The Market and pass the snake oil
ministers were in the news last week. Bob Hawke (remember him) rushed
to kiss Sir Peter Abeles shortly before the old transport magnate died,
and more claims emerged about the big piggery deal that made Paul Keating
even richer than he would have been if he'd had to rely on his parliamentary
pension. In the prevailing climate, who can blame him? We all have standards.
Perhaps he felt he had to keep up with the Soehartos.
mainstream media sold the Abeles story as a penniless-migrant-makes-good
yarn. A modern Australian nationalist, humanitarian, business visionary
and friend of the working man. He was troubled by the very success of
the "free market" and yearned for some force to civilize it,
has become a cheap snake oil salve for troubled hearts and minds, and
more and more people are rubbing themselves down with the stuff. The
multi-billionaire hedge fund operator and currency raider George Soros
and Lindsay Tanner and Kim Beazley and Paul Sheehan and the Democrats
and the Russian Mafia and British Prime Minister Tony "Rupert"
Blair and Canadian philosopher Raulston Saul are all lathering it on
thickly. Old Bob Santamaria used it since the days of his youth when
he was an admirer of Benito Mussolini.
The Market is a cruel and relentless bitch goddess. She will never be
civilised -- let alone by these puny wankers -- and most of them know
it. They believe in the "civilize capitalism" line to the
same extent, and in the same sense, that most English Tories believed
in God and the Church of England: a worthy intention and a charming
myth and indispensable for gulling the unwashed masses, but not to be
actually believed in for practical purposes.
the end it was really just a story about the Labor Party as a way up
the social ladder.
everybody in official politics is driven by a massive ego, but most
are, and they are holding us back. These people are true professionals
and that is the problem. They are there because they actually like politics.
They like the lifestyle, the process of politics itself. All they want
you to do is vote, and, of course consume. They're not even happy about
you joining their party, because you might ask questions or even raise
old British Tory ruling class did warn us about this. If we give you
all the vote, they said, you will just get a bunch of social climbers
from the lower orders representing you.
old Tories were so seriously rich that they could take part in politics
as a duty. Their objectivity wasn't tainted by the search for personal
power and wealth so they could be trusted to do the right thing by The
Nation -- by which they meant, of course, themselves and their kind.
root of the problem is that most people are cut out of the loop of politics.
Between the jobs and the kids and the new technology and the perpetual
reorganisation there just isn't time.
greatest real leap in democracy came when the trade unions won the five
day week. There was time then, not just for recreation, and participation,
but for reading and thinking and the new experiences which broaden the
mind. But the world has moved on since then and become more complex,
and every problem we face needs more management, more participation.
Now, even in a wealthy country like Australia, most people just don't
have the time to actually participate, and this is in spite of the huge
increase in productivity per person in the last 50 years and the fact
that nowadays there are usually two people working in each family.
is being rorted and stolen from us and the best way we can make a start
on the problem is the four day week. Not the 35 hour week, or even the
32 hour week, but the four day week. Nothing less will do.
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 1999