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Capitalism isn’t democracy

tax

Photo: signgenerators.com

Capitalism is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations.

Democracy is government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

In our current political climate, these systems have become incompatible. When governments put the interest of private corporations first they can no longer adequately protect the rights of ordinary citizens or the interests of future generations and the environment.

Political institutions function in a world in which power is linked to property. Economic power can affect democracy, but the masses cannot infiltrate the bastions of capitalism. The wealthy have been able to buy power and distort democracy to suit their agenda where the interests of the few have overwhelmed the interests of the many.

The Right would have us believe that “small” government is best and that only privatization, deregulation, and tax cuts can save us. In a capitalist democracy, the state is a dispenser of many valuable prizes. Whoever amasses the most political power wins the most valuable prizes. The rewards include property rights, friendly regulators, subsidies, tax breaks, and free or cheap use of the commons. The notion that the state promotes “the common good” is sadly naive.

Profit-maximizing corporations dominate our economy. The only obvious counterweight is government, yet government is dominated by these same corporations. Corporations are decimating their old adversary, unions, and have turned the media into their mouthpiece.

Unlike many other countries, we have very few restrictions on paid political advertising and donations to political parties and lobby groups. As politicians have increasingly turned to advertising, image consultants, and spin doctors (like the odious Mark Textor), and begun forming policy on the basis of polls, the influence of donors and message control has grown.

Where are the politicians who have the courage to stand up to these corporations and the obscenely rich individuals whose wealth has been growing at an exponential rate while so much of humanity languishes in poverty? Where are the elected representatives who will make decisions for the common good and the future?

Unless corporations can be convinced to be driven by something other than profit, which is highly unlikely, we must have government regulation to protect us and to provide the services and safety net that will lift the well-being of all Australians. And we must have someone who has the chutzpah to demand a fair go.

39 comments

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  1. edward eastwood

    You wont get any argument from me Kaye. Where indeed are the politicians of substance?

  2. Dissenter

    Thanks Kaye for this Timely reminder. This afternoon I watched the Contrarians- all right wing people of varying persuasions and the only subject seemed to be that if a business is not profitable then it is not sustainable and should be sold to someone who can invest and make it profitable and that goes for farms in drought. It does not matter to them who buys the unprofitable business all that matters is that it is made profitable because THEN THE ECONOMY GROWS.
    THis was RAMMED home ad nauseum. In all of this there is no realisation that having certain skillsets is essential for the country’s defence interests ( such as high tech manufacturing skills) or that there might ever be a time that Australia might need to consider its own defence.

    Well this is not intended to be alarmist BUT DID everyone see the news where the 3 CHINESE warships were on manoeuvres in the Indian ocean?? Just a reminder that they are there!

    Why are we focussing on economic management WHEN we should be focussing on GOVERNMENT?
    GOVERNING in the best interests of the Australian population.

    I have decided to ACCEPT the socialist view that the ABBOTT government is a Trojan horse and that is their purpose. To allow the sale and takeover of as many businesses as possible by global interests.
    Government should be REGULATING AND CONTROLLING foreign ownership and STIMULATING growth and prosperity for all Australians yet all we have heard so far is CUTS, Live within our means and Austerity.

    The politicians of substance are there and they will BE OPPOSING this SELLOUT of Australia. BRING IT ON.
    I have now been asked for financial donation to the SA campaign and IT IS AS IMPORTANT as the federal opposition campaign. For every state that we can turn to LABOR is a state that can block this process of SELL SELL SELLSELL.

  3. jasonblog

    Excellent article –

    I’ve spent a bit of time today following up on similar ideas as expressed in this blog-post. The Transnational Institute have some excellent gear in regards to what’s happening to democracy globally http://www.tni.org/

    The curious thing about Australian politics is that the Liberal Party is a minority party that can only form government by coalition with another minority party, the Nationals. The hard-core neo-liberal agenda of Abbott & co is fundamentally at odds with what are still essentially agrarian socialists at the Nats.

    The relationship between the Libs & Nats is one to watch out for. If the Nats were serious about acting in the interests of their constituents they would act with a spine and behave like a true independent political party. I suspect regional Australia will soon wake up to the rent-seeking by National Party pollies…

    The death of democracy in Australia is hard to pin-point, but the infiltration of Gina Rinehart into a position of influence in the National Party is probably a starting point. Also the corruption of News Corp another.

    I have a feeling that Marx said something about democracy being disliked by capitalist because democracy leads to socialism… certainly Marx believed that capitalism would eventually devour itself and be the cause of its own ruin. That is why essentially capitalism should be regulated. It is actually in the capitalists best interests to occasionally redistribute wealth so as to avoid social collapse and rioting.

  4. doctorrob54

    Was it not Churchill who said words to the effect,”just talk to the average voter for five minutes and you’ll realize why democracy doesn’t work.

  5. Kaye Lee

    When Joe Hockey says everyone in Australia must do the heavy lifting, is that everyone except politicians and executives?

    There is a group of workers whose conditions far exceed the perks at SPC Ardmona that were described by prime minister Tony Abbott as “extremely generous” and nominated as a reason the Commonwealth refused the company’s request for a co-investment grant.

    Perks available to this lucky group include a round the world first class fare for themselves and their spouse, with accommodation and expenses, every year, as well as allowances to buy any books and publications they want and generous airfares and travel allowances with a very broad definition of the “work” they need to be doing to qualify. And, guess what, they get to determine a lot of the guidelines and rules for the perks themselves. This group of workers is of course federal politicians.

    And then there are their paymasters. The top 100 CEOs had, on average, a base pay of $1.95m and an average bonus of $1.31m on top of that.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/14/spc-shiny-tin-allowance-nothing-next-to-pollie-perks-ceo-bonuses

  6. Matters not.

    Interesting article Kaye and like all interesting articles certain questions spring to ‘mind’. For a start a small dose of conceptual clarity:

    Economic power can affect democracy

    Perhaps that’s an understatement. While economic power will always ‘affect’ democracy (if it didn’t the ‘power’ concept would no longer be useful and would fall into disuse), but economic power shouldn’t ‘effect’ democracy as it currently does.

    Economic power can ‘effect’ the democratic process in a number of direct and indirect ways. Directly, some people pay representatives to vote a certain way. (Quite common in local government in Australia and at all levels of government in many countries such as China). Indirectly, because others bring ‘pressure’ (often in the form of media campaigns – hello Rupert) to cause a certain outcome. BTW, Rupert isn’t paying monies directly to Tony (Abbott) at the moment. Not that it rules out monetary rewards at a future date. Witness the history of Tony Blair, until he and Wendy became too close.

    But I digress. Then again the ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ concepts can overlap. Take the case of Edward (“Eddie”) Moses Obeid – he both ‘affected’ and ‘effected’ the democratic processes.

  7. Howard Miller

    Keep up the good work, Kaye, pound away at the bastions of enslavement? BUT according to Startrek you will have to wait until 2030 and survive another World War to see the end of money. Then we have to invent Warp Drive, find a source of Titanium, et al., I won’t make it or if I do I probably won’t know what is going on anyway? A future without megalomaniacs accumulating all the money, that could be different.?
    Economic power has so far cost the Planet untold millions of human lives, dragged even more millions of human beings into pain and distress, it must eventually become unfashionable, everything else has. I can’t wait until it does?
    Let’s stick it up the monsters right now.?

  8. Kaye Lee

    Live long and prosper \//

  9. johnward154

    During the last third of the 19th century, “Corporations confronted the law at every turn,” according to Harvard law professor Lawrence M. Friedman. “They hired lawyers and created whole law firms. They bought and sold governments.” Courts began creating legal doctrines to protect corporations and corporate property, subverting charter law and constitutional amendments.
    In hundreds of cases decided in the latter half of the 19th century, judges declared that the corporate rate of return on investments (i.e., profit) was corporate property and, hence, could not be meddled with by citizens or by their elected representatives.
    These judges gave certain corporations, such as railroad, mining and manufacturing companies, the power of eminent domain — the right to take private property with minimal compensation to be determined by the courts. They eliminated jury trials to determine corporation-caused harm and to assess damages. Workers, the courts also ruled, were responsible for causing their own injuries on the job. This came to be called the “assumption of risk.”
    Judges created the “right to contract” doctrine, which stipulates that the government cannot interfere with an individual’s “freedom” to negotiate with a corporation for wages and working conditions. Former George Washington University law professor Arthur Selwyn Miller called the creation of the right to contract doctrine “one of the most remarkable feats of judicial law-making this nation has seen.”
    Responding to banking, shipping, railroad, manufacturing and agribusiness corporations and their lawyers, judges creatively interpreted the commerce and due process clauses of the US Constitution. Inventing the concept of “substantive due process,” they ruled that laws passed as a result of widespread citizen organizing — e.g., state wage and hours laws, fees and rates for grain elevators and railroads — were unconstitutional.
    Judges also established the “managerial prerogative” and “business judgment” doctrines, giving corporations legal justification to arrest workers’ civil rights at factory gates and to blockade democracy at boardroom doors.
    The biggest blow to citizen constitutional authority came in 1886. The US Supreme Court ruled in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad [[118 U.S. 394], that a private corporation was a “natural person” under the US Constitution, sheltered by the 14th Amendment, which requires due process in the criminal prosecution of “persons.” Following this ruling, huge, wealthy corporations were allowed to compete on “equal terms” with neighborhood businesses and individuals. “There was no history, logic or reason given to support that view,” Supreme Court Justice William 0. Douglas wrote 60 years later.
    Within just a few decades, appointed judges had redefined the “common good” to mean the corporate use of humans and the Earth for maximum production and profit — no matter what was manufactured, who was hurt or what was destroyed. Corporations had obtained control over resources, production, commerce, jobs, politicians, judges and the law. Workers, citizens, cities, towns, states and nature were left with fewer and fewer rights that corporations were forced to respect.

  10. Kaye Lee

    When I have said “back to the 50s” I meant the 1950s. That history lesson makes me wonder if we are headed back even further. Should I invest in canaries and head lamps? or are we just using machines and 457 visa workers to go “down pit” nowadays?

    I have heard so many ridiculous arguments proffered to excuse corporate welfare to our richest. They seem to think because they build some roads that we should not ask them to pay the same taxes normal workers are paying on fuel. The fact that they are polluting our atmosphere and raping our nation is supposed to go unnoticed. The fact that the vast majority of the profit they make goes to overseas investors is also supposed to go unnoticed Do you think those overseas shareholders care what happens here as long as their profit is maximised?.

    Let’s give Gina and Twiggy some more help, let’s axe the mining tax, and let’s give them advisory roles so they can tell us how to make them richer. Perhaps a special tax zone up North? Lord knows, making billions a year on the back of the labour of others is tough work.

  11. Stephen Tardrew

    Ordinary people often do not know what they are afraid of however they are kept in a perpetual state of fear by the machinery of power that prints the money; owns the homes; controls the means of production and the financial sector as well as the government. Furthermore they can terminate your job when they damn well like. Democracy anybody?

    Constant war and conflict. NCIS and the appalling retributive viciousness of program like Law and Order, the promotion of torture by 43, continual stories of cruel and viscous alien invaders, glorification of police and the military while the chances of ever being involved in a terrorist attack are so remote it is laughable. And then there is fundamentalist religion to add icing to the cake. Remember the main fear in life is the fear of death and much of life is about avoiding its skeletal carapace and impending nihilism. In his seminal book the Denial or Death Ernest Becker got much right about aggrandizement of military, sports, actors, elites, political heroes etc. as cultural archetypes for immortality.

    The constant theme here is fear. Democracy should be built on mutual support safety and security however what we have now is a punitive system that will destroy you if you do not conform. Even if you do conform and be a model capitalist citizen you can loose your job, house, car and security in a flash. That is the security capitalism gives you. This is the weapon that keeps many people in a state of hyper vigilance ripe for exploitation by the unscrupulous oligarchs who wish to make us conform.

    All those holidays we go on all the pictures we take, all the memories we accumulate are so much confetti on ocean of time. They are gone never to return and no amount of wishing and hoping will make them recur. We are victims of a great con job in which we are encouraged to spend resources on worthless commodities that no longer exist. Even our memories are largely fabrications.

    Worse still much of this goes on the in the subconscious mind while the exemplars and metaphors of anxiety are kept just far enough in the public domain to be a threat and thus prevent critical thinking. There is nothing wrong with the average voter it is the causal contributors of oligarchic power and control that prevents people from thinking.

    There are heaps of really good people out there doing there best often against the odds. They are not stupid or ignorant they are simply misinformed. My fourteen years working in a foundry with a great bunch of people from a broad variety of nations demonstrated to me how good people can be and how the daily grind and threats of financial difficulty hang over their heads. When some idiot offers them a lolly with kind words while carrying a sword behind his back they are not prepared to defend themselves.

    Progressives must learn to trust the people and be inclusive if we are to change hide bound beliefs and attitudes. We may as well forget it if we don’t believe that most people are basically good people struggling through the confusing irrationality and paradox that is life and politics.

    No capitalism is not democracy. Capitalism is impersonal and self focused. Democracy is communitarian in the sense that we share our lives on this planet as cooperative organism reliant upon each other for a sustainable and worthwhile future. This is not idealism it is what most people want however they just do not know how to get there.

  12. doctorrob54

    A good argument for striving for a Socialist system.We either live in a society,where the rule of law is applied across the board,equally,or we live by the law of the jungle.Choose,I don’t care anymore.

  13. Hmm...

    It is funny, because Labor wants to give big multinational companies corporate welfare bailouts (SPC, Qantas, Ford, Holden, Toyota), yet made single mothers were moved to the new-start allowance.

    Doesen’t get more socialist than that!

  14. Stephen Tardrew

    Whoops ‘their’.

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    Where are ya John. Just went to the guardian and low and behold Abbot was a nice furry cat. Ripper mate.

  16. doctorrob54

    Moving single mothers to new-start was a major blunder,which they have admitted and should be rectified immediately.

  17. unbiased

    I loved Animal Farm, it would be awesome if society was just exactly like it. Socialism always works and never becomes corrupt…

  18. Stephen Tardrew

    Doctorrob I am pretty fed up with isms there is always the chance of some other power crazed individuals turning socialism to their ends. The Russian Revolution and Stalinism come to mind. China is slightly different since before the revolution got underway Chou en Lie attempted to negotiate with US diplomats, much to the horror of secretary of state John Foster Dallas who adamantly rejected any kind of communication or negotiation. In fact those diplomats were treated harshly when they returned to the US. Edgar Snows Red China Today is a great read.

    Market economies are currently the best models for management of resources so that people can work for adequate returns by producing goods for a reasonable profit to investors. Power needs to be distributive and local as suggested by Jeremy Rifkin “The Third Industrial Revolution” and in the financial sector regulated effectively to stop unreasonable inequality as suggested by Robert Reich, Jeff Sachs, Robert Stieglitz et al. There is an even better model outlined by inventor and technologist Jacques Fresco in his Venus Project but that will take some time for the technology to evolve so that self-replicating machines can take the drudgery out of life. His idea of a cashless society is certainly possible.

    Ray Kurzweil’s demonstration that technology is growing exponentially which means we may get there sooner than later. Morally based General Artificial Intelligence and cybernetics will add another layer of potentiality to radically reform society. Virtual reality will most certainly change how we perceive ourselves and the dynamic possibilities available in subjective space.

    We simply have to get past this autonomic fear to modify the amygdala to be less emotionally reactive and more rational with the caveat that we dampen down fear and enhance happiness, joy, peace and aesthetic sensibilities. Rob Dietz and Dan O’Niell discuss how to build a sustainable economy in their book ‘Enough is Enough”. There are some great innovative ideas out there so we do not have to fall back onto worn out cliches of past epochs.

  19. Möbius Ecko

    I wish people would actually look at the policy and what Gillard said at the time instead of continuously and mindlessly spruiking out of context the move of some single mothers to Newstart.

    I’ve posted the quotes and sources before and won’t repeat myself.

  20. Kaye Lee

    I know how you feel ME

    For the record, yet again, it was Howard that moved single parents onto Newstart but he only did it for new applicants which led to a system where some people got the parenting pension until their child was 16 but for those who applied after a certain date they faced the new rules. Gillard removed that inequity making it the same rules for all rather than different rules depending on when you applied.

  21. Kaye Lee

    “But the miners thought they knew a bit about more than just how to dig holes and demand subsidies. They also had strong views about the broader economy, the best way to design a tax system and the fairest way to redistribute the benefits of a mining boom. As it turns out, they thought the best way to help the economy and spread the benefits of the mining boom was just to let them hang on to all of it.

    Political debate in Australia is broken. There are no rules. There is no blow that is too low. There is no sanction for lying or character assassination and there are enormous advantages to simply shouting louder than anyone else. Groups with privileged access to political power and the money to run large campaigns are distinctly advantaged, in the short term at least, using their money to silence public debate and leapfrog over democratic process.”

    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/poor-the-losers-in-class-war-hypocrisy-20140214-32rm4.html#ixzz2tKvTXHSB

  22. Möbius Ecko

    Also Kaye Lee, and this is the important thing, in her speech on moving those single mothers to Newstart and getting rid of the inequity, Gillard quite plainly and lucidly stated that Newstart was inadequate and needed to be fixed.

    Gillard made plain it was her intention to look at Newstart with the aim of making it better for all those on it. Then the Labor party got cold feet on the back of a string of polls and a vicious media campaign against Gillard that constantly distorted those Gillard policies and statements they didn’t ignore. So successful were their distortions that even LNP opponents repeat many to this day.

    Ironically the one thing the right wing media at the time didn’t distort or fabricate was Gillard’s statement on Carbon Pricing, with Ltd News pieces and a right wing commentator correctly and in context reporting Gillard’s statement and that the plan was to price carbon, not bring in a tax.

    It was only afterwards that Gillard’s statement of a carbon tax was used against her and it appears to stem from badgering by Koch on Channel 7. There is also evidence of the usual TV media cutting bits out of interviews to make something look good or bad in line with what they want to portray and one video that would have confirmed what she did say that has disappeared.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of the Kochs…..

  24. Dissenter

    The TPP is apparently to be signed next week in Singapore. This is the Capitalist threat to democracy which SHOULD NOT BE UNDER Rated.
    Presume most of you would have received the petition from Sum of us like I have but if not just to let you know it is there.

  25. cornlegend

    Tony Abbott’s trade minister is about to sign a secret, global pact to allow corporations to sue the Australian government for billions — just for passing laws to protect our health or the environment.

    The secret meeting in Singapore is happening next week. Tony Abbott wants us to believe the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is all about getting a better deal for ordinary Australians. But the truth is that it could end up being one of the biggest corporate power grabs in a generation.

    Abbott and his cronies are refusing to make the deal public (although corporate lobbyists seem to be getting the inside track) — making it hard to know just what’s in the TPP. But leaks so far indicate this is bad news. That’s why Tony Abbott wants it to stay confidential — he’d prefer to quietly sign away our rights without a big fuss.

    This deal is too important to leave to the politicians: it could affect the lives of Australians for generations to come.

    http://action.sumofus.org/a/australia-tpp/?akid=3955.954890._ReTRN&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=1

  26. Kaye Lee

    Oh yes we can’t increase Newstart cause it would cost too much.

    “One of the fastest growing areas of government expense is the enormous cost of tax concessions for so called ”self-funded retirees”.

    Not only does Treasury estimate that ”self-funded” retirement will soon cost the budget $35 billion per year, they estimate that about 30 per cent of the benefits of that scheme go to the wealthiest 5 per cent of income earners.

    Bizarrely, not only do low-income earners get no benefit from the current design of the $35 billion program, thanks to this government they will actually pay more tax on their contributions to their superannuation than they do on their modest incomes. But, when the Coalition announced its intention to scrap the low income superannuation contribution – a scheme designed to prevent low-income earners paying more tax on their super than they do on their wages – again, there were no cries of class warfare.

    And then there is the Schoolkids Bonus, the Income Support Bonus and measures to support small business. We are told that all of these ”entitlements” have to go, all casualties of the Coalition’s war on ”the age of entitlement” and the ”burgeoning budget deficit”.

    But while the Coalition conceals its attacks on those with the least behind the flimsy veil of economic austerity and libertarian philosophy, at the same time, they are committed to spend $5.5 billion every year on a paid parental leave scheme that provides up to $75,000 to women at the top of the income distribution.”

  27. Stephen Tardrew

    As for the TPP there is no law or agreement that is not immutable from change so lets think of future solutions if these fools sign onto this corporate free lunch.

  28. johnlord2013

    Remarkably concise, truthful and to the point.

  29. hannahquinn

    Reblogged this on The Kettle Press and commented:
    This is why I have never been drawn to the Right, despite the many failings in the Left – which at times has seen my vote Green. However, I cannot remember a time, after 50 years of following politics, when democracy in Australia, even in the free world, has been more at risk by corporations. We are at the point end of capitalism where fewer have more power over the greatest number of people. If we go down the path of TPPs, which Abbott seems keen to do, we will lose really lose sovereignty. TPPs allow any company or government of a country to be taken to a secret court, offshore, and where the outcome is not only secret, but penalties are paid to an offshore corporation, and even all logos, business tradition, even language is up for grabs. By attacking the unions, something conservatives are inclined to do, but never with such vehemence as now, say goodbye to any protections to conditions, minimum wages, even O&HS. Anything which will ‘risk’ or ‘minimise’ corporate power and profit will be wiped out. Is this truly the Australia, the World you want or will accept living in? Even Americans and US companies are against TPPs. If we allow the multi-nationals to have all the power, yes, ALL the power, we will be little more than cogs in their machine, easily replaced if we run even a little out of synch. This is a very serious issue and we are being told little to nothing about it. Don’t sit by and let it happen.

  30. Stephen Tardrew

    Worth repeating Kaye.

    “Political debate in Australia is broken. There are no rules. There is no blow that is too low. There is no sanction for lying or character assassination and there are enormous advantages to simply shouting louder than anyone else.”

    Should be up in neon lights. This is what happens when there are no rules, no sanctions, against personal diatribes and unreasonable vilification of others. Again the free will monster raises its ugly head. In a causally contiguous universe where there are no material grounds for free will the notion that free speech means anything is absurd. This is where subjective magic and mythology clash with empirical facts allowing anybody to believe any nonsense possible. Few are willing to confront free speech because it is automatically assumed from birth that people have a right to think, believe and say what they like. This is all well and good as long as the foundational axioms of human behavior are framed in terms of discoverable facts rather than subjective dogmatism. We are yet to deal with this problem in any meaningful ways though philosophers have considered these difficulties for centuries.

    This is also how science can be easily disrespected and though science does not have all the answers at least it sets the grounds for reasonable discourse. Creativity in subjective space that produces great art and literature provides a forum for free association and unbridled imagination however the facts of the material universe are much less giving. Do unto others as one would have done unto oneself is one of the great foundational principles of metaphysics and philosophy yet many do the opposite Do unto others then f* off. Empathy and compassion are the glue that will hold society together in the future not rampant bias and abuse. The belief in free will is promoted by those who want power and control and it works to their advantage to propagate lies. Spiel any bull in the name of free speech.

    I don’t think the solution lies in rules and sanctions but more in the willingness of people to be civil and reasonable. Education is, of course, the monkey in the room.

  31. cassilva48

    Tony and his mates are simply feathering their nests for when they will be in that tax bracket in retirement.

  32. Kerri

    Has nothing been learnt from the histories of France and other countries, whose only hope for the masses was revolution. I seriously hope Australia will never stray into revolution and violence as a means of forcing the wealthy to pay their due with the many. As a means of forcing Hockey, Abbott et al to care for all Australians and allow everyone a fair go. The unions seek to gain a fair days pay for a fair days work and their only power to do so is via a cooperative effort from those on the lowest rung of the profit ladder. Wealthy Australians, like Twiggy Forrest, pretend to care for those less fortunate, but their charity is very much slanted to their benefit and besides, who wants their charity? I can accept never gaining their wealth without the head start they all have, but, they should not be given so many benefits to exponentially increase their wealth while others back at the starting gate are shackled with Government imposed impediments to increasing their personal wealth. We, the many have the power via our vote, but it would appear thatthe many were conned by Abbott et al and so we are stuck in a rapid decrease of personal rights brought about by those too complacent or too lazy to properly research their vote. A sad sad state.

  33. diannaart

    Excellent work Kaye Lee.

    People may find the following of interest:

    Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

    Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization are global decisions, policies, and practices. These are typically influenced, driven, or formulated by the rich and powerful. These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors such as multinational corporations, institutions, and influential people.

    http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty

    The wealthy continue to blame the poor for being poor – saves on thinking.

  34. abbienoiraude

    I really really appreciated this piece you wrote here. Just clarified a lot of what I had been pondering. Thank you again Kaye.

    I am disappointed that the ‘equity’ of Gillard putting sole parents ( usually mothers) onto Newstart was not ‘equity’ at all. It went backwards. Mother’s are not like ‘unemployed’ people, they have a job already. It should have been retained at 16 years of age….anyone having a teenager would know that that is important…then our society wonders at the ‘lost and confused, angry and bored’ teenager on the streets.(!?)

    Just because your child is at school does not mean your ‘work’ is on hold. The ignorance of what a parent does is so frustrating.
    Being a carer is a ‘full time job’ but that will be the next group to be put on ‘Newstart’….’make ’em look for work’. Well if you would like to be a carer for a week and tell me it is not a job then you have no idea.

    Newstart is inadequate for a single person. Newstart is not appropriate for a sole parent for they are not ‘single’. Newstart is the next step for DSP recipients and we are in for a doozy of a time. Do we choose food, medicine, seeing our specialist, or being able to afford petrol to get to the appointments? Not much of a choice.

  35. mars08

    “…there’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
    ~Warren Buffett, 2006.

  36. Simon Cordingley

    Come to Finland to see how it works.

  37. Stephen Tardrew

    Diannaart. Thanks Global Issues is a great site with resources for students and general consumption. Much we need to know about poverty and inequality.

  38. DC

    Great Article Kay, I agree with everything you say. The rulers of the global capitalist world who are politically active are subverting democracy because the people are letting them get away with it due to ignorance. The result is that more and more of the planet’s finite and renewable resources are controlled by an ever smaller minority. The losers are everyone else (even the upper middle class) but mostly future generations. It all traces back to voter ignorance. Those who can see what is happening are in the minority.

    Capitalism itself is not the problem, it is the subversion of democracy and media by capitalist institutions that is the problem. Political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls it ‘Inverted totalitarianism’.

  39. al loomis

    representative democracy is an oxymoron. it’s a whitewash phrase to disguise elective oligarchy from the chooks. since even ‘progressive’ elements of society have bought the scam, real progress is impossible. orwell explained this process clearly when talking about doublethink and newspeak, but apparently no one was paying attention.

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