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The Race Towards Feudalism

By Christian Marx

The ultimate conservative manifesto has always been to make the rich wealthier.

This can only come at the expense of weakening the middle class and attacking social services. The extreme side of the conservative party (in Australia at least) is run by the hard-right crypto Fascists. This rag tag bunch of psychopaths is primarily supported by the free market, hard right “think tank” the Institute of Public Affairs.

These zealots call themselves “classical liberals”. They believe in virtually no government beyond defence and protecting private property. Classic Liberals believe that mankind is egocentric and coldly calculating. Classical Liberals were the architects of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. This drastically limited the provision of social assistance. They saw poverty as a weakness and inevitable. “They believed the population would outstrip food production and they regarded that consequence desirable, because starvation would limit population growth”.

One can see from the above that these people are evil. They care absolutely nothing for those who may fall on hard times, and indeed are actively engaged in the decimation of social services in order to transfer wealth to their corporate backers.

Below are the chief ways of wealth transference in the race toward Feudalism.

Erosion of Social Services

We see this in almost every Western nation. Lies are spread about the government being in horrible debt. (In Australia a government can NEVER become insolvent as it owns and controls the production of money). The media also propagates this ruse in a bid to get people to vote in extreme austerity policies. These include huge cuts to healthcare, education, and the stagnation of unemployment benefits, pensions and carers’ benefits.

Globalisation

More and more labour and services are being outsourced. This is largely at the behest of large corporations in order to source and exploit cheap and unethical labour. A first world country cannot compete with a third world country like India, so this becomes a race to the bottom in terms of wages and conditions. Interestingly CEOs of said companies are earning ever growing amounts beyond the realm of sanity. Some of these spiders could earn enough to feed a third world nations populace for a year!

Added to this insult is the fact the CEO gets paid more for attacking his own workers conditions and wages as this increases the bottom line for the company’s shareholders.

Privatization of Public Services

This is a huge wealth distribution mechanism. Politicians work in conjunction with key players in big business to weaken and make public services inefficient by starving them of government funding. This in turn makes the populace bewildered and angry, leading to them blaming the government and actively voting against their best interests in favour of privatization.

As a result of the failing services, together with the mainstream media propaganda machine, big business is able to deceive the public into believing that private ownership will save the service and make it more efficient. This is a total lie, as history proves time and again that when a public asset is sold, prices skyrocket, maintenance is nonexistent and executive salaries balloon. Added to this, profit is the sole motivation as opposed to the community good.

By running a service into the ground, the government then sell the very valuable asset to a private company in a fire sale. Not only is the business usually a major donor or staunch supporter of the political party who sells the asset, they also are involved in the THEFT of a public asset, knowing full well that the average voter will be paying far more for a service, which they and the government deliberately destroyed in order to make huge profits.

The sale of the Commonwealth Employment Service is probably one of the most brazen examples of this unethical practice. Australia now has a completely dysfunctional job search system with dozens of job agencies sucking MASSIVE profits and subsidies from the taxpayer. America has also been decimated by the privatization of government run services.

Smashing of Unions

Unions are now just a shadow of what they once were and the results are disastrous. Wages have stagnated and are now no longer even keeping pace with inflation. Working conditions are precarious, particularly with the huge increase of casualization and zero contract hours.

More industrial accidents are happening as a result of lax health and safety laws and the workload of many organizations is crippling, with many employees facing burnout from an increasingly hostile and competitive working environment.

Creating a Housing Ponzi scheme

Housing is now completely out of reach for the young. In the major capital cities in Australia, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, a house is now up to 14 times the average wage (if working fulltime).

This has been caused by a number of factors, including the ludicrous Negative gearing scheme, whereby a property investor can buy a house and rent that house out at a loss. (The rental income does not cover the mortgage repayments). The loss is then subsidized by the government, via taxpayer’s money! This is unheard of in other countries.

Australia also has one of the laxest laws in the world when it comes to foreign ownership. Foreign citizens are able to purchase multiple properties, thus shutting out young first home buyers from the property market.

Finally, rentals are horribly unaffordable in the major cities of Australia. It is almost impossible now for a person to rent a small unit on unemployment benefits or any kind of disability allowance or pension. Melbourne is now full of homeless people. Many are elderly or disabled and are unable to afford even the most rudimentary accommodation.

These key strategies are the arsenal in the conservative manifesto. Together they are used in a brutal and systematic fashion in a bid to transfer wealth from the majority, and shift the power and wealth to the corrupt and unscrupulous minority. It is unethical, barbaric and downright ugly and ultimately if taken to its full potential will lead back to 19th century type poverty and destitution. Pure, free market capitalism is in essence a race to Feudalism. Be alert and VERY alarmed.

 

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20 comments

  1. captainwise

    Well written article sir, you have indeed hit the proverbial nail on the head.
    I can only wish those unengaged people read this blog.

  2. Edward deBouter

    Pretty good analysis as to what is happening today, wonder how many are awake to its attempts to make it a reality.

  3. Diane Larsen

    Unfortunately too many people have neither the time nor inclination to educate themselves with our political system they therefore react to three word slogans, Murdoch propaganda and unless hit with a policy that resembles a piece of 4 x 2 are usually apathetic to the complete mess this current bunch of tossers are making. They consider voting a chore instead of a privilege and unless there is a major political catastrophe ie bursting of the property bubble will travel bligthly on grumbling and whinging and never realising the danger we are heading for till we hit the iceberg and have to abandon ship and the only lifeboats available will be for the wealthy and well connected. Time for an education program

  4. Halfbreeder

    brilliant stuff marx. share the link to this article as much as possible

  5. Trish Corry

    Good article that needs bringing to light. I am extremely passionate about the fact that ideology and values of a party do matter. Keating used to grasp this well with his quips. I’d be interested to read any of the headings extended to articles on their own underpinned by your major concept.

  6. Barry Thompson.

    The Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) was not sold, it was shutdown.

  7. michael lacey

    The neoliberal mantra that’s what we follow! It permeates both sides of politics!
    The fundamental problem with free market proponents is that many fail to realise we already have an absolutely, 100% free market. Within that free market, a clique of incredibly wealthy, well connected, and well organised individuals have decided to use their freedom to create “governments” they influence, media they control, police who impose by force their will upon populations, a military to either protect their racket or project it beyond their current areas of operation.

  8. king1394

    Classic economics is like a fairy tale. The concept that the poor are poor because they are comfortably living with the low level of social security, and they would pull themselves together and become prosperous on their own resources if only the supports were pulled, makes one think of those lovely tales where old soldiers outwit witches to obtain treasure and damsels who are sweet and kind start to spit gold nuggets.
    Meanwhile the rich have to become even more wealthy if they are to let something trickle down to the poor

  9. Halfbreeder

    michael lacey. we do not have free markets. the gold price is fixed everyday, interest rates are fixed regularly, the price of valuable commodities like diamonds are fixed and their supply manipulated to increase their price. Oil prices are fixed by OPEC. The money supply is regulated and monopolised ostensibly to contain inflation but also to create scarecity to force people to compete for it. These regulatory mechanisms are fundamental to our economy. How is this a free market? The doctrine of ‘free markets’ is a myth and dogma sprouted by neo cons when it suits their purpose of undermining public enterprises with the objective of a public good. what you refer to in the elite influencing policies is, strictly speaking, politics not market economics.

  10. Halfbreeder

    classical economics is indeed a fairytale derived from the nonsensical and intangible ‘invisible hand’ of Adam Smith who transformed the capitalist into a sharman and the vessel of God who could conjure wealth and prosperity for the benefit of the community through the mysterious magic of investment. A fairytale of epic proportions.

  11. babyjewels10

    So true that it’s almost enough to make me cry. And 50% of Australians agree with this. I can’t believe that. It must surely be a case of mass ignorance, surely? I cannot believe half of us is evil.

  12. diannaart

    Excellent article, Christian, wish I’d reached it sooner.

    Only one comment these dictatorial control freakazoid right wing-nuts – do not think themselves evil – they really believe that their wealth helps everyone in a “so long as I don’t have to do any actual helping” sort of way. The greedy prefer to do their helping from a distance from the stinking poor.

    For example, had an ongoing argument with a RWNJ who claimed buying a Bentley actually helped the nation’s economy – this was after he had bought a new Bentley. Funny about that. I mean we have had decades of laissez-fair economics, yet have more homeless, more unemployed, deterioration in public education, reduced home ownership and so it goes.

    Neo-economics has had time to work, if it was ever going to work.

  13. paul walter

    Missed this earlier. Top stuff.

  14. Zathras

    The CES wasn’t technically sold OR shut down – what functions were not outsourced to private employment providers (ie private contractors) were absorbed into Centrelink.

    However there was no subsequent improvement in services or any reduction in cost.

    Despite his call for “smaller Government” the size of the Public Service grew under Howard from 146,035 to 160,011 – the biggest percentage increase ever – not to mention those other externally contracted service providers that aren’t included in those figures.

    The creation of Centrelink and its subsequent performance fits the scenario of deliberately weakening services to the public quite well.

  15. Andreas Bimba

    The neo-liberal austerity policies don’t just erode social services but also lead to economic contraction or stagnation both of the public and private sectors, mass unemployment and underemployment, increasing wealth inequity and a major increase in personal debt which diverts more wealth to the parasitic financial services sector.

    Things would be so much better with the optimal level of fiscal stimulus and a Job Guarantee as recommended by the MMT economists so as to maintain near to full employment. Perversely most of the capital owning elite would benefit even more per capita from the MMT approach than the unemployed but progressive taxation should be used to limit wealth inequity. The impending age of more and more intelligent machines makes the essential role of the federal government to ensure near to full employment and an adequate social safety net ever more important.

    The superannuation sector currently charges fees of $25 billion p.a. while in general delivering rates of return that are less than the growth rate of the share market indices. Worst of all are the super funds owned by the big 4 banks with the funds owned by ANZ charging the most exorbitant fees. The superannuation contribution concessions that are disproportionately claimed by the wealthy, cost the federal government about the same as the aged pension. By making us all shareholders without power and empowering the fund managers, we are contributing to the greed of the corporate sector that forever seeks to cut costs and increase profits. The replacement of an adequate aged pension with the superannuation system, which is a policy of both halves of the duopoly, has made us all complicit in this part of the neo-liberal conspiracy.

    The foolish negative gearing deductions for loss making property investments and the 50% CGT concession drive up the price of property as was mentioned, but also cost the federal government’s revenue tens of billions per year and provide an estimated windfall to the banks of $40 billion p.a. in mortgage repayments from both owner occupier and property investment mortgage holders. Currently the banks receive about $80 billion p.a. in mortgage repayments and it is reasonable to assume that this figure would be less than half this amount without the property price bubble. Not only is this a massive misallocation of capital into speculation in a commodity (real estate) which could have instead been spent on infrastructure, productive businesses and consumer goods and services for example, millions are locked into mortgage debt servitude and as mentioned housing purchase and rental becomes unaffordable for those on low incomes. The property price bubble is a major driver of wealth inequity and in the enormous expansion of the parasitic financial services sector.

    We could so easily be the world’s best place to live for all our citizens but under the current neo-liberal mindset of the duopoly and the capital controlling elite, we are on track to corporate feudalism with an underclass of unemployed and working poor living in misery and that eventually comprises most of the population.

  16. Andreas Bimba

    Oops, I forgot to add the most serious manifestation of Conservatism and neo-liberalism – the corruption of our democracy and mass media. Without this balance of power between citizens and the ruling elite, the inevitable end point is violent dictatorship.

  17. Matters Not

    Re

    and a Job Guarantee as recommended by the MMT

    While I wasn’t aware that MMT recommended a Job Guarantee , that assertion raises some interesting questions.

    So back to basics. Why the emphasis on ‘jobs’ without ever defining the rational for same? What type of jobs are envisaged? Ones that are personally satisfying ? Without other considerations? For example. I like tracking the movement of ants as they identify and then transport food. It’s fascinating! Others that I know like to feed seagulls – others like to tame crows – and so on. In short – are the ‘jobs’ all about satisfying an individual’s want?

    Or are we talking about ‘jobs’ that are considered socially beneficial – like helping little old ladies cross roads? Or perhaps people carrying ‘slow down’ signs, so that old buggers like me, don’t run them down?

    Perhaps we are talking about ‘jobs’ that are environmentally beneficial? Or jobs that contribute to ‘economic growth’ – broadly defined.

    Or are we talking about ‘jobs’ because they have been the historical mechanism through which wealth was created and then distributed – and the belief that’s what the future will (again) bring?

    Or are such questions outside the purview of MMT? And if so – then why?

    Or should the ‘disciplines’ ‘stick to their knitting’ and be … unhelpful in any holistic sense?

  18. freefall852

    ” A nation of slaves will view as magnanimous the tyrant, who in with-holding his hand from supreme cruelty, distributes acute pain in slow, measured lots.”…..Gibbon ; “Decline and Fall…”

  19. Alan Baird

    Damn good article. Wouldn’t last a second in main stream media. The team that really started a lot of this was back in the eighties… and about three-four weeks after Hawkie started off. I started to have misgivings and I didn’t vote Labor for years. Remember that Hawkie imbibed hard right dogma from US sources prior to his “elevation”. I suspect that part of Labor’s reticence today to fully oppose the neo-cons is that they have quite a bit of the same DNA and also just can’t back-pedal from their “legacy”, and this has helped its spread without a quibble for an unconscionable time. Will they finally climb down completely? Still can’t see it. You are seriously correct however… it’s a nasty, poisonous doctrine. Even Keating could have recently had pause for thought… just perhaps…

  20. Andreas Bimba

    On the Jobs Guarantee Program as advocated by MMT economists like Bill Mitchell, I suspect most jobs would however arise from the appropriate amount of federal government fiscal stimulus. Adequate funding of local, state and federal governments would allow existing programmes to deliver what is needed and to provide substantially more employment as well as increased scope. The increased quantity of money flowing around in the economy would greatly assist the private sector to provide additional employment and higher wages. Important infrastructure such as clean energy, the urgent transition to environmental sustainability, public transport, rail freight, public housing, improving the road network, utilities, bicycle paths, parks, recreational facilities and similar would receive substantially increased funding. The arts and environmental conservation and restoration would also receive substantially increased funding. The Job Guarantee Program would then be the employer of last resort that would provide adequately paid and meaningful employment for the residual unemployed. Training and social support would be available and the aim would be to ensure a ready supply of ‘job ready’ candidates for the wider public and private sector economy.

    The Job Guarantee Program would provide employment in areas such as environmental conservation and restoration, the arts, aged care and other areas of social support, urban renewal, minor public works, recycling and repair of consumer goods and other worthy areas that are neglected by the wider economy.

    A more comprehensive social safety net would ensure those that are unable or unwilling to work are still able to live comfortably. It may also be possible to provide some income support for those looking after children up to a particular age and that care for the disabled or elderly.

    Ensuring full employment enlarges the economic pie and makes all this increased economic activity all affordable. The alternative of a universal basic income funded by increasing taxes on the wealthy and the middle class does very little to enlarge the economic pie and will not deliver an adequate income to the unemployed and will probably lead to a downward spiral of dependency and poverty. The ‘taxpayers’ will resent supporting the unemployed and wealth disparity will probably increase. Conservative parties will do well in this poisonous and stratified society.

    To reduce our collective environmental impact and to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, it is vitally important that much of the increased economic activity provided by the appropriate level of fiscal stimulus be accompanied by the appropriate policy settings to move the economy towards true environmental sustainability. Conservative governments have proven to be unsuitable for this role.

    We are at an turning point in history. What is it to be, a mixed economy social democratic and environmentally sustainable society with full employment using fiscal stimulus and a Job Guarantee
    or
    a neo-liberal economy with a stratified society that may or may not offer the mirage of adequate social support using a basic income guarantee and that ignores our environmental challenges?

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