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.

Refugees sending Australia broke.

As far as I can understand refugees attempting to enter Australia are interned in concentration camps in remote places with no form of processing taking place. Abbott keeps the illusion of stopping the boats by leaving refugees to rot out of sight.

Australia is hemorrhages money keeping untold and increasing numbers of nameless refugees in appalling conditions with no hope of a future. It is a feature of Abbott that he made all sorts of promises appealing to the bottom dwellers of Australian society to get elected but now cannot fulfill those promises. Abbott’s illusions are sending Australia broke.

Even if we ignore the appalling, inhuman treatment of refugees by Australia the present system is enormously expensive. How much of the budgetary problems the Abbott government is being caused by the desire of Abbott to treat refugees as poorly as possible? This impacts negatively on the Australians who need income support who Abbott has targeted to pay for his inhumanity. Australia cannot afford Abbott’s addiction to cruelty.

Poverty is relative.

Poverty and plenty. Rich and poor. These are relative concepts. Rich is someone who has more than you and poor is someone with less that you. The concepts cannot be measured, but the relativity of them can. We can measure the gap between those who have and those who do not.

The Murdoch/Abbott government seems determined to make the gap between rich and poor in Australia as wide as possible. The latest attack on the poor, up front fees for visits to a GP is a disgusting attack by a small minded little Hitler that could play havoc on the nations health. A healthy aging population is financially much easier to maintain than a disease ridden aging population. What next Abbott? Do our aged pay or die? Is this the logical result of user pays? For a developed nation keeping the population healthy, regardless of socio-economic circumstances, saves money.

Apart from the social aspects regular health checks for our elderly make a significant contribution to keeping health cost down by picking up problems at an early stage. If the disadvantaged of any age are unable to visit a GP with early symptoms it will also add significantly to our health cost. The cry from the medical profession for years has been early detection and early treatment. Treat a small problem before it becomes a big one.

Australia is fast approaching a tipping point where we must decide what sort of country we want to live in. Do we care for and help our aged and disadvantaged people or do we subscribe to the Social Darwinist philosophy that if we care for our poor and disadvantaged they will only breed more poor and disadvantaged people? There will probably always be a level of disadvantage in our society but the best way to minimise the disadvantage is to help/show how to escape recurring cycles of disadvantage. But what does that horrible little man Abbott do? He targets the disadvantaged. This can only increase disadvantage. Another three years of this and Australia will be poverty-stricken.

Problems and Distortions in Australian Politics.

Basically Australia does not have any problems, but there are many distortions that politicians are claiming to be problems for personal gain.

If a person has cancer they have a problem. If a person has a pimple on their nose they do not have a problem, they have a distortion that can be fixed without it being life threatening.

There is no cancer in the Australian economy. If you think we have problems take a look at Greece, Spain and Europe in general. That is what a problem looks like.

What about our Border Security problem?

If we want to revert to the 1960’s yellow peril mentality of hordes invading from the North remember that they would have to bring their own cut lunch and water bottle. Australia’s Border Security is that a large-scale invasion of Australia could not be physically supported by the Australian continent. It is no coincidence that we have a very small population on a very large land mass. There are physical limits to the population Australia can support. If we do nothing about climate change those limits could dramatically contract.

Invading Australia for its minerals would be an exercise in futility. It would have to be a ‘Fly in-Fly out’ invasion. The cost would be prohibitive when compared for the silly prices we are prepared to accept for our minerals.

So what is our border security ‘problem’? It is our distortion of the global problem of the large and growing number of mobile refugees fleeing tyranny.

When Rudd and Abbott claim that this is a Border Security problem they are distorting the world refugee problem into a perceived problem for the purpose of creating a political persona. Who can be the toughest in curbing the invasion from the North?

The reality is that removing the politically created distortion and acting with compassion towards refugees will do no damage to Australia, particularly to our overseas image and standing in the world community.

We pretend we care about refugee welfare and don’t want them dying at sea. Let us remember that if we had not been party to invading Iraq and Afghanistan many refugees would not know we existed.

We help invade a country, kill untold numbers of innocent civilians and advertise our supposed superior life style. We then fain concern when refugees drown trying to get here when they are displaced from their own country of problems caused in part by Australia’s actions. Australia is so hypocritical.

What about the economic problem of the ‘mining boom’ ending? If we are going to sell our minerals first we build the infrastructure and then sell the minerals. The mining boom has not ended; we are just completing the infrastructure phase.

The mining boom has been a major distortion in the Australian economy.

In WA the ‘mining boom’ meant great wealth for a few whilst the majority suffered the effects of rapidly rising rents and staggering elevations to the cost of living.

In Perth we have the phenomena of people with jobs sleeping in their cars because there they cannot find or afford accommodation. For many people it would have been better if the mining boom had not happened.

There are many social distortions in Australia that are being elevated to manufactured problems for political purposes, such as same sex marriage. Being a heterosexual male I have no desire to marry another man. What is it to do with me if other men do want to marry each other? Australia needs laws that end discrimination, not cause it.

It is a case of politicians trying to turn personal issues into political capital. If there is to be equality in Australia then it has to be total equality, not politically expedient equality.

There is one thing in Australia that I do see as a problem. That problem is that many Australians seem to be accepting of the state of Australian politics as being democratic. This is not democracy.

There is nothing democratic about the behaviour of either Rudd or Abbott. They have distorted the concept of democracy to such a degree that they have become akin to two Roman senators engaged in a bloody battle to see who will be the next Emperor. It is a contest between two men each with an insane lust for power who will turn any minor distortion into a political problem if it will buy them one vote.

Do Rudd and Abbott really represent who we are as a country? Is Australia really a place where politicians can whip up the most base of baseless non-issues into a frenzy of fear and hatred? Are Australians are so non-thinking that they can be led down non-existent paths to nowhere by the likes of Rudd and Abbott? If we are we do have a problem. A real problem.

Malcolm Fraser said last Friday that neither of the political parties deserved to win the September election. I am with you on that one Malcolm.

Abbott to create negative unemployment.

Speaking at the Australia-Israel Chamber of commerce Abbott again claimed that he would create a million jobs in two years and two million in ten years. I just don’t get it. Does this mean we have to work more than one job to fill the vacancies Abbott will create? Or do we have an unemployment rate of -2%? The only suggestion I have is that perhaps we need more boats.

 

He is going to create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. This is dangerous. We need checks and balances, even if it is more expensive. We cannot afford environmental mistakes on top of the looming environmental disaster called global warming.

 

He is also going to create a un-fundable parental leave scheme whilst at the same time reducing company tax. A summation is that he is going to increases benefits for all and reduce company taxes and personal tax at the same time.

 

The NBN will be cheaper. This is a slight of hand. The cost to the government may be a little cheaper but with every consumer paying $5000.00 for the final connection it is much dearer for Australia.

 

And so it goes on.

 

The real problem is that there are those that will believe Abbott really is the tooth fairy.

 

Abbott Has a Two Way Bet.

Abbott was very vocal about the way the government handled the economy when the Australian dollar was high and rising. It seemed it was the government’s fault that the manufacturing sector was screwed because the Australian dollar was pricing Australian manufacturing out of export markets. Not one word about the high prices the mining sector was receiving.

Now he is scathing of the government because the Australian dollar is falling and the mining industry is suffering, but no mention of the increasingly favourable conditions it is creating for our manufacturing industries.

The position that the government is damned if the dollar rises and damned of the dollar falls show that Abbotts speaks with a forked tongue and that truth or logic has no place in his rhetoric.

In Parliament today Abbott continued to attack the government over carbon pricing and totally ignored Julia Gillard when she pointed out that the government had adopted a carbon pricing scheme that was virtually the same as Abbott had supported when he was part of the Howard government leading to the 07 election.

A person who puts political expediency ahead of everything else cannot be trusted under any circumstances. This power drunk political aberration must never be Prime Minister of Australia.

Climate Change demands a new Economic Model, and that will never happen under Abbott.

The economic model the World staggers under came about as the result the meeting of Allied powers at Bretton Woods in 1944. The scheme proposed by British Maynard Keynes would have made the world economy owned by everyone, but the adopted plan, the White plan gave the world economy to American Multi-nationals.

The result was a world economy controlled and for the benefit of a few very rich interests.

Inbuilt in this system is that there has to be continuous expansion to pay for yesterdays’ greed.

That is the major problem we have when trying to get climate change under control. While we have to reduce carbon to ensure the future of the human race economies must keep expanding to avoid collapse. We must keep expanding, thus producing ever-increasing pressures on our ability to bring climate change under control.

There is never going to be lasting solutions to the problem of climate change unless one of two things must happen. First we would have to be a complete change in the technology we use to produce. The second position is to dump the economic system that dictates continuous growth as the only option. The solution would probably be a combination of both.

The current economic system has also caused untold misery for many so the dumping of the current system is desirable for many other reasons in addition to climate change.

Economics are not governed by fixed universal rules. They are designed according to particular political agendas’. Changing economic systems is no harder than a footballer deciding to change codes.

What is needed is a stable economic system where any expansions come about by population growth or by innovation that does not increase resource consumption.

We can have increased standards of living by being smarter about how we use our resources without increasing resource consumption. The enormous quantities of waste we produce is testament to how much room there is to increase living standards without increase resource consumption. Every bit of waste was produced using carbon at some point.

If the changing of economic prerogatives happens along with, and as part of, changing technologies then the human race could overcome the problem of climate change. Hopefully the adoption a new economic model would also benefit the multitudes of people around the world who are excluded from the ‘benefits’ of the current system.

Is it going to happen? I won’t be holding my breath. All that can be done is to continue a rearguard action against the unbridled greed of forces that have the agenda of pushing Tony Abbotts’ Tea Party and other extreme fundamentalist right organizations and hope that at some time in the future there can be the conditions when real economic reform can happen.

Greg Hunt solves Carbon Emission Problem

On ABC 24 this morning Greg Hunt proposes following the USA model to reduce carbon emissions.

It’s easy. Have a recession, put people out of work. Industry will not use so much power, people will not be able to afford heating or to cook and carbon emissions will fall.

Looking at the other Abbott non-policies, if Abbott wins the next election we could we could see a substantial fall in carbon emission just like in the USA.

World Suffers because America’s rich don’t like paying Taxes.

It is strange that America’s inability to understand that if they want to be a modern society with reasonable social services they have to pay taxes has such a negative affect on the world.

One of the benefits for Rupert Murdoch when he ditched Australia to become an American was that he stopped paying taxes. This might be negated to some degree if there is a change and super rich in America start paying slightly higher taxes.

There are many theories about the fall of the Roman Empire, but one that jells with me is that as the power and riches became more concentrated the ordinary citizens became disconnected and the Empire imploded. There is a real danger Western society could implode because nobody cares anymore.

America faces a real possibility of degenerating rapidly into a country where there are a few obscenely super rich whist most people live in third world condition. There will be a point where nobody cares anymore and America becomes a historical oddity like the Roman Empire.

Prince Wolkonsky, during a visit to the United States, declared that “Business is the alpha and omega of American life. There is no pleasure, no joy, no satisfaction. There is no pleasure standard except that of profit.”….

“There is everywhere comfort, but no joy. The ambition of getting more and fretting over what is lost absorb life.”

These words were written by Orison Marden in 1919 to describe a sickness he called ‘Americanitis.’ Since then it has only got worse and the problem has now spread throughout the world.

Australia has succumbed to Americanitis. Politics is now only about money, power and fear. This is fuelled by media organisations that can spread fear and despondency across Australia from the safety of their offices in New York.

Politics in Australia has become imaginary answers to imagined problems fueled by fear deliberately created in the lust for power and for the benefit of a few. Australian politics could be about creating safe, happy and secure lives for everyone, but it never will be until we find a cure for Americanitis.

I would like to see a diverse Australian owned media as a beginning. Rupert Murdoch is not an Australian. He may have been born here but made his choice to be an American. He does not qualify to be part of the Australian media. We do not need Murdoch’s press continuously creating fear and despondency as a way of creating obscene riches and power for a few.