Monday 30 July 2018
Saturday’s by-election results presents, if repeated at a general election, with a rather unique opportunity to change the face of Australian politics.
In the busyness of life we have allowed, what at first appeared to be just subtle changes to our society, to manifest into dramatic ones?
We have allowed capitalism to overrun the society we once knew. Everything today is measured by money. Success is measured by the accumulation of it.
Capitalism says, “Greed is good.” Its supporters, contrary to the distaste it infers to others, reckon it’s a positive. They say that greed grows profit and profit is the beginning of innovation and products follow. Products mean choices for those who can afford them.
Money enhances your capacity to get fairness in law. It places you at the front line of the surgery queue.
Capitalism never fights for fairness or equality of opportunity, only for what it can wring out of those who have not, in order to make richer those who have.
Sports people no longer play for the sheer joy of it. In local competitions they demand to be paid for their unexceptional talents.
Large companies screw down wages and ask their suppliers to supply for less than a fair price then try to pay as little tax as possible, if any at all.
Government tells us this is ok because if these firms make loads of money it will drip down to the have not’s but they have never shown us just how it works. All the drip down theory has ever done is make the shareholders of companies wealthier.
There is now a defined disconnect between capitalism and society. Unregulated capitalism has no interest in the health of society, its happiness, its quality of education, our play or indeed the beginning and end of our lives. It is only interested in profit.
People of rightist persuasion believe that so long as the people at the top, the wealthy and privileged, that have all the wealth, get richer and richer, then the others can survive on a meager safety net.
I remember Peter Costello being asked at the end of his tenure as Treasurer about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. His answer was to say; “but at least the poor have not become poorer.” It was untrue then and manifestly untrue now,
Just ponder that for a moment and you can see the attitude of the conservative mind.
Indeed we live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us by capitalistic manipulation. The shame is that we have normalised it and adjusted accordingly.
But what about a society that is rich in people because it has invested in education in quality health services and things that really matter?
Have we never measured the savings in preventative health that might be derived from more investment in the system, let alone the happiness factor?
We have forgotten what society is and why we should invest in it in order to create a fairer, better-off and content society. Capitalistic propaganda has reduced us into not knowing the difference between what we want and what we need.
We have been taught to want, want, want, to create more and more profit. In the process of all this wanting we have created a society that suffers from affluenza with a throw away mentality.
We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and its best mate capitalism.
Margret Thatcher said (paraphrased):
“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich”.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said this:
“They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order”.
Do people ever stop to think how manipulated we have become?
Everything is about our own self-interest, the capitalists not ours. Narcissism has become a national pastime firmly embedded into our psyche.
It is all very well for people of my vintage to see all the pitfalls of what happens when you close down the avenues of political debate. When wealth resides in the hands of a few. When the media is condensed to one voice. We can only raise our voices in loud protest.
On this subject speaking about the merger of Nine and Fairfax my friend Stuart Whitman said:
“The merger (takeover) of Fairfax by the Nine Network does not bode well for the diversity and quality of news sources in an already highly concentrated, Australian media landscape.
Access to evidence-based news with journalistic integrity is integral to an informed populace participating in how they are governed and by whom.
I am sick with fear looking across Australia and around the world as the pillars of democracy gradually crumble everywhere.
There’s a deep anti-democratic rot eating away at trust and the rule of law and reason within our political parties, and across the media and our public institutions.
The capacity to think critically and express ourselves openly and rationally, and compassionately, is being crushed under the weight of ever concentrating power and people too afraid, too confused or too comfortable to challenge it.
What are we left with in the end – the rule of brute power and thuggery justified by wealth and privilege carving up the spoils for an elite few behind closed doors?
Dark times indeed.”
Or as Paul Keating said:
Nine had never done other than display “the opportunism and ethics of an alley cat.
“There has been no commanding ethical or moral basis for the conduct of its news and information policy. Through various changes of ownership, no one has lanced the carbuncle at the centre of Nine’s approach to news management. And, as sure as night follows day, that pus will inevitably leak into Fairfax.
“For the country, this is a great pity”.
Only capitalists in cahoots with big business would seek to eliminate diversity of opinion. Certainly a democratic society would not. There can be no doubt that if the Coalition were to win the next election then the big prize to go after would be the ABC.
We are now a competitive capitalist society. We compete for jobs, for houses, for the best of everything, for places at universities even for childcare. It’s a capitalistic society. It has to be competitive. Competition is the name of the game.
Capitalism tells us that poverty is the fault of the victim but wealth comes from virtue and both are the natural order of things and that meritocracy is a term used to explain that those at the top of the social scale have merit but is also a slur against those at the bottom.
But can we not be satisfied with what we have and build a better society around it.
Why is it CEOs, entertainers and sports stars receive such excessive payments?
Surely “regulated capitalism” incorporating free markets can do more for society without there being an inference that it hinders individual pursuit.
In the absence of a better monetary system ideas are needed for how “regulated capitalism” can more effectively merge with business and how business can better improve its relationship with society.
Business must strive to become more worker friendly and embrace the concept of adding value to society and sustainability for itself. Together with cooperative Unionism a more harmonious society, intent on fairness and equality, might emerge.
Drip down economics is being critiqued all around the world but Conservative Capitalists still believe that the key to personal success or failure is within each individual‘s control. That a safety net is not required. Just three-in-ten Americans agree that government has a responsibility to help the poor.
As usual they see capitalism as separate to society. That capitalism exists as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
All it has ever done is immorally make the rich richer beyond measure and the poor poorer on many levels. It has to end with a society for the common good where profit/wealth over and above what is reasonably fair and justifiable is fed back into society to enrich it for the benefit of all.
Richness obtained simply by the practice of overcharging must end and wealth acquired by inheritance should be taxed but riches acquired by hard work, diligence, entrepreneurialism, and enterprise should be encouraged.
My thought for the day
“The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the most of everything they have.”