompetent. This is a slur on Australia and a lie to cover Abbott’s twisted economic policy to give multinational companies the cheapest possible cost so they can screw Australian Workers.

The major problem with Australian labour costs is dumping. Dumping is when a company produces at the level that gives the lowest cost and maximises prices. When the lowest cost gives production units that is higher than the level needed to maximise profit the extra units are ‘dumped’ at cost on any country that has low levels of protection. When Abbott says Australia is open to business he means that Australia is open to anyone who wants to dump their excess production and in the process distort the relative costs of Australian labour. The cost of imported goods in Australia in many cases bears no relationship of the actual costs of production. This makes it impossible for say the Australian car industry compete with imported vehicles that are selling at thousands of dollars below their true price.

Protectionism is a dirty word according to Abbott and his economic minnows. Having tariffs that raise the cost of imported goods to the level of their true value is not protectionism; it is creating a level playing field. A system of tariffs that protects against dumping but goes not create not inhibit true competition would be flexible across industries and flexible over time would require a sensitive touch that is difficult to achieve, but the benefits would be a true indication of the cost of Australian labour and I would be surprised if we were to be found to be non-competitive.

There is another aspect to the argument. If Australia is to be competitive in a modern world Australians will need to get used to the idea that they will pay the true price of imported goods. Australians cannot have it both ways. We either have a vibrant economy or cheap imports. We cannot have both.