Friday 27th of January 2023

on the road to perdition ...

on the road to perdition ...

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"What is happening to our society: our government is no longer liberal, but neo-liberal, with far reaching consequences for representative democracy that we no longer enjoy:

Our government is no longer capable of regulating our society: it has as an organisation no comprehensive understanding of the underlying issues, and no longer any control of the resources to effect regulation and control and protection of the most vulnerable to sustain a just society: it is essentially values-neutral.

It’s a consequence of the prevailing ideology of economic rationalism: which holds that you don’t need integrated long range public policy planning, you just free the market up and let market competition sort out all public issues: its why neo-liberals are incapable of solving wicked problems like climate change and sea level rise and social disadvantage and redistribution to ensure participation and survival for all.

These issues are immensely hard to tackle as public policy decisions in a functioning democracy by governments of any persuasion, but in an economic rationalist view, government must remain non-interventionist, downsize the executive arm of government till it is no longer able to formulate advice based on public sector policy expertise. Then they have to buy in policy advice from the corporate sector at great expense and not independent but designed to facilitate government ideological ends, and the money they pay for this goes offshore to foreign multinationals.

Meanwhile they have sold off or outsourced all businesses traditionally run that let them control essential services (power, transport, roads - even water is being argued for by Nestle corporation). They attempt to withdraw from public education from preschool to tertiary, in favour of a mishmash of private sector alternatives that are not cost effective and open the way to a range of unscrupulous profiteering private enterprises such as we see making false claims for subsidies and offering inadequate standards by agencies whose primary motive is profit. Education has become a business not a public good.

In the health and aged care area we see the same distortions of motive from community service to profitmaking.

Meanwhile we learn there is no promised trickle-down effect from the unlimited growth model and competition and growth cannot be sustained on our finite planet.

The government is now bereft of any income sources to be made from industries that use our natural resources and our real estate owned by the people (which are handed over to corporations to exploit at questionable rents).

This means governments have a paucity of income to enable action. They resort to cutting redistribution mechanisms for social justice to the bone, while still trying to pare back their income making stream of taxation by cutting taxes for those making money in the community (the wealthy and big business) to facilitate the free market.

They outsource the most serious of government responsibilities, the deprivation of liberty of citizens in order to maintain law and order, to private multinational companies (instance Serco) and put them in charge of detention of our growing world refugee population under extraordinarily irresponsible and unjustifiable abuses that pay no regard to our humanitarian responsibilities (The free market is after all values neutral and denies altruism because it is a theoretical model of social Darwinism: based on the ideology that every man or woman must act in their own self-interest for the best economic outcome: it is a model that encourages and rewards greed and the accumulation of wealth by the fittest and best players and holds this up as the mirror of how societies must operate, when in fact the very opposite is true in our finite world).

Margaret Thatcher, one of the first world leaders to come under its sway in modern times, said: ‘Society? There is no society!’ And so we pursue a theoretical model of governance and regulation which ultimately destroys the very essence of western democratic values and structures as it shifts power to the top 10% and pays no attention to the ‘undeserving’ poor and the exploitation of the finite resources of our planet and the effects of global pollution and destruction of habitat, species and environment".

Kay Williams