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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Corporate Anarchists masquerading as Capitalists

Corporate Anarchists masquerading as Capitalists expect governments to decrease so they may increase, to privatise and remove bureaucratic restraints in order for the corporate kings to benefit from society's needs.  Yet when their insatiable avarice led the world's markets to the brink of bankruptcy they expected  government to bail them out.  The evil twin of government funded social welfare is government funded corporate welfare.

Laissez faire capitalists want government to privatise as many services as possible, coupled with allowing unfettered freedom to corporations; essentially a commercial form of anarchism.  Yet when they face financial ruin from their unrestrained greed, these same laissez fair capitalists, or Corporate Anarchists, turn to the government to bail them out, as they did during the GFC.  So why shouldn't government have more control over the market place?

When governments increase taxes to fund this Corporate Welfare, the Corporate Anarchists threaten the community with job losses (which increases dependence on social welfare) with removal of their businesses to other regions; something governments don't generally do when government services are not privatised.

Unrestrained Capitalism (or Corporate Anarchism) is not about competition, it is about eliminating competition.  We see this through the evolution of corporate globalisation, small businesses being bankrupted or bought out by multi-nationals, developing countries raped and pillaged for corporate profit with no conscience.  In the west we see the riches, while developing countries see the economic rape resulting in destruction of the resources and people. 

One of the ironies of those who wish for smaller government is that we are now seeing corporations become the government with their influence on politicians, their ability to directly impact the economy of nations.

The danger of privatisation of government services is that corporations are only interested in making money, not in providing social benefits.  These are the first things to go when a government privatises.  Corporations would oppose or do away with unions, they don't want workers to have rights such as when the Liberal Party introduced WorkChoices.  Corporations don't want compliance with government policy or legislation as this cuts into their profits.  We have seen the effect of this through the debacle with Victorian public transport and the subsequent reduction in maintenance of trams and trains that was regularly undertaken when those services were government run.

Many corporations do not have morals and are primarily focused on the bottom line: profit.  They have covered up toxic and dangerous practices, eg the tobacco companies burying reports that told them in the 1950s of the carcinogenic properties of tobacco, of James Hardie and asbestos, the Union Carbide Corporation disaster in Bhopal resulting in thousands of deaths and the list goes on.  Corporations will replace workers with automation at the first chance they get; putting people out of work for the sake of the dollar.  Where is the loyalty from the workers when the corporation has no loyalty to them.

I am not opposed to capitalism when it is balanced with government policy and government providing certain services for the benefit of the community.   Rather than an anarchistic market, capitalism should create a marketplace where all can fairly compete and place a high priority on Corporate Social Responsibility.  Instead of corporations focusing on the single bottom line of profit, they should focus on the 'triple bottom line' of People, Planet and Profit.

Australians could have been boat people

The irony regarding asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australian waters, is that Australians themselves could have been the boat people.  During World War 2 it was rumoured that the Australian government under Prime Minister Menzies had a plan to allow Japan to take the northern part of Australia had they successfully invaded.  This plan was known as the Brisbane Line.  Whilst there is some conjecture about whether or not the Brisbane Line really existed, I want to suggest a hypothetical.

Imagine that Japan had invaded Australia and that the Brisbane Line was invoked.  Northern Australians would have been the ones seeking refuge. Their applications for refugee status in Southern Australia would have been treated with suspicion and derision from their southern counterparts. Those Northerners who felt they needed to escape the brutality of their new overlords and who decided to jump the newly constructed fence separating Northern Australia from Southern Australia would have found that the Southerners were not waiting for them with open arms. in fact, the exact opposite because of the very suspicion that we saw between East & West Germany: neighbours one day, enemies the next. The reason for suspicion would have included rumours such as: "the Japanese are holding their families hostage and they are only down here to spy on us".  

Those northern Australians who managed to jump the fence into Southern Australia would have been imprisoned and most likely deported back to Northern Australia because of the need to "maintain a good relationship with our new mainland neighbours; the Japanese government".

So where to for the Northern Australians? North! Indonesia. Leaky boats, putting their families lives at risk in order to escape a brutal and inhumane regime if we base it on the way the Japanese ran their prison camps during WW2.

Or.... would have those Northern Australians been happy for them and their families, their children, to endure the brutality, the torture just so that they could take a number and apply for refugee status to other countries such as USA, UK or the limited refugee intake of Southern Australia.

We should have a more compassionate approach to refugees, we should not be demonizing these victims of terror and brutality, we should not be subjecting them to further abuse and dehumanizing treatment by incarcerating them in remote, hostile areas of Australia or off-shore centres.

Boat people are not the threat that some people believe. The vast majority have been found to be genuine and are now living productive lives in Australia.

Our attitude to asylum seekers should be summed up in the words of John Bradford:

'There but for the grace of God, go I'.