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Jim Chalmers in Washington: It’s a Long Way from Logan City

By Denis Bright

Once again, Jim Chalmers is representing all Australians in the USA on his high-level discussions with leaders of global influence. Whether Left leaning commentators like it or not, the Anglo-American world is reasserting its global influence through the economic diplomacy of both the Biden Administration and the Conservative Government of Rishi Sunak in Britain. Australia can and should offer a different perspective as a responsible middle-power in the Indo Pacific Region on current interactions with the G20 Finance Ministers, the Central Bank Governors’ Meeting and the IMF World Bank Spring Meeting.

In the words of that old Great War Marching Song, our Jim Chalmers should be boasting to his adoring hosts that it’s a long way from Logan City to the echelons of global power and influence. If Queensland had its way on 21 May 2022, the federal LNP would still be at the helm with Labor reduced to five members out of thirty in the House of Representatives and just three senators out of twelve in the Australian Senate.

Watching Jim Chalmers responding enthusiastically to the easy to answer questions raised by Sarah Ferguson on the 7.30 Report (13 April 2023) gave me a welcome flashback to my little chores with other teacher trainees at Bremer SHS just prior to the 1963 election when I had just completed the Year 12 examinations. Scholarships were awarded at the end of year 10 and transferable to university courses after year 12.

Two teacher trainees travelled to St. Edmund’s Catholic College to retrieve stationery left over from the examinations with a best left unnamed long deceased teacher who discouraged building workers on a construction site with their enthusiasm for the Labor Party.

Bill Hayden in the largely Ipswich based seat of Oxley had just completed his first term in parliament as the snap election date approached on 30 November 1963. Oxley had been an LNP stronghold since its formation in 1949 until Bill Hayden’s victory in 1961 on a 10.8 per cent swing to Labor in primary votes and 9.4 per cent after preferences.

 

 

The election came just eight days after the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, an event Calwell claimed contributed to his loss. The government retained office comfortably, gaining ten seats from Labor, giving it 72 to the opposition’s 50 in a House of Representatives of 122 members.

Locally, Bill Hayden’s vote went against the national trend. Bill Hayden’s vote continued to increase throughout the 1960s even during the Khaki election of 1966 when Harold Holt wanted to take Australia All the Way with the USA into commitment to the Vietnam War. By 1969, Oxley was one of the safest Labor seats in Australia with a Labor primary vote of 67.1 percent.

In a case of opportunism gone astray, the decision to hold an early election in 1963 meant that a separate senate election was needed in 1964 at great cost and time-wasting for Australia’s neo-colonial guided democracy.

Menzies played his foreign policy cards in the 1963 election speech. This could be Peter Dutton today:

“We want growth and progress and security at home. For that purpose we need security abroad. We want friends and a defence policy which gets us strength and a true willingness and capacity to co-operate with our friends in the defence of the common security.

It was my Government which negotiated the ANZUS pact with the U.S.A. and New Zealand. It is of vital importance. To take an example, we have made it clear that we will defend Papua-New Guinea against attack, as if it were part of the Australian mainland. That promise of ours is, as a result of ANZUS, completely backed by the United States.

Yet the A.L.P. has never been enthusiastic about ANZUS. Its left-wingers, who have to be placated and compromised with, and who might very well dominate it in the next three years, are very uncritical of ‘Communist Imperialism’, which the world knows to be a threatening reality.”

All this was an example of Australia’s moral and later military support to the Vietnam Wars. In the first Vietnam war of the late 1940s, Chinese nationalist forces in Hainan had made port and air strips built during the Japanese occupation available for raids against Vietnam’s new socialist government by British and French forces keen on restoring the empire across Indochina. The Nationalists held on in Hainan for several months after the Chinese revolution.

In a closer relationship with the US Military Industrial Complexes announced in 1963, Australia purchased F-111 aircraft from General Dynamics. Which were delivered ten years later like the proposed AUKUS submarines of our times.

Missing from the questions raised with Jim Chalmers on the 7.30 Report (13 April 2023) was attention to the problems of Australian investment levels which are crucial to our own independent economic diplomacy in a new age of Anglo-American (AA) economic revival. Economic diplomacy should not be left to great powers. DFAT has the resources to work on such objectives which helped to obtain the cancellation of tariffs against our exports of barley to China. Hopefully barriers to wine export to China will soon be removed.

Crucial elements of this AA revival are higher interest rates and global arms sales which commenced long before the current conflicts in Ukraine.

Trading Economics (TE) shows how AA interest rates surge during difficult times to vacuum global currencies back to financial heartlands plaster over structural weaknesses in both financial hubs with the added benefits of tax evasions by multinational companies.

 

Percentage Changes in British Interest Rates (Sterling Overnight Rates)

 

Percentage Changes in US Fed Interest Rates

 

High Fed US Interest rates were a key strategy of the Reagan Administration to kick-start the US economy after the global recession of the early 1980s with the support of massive arm sales to allies in the US Global Alliance to global strategic policies and to lessen the burdens of maintaining US hegemony on taxpayers at home.

Bill Hayden’s successes in Oxley during the 1960s was always welcomed by the local electorate.

The federal LNP and its far-right allies have captured the progressive populist rhetoric which was once the forte of successful Labor members in formerly heartland seats like Leichhardt, Capricornia and Oxley in Queensland. With federal Labor reduced to five House of Representative’s members in Queensland, it is time for federal Labor to rediscover the value of this progressive populism which was also embedded in US Democratic Party Politics in the eras of William Bryan and of course the New Deal Programme of the FDR Administration (1932-45). Few are aware that the Wizard of Oz story from the USA is firmly embedded in these populist traditions of author L Frank Baum in juxtaposition with the Make American Great Again Traditions of President McKinley (1897-1901) who literally invaded countries like the Cuba and the Philippines to assist with their liberation from Spanish colonialism to incorporate them in a Greater American Global Empire.

Neoliberalism has re-formed a social cleavage in contemporary Australia which has been unlocked in the SGS Economic and Planning Indices for our cities and regions’ The federal LNP dislikes this type of discussion which is dismissed as irrelevant class politics which is really as modern as next year’s news (SBS News 22 July 2022):

“The findings released by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) on Friday found that Australia’s richest 10 per cent of households have an average household wealth of $6.1 million – almost half of the entire country’s wealth combined.

The majority of Australians remain on the lower scale of wealth, with 60 per cent of the population only pocketing 17 per cent of the country’s wealth.

In 2021, the richest 1 per cent of Australians held 50 times the wealth of the lower 60 per cent of Australians, and 11 times the wealth of the average-income household.

UNSW Director of the Social Policy Resource Centre Carla Treloar said the findings were a reminder of the stark gap between the rich and poor in Australia.

‘Once again, this report reminds us that wealth in Australia is distributed very unevenly,’ she said.”

The full Wealth Inequality reports are available online from the Australian Council of Social Service in partnership with UNSW Sydney.

Although this report is almost a year old, it is highly relevant to tomorrow’s planning by Treasury and other agencies to address the growing social divide not only in Australia but in all developed countries which cling to Thatcherite economics when alternatives are demanded by a restless electorate that wants solutions over pious rhetoric from policy leaders.

Defending Phase 3 Tax concessions are ridiculous contracts with AA military industrial complexes should be anathema to Labor governments and is also supported by the best progressive traditions in the USA itself as mentioned earlier in this article.

Washington DC maybe a long way from Logan City but as Jim Chalmers mixes with the rich and famous in Joe Biden’s administration, he will surely recall the faces in the street from his own electorate in the traditions of that US recruiting song from the Great War in which the Wilson Administration briefly participated after 1917. Its horrors were covered in the British anti-war movie from director Sam Mendes.

 

Marching Through Vladivostok 1918

Image from US National Archives

 

In a double cross with his own idealism for peace Woodrow Wilson allowed US troops to occupy Vladivostok and parts of Siberia during the Russian Civil Wilson in a multinational operation with Japanese and other allied forces.

Enjoy the American version of the recruiting song from 1917. Advocates of US global outreach should note that the US Democrat Administration was defeated after two terms in 1920 after the crisis of the Spanish flu epidemic which was brought back by returning soldiers from Europe. The Republicans soon made neoliberalism a hit again in the Roaring Twenties as William Wilson struggled with his own mental health problems in retirement prior to his death in 1924.

* * * * *

Postscript: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” is a British music hall song written by Jack Judge and co-credited to Henry James “Harry” Williams. It was allegedly written for a 5-shilling bet in Stalybridge on 30 January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Now commonly called “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, the original printed music calls it “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary”. It became popular among soldiers in the First World War and is remembered as a song of that war.

 

 

Denis Bright is a financial member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to consensus-building in these difficult times. Your feedback by using the Reply button on The AIMN site is always most appreciated. It can liven up discussion. I appreciate your little intrusions with comments and from other insiders at The AIMN. Full names are not required when making comments. However, a valid email must be submitted if you decide to hit the Reply button.

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26 comments

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  1. Benjamin

    I’d rather trust Jim Chalmer’s, than the gobshites, of the LNP / Merdecock shitrags propaganda brigade, anyday.

  2. New England Cocky

    When a country has the USA (United States of America) as an ally why do they need any other enemies?

  3. Steve Davis

    From the article – “Whether Left leaning commentators like it or not, the Anglo-American world is reasserting its global influence through the economic diplomacy of both the Biden Administration and the Conservative Government of Rishi Sunak in Britain.”
    And this – “…a new age of Anglo-American (AA) economic revival.”

    Denis is most likely far better read than me on economic matters, but my reading of current affairs is at odds with the Anglo-American economic strength implied in those two quotes.

    Nations large and small are abandoning the US dollar as quickly as possible.

    They are lining up to join the BRICS system, and even the IMF concedes that the BRICS economies are a much more powerful locomotive of world growth than the G7.

    BRICS is a natural fit for Australia. It should feature in our economic planning.

  4. Nancy

    The electorate wants substantial changes to keep everyone onside – please deliver

  5. Leila

    Australian Independence requires some risk taking. Is Jim Chalmers up to speed?

  6. Burleigh Waters

    If I was Jim Chalmers those faces in the street in Logan City would be my mentors. Those voters have made Rankin a safe seat for Labor.

  7. Sinn Fein

    Thought I might respond positively to the article with a little ditty:

    It’s a Long Way to Logan City

    It’s a long way to Logan City
    It’s a long way to go.
    It’s a long way to Logan City
    From where the Potomac flows.

    Good-bye to IMF receptions
    Farewell to World Bank deceptions
    It’s a long way to Logan City
    But my hearts right there.

    Into the Australian Embassy
    Young Jimmie came today
    To focus group with friends from Logan
    In the north-west suite today.

    Singing songs from Rankin
    Mabel Park and Berrinba East
    Young Jimmie got nostalgic
    As he said to one and all.

    It’s a long way to Logan City
    It’s a long way to go
    It’s a long way to Logan City
    To the light on the hill
    That Gough Whitlam once knew

    Good- bye neoliberal deceptions
    Farewell multinational tax scams

    It’s a long way to Logan City
    But most Australians are now
    right there.

    Don’t worry Steve, I am sure that Denis is a big fan of BRICS and renminbis as a major international currency. In some African countries, renmiinbis are used as stable currencies. The whole point of the AA interest rate regime is to cover failing economies by vacuuming the world for more capital. If our Jimmie wants to revive Labor, he is well aware of the feelings in his electorate and the disengagement of so many people from fromal politics.Britain and the US are headed for recession despite their high interest rate regimes.

  8. Burleigh Waters

    Which way will Jim Chalmers jump in liaisons with Ambassador Rudd and Albo? Who comes first? Elites in the US financial sector or the people trying to survive in places like Logan City? Unlike in 1963, the Labor heartland is less than enthusiastic about formal politics where Labor’s vote is quite soft particularly in outer metro areas and regional cities like Townsville.

    Thanks so much for the article Denis.

  9. Stephen S

    Here’s a “little intrusion” Denis. By far Chalmers’ most significant economic program is massive population growth, to crush wages, boost unemployment, reinforce housing un-affordability, and exacerbate the rental crisis. He flat-out lied about net migration in October Budget and January Population Statement, but now admits it will easily top 350,000, thrashing the 100-year Rudd-Swann record. Somehow, you can’t see this elephant.

    Reflecting voter preferences to at least some degree, Washington runs net migration at less an a third of one percent of US population. Totally ignoring voters, Australia runs at a crazy one percent. Among OECD nations, only Canada tops us. No wonder Trudeau and Albanese have a bromance.

  10. Steve Davis

    Sinn Fein, you said “I am sure that Denis is a big fan of BRICS…”

    I hope you are right, but in his article about economic history and current economic problems there was no mention of the global economic revolution taking place right now.

    Russia and China are walking away from the dog-eat-dog economic framework that is so loved by banksters, con-men and liberals, and are setting up an alternative system based on mutual prosperity.

    I’d love to get Denis’ take on this – no article required, just a few words in the comment section here.

  11. rubio@central coast

    Comments from Stephen S and andy56 to some previous articles are always welcome to increase the diversity of Left leaning comments. I would never diisagree with Stephen S’s interpretations.

    The mainstream media isolates the public from debates which are going on behind the scenes in the corridors of power and influnce as in Jim Chalmer’s interactions in the USA where the possibility of a global recession would be on the discussion list.

    Even the 7.30 Report interview with Jim Chalmers only covered interest rate and taxation options.

    The sad thing about the limitations of monetary policies is that they hit small businesses and employment: not big multinational companies whose activities are largely financed off-shore.

    Even firms like Woolworths and Coles have a very large overseas shareholding through investment funds held by overseas banks like the HSBC.

    As a more youthful Treasurer than usual, Jim Chalmers would have been trained in positive interventions like national economic planning through capital flows into infrastructure and community development funds that should be embedded into the Future Fund and the various state investment funds.

    If Queensland’s QIC can own shopping centres and office complexes in the USA, its subsidiary funds could do more for Logan City than owning the Loganlea Hypermarket.

    I support commitment to change from within the broader Labor Movement which is struggling to maintain majority government in every mainland state and territory. Criticism from outside this loop is always welcome. The Left can and should be Labor;s moral compass. In far-off Washington, Jim Chalmers will be totally emessed in neoliberal corporate opunion.

    Yes, its a long way from Ambassador’s suite at our Embassy in DC and Logan City. I like that lyrical line with its reminder of the recruiting song that sent American troops to Europe in 1917 and also to different theatres of the Civil War in Russia.

  12. rubio@central coast

    Great comments Steve David. This is the worst and the best of times. The outcomes of the current global interest rate regimes could take us further to the right but also to the left. In the short-term, opinion is still moving to the right across Europe in opinion poll soundings from Politico Poll of the Polls which is a great resource about trends in bourgoeis politics.

    https://www.politico.eu/europe-poll-of-polls/

    Germany’s SPD Coalition with the Greens has a strange bedfellow in the neoliberal FPD and not the Linke Party which just failed to win 5 percent of the vote at the last national elections.

    I cannot see too many hopeful signs from Europe.

    Some lecturers in my MBA course were quite left-leaning are fully aware of the crucial roles of corporate power in steering the global economy.

  13. Terence Mills

    Stephen

    Your reference to Chalmers overseeing a program of ‘massive population growth’ for various machiavellian reasons is fiction.

    Some facts :

    The current net migration rate for Australia in 2023 is 5.173 per 1000 population, a 4.54% decline from 2022.
    The net migration rate for Australia in 2022 was 5.419 per 1000 population, a 4.34% decline from 2021.
    The net migration rate for Australia in 2021 was 5.665 per 1000 population, a 4.16% decline from 2020.
    The net migration rate for Australia in 2020 was 5.911 per 1000 population, a 4% decline from 2019.

    For further analysis : https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/AUS/australia/net-migration

    The COVID pandemic has distorted the numbers giving the impression that we are seeing a flood of migrants arriving in Australia. To quote from the ABS :

    ‘The number of migrant arrivals in 2021-22 increased to 395,000, up from 146,000 the year before, which equates to an increase of 171 per cent. The easing of COVID-19 international travel restrictions in 2021 has driven this increase in migrant arrivals, however there were still fewer migrant arrivals than prior to the pandemic.’

    So, as you can see, the apparent significant increase in migration in 2021-2022 at 395,000 (i.e. 171 percent up on 2021-2022 which was 146.000) looks alarming but as ABS point out ‘there were still fewer migrant arrivals than prior to the pandemic’.

    https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/overseas-migration/latest-release

    I know where you are coming from but there are Lies, damned lies, and statistics” : statistics are available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, lies from Newscorp and Sky-after-dark.

  14. Stephen S

    Dear Terence: Sadly, MacroTrends and ABS, are not reliable witnesses. Forever, ABS has been a government press release, on the population question.

    Post COVID, Morrison and Albanese had just two options. They could either stop and have a good old think. Or they could use COVID itself, as an excuse to crank up net migration, for the next decade. Beyond all reasonable doubt, both chose the latter.

    For sure, Chalmers wants you to think, that his extraordinary population drive, is just “making up” for the COVID immigration freeze. But the fact remains, his 2022-23 immigration outcome, close to 400,000, will be an all-time record by far. Totally an own-goal, nobody but himself, was dictating his policy.

    In his May 2023 Budget, Chalmers will set a net-migration target, that is far beyond 200,000. He and all his apologists will all tell you, this is “situation normal”. But it is not. Historically, the average is about 80,000. Even for 2005-2020, the annual average is less than 220,000.

  15. Clakka

    I am not sure where the notion of BRICS being on the rise came from. From my (limited) reading it seems to be more an orchestrated urge by China’s investment traps of the past that has failed to achieve material advance due to the experience of those entrapped. It seems to have raised its head again, as perhaps more of a puff piece.

    To me it seems probable that Russia and China will deepen their trade / economic ties to the extent of a bloc. It may not be such a bad thing considering their geographical proximities, their resource interdependencies and technical potential. Along with their history of mistrust and failures, there is some light cast recently by their interactions, especially Xi’s 12 point plan, and what to do post the Ukraine imbroglio, when Ukraine will almost certainly align to the EU. Meantime, any notion of the BIS components of BRICS would appear to be fading, and of little efficacious purpose other than to niggle the ‘west’ (fair crack).

    Notable, particularly for Oz, is the revitalisation of the QUAD, in lock-step with ASEAN. Labor has spared no horsepower in this reinvigoration; Wong – Ms Everywhere Asia / Pacific, and Albanese throughout SE Asia, and most significantly to India. All, whilst at the same time attending to repair of the fractures with China.

    The outcomes of all these manoeuvrings will be something to behold. Albeit, the moves towards attending to continental Africa, the only part of the world where there will be substantial population growth over coming years, leaves a lot to be to be desired.

    In any case, the undercurrent of manoeuvrings appear to be evolving fast, and so they ought, to bring a more manageable equilibrium to the utter enervating mess of economic stagnation and big-chesting nonsense over the recent neocon / populist years.

    I am not sure that the predominance of USD (petro-dollar) will in any case prevail in contracts and currency exchange, particularly in light of the massive industrial change that will have to be undertaken to prevent more fossil-fuel based climate change.

    Perhaps the IMF can step up, and strengthen its criteria for membership and quotas including such matters as elimination of tax havens, and markers on environmental sustainability and criminal and institutional corruptions (including tax evasion). Perhaps then, a continuously reviewed and adjusted SDR can be used putting paid to the nonsense of false sovereign propping and manipulation of, and by, the so-called free-market exchange system. That said, only God knows where post-Brexit Britain and post-GFC USA rank in all of this.

    Whilst Utopia may account for cultures, I’m not sure about State / religious intransigence. After all, this is the hiding place of the real enemy of the people; multi-jurisdictional criminality, and corporate and institutional corruption.

  16. Steve Davis

    Clakka said “I’m not sure where the notion of BRICS being on the rise came from” and then confessed that his reading was limited.

    Well, we all suffer from that deficiency as it’s a full-time job to keep up at the moment. There’s so much happening.

    Perhaps this will help.

    Data compiled by Acorn Macro Consulting, a UK-based macroeconomic research firm , shows that “The BRICS group, comprising the world’s five major developing economies, has overtaken the Group of Seven (G7) by making up a larger share of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on purchasing power parity.”

    This has been confirmed by IMF data. With a dozen or so countries having expressed interest in joining the BRICS system, its strength will only grow.

    Clakka then referred to “China’s investment traps” but gave no evidence of these.

    Perhaps there have been cases of traps, perhaps Clakka can enlighten us, but in 2014, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) launched the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI), based in Washington, DC. In June 2020, SAIS-CARI published a report titled “Debt Relief with Chinese Characteristics.”

    From the report; “Our study found that between 2000 and 2019, China has cancelled at least US$3.4 billion of debt in Africa. There is no ‘China, Inc’…We found that China has restructured or refinanced approximately US$ 15 billion of debt in Africa between 2000 and 2019. We found no ‘asset seizures’ and despite contract clauses requiring arbitration, no evidence of the use of courts to enforce payments, or application of penalty interest rates.”

    It’s worth repeating. “China has cancelled at least US$3.4 billion of debt in Africa.”

    So it’s no wonder the Western powers now see China not merely as an economic rival, but as an enemy. The rise of China as an economic giant means that the days of the West strangling growth in the Global South, its use of debt followed by austerity to prevent development, are over.

  17. Louise

    The private sector investment multiplier is a valuable tool in economic management for a middle-sized economy.

  18. Pat

    Great references to economic diplomacy as recommended by DFAT to protect our independence in difficult times ahead.

  19. Sinn Fein Against AUKUS

    Let’s make AIM Network a united front of resistance to neoliberalism.

    Some readers will want more direct action on the streets and at public rallies, others want pressure through the Greens on Albo’s government and Labor supporters want a improvement of 2-3 percent in Labor’s primary vote particularly in Queensland and Tasmania where the LNP is stronger.

    Current opinion polls are encouraging but political sectarianism between opponent of Peter Dutton is still a big challenge.

    Political sectarianism weakens the resistance to neoliberalism. The whole of the United Front is valuable in a society where political resistance still has a weak base in the wider society as people struggle at work, meeting household payments and with identity confusion.

    I want to improve my ditty about the gulf between elite power and the streets of Logan City. When I get time I will give it another shot.

    Having walked the streets of Logan City, I am well aware of this problem. So many people in Logan City are not even on the electoral rolls and have no real political participation of a society that oppresses them with rents and housing costs while Albo’s government is poised to deliver the LNP’s Phase 3 tax cuts to the wealthiest sections of society who are well served by canny tax avoidance accountants already.

    The resistance cannot afford to base time on internal bourgeois games at such a crucial time for Australians. Readers of AIM Network are all in the game in their preferred style of resistance.

    I encountered one person in Logon who was out of a job, his partner had been swept off her feet by a younger apprentice and there were problems associated with the custody of young children. He received Centrelink assistance for rents and token social security benefits but as for politics, he was not enrolled to vote and had actually never voted.

    That’s a challenge to our political outreach. There are a million variations of the problem all over Australia.

    Peter Dutton’s rhump relishes in this political alienation with the support of One Nation in the more disadvantaged electorates.

    It is indeed a long way to Logan City from the IMF, the World Bank and the Australian embassy in the North West Suites in DC.

  20. Steve Davis

    Louise said “The private sector investment multiplier is a valuable tool in economic management for a middle-sized economy.”

    But where did this tool come from?

    “John Maynard Keynes was among the first economists to illustrate how governments can use multipliers, such as the investment multiplier, to stimulate economic growth through spending…The investment multiplier tries to determine the economic impact of public or private investment. For instance, extra government spending on roads can increase the income of construction workers, as well as the income of materials suppliers. These people may spend the extra income in the retail, consumer goods, or service industries, boosting the income of workers in those sectors.” (Investopedia)

    It’s easy to see why governments would use such an approach as governments have an interest in general welfare, but private interests have…well…private interests. So any multiplier effects from private investment that have a general benefit are purely accidental, unplanned.

    So a private investment multiplier calculation might well be potentially useful in economic management, but my question would be – is it actually used for economic management aimed at the general good? When we see radioactive waste dumped into the oceans, when we see all the other environmental and social abuses perpetrated by the private sector, my guess would be that as far as the private sector is concerned, the tool is little more than a propaganda piece.

  21. Steve Davis

    Pat said “Great references to economic diplomacy as recommended by DFAT to protect our independence in difficult times ahead.”

    That’s it. That was the comment. Short and sweet. As was the comment from Louise only 2 minutes earlier. Hmmm…

    If you check out the DFAT page it’s just a liberal dream – pure propaganda.

    For example, it begins “Australia’s economic diplomacy agenda is guided by four pillars: 1. TRADE – Pursuing trade liberalisation…”

    How could we argue with that? What could be better than trade liberalisation? It sounds so warm and fuzzy! Except it conceals a lie. No nation ever developed a strong economy by removing protections. US agriculture is a good example of the development that can be achieved through protection. And as J K Galbraith pointed out, a rural economy cannot develop high-tech processes without protection.

    Point 1 continues “…through bilateral, regional and global trade agreements that open up new markets for Australian exporters and sustain a strong, rules-based architecture for global trade.”

    Once again, this conceals an inconvenient truth.

    Global trade agreements are the latest tool used by the powerful to maintain dominance. As for the “rules based architecture”, the ink had not dried on the NAFTA agreement back in the nineties when US tomato growers complained that they would be unable to compete with Mexican growers and so had protections installed.

    Check out the DFAT page. This is where your taxes are going;

    https://www.dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/trade-investment/trade-at-a-glance/trade-at-a-glance-2015/Pages/economic-diplomacy

  22. Phil Pryor

    Steve D has pushed me to reread some Galbraith and others, for Chalmers faces many problems on many fronts, with emerging greater inflation rates clearly a danger to many, especially mortgage payers. Australia’s productivity is now poor and may stay so, according to Dr. Henry. To increase our already high capacity, investments must rise, and that will fuel demands before flows actually increase. Infationary price increases occur and we are a bit of a cat chasing its tail, as in housing. Increasing production, higher wages, controlled prices in some way, will not necessarily harness and control inflation. We have not invested well or adequately in non mining areas locally. A near decade of conservative inadequacy and, often utter stupidity, has seen debt rise for no gain, Most people are stranded financially over time, without real levels rising and many now face serious shorter term problems with interest rates upping. A threat of austerity, even recession, would see hardship as demand falls, for then prices might fall, but slowly. That does not help the already ruined. The current rent/price/mortgage/profit spiral is hurting. Victims realise that most of us cannot just raise our incomes…

  23. Clakka

    Yeah thanks Steve Davis for your further info (advice to me & otrs) on BRICS. My ‘limited reading’ focussed as a starting point on the wikipedia on BRICS:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRICS

    And it is interesting to read (from there) a contemporary (Nov 2022) commentary from Forbes:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/tilakdoshi/2022/07/21/brics-in-the-new-world-energy-order-hedging-in-oil-geopolitics/?sh=122d9cb124bf

    Per my original comment, I remain sceptical of the future rise of BRICS, and for that matter the current USD (petro-dollar) based exchange. For that matter, both BRICS and the USD based G7 are both petro-dollar based, and to that extent have a limited life relative to the necessity for decarbonisation of industry. I also note that the countries aspiring to join BRICS appear predominantly interested for the purpose of a fossil-fuel hedge – for however long that remains relevant or workable, particularly in light of the revitalisation of the QUAD / ASEAN.

    Since the protraction of Covid, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it’s been like watching a rapid-fire shifting of the deckchairs, and in my view the govts all know that the lego-world of blocs needs to settle to a functional detente – pronto.

    It seems to me that most of the division drums and war drums are by sensation seeking / creating snarky journalists, editors and MSM barons to slake self-interest bias, happy to drink the blood of fear and leverage off the neo-religious creative destructionist nut jobs.

  24. Steve Davis

    Clakka, thanks for the response, and for the link to the Forbes article.

    As you say, “it’s been like watching a rapid-fire shifting of the deckchairs,” and things have become more positive for BRICS even since the Forbes article, with China brokering a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with Russia getting Turkiye and Syria to talk, but negative in just the last few days with S Africa looking as though it might cave to US pressure.

    You said “…in my view the govts all know that the lego-world of blocs needs to settle to a functional detente – pronto.”

    I wish I was as positive as you on that. I see the US desperate to cling to dominance and treating diplomacy with contempt, but only time will tell.

    You said ” BRICS and the USD based G7 are both petro-dollar based, and to that extent have a limited life relative to the necessity for decarbonisation of industry.”
    I certainly agree that the petro-dollar has a limited life, but that is one of the features driving BRICS, for which they will have a plan, but again, only time will tell if they can dodge the fallout from the demise of the USD.

    But there’s one thing we can both be sure of – the US cannot dodge the demise of the USD. BRICS on the other hand, because of the cooperation written into the structure, could emerge pretty much unscathed relative to the West.

    A fascinating aspect to this is the countries like S Africa and India trying to have a foot in both camps, and no doubt others will try the same trick.

    Cheers, Steve

  25. Florence nee Fedup

    We don’t have to take to the streets to bring Neoliberalism down. We have to do as we have for the last few elections, don’t vote for them. It is a shame though they are such slow learners. IMO means they will disappear into the ashes quicker.

  26. Sinn Fein Against AUKUS

    My new version of the Treasurer’s Lament from Washington DC in the Best and Worst of Times

    A Treasurer’s Lament from Policy Discussions in Washington D.C. with Global Policy Elites

    It’s a Long Way to Logan City

    It’s a long way to Logan City
    It’s a long way to go.
    It’s a long way to Logan City
    From where the Potomac flows.

    Good-bye to corporate think tanks
    Farewell to No tax scams
    it’s a long way to Logan City
    But Labor’s hearts right here.

    Into the Australian Embassy
    Young Jimmie came today
    To focus with friends from north of Logan
    On modifications to the new embassy building
    Definitely reminders of Downtown Woodridge
    Hurried lunches at Hungry Jack’s and Taco Bell
    With high speed rail to Coolangatta Airport
    On the line that the state LNP once closed.

    Singing songs from Rankin
    Mabel Park and Kingston Town,
    Young Jimmie got nostalgic
    Old Convict’s Lament, the bad days of Captain Logan, the tyrant
    And the possibility of New Voices on behalf of Indigenous Australians.

    So, it’s always a long way to Logan City
    It’s a long way to go
    It’s a long way to Logan City
    To the light on the hill
    That the broader Labor movement still knows.

    Good-bye opportunism
    Dances with lobbyists and naval admirals
    Young Jimmie was soon longing for sunny ecosystems back home
    As Mayo’s Joe Biden heads back from neutral Ireland
    Laden with homespun common-sense
    About the perils of AUKUS subs and B-52 transits off-limits in Ireland
    And perhaps in the Land of Oz soon.

    Be at home and at peace Young Jimmie
    And put Logan on my Oz itinerary
    Even though its It’s a long way to Logan City
    It’s a long way to go.
    It’s a long way to Logan City
    From the land of Greenback capital flows.

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