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Too Much of Plenty

In an era of such discrepancy between those who have too much and the great majority who have too little, it is with a kind of disbelief that I keep on seeing the tyrannical political representatives of the former being repeatedly gaining office to inflict even greater burdens on the latter …

As the good professor would once have asked; “Why is this so?”

Of course, there are the usual reasons acceptable to statisticians of demographic favour, the reliable “rusted-ons” and a degree of persuasive propaganda through a compliant and biased mainstream media.

But in an era of known “swinging voter” power, which we have seen disrupt both Houses of Parliament in recent years, why is it that their vote and that of many mainstream political party favourite preferences shift toward what could be described as preferencing bigotry, racism and elitism in class-distinction to give greater advantage to the parties most corrupt in governance against the poor, the weak and the most vulnerable?

It is, in my estimation, a shift over the last couple of decades of a seeking for assurance by a population of well-established, even if not entirely economically secure, section of the populace; the well-heeled, the moderately comfortable or the socially at risk but having access to easy credit to maintain a false feeling of comfort and security – Australian citizen body that has over these last couple of decades snuggled itself down in a soft furnishing of an “expectation of privilege”.

But they forget that it is not so long ago, just a generation or so, that many of their parents or grandparents fought a daily battle of poverty and want against those very political forces that would have drowned them in that sea of despair while enriching, as they are doing now, the same section and grandchildren that tormented their older kin.

I have the archival records of one of those families who struggled to overcome that debilitating poverty that only the actions of the militant unions and their affiliated political representatives gave relief to so many working families.

“1983 … Business of Survival … With the Death of Richard, I must now manage alone, on one pension.

The house seems in good condition. No large account, only the small loan I had taken out, which finishes in June 1985. Must try not to take out anymore loans, to (sic) much drain on my low income.

I must try to live on produce from garden, with eggs to help out.

Try to cut down on weekly food bills, most of all on meat.

The animals take quite a lot (money) for food, reg, etc.

As the fowls are all getting old, must breed up some new hens.“

That direct quote was from an aged pensioner’s diary … sure, we know she was not going to die of hunger or homelessness. Or do we? She certainly was afraid of some vague uncertainty … and therein lies the simple truth:

“A lifetime of habit, creates a certainty of belief … a moment of uncertainty doubts a lifetime of belief.”

For that lady, her entire life was constructed around hard work. The old-age pension that Labor and the unions put in place gave her a measure of security so she could live out her final years in dignity.

But these simple demands by the most vulnerable of the population, along with a most brutal and cruel treatment of so many asylum seekers with their families coming to our shores seeking that second chance at a new life, have been swept aside in a maniacal assurance of security from fear: fear of terrorism, fear of financial devastation, fear of a different skin colour and culture even fear from the indigenous people of the very soil of our nation. In fact – from fear itself.

A fear of the loss of that expectation of privilege: Too much of Plenty.

It is an ugly revelation of a ugly country when such fear bubbles to the surface like pooled sewerage and it even has its own peculiar “smell”, the smell of that fear … and one can smell it most prevalent upon those who, while having gained their measure of financial security from dealing with and from those very subjects they most revile, are the first to demand restrictions upon and levies via wages limitations upon those very enablers of the life they have now become most accustomed to.

The machinations of the big financial houses, the merchant dealers and commodity miners, along with energy, communications and property speculators … in fact the entire middle-class and their hangers-on have used their money, media contacts and lobby group persuaders to corrupt and make degenerate an entire citizen demographic of aspirants and wannabes , even so far as to create simmering doubt in the most decent and honest citizen that now cannot, does not now want to see beyond its own pathetic insecurities to what most benefits the nation. We now have not only a cowardly nation that – going on the recorded histories of so many failed empires and States – has not only condemned itself with a continued cowardice to the same fate of those lost civilisations, it has, by its continuance of electing those representative political parties who most seek to gain riches and wealth by stamping down and using as a footstool to climb the largesse ladder those most productive to the nation … by doing this vile act, it has also relinquished its right to survive.

Its “Too Much of Plenty” will too soon become so little of nothing.


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  1. New England Cocky

    Since Howard moved Australia to the self-serving right it is fair to say that you cannily trust the Liarbrals to look after themselves and their corporate mates rather than the egalitarian (???) Australian community.

  2. etnorb

    Another great article Mr Carli! I agree with all your sentiments. One of the biggest hurdles the Labor party etc has to overcome is the real right wing bias shown by the Mudrake press, all those stupid radio shock jocks & the number of everyday Australians who seem to always believe everything they read in those rags, or they hear from these idiot radio people! I really wonder if the Labor party will ever get a “fair go” from any of these idiots etc as the way it stands now, this will probably never happen. And if the Labor mob can win the next Federal election, then these very same people etc will just continue their rants etc by criticising every thing the Labor lot do or want to do. It is almost a lose-lose situation! Don’t know how we can fix it, but at least in the AIMN pages we see & read the truth about all the wrongs etc this liberal mo0b will do, have done & will maintain until they are (hopefully!) booted out of office.

  3. Freethinker

    I like this article Joe, is an interesting topic that can be view in many different ways.
    Yes, we can put the blame in the “media Barons” in the elite class, on the politicians but at the end of the day if people were not greedy those at the top will do not have any power and our political landscaping will be more fair and with better moral values.
    “A fear of the loss of that expectation of privilege: Too much of Plenty.” and the politicians know that, the population that still have some money to keep consuming in materialistic things, the population that cannot stop purchasing goods even if that is by credits and selling their freedom, will have fear of change.
    Te masses are the ones that sold out nearly all the benefits won by the past struggles by the union and working class people, the masses were those that voted for politicians that changed the rules ( including the ALP)
    The people and not the politicians are the ones that complain that the homeless people camping in the streets look like a “sore thumb” upsetting the beautiful of the suburb streets or the CBD. The Politicians react to it.
    We do not need an armed revolution to making changes, we need for the masses to lift their moral values, to combat the immoral governments and the elite class by stop consuming, by becoming minimalists by black mark that business that are unethical, by unite regardless of race, social class or financial position, by instead of paying Murdoch money trough Foxtel use that money for charity, to help the homeless, the sick and those in need.
    When we all are united the elites, the corporations the politicians are irrelevant.
    IMHO going on and on writing how bad are the current politicians is a complete waste of time, they are not going to change, educate the people come with good initiatives, ask the opposition to come clear with their policies and position on issues of relevance.
    As an example, chances are that cuts on company taxes are going to be approved in the senate, is the ALP revert this in the event that win government?
    I have ask membranes of the ALP in their social media pages that and so far no reply.

  4. Jack

    Good article. There are plenty of middle class that have had ‘too much of plenty’. Complain about the government regarding low wages growth and not enough disposable income, etc.. Then pull out their latest iphone and take a selfie of how angry they are

  5. helvityni

    Australia was always touted as a classless society, and I believe it was; people were addressed by their first name,were they Doctors or Professors, many a Doctor even looked/ dressed like a plumber… Houses were affordable to all, and the gap with the rich and the working classes was not so wide….

    Now the rich are richer and a new class is added to the previously classless place: the homeless. I suppose they have plenty of ‘nothing’, they can chose a different park bench to sleep on any given night, rain or shine…

  6. cartoonmick

    Reminds me of a tweet I saw last month which said; “Soon the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich”.

  7. Joseph Carli

    A sad reality for so many more now, helvi’…Strangely, there are some who, when I attack the middle-class ideal as a demographic, they want to jump to its defence as if I was personally attacking them! if they must act as some kind of “gate-keeper” for a lost cause…a lost and now unresponsive corpse, without life-force, new ideas and bereft of morals or principles..
    Sure, in the past, after two world wars, the middle-classes could hold up a mirror to themselves reflecting a way of life that was welcomed with a sigh of relief…but unfortunately, it was, as Joyce (James) would say ; “the cracked looking-glass of the servant”, meaning it showed two faces of was theirs to the higher order of wealth and control and the other of ourselves in servitude to them.
    No…the confrontation between the groups has to come, is to come and cannot, in my opinion, come soon enough!

  8. Freethinker

    helvityni March 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    “Australia was always touted as a classless society, and I believe it was;……..”

    We must living in a different dimension, The Australia that I new, 50 years ago, was separated in classes and even sub classes.
    And nothing to do with education, even in the constitution Aboriginal people were in another class, perhaps even a lower sub-class for many as human beings.
    There were classes according to their financial position, to their education and where they have “obtained” that “education”
    Workers used to call their manager by his/her name but at the time that bonus were to be share, the share was according to the classes.
    Slavery and exploitation of the poor and Aboriginal people was the norm by the farmers and the lady of the house.

  9. johno

    Helvityni, I would have to agree with Freethinker, Oz has never been classless from go to wo.

  10. helvityni

    Sorry blokes, as I tend to be rather critical of Oz in my little throwaway lines here, so for change I’m trying a new more positive approach…

    Otherwise fellow bloggers are going to shout at me : Go back where you came from…they used to do it on my first blog, ABC’s Unleashed….

  11. vicki

    To paraphrase the famous WW2 poem: They came for the asylum seekers and I did not speak out. They came for young unemployed and I did not speak out. They came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out. They came for the pensionersand I did not speak out. They are coming for me and there is no one to speak for me.
    And that is how I see society now. When is someone going to not only speak out for all these groups but ACT for them. When I was younger and working I protested Jeff Kennett’s attacks on unions and working people but to no avail – he and his government went on their merry way decimating the union I belonged to and selling off state infrastructure and there was no-one to stop him.Who do you think is going to stop this marauding mob that’s incharge now?

  12. Matters Not

    When it comes to analysing Australian society through the class lens, one can use as many classes as one chooses. For Marx, it was two – the proletariat, the workers, are the lower class. They perform the labor, but the upper class managers, bosses, and rulers, called the bourgeoisie, get the profits.

    Others, using different theoretical constructs, might develop a model that employs many more classes with different attributes such as wealth, education level, social status, etc etc. The number depends on what number is considered useful in explaining (as far as practicable) the way groups within a society interact – including, the how, why and so on. Generally speaking, people from outside a given society often see a class structure better than those who are (and always have been) so immersed. The fish is the last to discover water as it were.

    Using the class concept, Australia is not and never been – classless. And I can’t think of any society that’s ever been – classless.

  13. johno

    Matter Not, The Neanderthals might have been classless.

  14. helvityni

    cartoonmick, thanks for laugh “Soon the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich”, and thank you Joe for “The beautiful Dreamer”…nice one…

    MN, maybe the informality between people,( at least in the past) , made it seem classless. No doctor in Holland would have addressed me by my first name only…

  15. Matters Not

    If you’re not looking for differences related to your perception of class, chances are you won’t see any. Theory is always a priori fact. For example, it’s easy to count red objects because most people have an idea of ‘redness’. While they appreciate the ‘red’ concept and are able to use it – what about counting ceil objects? Or phlox objects? Or even skobeloff coloured objects? Thus no ‘theory’ then no ‘facts’ – no counting possible if you don’t appreciate what you are trying to count. No concept no insights,

    In Australia’s early colonial days, classes that might be identified include, the squatters (graziers or landed gentry), the convicts, the military, and the Aborigines. Within those broad groupings, other subclasses might be identified if one chooses to so do. For example, within the military the officer class might be a useful, explanatory concept because of the way they related to other soldiers.

    Class can be a useful concept – an intellectual construct that is used as a type of shorthand. Concepts come and go. Phrenology was once considered useful in explaining personality and character (including criminal tendencies). These days it’s not considered very useful and is almost never used. Not so with the concept of class – which is everywhere in the literature. it’s useful.

  16. Helen

    Yes the Marxian class theory has to be interpreted anew as society changes. Heard Robert Manne on RN this morning. Must read his ‘On Borrowed Time’. We need more young public intellectuals. Eg; heard an intelligent man aged 70 say that all refugees get free cars and housing. Asked for evidence, he had none. Same man thinks halal certification for Vegemite is a plot, rather than just some man perhaps saying a short prayer over the yeast sludge in question in order to export it to Indonesia. How to combat paranoia? What makes one old man stress the importance of evidence (Manne) while another believes rubbish? Am at present reading a philosopher’s new work on Ignorance. Dissects it well, but so far author has no solution. Witches! The Jews! The Freemasons! It was ever thus.

  17. Joseph Carli

    Helen.. ; A quick Google on Marxian class theory served up this..: “In Marxism, Marxian class theory asserts that an individual’s position within a class hierarchy is determined by his or her role in the production process, and argues that political and ideological consciousness is determined by class position.”

    “His or her role in the production process…”

    That would tell me that the role of Boss, management and production worker are the simple levels of production…THEN as NOW..I cannot see any reason for a change in interpretation, save to snazzy it up a tad for a new generation!

    I have been accused by some of those snazzy, up-to-date jazz-handers of being “old fashioned”..implying that I cannot possibly have any idea, unlike themselves, of where the mood of the current generation is going with social politics..funny..all I can see is it going backwards!..Where we have one class of citizens, from mostly one demographic of education, demanding one stream of conscious acknowledgement of one direction of interpretation of any social policies put forward…usually from a over-confident background of middle-class indoctrination..the same as Robert Manne’s.

    As for all this “old fashionedness” and need for change to satisfy the iphone brigade…strange..I see that the recipe for chilli con carne still demands a measurement of pepper..rivers still follow the gravitational demands in flowing to the lowest point, birds still flap their wings to fly, fashion seems to go in a full circle every two generations or so and people still will not buy orange coloured cars enmasse!

    I recall during a lecture on Roman Archaeology when the lecturer was asked if there was any record of the amount of physical work slaves added to the buildings..The lecturer admitted there was little written account of the actual hourly work per day of slaves in that time..Since the picture that encouraged the question was of a long retaining wall around a temple, I thought I could add to the conversation that in my building experience, and if that wall was constructed using slave labour, and if the physical weight of a kilogram of stone and mortar has not changed in two thousand years, it was a bloody lot of hard work!

    I think that while some descriptive elocution and vocabulary changes with fashion perception and blind delusion, some things will always remain the same.

  18. Joseph Carli

    Ps. I trust that : ” Eg; heard an intelligent man aged 70 say that. . . ” …wasn’t your Father!!

  19. Helen

    No Joseph the man was a stranger.
    I don’t deny the importance of slave labour eg building the Pyramids.

  20. Joseph Carli

    1) : Phew!
    2) : “. . . building the Pyramids.”..I don’t believe the Pyramids were built with slave labour…but maybe cheap labour..

  21. Andreas Bimba

    This link from Andrew Smith appearing in the comments for another AIMN article shows how the US corporate oligarchy has siezed effective control over the US political system and is well worth reading. The same applies in Australia.

    Joseph you blame the middle class but isn’t it the top few percent or the corporate oligarchy that throws a few crumbs at the middle class and then enough of them follow like pigeons?

  22. Joseph Carli

    Andreas…I am working on the age-old accepted class structures of : Aristocratic (ie; bloodlines, dynastic lines), Middle-class (ie: merchants, traders, financiers..middle-men)…Working-class (ie: those who are paid according to the hours or production of commodity)….There has been this shifting of status of the so-called”upper middle-class” to a perceived “higher order” of Oligarchs…when in reality they are and always have been the old scabby middle-class “done better than their mates”..The Aristocratic-class stays aristocratic and the working-class stays working..the rest is just semantics.

  23. Freethinker

    Joe, I agree with you, IMO are others in that “middle class” those in the mid and high management, the ones in the manufacturing industry that obey their masters to exploit the workers, the ones that are “yes man” and force the workers to work in unsafe conditions, the ones high up in HR who do not pay the correct wages, the ones in the banks like this example that comes from Banking Royal Commission, quote:
    “The commission heard evidence of National Australia Bank staff being involved in an alleged bribery ring involving multiple bank branches, forged documents, fake payslips and Medicare cards, with bribes being paid in cash stuffed in envelopes, as NAB staff responded to an incentive program to sign up new customers for home loans.”
    The lawyers like the ones that defended James Hardie,
    Billionaires, millionaires and big corporations directors cannot do it alone, they “need the help” form the ones bellow to execute their agendas.
    Those bellow in management are not in the wealthy class and certanily not in the workers class, the are in the middle
    Battlers and plutocrats: How political connections reward Australia’s super-rich
    Over 80 per cent of the wealthiest Australians have made their fortunes in property, mining, banking, superannuation and finance generally – all heavily regulated industries in which fortunes can be made by getting favourable property rezonings, planning law exemptions, mining concessions, labour law exemptions, money creation powers and mandated markets of many stripes.

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