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The Game is Rigged.

A short video by Robert Reich lasting just 2 minutes 35 seconds landed in my news feed on Facebook a few days ago. For all I know it may have been around for months, but that’s irrelevant. The message is what is important.

Reich was US Secretary for Labor, from 1993-1997 under the presidency of Bill Clinton and besides now being Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkley, he is also an outspoken political commentator.

The short video he has posted on Facebook debunks 3 myths about economics:

Myth No.1. Job Creators are the Corporations and the Rich.

Myth No.2. Free Market and Government are Separate.

Myth no. 3. We should worry about the size of Government.

Myth no. 1. Job creators are the CEOs, Corporations and the Rich. Reich’s response to this: Rubbish! The real job creators are the middle class and the poor who actually spend their money buying the essential goods produced by manufacturers and importers.

wage Therefore, raising wages and reducing middle class taxes will generate demand and create more jobs. Contrast this with the Turnbull government who would have it the other way; keeping wages low, raising more taxes and limiting the amount of money people have to spend.

Myth No. 2. The critical choice is between the Free Market and Government. Reich’s response: Baloney! In Reich’s own words, “The government creates the free market.” It passes the laws, frames the regulations and oversees the market through its agencies and courts. Who decides the manner of contracts? Who protects the value of the currency?

All the decisions about how the free market operates are controlled by government; the laws governing manufacture, distribution, transport, patents, quality control, work practices, advertising, everything associated with free market operations starts with government.

The next time you hear someone say, “the government should get out of the market and let the laws of supply and demand rule,” you will know it is a ridiculous statement. Without government regulations, workers would be at the mercy of unscrupulous corporations and so would consumers.

Myth No. 3. We should worry about the size of government. Reich’s response,

“Wrong! We should worry about who government is for.”

So often, when the media presents what sounds like a valid assertion about the importance of corporate influence in our lives, we accept their view and take it as fact without a discussion about how, and by whom, that assertion was determined. That is, we don’t know who decides what we hear and the circumstances that govern what we hear.

Reich says, “Right now the game is rigged and it can only become unrigged if we know the truth and join with others and demand that the government works for the many, not for the few.”

corp 2016 is an election year. When we vote we exercise our power. When the election is over we have surrendered our power for another 3 years. When corporate money flows into the coffers of political parties, it is impossible for government not to be biased toward those at the top.

Corporate money does not have a three year cycle. It is constant and is delivered when they want something. The recent campaign for a review of Sunday penalty rates began mid-term and you can be sure that was not a coincidence.

It’s our country, it’s our government. It’s high time we started acting like we understood what that meant.

Watch the video here.


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  1. Anthony Element (@observationpt)

    Reich is absolutely right. Krugman and Stiglitz, both Nobel Laureates, have been talking about this for years as well.
    It behooves us to remember that several junior LNP backbenchers have worked for GOP politicians in the US and are desperate to take Australia down the path that Reich highlights.
    Their influence, along with the IPA and a few other far right think tanks, represent the second greatest existing threat to our national well being, after Global Warming, but a far, far bigger threat than terrorism.

  2. stephentardrew

    Thanks John great post as usual. Followed Reich for years a great advocate of economic and social justice. I advise a trip to his web page to view his very accessible videos and coherent critique of neo-liberal supply side economics.

    What we need is a well regulated market economy with the goals of justice and equitable distribution of resources and profits directed towards defeating unemployment, homelessness, low income jobs, poverty and inequality. Anything less is not democracy it is rabid selfish corptocracy which is what we now have.

  3. Kyran

    Slightly off topic, but indicative of how different the 1%’s world is, there was an item on RN this morning about “Fat Cat Tuesday”. It relates to executive pays in England, which estimates the CEO’s of the big companies in England will have earned more in the first two working days of 2016 than the average worker will receive all year! The closest link I could find was from the BBC;,d.dGY

    In the radio interview (I didn’t get the name of the fellow being interviewed) but he elaborated by saying America was the worst offender in terms of glaring inequality. Japan was the one of the better performers in terms of CEO disparity, which he attributed to ‘cultural sensitivities’. Women got a mention to the extent they were almost unrepresented in the figures due to the number of women in such positions. He mused that the situation may be different if this were not the case.
    “Reich says, “Right now the game is rigged and it can only become unrigged if we know the truth and join with others and demand that the government works for the many, not for the few.” ”
    It’s a bit hard to progress the issue of social equality when the ‘corporate elite’ have the phone numbers of the ‘political elite’ on a speed dial, in the event they don’t ‘catch up’ with them in the corporate box of a major event or the cocktail party to celebrate some milestone! It would be safe to presume the conversation at such venues would be the promotion of the myths. Thank you, Mr Kelly, take care

  4. deanyz1

    Thanks, John. All that you have stated about returning the middle class, raising minimum wage and government control of free market, laws and regulations, etc. is predicated on the TPP not passing Congress. As far as I know, it hasn’t. Yet.
    But when it does, the ISDS clauses will put corporations in control of everything. I know Phillip Morris has lost their case, but may appeal. Yet if our government wants to raise minimum wages or limit coal exports or develop green initiatives, corporations can sue the government for loss of earnings in all of those situations and many more. Democracy will be dead, buried and cremated. Corporatocracy seems to have infiltrated our golden era.

  5. John Kelly

    Indeed deanyz1, while a blinded population worries about the spread of Islam, they cannot see that they are slowly losing any rights they now have as ordinary citizens to a real danger in society.

  6. Stuart Dean

    deanyz1 was my non de plume. I should be honest and state my real name. Anyway, yes they are manipulating us. They have huge funds to employ creative psychologists to manipulate the politically illiterate just as Faux News does continuously. Lies and deceit are acceptable tools to attain and maintain power, b̶r̶i̶b̶e̶s donations are accepted and conditions of the b̶r̶i̶b̶e donations are implemented even if they are not in the best interests of the people. As in the US there is an agenda to keep people poor. I cannot understand the logic, as if the spending power is reduced, so is the economy and taxes. Do the conservatives have a death wish for us all?

  7. Kaye Lee

    The point of keeping wages low is to have a compliant, in-debt workforce who are too scared to make waves for fear they lose their jobs. 457 visas are great for this too because if they complain you can sack them and they get deported.

    The fact that you are keeping your customers poor seems a step too far for them to realise. Just like they can’t seem to understand that having a healthy, well-educated work force is to their advantage.

  8. Andreas

    Greed prevents that!

  9. Matters Not

    cannot see that they are slowly losing any rights

    Not just individuals but nations as well. Voices being raised in Malayasia.

    Malaysia may become bankrupt due to the potential multi-billion lawsuits against the government should the country withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after sealing the agreement, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned today

    He cites two examples where ISDSs are impacting badly on certain States:

    Canada-based Infinito Gold made world headlines in October after it mounted a US$94 million (RM404.6 million) suit against the Costa Rican government at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, allegedly for violating a bilateral investment treaty after its operations were shut down for massive pollution.


    Another case saw Canadian mining giant Pacific Rim initiating a US$301 million lawsuit against the El Salvadoran government after then-president Antonio Saca stopped issuing new mining permits due to the pollution its gold mine caused in the water supply in San Sebastián in 2008. Pacific Rim was later bought over by Australian-based OceanaGold, which also plans to continue pursuing the lawsuit.

    Operation Sovereign Borders does nothing to protect our sovereignty. This talk about ‘world government’ (from the ‘right’) begins to resonate.

  10. diannaart

    Have thought the game was rigged for decades…

    Good to hear one of the game’s participants outing with truth for a change.

    Thing is, if the government/corporate symbiosis continues it will, eventually, bite those enjoying the current largesse, eventually, not in my lifetime, but the greedy WILL learn the reality of ‘finite’.

  11. Pingback: The Game is Rigged. | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  12. Royce Arriso

    “….they cannot see that they are slowly losing any rights they now have as ordinary citizens to a real danger in society.”
    Honestly believe that ‘Reality’ TV is there to help ensure people keep their eyes off the ball.

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