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The Word I’m Afraid To Say… It Starts With “C”!

When I heard Scott Morrison list the five aspects of the Liberal energy policy today, I was a bit intrigued that he went from: “B. Yadda, yadda, yadda… 3. Yadda, yadda, yadda”, I thought that would be the best example of the confusion of the Coalition I’d hear for a few days. (Ok, Scott didn’t actually say, “Yadda, yadda, yadda” but he did move from “B to 3, 4, 5. I probably shouldn’t mock him for that when he’s doing his so many other things that I could mock him for!)

Then Bananaby Joyce spoke up and told us that the Nationals weren’t afraid to say the “word, Coal-fired Power”!

Now, even allowing for the possibility that one could hyphenate the words “coal-fired”, by my count that was at least two words. Still, Mr Joyce is in the National Party so he’s not expected to be able to count. Although he is an accountant by profession and one would expect him to be able to count past one even if did once confuse a million and a billion. Ok, he was only a shadow minister at the time, so it’s not like it was important.

Lately, I’ve been reading an interview with Milton Friedman from “Playboy”. It’s all right, because this is not an actual edition of “Playboy” and I don’t have to pretend that I bought it for the articles. It’s actually on my Kindle and I downloaded it from Amazon… Mm, I may be better pretending that I supported Hugh Heffner than those capitalist bastards…

Anyway, the interview is fifty years old and it’s quite interesting. Friedman mounts a very convincing argument… By that, I mean that the argument is convincing if one just totally ignores the reality of the world. Which Friedman manages to do quite nicely.

Basically, if I were to adopt the Friedman persona, I would argue that there’s no need to legislate any rules for tobacco companies because – being rational human beings – they would obviously realise that selling a product which kills their customers isn’t in their economic interest so, of course, they’d find ways to make their product safe or else they wouldn’t be able to stay in business.

Ok, Milton doesn’t actually argue that, but he certainly comes close. Regulation is unnecessary because Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” will lead people in the right direction and like that God who simultaneously allows free will and punishes those who don’t do what he wants by sending pestilence and nasty weather events to punish those who actually exercise it, there’s no need for us to intervene with silly rules and laws. Take polluting the environment, for example. No need for fines, because companies that pollute will be punished by losing market share.

I never realised how much in common, the neocons had in common with the punk movement until this very moment. “Fuck society!” says the punks, “We don’t won’t no bloody rules, although a lack of rules doesn’t give us much to rebel against!” “There’s no such thing as society,” says Maggie Thatcher, “so we shouldn’t have rules to stop anybody, except those bloody unions who want to hold the country to ransom by withdrawing their labour.”

Anyway, I find it strange that the Liberals can still believe in “the invisible hand” of capitalism, while arguing that the government needs to intervene to ensure that coalfiredpowerstations (I’m not afraid of the word either, Barnaby) are kept open. Actually, I find the one invisible hand that they seem to be able to consistently believe in, seems to be the invisible hand of Labor who are responsible for all the ills… Going wrong = Labor’s fault. Going well = what we did/didn’t do!

Mm, maybe I should do a bit of research on this Adam Smith guy and write something really intelligent instead of just taking pot shots at the Coalition’s very clear energy policy:

1. We want it to be cheaper, but we don’t want to subsidise anything but coal.
B. We want it to be reliable, but if it’s not it’s because Bill Shorten.
3. We want it to use lots of coal because coal is forever.
4. We want it to be agnostic.
5. We want it to include coal because we shouldn’t be ruling that out, but we don’t think we should pursue a Renewable Energy Target, but we will, probably. We’re certainly committed to Clean Energy but only if that includes Clean Coal, which Adani is going to mine just as soon as they get someone to lend them the money and if nobody else will then surely we should because that’s what the free market is all about
.

Mm, I’ll get back to Adam Smith later….


9 comments

  1. ANDREW SMITH

    I like the hit list at the end.

    I suspect that the powers that be, including especially some fossil subsidiaries in Oz, have extreme issues with renewable energy displacing coal, and other fossil fuels plus e.g. cutting down on and recycling of plastics.

    There’s much cross over in economic principles from Malthus (population growth too), Ricardo (resource constraints), Smith (natural equilibrium) et al., plus socio Darwinism (whose cousin Galton founded eugenics); much of the same has been developed into the ‘steady state economy’ theory by Herman Daly (via Club of Rome) for the top people.

    It all leads back to class, privilege and advantage for the top people, over and above the majority of society; while acting as liberal and environmental.

  2. Jaquix

    Something missing from the hit list is “We must at all costs please our donors, who keep the big dollars rolling into our coffers, but we must never, ever, admit that.”

  3. rossleighbrisbane

    Scott Morrison suggested yesterday that AGL may not want to sell Liddell so that they could keep power prices high and make more money!
    Imagine: A private company putting their own interests ahead of thinking of the common good! Makes you wonder if assets like electricity generation should be in government hands.

  4. Kaye Lee

    “Government economic responsibility is also linked to protection from the negative consequences of free markets. The government must defend us against unscrupulous merchants and employers, and the extreme class structure that results from their exploitation.

    Governments argue that people need to be assisted with the economic competition that now dominates the world. But the real intent of this position is to justify helping corporate interests . . . siding against local workers, consumers and the environment.

    Another general role [of government], related to the need for efficiency, is the organization of large-scale projects. It is for this benefit that we accept government involvement in the construction of society’s infrastructure, including roads, posts and telecommunications, and water, sewage and energy utilities. Further, giving government charge over these utilities guarantees that they remain in public hands, and solely dedicated to the common good. If such services are privatized, the owners have a selfish motivation, which could negatively affect the quality of the services.

    That such assets should have public ownership is expressed in the idea of the “commons.” They should be owned by and shared between the members of the current population, and preserved for future generations.”

  5. diannaart

    The Invisible Hand of Capitalism meets the Illusion of Democracy

  6. Kaye Lee

    People often misquote Friedman by leaving out part of what he said……

    “There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” -Milton Friedman

    Businesses have not stayed within the rules of the game. They have not considered the needs of the stakeholders that allow them to remain viable. They are the ones who are breaking capitalism, not the unions as some would have us believe. And they certainly don’t need a tax cut while they are allowed to engage in “debt loading”.

  7. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    I agree commercial interests have strayed way outside the rules of the game. Unfortunately some unions (not all) have also hitched themselves onto the gravy train. Now, that said, what really cheeses me off are the claims that unions have as much money and power as big business – this is total B/S. That Labor depends as much on donations from business as does the LNP thoroughly stinks and has resulted in the right of centre Labor party we know and loathe today.

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