Image for Help! Saving Australia

Australia is in the grip of a beast epidemic, captured by the lust for growth that requires around 5% unemployment, now above 6%, so that the well-off can enjoy a larger share of the national pie.

In the land Down Under we sing “Advance Australia Fair”, but just how fair is it to condemn so many citizens to the unemployment bin?

Stambe and Fryer spell out the driving force behind that drat percentage ~ “The Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment is a term used by economists and politicians to refer to the level of unemployment, between 4% and 6%, considered necessary to prevent inflation taking off.” [1]

That larger share of the national pie is essentially the proceeds of crime, stolen from those who must pay the price so others may enjoy the bounty of greater wealth through growth.

Youth deprived of a secure working future, children trapped in poverty and homeless people forced onto the street, are all the victims of the national growth obsession beast, which is centred on our fiscal addiction to unemployment.

Greed-driven growth

The number of individual lives being hammered by greed-driven growth creates quite an army, which Muir, Powell and Butler describe ~ “This is basic maths: 657,407 young people plus another 1,197,057 underemployed and unemployed adults 24 years and older looking for work minus 149,900 job vacancies equals not enough jobs. Assuming one job per person, this means 92 in every 100 of these people won’t get a job vacancy. Competition is fierce.” [2]

With no intention of solving the unemployment crisis, politicians focus on ways to control the unemployed, with a convict style system of discipline, punishment and humiliation, which will include work-for-the-dole for all unemployed people under 50 years of age from July.

Maintaining a permanent pool of the unemployed also serves as a means to keep those in work living in fear of the unemployment bin, especially if they have a mortgage to pay off, a car to run and a family to support.

Australia was never meant to become a control-freak nation that specialises in driving up poverty.

In 1948 H. V. Evatt led an Australian delegation to work with seven other nations in preparing ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, which in Article 23 states ~ “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” [3]

Australia signed up to that and if we had been true blue about it, we would have a very different working nation around us now.

When describing life in our great southern land, the Australian Government states ~ “Australians value equality of opportunity and what is often called a ‘fair go’. This means that what someone achieves in life should be a product of their talents, work and effort rather than their birth or favouritism.” [4]

Are we losing sight of the ‘fair go’ ... ?

Now we can wonder if we are losing sight of the ‘fair go’, as greed-driven economics delivers an increasingly oppressive form of government.

With the robot revolution now arriving, the need to control anger may well grow.

Professor Michael Osbourne visited Australia recently to speak about the rapidly changing employment landscape and how robots will take away half of current paid work in the next couple of decades. [5]

Anyone seeking work in Australian mines must already compete with the robots that drive trucks.

Robots the size of ants are now being developed that can work alone or in a swarm, moving at 30cm per second. [6]

With no plan on the table for fair work and fair access to income, are we gazing down the barrels of a future with more than 30% unemployment and 50% poverty?

At what percentage of suffering will anger rise so high, that this nation will begin to tear itself apart, as people without hope demand their share of the national pie?

We can also wonder what form of government we have come to be ruled by, which is democratically elected, but is becoming an authoritarian police state that must control increasing numbers of citizens forced into unemployment.

John Biggs suggests that Australia has become “fascist” ...

John Biggs suggests that Australia has become “fascist” ( TT here ), but that form of authoritarian government actually created work for all able citizens. [7]

For the first time in human history we are witnessing a new form of elected government that becomes an authoritarian democratic police state to manage growing unemployment and poverty in a wealthy nation.

If naming the beast would help, I wonder if the term “polist” would fit, reflecting on the increasingly police state nature of the Australian government.

No similar term could be found in a search, but there is a Polist River in Russia and a species of paper wasp called polistes.

A “polist” state is the one we get when we lose sight of the fair go.

How do we fight back against “polist” authoritarian rule and advance a fairer Australia?

Current populist “polism” perpetuates the status-quo and there will not be any change or a return to fairness, until Australians wake up to what is going on in our land Down Under and begin demanding justice and action.

Unfortunately, all shades of politics become “polist” when they surrender to growth and forget about the meaning of full employment.

We need a revolution in the Great Southern Land and if we act now, we can hope for a peaceful way forward.

If we wait too long, we may be permanently lumbered with a “polist” state becoming increasingly authoritarian as unemployment and poverty grow.

To tackle the “polist” beast and tame its behaviour, we can strike at the heart of the problem with personal action.

We can look back to 1948 and consider what Australia would be like now, if we had walked our talk and allowed everyone “the right to work” and receive their fair share of the national pie as income.

We can begin to rebuild a democratic freedom loving nation and liberate ourselves from the “polist” beast that now controls our fate and the life of the nation.

The simple act of delivering real work with real pay to all able workers would at a stroke deal with under-employment, unemployment, poverty and homelessness, as we build a full-employment nation free of fear.

The savings from building a full-employment nation in Centrelink payments would be in the billions annually.

There would also be billions saved from no longer needing a job-network police force to control, discipline and punish the unemployed.

An Australian government committed to full-employment would be able to direct those billions of dollars into driving real work with real pay for all able workers.

When the full-employment system is fine-tuned and running smoothly, the government hand can be very light and at minimal cost.

In the 1800s British Empire, including in Australia, people who fell into debt could find themselves arrested and locked up in a debtor’s prison.

The way the political mood is going at present, we could see a return of debtor’s prisons for the unemployed, the poor and the homeless, where people simply vanish into concentration camps.

A warning of where we are heading ...

How this nation now treats refugees is a warning of where we are heading.

If good people will not stand up and demand action on full-employment, we may live to see concentration camps dotted across this land, where the victims of the “polist” beast vanish.

If good people rise up and win the debate for a fair go, we may see politicians and business leaders invited to understand their addiction to unemployment and how this can be changed.

We may live to see politicians apologise to the nation for allowing their addiction to unemployment to become entrenched and grow into a rather bad habit.

One free-market alternative that can be used to create work are cooperatives, which have been around for a long while now, waiting in the wings of the economy.

Tim Mazzarol writes ~ “Co-operatives are viewed as key instruments in the social economy. For example, in Spain where unemployment amongst youth is well over 50% the example of the Mondragon Corporation has been highlighted. Mondragon is one of the largest co-operative enterprises in the world and was hailed for its ability to maintain and even create jobs during the recent recession.” [8]

Why shouldn’t cooperatives be put to work if they can create work in a free-market society?

Race Mathews describes the amazing achievement of the Mondragon cooperatives in creating work and income ~ “The essentials of the Mondragon story are simple. What arose in 1956 as a handful of workers in a disused factory, using hand tools and sheet metal to make oil-fired heating and cooking stoves is today a massive conglomerate of some 260 manufacturing, retail, financial, agricultural, civil engineering and support co-operatives and associated entities, with jobs for 83,800 workers, and annual sales in excess of $US20 billion.” [9]

Wouldn’t the Mondragon example be a far better alternative than enforced unemployment under an authoritarian “polist” state?

The cooperative option could now be put to work as a direct way of sharing the national wealth with all citizens able to participate.

If the principle of the right to work were remembered and embraced by the whole nation, those now in business could view it as their civil duty to help create cooperatives.

Our society has drifted so deeply into a morass of dependence on unemployment to drive growth, that it will take some time to build the skills needed by the victims of this national fiscal abuse, so they can again join the work-force.

Stepping to full employment will help build a much stronger nation, with an empowered work-force.

Wealth can be created through automation and robotics, but it must become a national principle that workers will remain in the income loop as wealth is created.

In a future where most menial work will be the province of robots and wealth will be created by machines, some have suggested that a living income should be the birthright of all citizens, where those not employed would have the liberty to pursue a creative life.

That would be a far better outcome than the current “polist” regime ringing with fear.

Human civilization is on the verge of some rather amazing opportunities with space development, where work can be created, including space tourism, where a spaceport in Australia would create work.

As the sun sets on manufacturing, space development offers a whole new industry of opportunity, including with satellites manufacture.

Solar-thermal developed in Spain ...

We can supply a huge volume of solar energy on Earth for industry and work with systems like solar-thermal developed in Spain.

Paddy Manning described the system in 2011 ~ “Gemasolar uses 2650 mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays on to the top of a central ‘‘power tower’’ and heat salt to more than 500 degrees. The molten salts store heat that is slowly released to power a steam turbine, generating enough electricity for 25,000 households. Last month, Gemasolar became the first solar thermal power station to supply electricity into the grid for 24 hours - including throughout the night - a key test for solar energy’s ability to provide baseload power.” [10]

Imagine the volume of power that could be produced from the Sun with ten thousand solar-thermal plants located across Australia’s hot desert heart.

Building a solar-thermal power grid would create work and the energy generated would allow work to be created.

The largest solar-thermal plant in the world is currently located in California’s Mojave Desert and has been operating since 2013. [11]

Why has Australia been staggering backward into the future, blinded by the dark vision for coal, which is a limited fuel source compared to the Sun?

It is the backward thinking with energy that is also reflected in the backward thinking on the right to work in the “polist” mind-set.

By turning around and facing the future with energy, Australia can begin to advance fairly when it comes to the rights of all able citizens to real work with real income.

The Sun is a virtually unlimited energy well, which has so much fuel in reserve, it will burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, until expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant star.

By locating solar power stations in space, much more power can be produced, opening the way for industry beyond Earth and the prospect of constructing orbital space settlements anywhere in the Solar System, like the giant wheel in space in the SF movie ‘Elysium’. [12]

With unlimited energy from the Sun and resources from the Moon, Mars and asteroids, it will become possible to create unlimited wealth with a stellar economy that has no limits to growth.

On Earth we must work within the limits of our home planet, but beyond Earth and among the stars, there are no limits.

By investing in space development, we will be creating work in Australia and working toward creating an unlimited stellar economy.

With the energy of the Sun harvested in space and brought to ground in Australia, we could desalinate any volume of ocean water, pump the liquid gold to any location, drought-proof the continent, turn the deserts green and build hundreds of new cities.

With the power of the Sun brought down to Earth, we can tackle global warming and climate change, by directly extracting excess carbon from the air and using the power of the Sun to process the carbon into a useful resource for Earth and space industries.

With an industrial presence in space, we will be able to build this planet’s defences against asteroids that from time to time strike the Earth and could end our reign, as one did that of the dinosaurs.

We have no shortage of work ahead, if survival counts and life matters, but if we are trapped in the dead hand of growth on Earth and continue with an addiction to unemployment to maintain the status-quo, we are lurching with a death wish.

By reaching for the stars and investing in a sustainable presence beyond Earth, a point will be reached in the stellar economy when there will be no further cost to Earth and the return on the investment from across the Solar System and among the stars will be infinite.

Knowing that an unlimited stellar future is at our fingertips, it is quite bizarre that we can tolerate a limited economy Down Under and become addicted to unemployment to maintain growth that is, compared to what we can achieve, nothing.

We need to kick the habit of unemployment addiction and adjust our thinking to a stellar economy where poverty will be history.

By being able to offer a healthy and creative life to all Earth’s children, we will also be investing in peace on Earth.

If we can imagine this future, we can create it, by connecting with the power of the Sun.

We can also save Australia from the “polist” beast that now grips our fair nation.

REFERENCES ~

[1]  ‘How the unemployed ‘disappear’ and why it matters’
Rose-Marie Stambe & David Fryer, 12 January 2015, The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/how-the-unemployed-disappear-and-why-it-matters-35850

[2]  ‘A whacking stick is not enough to get young people into work’
Kristy Muir, Abigail Powell & Rose Butler, 19 March 2015, The Conversation
http://theconversation.com/a-whacking-stick-is-not-enough-to-get-young-people-into-work-38710

[3]  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

[4]  ‘Life in Australia’
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/values/book/english/lia_english_full.pdf

[5]  ‘Automation to fundamentally change the job market within 20 years, says Oxford professor’
Matt Eaton & Nance Haxton, 23 March 2015, ABC News Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-23/automation-will-fundamentally-change-the-job-market-in-20-years/6340512

[6]  ‘The future of factories? Swarm of super-fast robotic ‘ANTS’ powered by magnets can independently climb walls and even build’
Ellie Zolfagharifard, 22 April 2014, Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2609558/The-future-factories-Swarm-super-fast-robotic-ANTS-powered-magnets-independently-climb-walls-build.html

[7]  ‘Is the Abbott Government fascist?’
John Biggs, first published 9 June 2014,Tasmanian Times
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/is-the-abbott-government-fascist/

[8]  ‘Co-operatives and social enterprise: are they a replacement for mainstream capitalism?’
Tim Mazzarol, 4 November 2012, The Conversation
http://theconversation.com/co-operatives-and-social-enterprise-are-they-a-replacement-for-mainstream-capitalism-10520?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+5+November+2012&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+5+November+2012+CID_0a067ac95fb97e59de1e5e40b0ea6ce6&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Co-operatives%20and%20social%20enterprise%20are%20they%20a%20replacement%20for%20mainstream%20capitalism

[9]  ‘The Mondragon model: how a Basque cooperative defied Spain’s economic crisis’
Race Mathews, 19 October 2012, The Conversation
http://theconversation.com/the-mondragon-model-how-a-basque-cooperative-defied-spains-economic-crisis-10193?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Weekend+Conversation&utm_content=The+Weekend+Conversation+CID_f4e84730ebd59e0077775a399dbe4444&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=The%20Mondragon%20model%20how%20a%20Basque%20cooperative%20defied%20Spains%20economic%20crisis

[10]  ‘Fund studies, not schemes, says Windsor’
Paddy Manning, 15 August 2011, Sydney Morning Herald
http://www.smh.com.au/business/fund-studies-not-schemes-says-windsor-20110814-1it1r.html

[11]  Bright Source Limitless
http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/ivanpah-solar-project#.VRlqmSj-eS0

[12]  For an early blueprint for space settlement and industry, see ‘The High Frontier’ by Gerard K. O’Neill, first published in 1977.


NOTES ~

This article follows on from an earlier article of mine in the Tasmanian Times ~
‘Liberating Australia from an Addiction to Unemployment’
Kim Peart, 16 March 2015
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/liberating-australia-from-an-addiction-to-unemployment/

The term “polist” was first used in comments 111 and 115 in a long-running discussion in the Tasmanian Times ~
‘Is the Abbott Government fascist?’
John Biggs, first published 9 June 2014
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/is-the-abbott-government-fascist/

A neat film on this website describes the origin of modern cooperatives in Rochdale, England, in 1844 ~
Co-operatives Australia
http://www.australia.coop/ca/

The novel by Kim Stanley Robinson called ‘2312’ and published in 2012, includes cooperatives as a way to provide work across the Solar System in a future bristling with robots and artificial intelligence.

Kim Peart  is a visual artist and space development advocate from Tasmania, now living on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, who once organised a conference on employment as one of the basic human rights as an event in Human Rights Week in Hobart. Kim is the director of Space Pioneers, which works toward a stellar economy based on the power of the Sun and resources of the Solar System, where poverty will be history and all Earth’s children will share unlimited creative opportunities. ~ http://spacepioneers.com.au/