how time flies when you’re having fun. And haven’t we been
having some fun lately. Work, mortgage, work, car repayments,
work, groceries, work and on and on it goes.
in the ‘real’ world, elections have been had, grand finals lost,
economies collapsing and all that stuff. If it wasn’t for the
distractions of work, mortgage, work, car repayments, work,
groceries, work and so on, one could get very depressed.
oldies. A bunch of them recently got together in Melbourne to
vent their spleens over the cost of living and the pittances
they get as pensioners. My, what a sight it was. However, they
failed to realise that their greatest advocate (according to his
memoirs) is no longer in office.
Instead of a
bloke about their own age, they now have a PM who is young(ish)
and more concerned about his frequent flier points than doling
out more cash for those he sees as being ‘great contributors to
the nation’. The pensioners and retirees who gathered in
Melbourne need to ‘get with the program’ a little and realise
that the greatest contribution to the nation they can now make
is to unselfishly get back to work and do so until they kark
Then, at the
other end of the life spectrum, we have the kiddies. They’re the
ones who don’t mind taking a dump in their pants when you’re in
the middle of coffee and buns at the café and who cause you
great embarrassment when they spew their lunch all over the back
seat of your best friend’s Audi.
It seems that
despite successive government’s endorsement of private child
care, the great saviour of mankind (sorry sisters) that is
capitalism, doesn’t really do much to solve our biggest problems
Now, before we
get all starry eyed and blame the Howard government for the ABC
fiasco, lets recall that it was the Hawke and Keating
governments (which according to my memory were Labor) who
deregulated the child care ‘market’ and opened it up to
‘for-profit’ companies. Seems like the whole shebang is coming
down around our ears.
Now I could
talk at length at the disappointment we Geelong supporters have
over not winning the flag this year … but I wont. It pales into
insignificance when compared to what is going on as governments
around the world bailout whatever multinational comes knocking
and enter into the ‘socialist phase’ of capitalism.
thing about capitalism seems to be that it is blind to age,
infirmity, middle wealth, poverty and the environment. These
impediments to the upward redistribution of the common-wealth do
not stand its way. Well, not really “its” because capitalism
isn’t really a ‘thing’ as such. Neither are the ‘ailing’ or
If you’ve ever
been to a market the first thing you will notice is the people.
There are people behind the stalls. They want to sell you
something and you want to buy. The market without people is just
an empty space with stalls in it. There is no activity, no
trading, no fracas and no exchange. In other words, the market
place is only created when rational people, who have an aim to
maximise their utility, come together and trade whatever
commodity they have.
So, if the
market is made up of rational people who trade according to
rules they agree on, then we have to agree that if the so called
‘global financial crisis’ is having material outcomes (no more
retirement funds, collapsing businesses and so on) then it must
have been people who caused it.
On the surface
this sounds fairly simple. Yet, the reality is much more
complicated and far less understandable. However, in order to
make sense of it all, it is important to remember that the
biggest benefits of capitalism do not accrue to those who must
adhere to its ‘rules’ but to those who manipulate or ignore the
rules and bribe the umpires.
we have seen, do not bring regime change (and neither does
invading a sovereign nation under false pretences). As we see
Obama putting together his new government we must really ask, is
this not a rearrangement of the deck chairs? Similarly, and
despite his “apology”, the Rudd government is failing to live up
to its promised ‘saviour’ status. Even the mysterious Mr.
Garrett must be getting worried about his latest album. Tuneless
melodies and obscure lyrics mean his latest work is not being
received by the masses as well as his managers had hoped.
back at the coal face, we are encouraged to work harder,
volunteer more, drink less and enjoy the ride. We are reassured
that noting beats working when it comes to living a fulfilled
life. Who was it that said “Arbeit macht frei”?
Now, I can
accept that my beloved Geelong didn’t have the mettle to go all
the way this year. What I can’t accept is that we are still
expected to swallow the whole ‘work will set your free’ mantra.
The worst thing we can do is sit back and accept that there is
no alternative. There is. But it won’t come free.
While I am
the first to admit that, as a theory, capitalism has some
upsides, I am not stupid enough to miss the fact that, like any
theory, it can used to justify dogma, ideology and the severest
human rights abuses. The fact that the “market” has been
corrupted cannot be missed by even the strictest adherent to its
tenets. Even though it scares the bejesus out of me, I can’t
help but have a chuckle when I see one of the “leading
economists” turn themselves in knots trying to explain why the
public purse needs to be used to bail out those who caused the
problems in the first place.
line is, with thousands more about to lose their jobs over the
next few months as factories close and the ‘economy contracts’,
the question for us, will be, are we really content to just work,
pay the mortgage, work, make the car repayments, work, buy the
groceries and work more in order to see our inheritance used to
enrich those who see us as nothing more than stepping stones to
their own enrichment?