Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Corporation Power Causing Problems

With the return of an acute phase of the world’s ongoing economic crisis we are seeing the neo-liberal, also called economic rationalist, addicts pushing for more power for world straddling corporations. That is more of the approach that is a major cause of current problems. One obvious reason for the crises is that the wealth generated by the labour of working people is being increasingly appropriated by a wealthy few. It is to be hoped that the approach, to climate change and simultaneously making minimal moves to correct equity issues, publicised by Julia Gillard on July 10 is suggesting the beginning of change for the better. But if this is to be so, much more will have to be done by the extra Parliamentary Movement for more equity and curbing the power of the polluting corporations.

There are many examples of how the push to the pro corporation political right can affect a currently ‘China dependent’ Australia. These examples include the negotiations the Australian Government is currently participating in for a free trade agreement with the US, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. (For more information on this important issue visit WWW.aftinet.org.au or email campaign@aftinet.org.au )

The agenda for this agreement is being set by giant US corporations that want a legal right to sue governments that prevent them from getting away with charging more for medicines, paying minimal wages and denying workers rights as well as plundering physical environments. This is something that if allowed to happen would, for example, make Tasmania’s current problems still worse. It would, still further increase health costs. It could also, via the Malaysian timber giant Ta Ann, which is already operating in Tasmania, enable even further rape of our forests and continuing imposts on the public purse.

A feature of very recent history is the extent to which so many of the hard won rights organised workers, supported by a few people slightly better off, have won are under attack by the corporation chiefs who control a great deal of the means of production. These same few corporation heavies have powerful influence over governments and the distribution of information or more correctly in the frequent case misinformation. As the already over rich few accumulate still more wealth and power the capacity of working people, who actually produce the wealth these few control, to purchase the necessities and a few luxuries of life continues to decrease and in consequence the economic crisis deepens.

What then is there by way of alternative paths? Short of ridding ourselves of rule by capitalist greed and as an alternative to the worst of capitalism as represented by the current situation are there short term measures that public opinion could be mobilized to support and organize for? Currently ever more power, over others, is being exerted by corporation chiefs. Could the policy positions advocated by the once influential economist Maynard Keynes perhaps bring some short term relief to what is an increasingly desperate situation? My answer to this last question is a qualified yes.

This qualified yes answer to the last of the above posed questions is qualified for several reasons including that Keynes, theories particularly as interpreted by most classical economists, have serious shortcomings. Galbraith and others spelled out several aspects of these problems with Keynesian ideas almost 40 years ago (see foot note 1).

Despite these basic flaws, some of Keynes’ views could improve our current situation particularly his view that, “Ideas, knowledge, hospitality, travel – these are the things which should by their nature be international. But let goods be homespun where ever it is reasonable and conveniently possible, and above all, let finance be primarily national.”(2) Much more recently this approach of giving, where possible, priority to national self sufficiency has been advocated by the well informed Canadian writer and thinker John Ralston Saul(3).

Some immediate policy needs ….In his last book “The Good Society’ Galbraith brought up to date what, with a bit of additional creative thinking, could become the basis of an updated Keynesian approach. A starting point, advocated decades ago, by Galbraith is to recognise that in our modern world: …” When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state, power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in form and degree but not in kind from the state itself.”

As Galbraith went on to write in 1977 ” …Neo classical or New Keynesian economics … offers no useful handle for grasping the economic problems that now beset modern society.” The steps Galbraith and some others who are not Marxists proposes as necessary to tackle these modern problems, in my view are very similar to what modern Marxists who have thought seriously about our current situation see as immediate issues that we need to get action on now. (4)

These steps involve several key measures including:

*legislative and other steps by governments to regulate markets along with openness in economic decision making in order to undermine the corruptive potential that corporations now have and exercise over governments and top public servants particular when using the devise of “Commercial in Confidence deals’ that deny information to the public about what is happening to very large sums of public money

*substantial increases in taxation of corporations and of very high individual incomes —Galbraith argues for this to provide the necessary finance to governments to enable them to initiate socially necessary and ecologically sustainable economic projects. He suggests that, when necessary, governments should borrow for such positive purposes see footnote(1) He argues the need for governments to borrow to make possible constructive government projects in the sorts of economic circumstances most of the world is now in. These are circumstances that recent developments suggest Australia could well be about to experience in a devastating way. The budget surplus fantasies that most of our main stream economists promote will only serve to prevent government actions that could improve our economic position.

Borrowing to use public money to bailout failed banks and other institutions, owned by privately owned and controlled corporations, is of course an entirely different matter and as the USA’s current situation indicates only prolongs and worsens the situation. It is the use to which governments put borrowed money that counts. In our present situation governments investing in and or supporting community based cooperative ventures such as renewable energy and other socially necessary and ecologically sustainable ventures serves the double purpose of beginning to tackle climate change problems and substantially improving the economy. ( Again see an admittedly quite lengthy footnote (1)

*recognition, in all decision making about economic matters, that the market system is hostile to environmental protection and that responsible and transparent government intervention in economic matters is essential. We need to recognise the truth of the view of one time chief economist of the then environmental division of the World Bank Herman Daly’s that the market cannot recognise either equity and social justice issues or ecological issues (5)

*We could also draw on the ideas of Australia’s outstanding economist of the twentieth century namely H.C (Nugget) Coombs.who warned of the return of scarcity that we are now witnessing as Millions starve in many parts of the world. Coombs warned against Australia continuing to be a quarry and for much more sustainable attitude to mining Australia’s mineral wealth.

The following initiative indicates a way to provide environmentally positive work opportunities.-Latrobe Valley residents and workers everywhere will have an opportunity to purchase a stake in their future following the launch of an innovative campaign to establish a solar hot water factory in Morwell. The Earthworker Cooperative launched its 100,000 Australians Campaign on July 28, 2011, in Morwell, aimed at finding 100,000 people to become members of the cooperative and to use the funds to establish the factory.

Membership of the cooperative costs $20 and the project has already received backing from unions, community groups, councils and faith-based organisations. Earthworker spokesperson Dave Kerin said the cooperative had already developed a business plan and picked out a site in Morwell (Search Foundation News August 2011)

*This cooperative approach could be applied in a variety of ways including to the establishment of largely self sustaining villages, on suitable sites, catering for retired people who are finding it increasingly financially difficult to maintain themselves in suburbia and do not want to surrender their independence. Many of us oldies have gardening skills and enjoy a limited amount of light physical work that, with a sensible approach, could contribute considerable to largely self sustaining village communities that could also include, in fact would also need some younger people. Intelligent use of government resources to assist the establishment of such projects with adequate appropriate health and other services could, if intelligently, including democratically approached, make a major contribution to overcoming much of the much talked about aging population problems. There are several ways in which savings to the community and public purse could be achieved by such projects. These possibilities include a substantial drop in the use of pharmaceutical drugs now used in aged care facilities many of which have been exposed as being substandard.

The immediately above points are only some of many changes that could be made given an informed and politically socially more active public and much more people, rather than corporation influence, over of what parliamentarians actually do .We need to learn from what is currently happening in England and refuse to fall for Abbott’s thinly disguised ploys for power to tax people rather than the polluting corporations. More can and needs to be done along the lines of linking measures to give the less privileged greater economic and social equity as we implement policies and actions to combat climate change.

Notes:

(1)Neo classical and neo-Keynesian economics flawed
“Neo classical or New Keynesian economics, though providing unlimited opportunity for demanding refinement, has a decisive flaw. It offers no useful handle for grasping the economic problems that now beset modern society. And these problems are abrasive …. in making economics a non political subject- neo classical theory by the same process, destroys its relation with the real world. … When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state, power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in form and degree but not in kind from the state itself.” These are the words of a very eminent economist, namely John Kenneth Galbraith, in his Presidential address to the American Economic Association on Dec. 29th 1972.

Galbraith went on to say ” To hold otherwise- to deny the political character of the modern corporation- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error. The beneficiaries are the institutions whose power we so disguise. Let there be no question: Economics, so long as it is thus taught, becomes, however unconsciously, a part of an arrangement by which the citizen or student is kept from seeing how he (sic) is, or will be , governed…”

Five years later Galbraith wrote: “There are other problems. Keynesian support to the economy has come to involve heavy spending for arms. This.we’ve seen, is blessed as sound while spending for welfare and the poor is always thought dangerous. With time, too,it has become evident that Keynesian progress can be an uneven thing: many automobiles, too few houses; too many cigarettes, too little health care. The great cities in trouble. As these problems have obtruded, the confident years have come to an end. The age of Keynes was for a time but not for all time (Galbraith p p 225-226).

There is agreement even in high military circles that the naked weapons competition cannot go on. Some will ask the hard question, what will take its place? What of the jobs it provides? What will replace the purchasing power it generates? John Maynard Keynes proposed that the British government put bundles of pound notes into disused coal pits and fill the pits up. This would create jobs. And much more employment would be created by men digging out the pounds, and much demand would then be created by the spending of the notes. The idea was never taken up; instead, in the post-Keynesian world, weapons expenditures – the cycle of design, production, obsolescence, replacement – have served instead. I once called it military Keynesianism.

All candid economists concede the role of military expenditures in sustaining the modern economy. Some have held that expenditures for civilian purposes _ health, housing, mass transport, lower taxes leading to more private consumption – would do as well. The transition would be rather easy. This ignores the entrapment. And it ignores the economic power that sustains the trap and keeps it shut. Behind the new manned bomber is the military and industrial colossus we have been examining. It is strong and resourceful in defending its interest, and we may assume that it is strong and resourceful in the Soviet Union too. Back of improved housing and cities there is no similar power as there is no similar competition. There is only, by comparison a vacuum.

One should observe that there is no problem of magnitudes. For the price of a smallish fleet of manned supersonic bombers, a modern mass transit system could be built in virtually every city large enough to have a serious bus line. What would be built then? The question is one for a later word. …” (Galbraith 1977 p 255).

The specifics of the correct public measures against recession and depression are clear. Interest rates should , indeed be reduced, for what ever effect this may have. But the only truly substantive action is for the government to provide jobs for those for whom unemployment is otherwise inevitable. In doing this, it must borrow and accept the reality of a larger deficit in the public accounts.

The deficit, as will presently be noted, must not be seen as a barrier to effective public action, for by stimulating economic activity it increases earnings and tax receipts. Improvements to the public infrastructure- roads, schools, airports, housing- that are made by those newly employed also add to public wealth and income. Public borrowing, overtime, can be a fiscally conservative act. (From John Kenneth Galbraith “THE GOOD SOCIETY The Human Agenda” pub.1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company Boston New York)- -COMMENT by Max Bound —-borrowing for the above constructive purposes is a entirely different matter to borrowing to bail our institutions that have collapsed because of their own greed as has /‘is currently happening in the USA

(2) Keynes, John Maynard, National Self- Sufficiency 1933, as quoted by E L Wheelwright in his introduction to an ABC Radio program, Book taken from Lateline & Investigations ABC Radio programs. Book title POLITICAL ECONOMY OF DEVELOPMENT published 1977.)

(3) “The Collapse of Globalism and the reinvention of the World” (pub Viking Penguin Books 2005)

(4) I am in process of writing what will, in some respects, be a sort of sequel to this and earlier articles in that it will examine the question of how wealth is created including Marx’s exposition of what Aristotle revealed, aeons of time ago as the difference between (economics and Chrematistic-.or the gaining of money. Parts of the ancient writings of Aristotle, strangely enough, are relevant to helping explain the madness of today’s growth mania. This relevance of parts of Aristotle’s writings, once made available,should easily make sense to thinking environmentalists who are prepared to admit that serious environmentalism is very much an economic, social and cultural matter. For the addicts of economic rationalism or neo-liberalism, even those pretending to environmental concerns, it will obviously be quite difficult to grasp or admit to.

(5) H. E. Daly addressing a Hoover Institution Conference on “Sustainable Development from Concept and Theory to Operational Principles, Population and Development Review in 1989 stated “… the market cannot find an optimal scale any more than it can find an optimal distribution. The latter requires the addition of ethical criteria: the former requires the further addition of ecological criteria.”

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Kim Peart

    August 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Re: 37 Max Bound

    The acid test of our views is our actions and whether our actions will assure survival?

    Kim Peart

  2. Max Bound

    August 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Kim Rather than cvontiue the wanderings perhaps you might consider the following from an article of mine published in May this yea:—–‘In his final paragraphs in the last of his Boyer lectures, Coombs had commented:- “There is evidence that the hysterical pursuit of economic growth is distorting the guiding values of our civilisation and reducing man to the level simply of an instrument of production.” This insight is a tribute to Coombs capacity to for-see some consequences of the neoliberal, economic rationalist or fundamentalist economic theories that his then Party of choice, the ALP, introduced into Australia some few years after he wrote this condemnation of fixation on growth.
    From the land of the 5 day week for most and relative full employment we have become all too close to being a land of the virtual 24 -7 for great many in employment. As a result of this and other factors there is considerably increased unemployment or short term only employment for far too many people. We have simultaneously become a land in which the gap between haves and have nots is, consistently increasing
    Twenty years on, from his Boyer Lectures, in the final paragraph his book “The Return of Scarcity” Coombs was to write “…we are not inescapably dependent on this flood of commodities which our economic system is designed to produce. There are conceivable lifestyles more modest in their material demands, less destructive of the physical environment-…” I much prefer Coombs above advive to apeing birds and expansion.

  3. Kim Peart

    August 28, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Re: 34 Max Bound

    Being abreast of the economic practices of the Easter Island civilization would be interesting, just like studying the fossils of dinosaurs that perished in the great asteroid strike 65 million years ago, but we wont get many lessons in survival, long-term health, or a sustainable level of happiness. Like the dinosaurs and the Easter Island civiization before their demise, our global society is on the precipice, still dancing the death-waltze of a totally failed approach to survival.

    If we are to survive, we must learn to fly. We can learn to fly when we stop the death-waltze and appreciate that a fall into the abyss is a terminal experience. Without survival, no other activity in life is possible. End of game.

    If you doubt what I suggest concerning Nature and human evolution, but wish to consider the matter, then might I suggest that you disprove my observations. Like an hypothesis that might become a scientific theory, there is a prediction.

    Despite a long search of the stars, we have found no evidence of ET. In my document ‘Creating A Civilization’ I suggest a way to reach the stars using robot explorers using today’s level of technology, which would allow a steady expansion among the stars in the cosmic blink of an eye. If ET is out there, there should be a sign, or a message. They should be in the Solar System.

    Either we are the first born, ET is keeping mum and watching, or many tool-making species have reached the point that we are at, used their fossil fuel too long and brought on a runaway greenhouse effect (p.223, the Venus syndrome, ‘Storms of My Grandchildren’ by James Hansen). If the latter explains the cosmic silence, then signs of fallen civilizations might be found by detecting Venus-like planets orbiting distant stars, that were once the home of a tool-making species that failed the test of survival, clung to their planetary chrysalis too long and perished before they could learn to fly and find their beauty as a star-faring species.

    I have not focused on a failed system that is dancing humanity into the abyss. I suggest that we need to get back to the thinking of Adam Smith, whose 1759 ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’ was intended to be read as a companion to his 1776 ‘Wealth of Nations’. We need to reverse, step back to square one and rebuild our world on a foundation of honesty and care, so that poverty is not permitted, no child is allowed to starve to death and participating in the crime of killing the Earth is viewed as a cosmic crime against life.

    We can examine the economic system of the dinosaurs, but we won’t gain a lot there. We can glean from the Easter Island growth-industry in statue building, for what lessons can be gained from a dead-end system. By the same token, we can observe our current practices and identify how we can make the revolutionary transition from delusion and failure to honesty and survival.

    The economy of the Solar Civilization will be quite different to our current ways, because the bottom line will be a healthy and creative life for all Earth’s children and on a home planet with a healthy environment where evolution can continue. The further we go in the current direction, the closer we get to the abyss, with those for greed and those against greed locked into a death-waltze with no plan C.

    Plan A is greed driven. Plan B is against greed. Both plans A and B are totally focused on the Earth and together are delivering the colossal failure that is a threat to our survival. Plan C is beyond greed and looks to getting on with the birth process, breaking free of the planetary chrysalis and learning to fly, so that we may know our beauty as a cosmic butterfly.

    Better to learn to fly that to perish in the chrysalis.

    Gambling with life is totally unacceptable and is no different to a form of mass-suicide, with the death-dancers hypnotised by the music of the waltz and seemingly unable to appreciate how close the abyss is. We must stop this infernal music, hear the silence and awaken from our massive failure, so that we can face the brutal truth and identify what we must do to survive and allow a future that includes health, happiness and a creative life for all Earth’s children.

    That is the bottom line from where we must build a healthy society with a sustainable economy, one that will be fit to become a star-faring civilization and protector of their birth planet.

    Kim Peart

  4. John Lawrence Ward

    August 28, 2011 at 3:32 am

    There are plenty of studies out there to show that the outcome of global warming may be a much earlier dying off of the human race through infertility. And well before we are overtaken by sea level rise or catastrophic weather.

    Perhaps we should point this out to poeple like Tony Abbott and climate deniers. that in fact it is time to think with his balls.

    John Ward
    Gordon, Tasmania.

    In the past decade, male reproductive health had declined with marked increase in the population of subfertile males (Carlsen et al, 1992). The sperm count has been falling at an alarming rate of 2% per annum for the last 20 years. This is believed to be

    due to increase in global temperature and environmental pollution.

    There has been an yearly decline of 2.6%, 0.3% and 0.7% in sperm concentration, sperms with normal motility and sperms with normal morphology (Tas et al, 1996).

    Thus, the testes is remarkable as a biological system for its functional regulation by temperature. The testes function optimally at relatively cool temperature and high testicular temperatures impair spermatogenesis leading to OAT and azoospermia

    as has been seen in the present study. Observed temperature sensitivity of testes has implications in clinical medicine both in understanding pathological state and for therapeutic measures.

    Thus exposure to high temperatures at the workplace is an occupational hazard and leads to deterioration of sperm morphology and impaired motility which may result in infertility.

    http://medind.nic.in/jae/t01/i2/jaet01i2p107.pdf

  5. Max Bound

    August 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    33 Kim As your arguments unfold they continue to reveal the narrowness of your economic investigations. Your construction of the functioning of nature is in my view at best highly questionable. Human cleverness has allowed our species to become dominant but so long as we tolerate an approach to living that continues to focus on expansion and destruction of the ecological systems of planet Earth that same cleverness threatens our future.

  6. Kim Peart

    August 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Re: 32 Max Bound

    If I am correct in this view of Nature and the flow of evolution toward greater diversity, then it provides a clear framework for planning. If attempting to deal with all our problems on Earth alone is no more than fighting Nature, then we cause ourselves harm and also cause Nature harm and this is exactly the picture of our world and our planet.

    I am seeking to identify solutions to our problems that will actually work. I look at our world and I see a total failure by all governments, all universities and all organisations to keep a safe Earth and I am forced to ask why there is such a colossal failure. It is as if those for greed and those against greed have been locked in battle in a doomed death-waltz, where the focus of both has been totally on the Earth and as a consequence, both are fighting Nature and placing Earth’s children and Nature at terminal risk.

    There is a third way that has not been tried, but it was on the table in the 1970s and it may be the only way that we can now avoid waltzing off into the abyss.

    In natural terms of expansion toward greater diversity, in which the tool-making species serves a role for Nature, the industrial era was a moment in time when the Earth was ready to give birth to life beyond Earth. The naturally stored sunlight energy in coal and oil was like a birth booster. Humanity stepped onto the Moon in 1969 and the teams with the will to solve any problem with space development were in place and in action.

    In 1968 Dr Peter Glaser proposed building solar power stations in space and this became a key aspect of Professor Gerard K. O’Neill’s vision for space development, which hit the scene in 1976 with his book ‘The High Frontier’ being published in 1977. If we had run with Nature to build solar power stations in space to supply energy for Earth, most of the carbon fuel that has been burnt could have been left in the Earth. We would have avoided the dangerous Earth changes that we have brought on by releasing the toxin of too much carbon from dead life, that James Hansen warns is now at a level that could deliver a dead Earth. Natural releases of CO2 and methane are about to skyrocket from a fast warming Arctic region and reports are in the the methane clathrate deposits on the ocean floor of the Arctic beginning to dissolve.

    This is no game of inconvenience, but a lethal death-waltz that humanity and the Earth may not survive. As it is, we are causing the extinction of so many species of life, our time is now dubbed as the sixth great of life on Earth and a new geological era.

    Seeing a total failure to keep a safe Earth and seeing how this tragedy could have been totally avoided, should be good news. Humans, however, are stubborn creatures, as shown on Easter Island, when they cut down all the trees and fell into an orgy of civil war, rape and cannibalism. Now the whole world is like an Easter Island, poised to implode.

    If a force of Nature is seeking expansion and greater diversity beyond Earth and running with this is the way to secure survival, health and happiness for humanity and the continuance of evolution for Nature, then the terms of survival dictate our direction, or we may simply be doomed.

    Once the shape of survival is identified, once the shape of our civilization in the Solar System as a whole is identified, then the society that we must build will be revealed. It will be a very different society, with direct access to unlimited solar energy and a wealth of resources for industry and human settlement in space.

    Arguments can run eternal about the best ways to rejig the current system, but if the result does not deliver survival, it is no more than a death-waltz into the abyss.

    Having considered all the arguments raging over why we should remain Earth-bound, I am left wondering if this is more adherence to a form of cargo cult that looks to the skies for a saviour, as is the case for many Christians, looking toward the Second Coming and naturally, would view expansion beyond Earth, or Nature giving birth, as an evil view to be condemned and quietly grounded.

    I would suggest that care needs to be taken, that “Earth-bound” views are not buying into a religious dogma that would have humanity wait on Earth, until a theological dictatorship is established in Jerusalem by a divine being.

    Kim Peart

  7. Max Bound

    August 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    31 Kim Thanks Kim for trying to explain how your constuction of how nature function excuses you having a position on economic growth issues that fits so well with the neoliberal theories that are driving us to our own destruction.

  8. Kim Peart

    August 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Re: 30 Max Bound

    I have been exploring the space option since 1976, but it did not become real for me until 2006, when I came to appreciate our role in Nature.

    When I wrote the small paper ‘Keys to Survival’ in 1993 and with a view to how we could have an ecologically sustainable society living a globally equitable lifestyle, I identified the main key as culture, with the culture we lived determining the world we experienced, as in our culture we tell the stories that inform our actions.

    I was still not happy, as I could see all the pieces of the puzzle, but in the end they never went together properly.

    It was with a view to culture that I began pursuing indigenous wisdom and heard the Papuan theatre director, William Takaku, say on Radio National one cold winter’s night, “Nature is culture. We must learn from Nature. When man sees himself as separate from Nature, he is doomed.”

    I wrote to William and he like my little paper on survival. In the following years I mulled on his words and came to wonder about them in the context of science, of natural law and evolution. I came to ask a fundamental question: “What does Nature want?”

    This is not nature as a conscious entity, but the expression of natural law that has seen the cosmos expand from an infinitely tiny point to all we see in the Universe, the forming of matter from primal energy, the ignition of stars that generated the heavier elements, so that rocky planets could form like Earth, where life began and evolved to fill the place to the brim of the atmosphere. So, I wondered, what’s next?

    Then the penny dropped.

    Of itself life could not expand beyond the home planet. To do so, a tool-making species would need to build the means. The force of Nature is toward expansion in territory and diversity. If our emergence in Nature was part of the expression of a natural force for expansion and diversity in the cosmos, then to resist this force would be like fighting Nature and that is a battle that we could not hope to win.

    When I followed this trail and considered a potential future for humanity in the Solar System as a whole, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and there was an answer to each question raised. We simply needed to observe Nature and apply those lessons to how we run our society as we run with Nature.

    I came to see that the current level of human development on Earth was a juvenile phase of growth, that once we had expanded beyond Earth, specific feedback loops would lead to our society becoming mature and cultured. I explored these observations in my 2006 document ‘Creating A Solar Civilization’ (try Google).

    Once the principle of running with Nature is embraced, then our development and economy would follow in support of the natural principles defined. While we cling to the Earthly nest, the force of Nature that I speak of, an evolutionary impulse, would appear to be the primary cause of a perpetual growth phase, which is fast becoming a cancer on the planet and draining the life from Nature.

    We must decide if we see ourselves as separate to Nature, or part of Nature and if part of Nature, what does this mean. We have 13.7 billion years of cosmic history that has brought us to this point and observing the flow of natural law through that time reveals a clear flow of expansion toward greater diversity.

    One of the key trends that I have observed, is that in our age of democracy our future hinges on individual awareness. It will be empowered individuals working together, honestly and without fear, that will allow the speed of trust to roll the world over and create a future that is in harmony with Nature, on Earth and among the stars.

    If we fight Nature, as William Takaku warned, we may simply be doomed.

    Kim Peart

  9. Max Bound

    August 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    29 Kim I recognise your written concern about aspects of the injustices that surround us.

    However it seems to me that your skyward gazing leads you to miss key points of the realities of our human relationships to each other and to our physical environment here on Earth. Your attempts at search for information and wisdom might be commended albeit it that it appears as having missed so much of what is actually happening around us.

    About the space collisions they could happen on either a relatively small or a very large scale. —Then again in the very long term future the sun is likely to end its time span then, what technological fix do you have in mind for that eventuality, or for a space collision that simply is so substantial as to make Earth uninhabitable.

    Sorry Kim but I see no point in arguing about whether or not humans are capable of defeating nature. My concern is to contribute to our species using its potential to live with rather than try to conquer nature. The eventual space catastrophes will not be an issue for humans if we bring about our own painful disappearance in the shorter term because we allow the greedy and socially irresponsible few to continue to dominate and dictate events.

    The necessary shift to enable our survival does involve cultural change, but just as political power shifts alone are insufficient to resolve our problems, so are isolated instances of a few thousand or so of people getting the message so to speak.

    What is required is a combination of thought through economic social, cultural approaches that can, with democratically based people organisation,to bring about real shifts in public opinion and action that in turn brings real rather than pretend change. Working to build a fear complex regarding asteroids is hardly a helpful contribution to the making the immediate changes in our economic and social/ cultural approaches needed to make our survival possible.

  10. Kim Peart

    August 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Re: 28 Max Bound

    There is no asteroid theory, if you look at the Moon and count the craters. Six times as many asteroids will have hit the Earth, as our planet is six times larger than the Moon.

    It is a basic risk of living on Earth that monster asteroids will hit this planet from time to time, like that which sent the dinosaurs packing into the fossils and opened the way for the rise of the mammals.

    If we do not have the sense to direct our attention to an effective forward-defence against asteroids and the big one arrives, then we will have progressed no further than the dinosaurs as they enjoyed their last supper on Earth.

    To brush aside a most basic challenge of survival, simply serves to threaten our survival, by not bringing the attention needed to the problem and actually solving it; and there is no solution short of forward-defence, including a robust industrial presence beyond Earth.

    In my journey since the days of Environmental Design Studies in 1975, I have sought to consider every aspect of human society, in attempting to understand how we assure our collective survival, health and happiness. My conclusions are very carefully considered and I ever search for a clearer view.

    I look to an honest position, the brutal truth, personally, nationally and globally.

    I consider our betrayal of West Papua in 1962 and the suffering of the people there that continues as a consequence. I consider how all Australians benefit from that crime, with millions of dollars each year flowing into our economy from West Papua.

    I consider what we must do to avoid a runaway greenhouse effect, that James Hansen and others warn could result in a dead Earth and how we could build our way through this crisis if it comes upon us and also win back a safe Earth.

    I consider the role of natural law and evolution in human society.

    I consider what the shape of a civilization in the Solar System, including Earth, would be and how the dynamics of this would lead to our solving all problems on Earth.

    I consider how ten keen and honest people with a hard-head for survival and a compassionate outlook could effectively roll the world over, through the dynamic force of trust and how this may inspire 10 million people to participate within ten years.

    Rather than arguing with politicians until one turns blue, I suggest that real action begins with individuals deciding to be honest, facing the brutal truth and working for a future that includes survival.

    Ten million honest and compassionate people would be a rather powerful force on this Earth and such a movement could only ever begin with an individual deciding to make a commitment to honesty.

    In arguing through the political quagmire, compromises get made as Realpolitik sets the agenda and mega crimes get committed, like the sacrifice of West Papua and the illegal invasion of Iraq.

    When I connect the dots that include survival, an independent and strong Australia, justice for West Papua, being prepared for the worst that we are warned of with Earth change and achieving the ultimate in human rights, a healthy and creative life for all Earth’s children, I do not see these matters being dealt with on Earth alone, but only in the context of the Solar System as a whole.

    If it were possible to deal with our problems on Earth alone, then this should have been the case from 1985. Instead, the same old ways have played out that have brought humanity to the brink of the abyss.

    If we are prepared to be brutally honest, we must admit that the Earth-bound ways have totally failed and we need to consider an alternative direction, while there is still time to act.

    I see the consequences of remaining Earth-bound, as being at risk from an asteroid, an increasingly weakened Australia becoming a vassal state of China and territory for Indonesia and the potential of collapse beginning with food riots, rolling into an energy crisis, with the potential of the collapse of our civilization as the unsustainable bubble of our demands on the planet simple bursts.

    We need a vision that inspires the hope that will generate action. It is a message of hope that can ultimately assure our survival.

    Our survival on Earth will stem from individuals who are willing to face the brutal truth of what is happening and appreciate how honesty will lead to solutions; and how the ways of our World will change as more people come to focus on the universal needs of survival, health and happiness.

    Kim Peart

  11. Max Bound

    August 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Kim 27 In pushing your asteroid theory you are, hopefully unwittingly, downgrading the very real and very immediate threat to a human future represented by greed driven virtual control corporation chiefs currently exercise over world economies.

    We can tackle this problem with no cost and immediate benefits to ordinary people provided we avoid the threat of an Abbott Government and make the polluters pay, True we have much more to do in terms of pushing the ALP much further down the path its July 10th 2011 anouncements made a tentative step towards. That is where realistic environmentalists need to concentrate their energy.

    Now it is true that the American military machine hovers as a real threat to a relatively peaceful future. Particulsly if the tea party pro fascist movement gains strength any thing could happen as American power and influence continues to decline. But here again this is an immediate threat to which the main barrier is the peace and social responsibility movement in America. But it is also a very serious threat that we in Australia could help to lesson by ceasing to be a mindless follower of US foreign policy schemes.

    The focus has to be on peace, equity and human rights that is where we can be effective. Meeting problems created by the forces of nature as recent experiences in Japan and else where demonstrate can best be coped with by avoiding things like Nuclear power generation and by building in places that are not open to threat from rising sea levels and accompanying storms.

    While many countries have difficulties in avoiding building where threats from tsunami’s exist this need not be a future problem in Australia. Here yet again the solutions lie in the direction of Earth bound approaches that include avoiding allowing greedy developers and mis-guided individuals to build in areas exposed to the potential dangers involved.

  12. Kim Peart

    August 25, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Re: 25 & 26 Max Bound

    Unless the precautionary principle is being thrown out the window, then the simple fact is that sooner or later a monster asteroid will arrive to whack the Earth and if we have not bothered to invest in forward defence, we will be no better off than the dinosaurs.

    The arrival of the asteroid may be millennia away, or it may be within decades. We cannot know, as it could be from the Asteroid Belt, from beyond Pluto, or from deep space.

    It is a very dangerous fantasy to ignore a threat to human survival, crossing our fingers and dream it never happens.

    It is the survival confidence generated by a forward defence in space that will inspire and motivate people in working toward building a sustainable human presence on Earth.

    The cost of investing in a survival insurance policy beyond Earth would be high, but the prospect of following the dinosaurs into the fossils is a much higher cost; in fact, total loss.

    The same survival motivation also applies with dangerous Earth changes, where we are now warned the current level of carbon dioxide in the air and which is about to skyrocket, could lead to a runaway greenhouse effect that could result in a dead planet (p. 223, the Venus syndrome, ‘Storms of My Grandchildren’ by James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world’s foremost climate scientist).

    It is now appreciated that increasing levels of ocean acidification, along with warming seas and growing dead zones, could result in algal blooms in dying oceans releasing toxic hydrogen sulphide gas that can kill life on land and destroy the ozone layer. In that event and if we wish to survive, we may need to live on Earth more as if we were living in space.

    We need to get excess carbon out of the air a quickly as possible and I suggest that we use stellar energy to mine it from the air as a resource. We may just avoid the Venus syndrome that Hansen warns of.

    In the long-term humanity could provide all our power needs with ground-based solar generation, but to deal with the carbon, we may need the extra energy from space. This can be sent to Earth with a low frequency beam, a method known since the 1960s and much more refined now.

    The real use for solar energy in space will be for industry, which will open the way to reaching a line where there will be no further cost to Earth, where all subsequent space development will be essentially free and where the return on the investment will be infinite.

    In terms of survival and with a view to fighting for a healthy Earth, it is much better to plan for a future in the Solar System as a whole. Our track record shows that trying to do the lot on a planet is leading us into catastrophe. If we were going to avoid this fate, all answers should have been hammered out in 1975, so that solutions would be in force by 1985.

    Clearly, dreaming of a better world didn’t work. Gerard K. O’Neill’s vision for space development was on the table in 1976 and we would have done much better to have taken that lead, as we would now be way ahead of all the problems that are threatening to drag us all into the abyss.

    Better late than never, while we still have time to act, if we are at all keen on the basic outcome of survival, let along health and happiness.

    Kim Peart

  13. Max Bound

    August 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Re 24 I read this or some thing extremely like it in another discussion that was not about a critical examination of Kim Peart’s proposal that to quote: “If a critical number of people in Australia saw the sense of this suggestion and collaborated to pursue it, the result would be to see our resource wealth invested in building a survival presence beyond Earth, with the construction of solar power stations in space, launching space industry and constructing orbital space settlement.”

    Back to 24 above Kim does support several useful causes but his immediately above published view could hardly be called a desirable course of action for a number of reasons some of which I outline in 25 above.
    My 25 was forwarded for publication before 22,23, and 24 appeared in this discussion. Thanks william Boeder and John Biggs for your support.

  14. Max Bound

    August 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    21 Davies You confirm your view of a desirable future as being even bigger overseas owned corporations, than are the Australian owned ones, controlling the price of the necessities of life’. Another example of how your libertarianism is not about people controlling their own lives and destinies but about near absolute power for a few greedy unprincipled individuals.
    What you seem to be unable to grasp is the elementary fact that human history confirms, namely that uncontrolled markets result in monopolies and, legal but evil, organised robbery of ordinary people.

    Kim you write paragraph 1: “I am not advocating an escape from Earth.” Some paragraphs further on you write:

    “I see an opportunity for individuals to wake up to this challenge and get proactive with lobbying and action for survival and sustainability. If a critical number of people in Australia saw the sense of this suggestion and collaborated to pursue it, the result would be to see our resource wealth invested in building a survival presence beyond Earth, with the construction of solar power stations in space, launching space industry and constructing orbital space settlement.”

    In between denying that you are advocating escape from Earth and then arguing for just such a course —-much of what you wrote has been well known to those of us who have bothered to observe for quite some years and in some cases at least decades.

    I do not deny that there is a possibility that the same series of chance developments that made it possible for human life to evolve over time could bring about our extinction. What I challenge is your technological fix fixation.

    Getting into space is avery expensive exercise including in terms of finite resources. Then if you really meant what you wrote in your first short paragraph rather than what your later paragraph suggests —there is the rather difficult problem of how energy in space can be transmitted to Earth other than in the way that nature has been doing for aeons of time. Further your proposed solutions not only require polluting industries but would also facilitate centralisation of power and control.

    I can only repeat that our priority needs to be focus on resolving the problems that a system, you appear as accepting requires expansion and growth in order to function, creates. My own view and direction of what energy I have will continue to focus on changing our relationships to each other from competition and one-upmanship to cooperation and caring for our fellow humans and for our physical environment. Realistic environmentalism is about economic approaches and directions and socially responsible responsible attitudes

  15. John Lawrence Ward

    August 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    1. In support of Kim Peart. Although Indonesia was not a significant military theatre during World War II, it was the richest prize and its possession a major cause of the U.S.-Japan conflict. According to ‘Foreign Relations of the United States’ published by the U.S. Department of State, American leaders decided to fight Japan (before the pearl Harbour attack) when it became clear the Japanese would seize the Netherlands East Indies and restrict American access to the islands’ vast natural resources – including oil, tin, and natural rubber.
    Following Indonesian independence this natural wealth continued to influence U.S. policy.
    In defending American support for the French War to reimpose colonial rule in Indochina. President Dwight Eisenhower said that American financial aid to the French was the “cheapest way … to get certain things we need from the Indonesian territory.”
    However, The Dutch, aided at first by the British, tried to recast control. Fighting broke out, and the UN tried to settle the dispute. The Dutch finally transferred sovereignty in December, 1949.
    Originally the Dutch did not agree to allow West Irian to be part of Indonesia, but the UN turned the territory over to Indonesia in 1963.
    During that time Menzies protested officially to this transfer and the USA told Australia to butt out, for the above reasons.
    I was in Darwin at that time and suddenly there was huge traffic of both British and American Air Forces (Konfrontasi) each with separate and distinct interests.
    .
    In 1965 Following The Malaysian Confrontation which saw Australian armed forces involved in a so called ‘secret war’ in Sarawak fighting Sukarno,s military supporting British interests in Malaya while looking the other way as the US pressed its anti communist agenda .
    At this same time as Menzies was preparing to retire, leaving us the decimal system, Andrew Peacock, his very favourite policy, (conscription) for the Vietnam War, [where we went all the boot-licking way, with LBJ].
    An attempted coup d’etat by pro communist members of the Army gave General Suharto an excuse to remove undesirable elements. He marshalled the conservatives and together they assassinated an estimated 300,000 to one million Indonesian suspected of having pro communist leanings.
    What disturbed me at that time was that the Indonesian military referred to Australia as South Irian, claiming blood ties with this continent going back thousand of years because fishermen from Indonesia were pushed onto our shores by the monsoons. They left some pregnancies behind each year when they retuned home.
    It became clear to me that the corporate giants actually control American Policy, particularly after a Marine Corps General told me he had spent his career defending Coca-Cola and IBM. He then, in his retirement speech said the same thing to his Marines assembled to see him off.
    Over the years I have come to the conclusion that Australia is on its own in this part of our silly world and the Americans, like the Brits before them cannot be relied on to come to our aid in a time of need, regardless of any treaty we may have with them.
    Self Interest will always win out over any bonds earlier generations may have forged in battle.
    The history of empires is that they grow big and grow wealthy, build huge Armies to defend their territories and treasure. These armies use up all their treasure and blood and then the Empire collapses.
    We have no business or capacity to waste our children’s future supporting somebody else’s bloody empire. We do have a duty to repair the mess we have made of this place, on behalf of foreign Corporations for the piddling backhanders they leave on our bedroom dressing tables.
    John Ward

  16. John Biggs

    August 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    #21. As Max said we’ve been here already, but to re-iterate. There are two issues: deregulation and monopoly, which are conceptually distinct but causally connected. A fully free deregulated market allows the big boys to take over and create a monopoly. That’s when they have the clout to start bullying (or bribing) governments. Packer did it, Murdoch did it. The small businesses (also in grocery, farming, forestry, you name it) suffer badly and many go to the wall, as no doubt intended, leaving ever more power in the hands of the few. It’s a causal chain over time and it’s in the latter phases when the bureaucracy steps in to protect the winners.

  17. William Boeder

    August 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Davies, if I may offer a reply to your question should Max not have the time to respond?

    I refer to the Supermarket Duopoly we have here in Australia.
    I go back to the time of the inquiry by the ACCC into the Coles and Woolworths food prices, also the matter that went nowhere concerning farmers and Primary Producers “at the gate payments” offered for their produce by these Corporate Gorgons?
    Representing the Corporate Duopoly was a busload of the top QCs and Barristers, Vs Graeme Samuels and a few clerks and whatever else from the ACCC.

    Does this scenario sound familiar?

    As to “the at the gate payments,” to the Farmers and Primary Producers, each of these complainants refused to go in the box to give evidence against the Gorgons as they held the upper hand, (some say the whip hand,) and were subsequently afraid of the retributions that would befall them if they dared to enter their evidence in the Court-House?
    Nil result for the Farmers and Primary Producers!

    Next item on the agenda, food prices, the legal Rottweilers were able to refute that the Duopoly was overcharging because they offered a variety of goods at varying prices, ) provided you didn’t mind the inferior imported goods (that could well have been fertilized with human body waste,) or the blue and white labelled variety of low quality reputed goods on offer.
    Then to their own brand-named products made from local and imported ingredients.

    Then of the poor regulations governing food labelling that left one in the dark as to its origins?
    However, the busload of very convincing but highly expensive Legal Rottweilers themselves, as we know, (who would not let their wives buy from anywhere else bar the heath food shops and those selling fresh Australian only produce,) were able to convince the ACCC of their, (the Duopoly) kindness to consumers via their products, their labelling and their pricing structures, so that there was no case to answer!

    Tell me if I have got it wrong here Davies?

  18. davies

    August 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Max you rewrite what was said in #3 to prove your point but I replied to that in #5. As yet, I have had no response to my challenges in #5.

    You complain about companies making governments deregulate so they can get the legislation they want and yet no specific examples are provided. I answered concerning supermarkets. You have very large international companies wanting to set up shop in Australia but they are complaining about too much red tape.

    Too much red tape indicates what is in operation is the opposite of a free market. I also pointed out the contradiction in government apparently deregulating at the same time as legislating to favour a few and you call this a failure of libertarianism?!

    Provide specific examples from any sector you like in any part of the world from any time in history where the principles of free market and libertarianism caused monopolies and restrictions.

  19. Kim Peart

    August 24, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Re: 19 Max Bound

    I am not advocating an escape from Earth.

    The time will come when another monster asteroid will arrive to slam this planet and like the dinosaurs, if we have no forward defence, we will be sitting ducks. Such a mountain could arrive at any time in the future. This is a fact of survival in a dangerous Universe that is ignored at our peril. Achieving the perfect life on a pristine planet will be utterly pointless, if it is a terminal experience.

    Now I read that food riots could disturb nations within two years, that peak oil could topple nations within 5 to 10 years and that dangerous Earth changes could drag nations into the abyss within 10 to 20 years. Our unsustainable presence on this planet alone is sucking the life from Nature and key resources from the Earth, so that it will be very tough for any future human society to regain lost ground, who may be quite stuck on Earth chipping tools from rocks.

    The World Wildlife Fund report of 2010 simply said that we now need more than 1.5 Earths to keep our game going, racing to 2 Earths by 2030. This is a bubble blown ever larger by the use of fossil fuel that must burst, as it simply cannot keep growing larger. When will this bubble burst? I wonder if 2020 could be our problem year, or sooner.

    In terms of survival, we have a double challenge, to have a forward defence in space and a survival strategy on Earth and I suggest that the two are intrinsically linked. It will be by investing in a survival insurance policy beyond Earth, that we will generate the survival hope to deal with all problems on Earth, from the grass roots of society to the national parliaments.

    I see an opportunity for individuals to wake up to this challenge and get proactive with lobbying and action for survival and sustainability. If a critical number of people in Australia saw the sense of this suggestion and collaborated to pursue it, the result would be to see our resource wealth invested in building a survival presence beyond Earth, with the construction of solar power stations in space, launching space industry and constructing orbital space settlement.

    This would generate mass-employment and build a much stronger Australian nation, where we would become a leader on the cutting edge of technology, rather than a coal mine for China and potential future territory for Indonesia. With energy from space and solar power stations on the ground, we would provide water to turn deserts green, build cities and could support a larger population. With energy and water, we can invest in a stronger manufacturing base in Australia, which will improve our defence position in changing geopolitical circumstances.

    We would be able to receive more refugees to work in this nation and our foreign aid can become a form of forward defence, to work with our northern neighbours to use solar energy to build through any dangerous Earth changes ahead and also work toward building a sustainable human presence on this planet. To achieve this, we need to build collaborations in space development with other nations, including South Africa, India and Chile.

    Once the gates beyond Earth are open, we will be able to start building a civilization in the Solar System based on stellar energy that will last as long as the Sun shines. If a critical number of people in Australia were empowered by this simple vision for space and Earth, action could follow on all matters of justice, as security in space will need peace on Earth and this might only happen via a vision that includes and delivers a healthy life with creative opportunities for all Earth’s children.

    Better to be ready for the next monster asteroid heading our way, than trapped in the game of sitting ducks in the cosmic carnival of survival. There would be no escape from Earth for our descendants, if they can only chip tools from rocks and look up to wonder what in the hell that bloody great rock is – wham, bang, off into the fossil record for yet another failed species.

    Kim Peart

  20. Max Bound

    August 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Davies— Perhaps you should look again at what written in 3 above in answer to your assertions as in 2. Please excuse me repeating what John Biggs wrote in 3: “The “free” market has resulted in precisely restricting choice not increasing it. It’s called monopoly as we see in the price wars between Coles and Woolworths. They squeeze out the smaller providers and then whack up the prices to the detriment of the choices and the pockets of us consumers and of our squeezed farmers. As for governments controlling them—take a look. They don’t. Using the mantra of the free market, governments deregulate precisely so those who bankroll the parties get the legislation they want. Governments are controlled by the corporations; not vice versa.”– unquote —So much for your libertarianism and how it is used to promte not liberty but its opposite namely control by a wealthy few.

    Kim— In 6 above you write “Power is ultimately in the hands of the individual, to decide who they vote for, what they support, what they buy and what they invest in. This power of choice affects the shape of politics and enterprise.– unquote –“Do you really believe that you or I have the same power to influence what information, or mis- information people have access to, when deciding how to vote as does, for example, the now non Australian Rupert Murdoch? Do you really think that the few with wealth are utterly stupid and that people are not infuenced by the massive advertising exercises that our eyes and ears are constantly bombarded with. And do you really believe that all people are equal when it comes to making investments?

    Then in 12 above you wrote: “We now face the choice, of trudging on into an evolutionary dead-end, or lift our game while we have time to act and realise the next phase in our evolution, across the Solar System and among the stars.

    If we wish to survive and offer a future for all Earth’s children, we need to figure all this out pretty swiftly. If our maturity is to be realised through expansion beyond Earth and this is a natural process, then it would be helpful to gain an understanding of how all this will work.

    As in Nature, there is a bottom line. It is survival. Our survival is now at risk.

    Our survival in the cosmos will be maximised by building a strong economic foundation in the Solar System, based on our Sun’s energy, which will last as long as the Sun shines.” –unquote–
    Sorry Kim I am afraid that I am not at all inclined to support escape from Earth as any sort of solution. what we have to do learn to live with and not against nature on our home Planet Earth.

  21. davies

    August 22, 2011 at 12:39 am

    What an insult! I am a libertarian. That is very very different to a neo-liberal. You do understand the difference?

    For example, I am totally against wars. I am against border control. As far as I am concerned we should be taking as many refugees that want to come here. Furthermore, I do not believe we should have or need passports. I believe in very small government that looks after the basics (law, order, justice, protection of property etc.) and leaves the rest for free markets to work out. It is like saying your a nazi when in fact your probably a marxist.

    On Galbraith, it is not me making these comments about him. Here is just a portion on what I have read on Galbraith and his ideas.

    Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize–winning Princeton University professor and New York Times op-ed columnist, has denigrated Galbraith’s stature as an economist. In Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations, he calls Galbraith a “policy entrepreneur” – an economist who writes solely for the public, as opposed to one who writes for other academics, and who therefore makes unwarranted diagnoses and offers over-simplistic answers to complex economic problems. He asserts that Galbraith was never taken seriously by fellow academics, who viewed him as more of a “media personality”. For example, Krugman believes that Galbraith’s work The New Industrial State is not considered to be “real economic theory”, and that Economics in Perspective is “remarkably ill-informed”. (From Krugman’s Peddling Prosperity 1994).

    Milton Friedman asserts that Galbraith believes in the superiority of aristocracy and in its paternalistic authority, that consumers should not be allowed choice, and that all should be determined by those with “higher minds”.

    On Galbraith ‘Many reformers – Galbraith is not alone in this – have as their basic objection to a free market that it frustrates them in achieving their reforms, because it enables people to have what they want, not what the reformers want. Hence every reformer has a strong tendency to be averse to a free market.’

    #15 If you indeed ran a business to deliberately make losses than I suggest you call it a charity not a business.

  22. Kim Peart

    August 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Re: 16 Max Bound

    The suggestion that I talk “fantasy” may be viewed in the light of the detail that all governments, all politicians, all enterprise, all universities and all organisations have failed to keep a safe Earth. This is a colossal failure by all aspects of a global society. Only when this total failure is admitted, will it be possible to stop the blame game and start identifying the real causes of the failure.

    Having ploughed through the climate change science over the past few years, I have become rather horrified at the warnings on the table, that anyone can examine with leading scientists like James Lovelock and James Hansen. If it is a fantasy that the Earth could die from a runaway greenhouse effect brought on by using fossil fuel, that would be terrific. The greater fantasy, however, would be to ignore the warnings from the science.

    Albert Einstein once suggested that we will not solve a problem with the thinking that created it, that we must learn to see the world anew. If we wish to save our silly hides from the horror show that is now gathering with food shortages, with peak oil, with a carbon-blown bubble economy, with climate change, with ocean acidification, we really need to consider Einstein’s words and get out of the failed thinking that has created this global catastrophe.

    The trouble is, the solutions to the problems will look like fantasy, because when so much time has been invested in creating a problem, or fighting the presumed cause of the problem, the actual solution may appear quite alien and therefore a fantasy.

    This problem is not new. For scientists dedicated to Newtonian physics, relativity and quantum mechanics were at first a bizarre fantasy world, until experimental evidence proved that the new physics worked and was a more accurate way to describe the cosmos.

    Keep fighting the presumed problem and there may only be a death waltz into catastrophe, which is the highway that we have been on for decades, but now we know that it is a highway to the edge of the abyss.

    If we wish to survive, if we love life, if we want to build a safe future for the Earth’s children, then we had better get out of the death waltz and learn to see the world anew. We had also better be pretty quick about it, as we may have no more than ten years to get onto the highway to survival, which means we need to know what we are going to do now and start applying the will that will deliver survival.

    Kim Peart

  23. Max Bound

    August 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    The various fantasies from Kim published above and the hard line addiction to neo-liberalism that Davies continues to push add to confusion of the real issues. That we are part of a universe is true enough but planet Earth is where human beings live out our lives. We have limited resources and while the addicts of science fiction prefer phantasm to reality it does not help in any way to resolve the very real problems we are confronted with. The greed driven theories and assertions of the neo-liberal addicts who place gaining and accumulating massive sums of money by a few as being of a higher priority than quality of life for all are, similarly, a diversion rather than a contribution to solution of our current and looming economic, ecological and social problems.

    We need to recognise the far reaching consequences of the truth of what Canadian John Ralston Saul, who is himself not without qualifications in economics, wrote in the 1997 published version of his 1995 Massey Lectures to quote “If economists were Doctors they would today be mired in malpractice suits.”These remarks were made by Saul in the context of his criticism of corporatism. A critique he developed much further in his later book on corporation controlled Globalism.

    The economic theories of Hayek and Milton Friedman, in ideological terms, have driven and still drive the push for Globalisation of economies around the world. The above mentioned Canadian economist thinker and writer, with a world-wide reputation, in a very widely publicised, including nationally televised, speech delivered in Australia, argued -globalization contains new and very negative elements. I refer again to John Ralston Saul who was reported as follows in the “Sydney Morning Herald “(SMH) 9/1/99: “The common thread is his contention that democracy has been high-jacked by a corporatist elite.

    The above referred to speech as well as the writings of Saul give further credence to the below reproduced observations of the USA’s most imminent economist of the twentieth century namely J.K. Galbraith.
    Despite Davies ill-informed assertions about him Galbraith was, at the time the following reproduced sentences were spoken and written, the National President of the organisation of American economists. To quote, yet again, some of his words of wisdom: “… in making economics a non political subject- neo classical theory by the same process, destroys its relation with the real world. … When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state, power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in form and degree but not in kind from the state itself.” These are the words of a very eminent economist, namely John Kenneth Galbraith, in his Presidential address to the American Economic Association on Dec. 29th 1972.

    Galbraith went on to say ” To hold otherwise- to deny the political character of the modern
    corporation- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error. The beneficiaries are the institutions whose power we so disguise. Let there be no question: Economics, so long as it is thus taught, becomes, however unconsciously, a part of an arrangement by which the citizen or student is kept from seeing how he is, or will be , governed…”

  24. Tim Thorne

    August 21, 2011 at 1:24 am

    #13, you say that “Sensible businesses not supported by government would not be involved in a loss-making venture.”

    I ran a sensible business with no government assistance at a loss for many years because I believed that what it was providing to the public was important enough to warrant my losing a bit of what, after all, was only money. We are not all motivated by the profit motive.

  25. Kim Peart

    August 21, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Re: 13 Davies

    In my view the Greens have been totally compromised by putting power ahead of people (I am prejudiced, having had a personal experience of the process).

    It will be a fascinating acid test in simple honesty, if Andrew Wilkie sticks to his principles concerning gambling. This could open the door to a new generation of honest politicians who the people can trust, because they walk their talk.

    If a new environment of honesty is generated between the voter, the candidate and the elected, this could then lead to a political landscape where the care of people and the health of the Earth become the guiding star.

    If this happens, a tomb may could be built of the cold-hearted arts of Realpolitik, with a museum to include examples such as how Australia buckled at the knees when told to toe the line when Washington wished to sell the West Papuans, like slaves and their land, a territory the size of France, to Indonesia to buy a pro-Western peace on the highway into Vietnam.

    I would really love to read that Indonesia is no long allowed to shoot West Papuans. There is an on-going atrocity still playing out there, that we helped to create.

    Kim Peart

  26. davies

    August 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    How does the government giving away the poker licence to Federal Hotels prove the evils of deregulating and free markets. Surely it illustrates the opposite eg what happens when government interferes in a market and creates regulations.

    Giving away a monopoly for poker machines was a mind numbingly stupid political decision. One that Bartlett took pride in too. The monopoly, created by government, is the exact opposite of a free market. And the only way they could create this monopoly was to regulate and legislate.

    The same with forestry. This is not a free market or one that is deregulated. I can guarantee if it was a free market then there would be no woodchip industry since it is obviously not profitable. Sensible businesses not supported by government would not be involved in a loss-making venture.

  27. Kim Peart

    August 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Re: 11 William Boeder

    If the growth phenomenon can be viewed in terms of evolution, then we need to confront a basic question. Are we part of Nature?

    If it is accepted that we are part of Nature, then we can consider our situation in terms of evolution. If we see ourselves as some cosmic accident, then this may not lead to a very clear understanding of what is happening.

    The cosmos expanded from its birth 13.7 billion years ago, stars exploded to spread stardust into space to form planets, where life exploded to fill the planet. But what is next?

    Our gathering storm of catastrophes can be attributed to the use of fossil fuel for too long. We could have begun a transition to solar power in the 1970s, by building solar power stations in space, to access the unlimited energy-well of our star. This would have left much of the fossil fuel in the ground and allowed us to keep a safe planet, as we developed industry in space and constructed orbital space settlements.

    In terms of evolution, are we the means of expanding life beyond Earth?

    Our not running with Nature and our clinging to the Earthly nest, is like a juvenile phase of growth that fails to mature and becomes cancerous. So if the force of evolution is for the expansion of life beyond Earth, our inaction on the matter is the prime cause of our problems on Earth.

    We are trapped in a force of Nature for expansion, where our mature phase as a tool making species will be realised when we have learnt to fly beyond the Earthly nest.

    So to cling to the Earth is the death of us and scientists like James Hansen warn that it could also be the death of the Earth; but to run with Nature beyond Earth is the way to the next stage in life, evolution and the unfurling of natural law in the cosmos.

    We now face the choice, of trudging on into an evolutionary dead-end, or lift our game while we have time to act and realise the next phase in our evolution, across the Solar System and among the stars.

    If we wish to survive and offer a future for all Earth’s children, we need to figure all this out pretty swiftly. If our maturity is to be realised through expansion beyond Earth and this is a natural process, then it would be helpful to gain an understanding of how all this will work.

    As in Nature, there is a bottom line. It is survival. Our survival is now at risk.

    Our survival in the cosmos will be maximised by building a strong economic foundation in the Solar System, based on our Sun’s energy, which will last as long as the Sun shines.

    If survival is important to us, we act and run with Nature, life and evolution.

    Sadly, human societies can also be very stubborn, as happened on Easter Island with their growth industry in statue building, when they worked their way into oblivion.

    We could do better than that, but at present we are working our way into oblivion, not on one tiny island, but on a whole planet.

    Kim Peart

  28. William Boeder

    August 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Of all the economic guru’s mentioned above, the singular most vital aspect that many corporates rely upon is “growth,” otherwise their customer base is destined to never increase.
    Growth in itself from a corporate view can be buying out businesses in competition, or those businesses that might control an x percentage of the consumerable goods available.
    If one examines the Woolworths corporation, it is a game of takeover and or buyout, so far their attempts to host their own Chemists, thus get involved in the prescribed medications and medicine markets has been kept beyond them.

    Try and tell me one day that Woolworths will not one day be selling cars somehow or other through their desire to snatch as much as can be exploited or controlled in the consumerables market.

    Now take a look at the corporate mining conglomerates, for example we have a mining syndicate comprises 85% Chinese-owned, 8.5% Australian-owned, 6.5% Papua government owned, that has managed to create a legal outcome that will allow them to pour their millions of tonnes of mined tailings directly into the Bismark-Sea area adjacent to this particular mining operation.

    This sort of legal outcome is available to mega mining proponents where there is a very weak regulatory system extant in any country that has a weak history of regulation to matters such as the above.
    See link: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/feature/20112403-21988.html
    This link will give a good example of that which I speak of in the above.

    Without growth, without further exploitable resources, without the capacity to launch take-overs, without any constraints against foreign ownership, this is now the hunting ground of corporates today, to bypass any and all constraints or government restrictive regulations, even if it involves enacting new legislations, all pursued to obtain growth or access to formerly unavailable resources.

    An interesting exercise would be to hunt up the actual amount of Australian ownership of its massive LNG deposits, then to the Australian ownership of those “frackers,” the petroleum corporations desirous of fracturing our coal deposits and whatever fossil fuels can be extracted.

  29. John Ward

    August 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Did you know GM was compensated by the US government, after the heavy vehicle factories it ran for the Nazi regime were bombed by the USAF?
    Was someone meansioning morality?

  30. Kim Peart

    August 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Re: 7 John Biggs

    The power of individual action that causes change is a question of the critical number of people who move at the same time, as happened in Tunisia, as happened in Egypt.

    Any new direction is the sum of individuals deciding to take a new direction. If the numbers are not sufficient, then there may be some change, but maybe no new direction.

    A personal commitment to be honest, for instance, has great impact with a group of people who share this principle, because they come to trust each other. Within such a group verbal agreements are rock solid, because the individual’s word is valued and this accelerates progress.

    Honesty translates into trust and trust leads to more rapid progress. This is described as the speed of trust and when it comes to challenging socio-economic problems like poverty and homelessness, would make a huge difference.

    Wernher von Braun, for instance, encouraged honesty in his team when building the Moon rocket. Instead of punishing an engineer over an accident, he was rewarded with bottle of champaign for owning up to it, as this allowed the problem to be, identified, solved and delays avoided.

    Though the miners, 10,000 in support, lost the Eureka stockade battle, all their demands were subsequently met.

    Kim Peart

  31. Tim Thorne

    August 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Response to #5: The GFC adversely affected millions of people before government intervention. It’s doubtful whether this intervention had much real impact on ordinary people (but it helped some dodgy billionaires).

    The corporations you mentioned (GM and McDonalds) are still there, still exploiting their workers and ripping off their customers.

    You get examples of co-operation and compassion every day, but you’d get a lot more, with or without government regulations, if the system didn’t so actively encourage their opposites, competition and greed.

  32. John Biggs

    August 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    #5 That’s why I said “free”. Competition depends at first on a free market, but then it becomes captured by the strong and ruthless squeezing out the small businesses and thus destroying jobs and restricting choice for consumers. They then have the power to control governments who legislate for the benefit of the rich and powerful not for ordinary folk. Examples? Try the forestry and gambling industries in Tasmania. Bacon deliberately gave — yes, gave, without charging the $300 million due — a total monopoly to Federal for gaming machines in Tasmania. Goevernment deregulating? Try the Free Trade agreement with the US which was to the detriment of Australians; or most recently, where “free” trade requires us to import New Zealand apples to the likely detriment of our own industry.

    The logical end of free markets and deregulation is seen in the extreme right wing Tea Party, who would diminish the role of government to the point where corporations can do just about anything they want, including waging war on weaker countries who have resources the corporations want to plunder. Tax is minimal, just enough to finance those wars, leaving social services for the less than powerful totally inadequate. That’s why the notion of the “free” market is so dangerous.

    But as with many of these conversations, we may be using similar words but the lines of communication are parallel. The Cantonese call it “a chicken talking to a duck.”

    #6, I’d like to agree with you, Kim, that power is ultimately in the hand sof individuals but it is not. Apart from the above examples, we have seen many cases where both labor and Liberal govts have virtually identical policies that the majority of people do not want: forestry, the pulp mill, coal seam fracking, and many more. What power do we have to stop these things under majority governments? That forestry is being addressed — sort of — is the fortuitous result of a hung parliament.

  33. Kim Peart

    August 19, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Power is ultimately in the hands of the individual, to decide who they vote for, what they support, what they buy and what they invest in. This power of choice affects the shape of politics and enterprise. When enough people move in a particular direction, politicians and private enterprises follow like shadows. Therefore, people are collectively the body that determines where the shadow falls.

    I have two books on my shelf by Adam Smith. One is ‘The Wealth of Nations’ and the other is a volume from two decades before, ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiment’, which he intended to be read as a companion to the ‘Wealth of Nations’. This indicates a potential way forward.

    Competition generates progress and creates wealth, but competition alone generates a brutal world of savage outcomes. This is our world. Smith saw the need for the individual expression of compassion to balance the collective race for excellence. If a large enough number of individuals in society took this basic balancing with compassion to heart, there could be no homelessness, no poverty and no death by starvation in this world.

    A good example of compassion in action lies in the universal story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), which demonstrates the role of honesty and caring when confronted with a human need and leads to a response from the heart by an individual to that need with a compassionate action expressed beyond fear.

    It is when honesty can be lived beyond fear that caring can become a spontaneous necessity. This might be described as the art of fearless compassion. Practitioners of this art know their truth and live it and should enough people in society live this simple truth, then the honesty and caring to deal with human needs will be more widespread and directly met.

    The outcome of this art would create a much healthier society, where no man, woman of child is left to rot in the gutter of underemployment, unemployment, poverty, homelessness or hunger. The challenges would be met by individuals responding directly to the need and working together in a spirit of honesty and care for all members of the Human family.

    In this way, the society we get is the one we live and when the art of fearless compassion inspires how we live, the result will be a healthier and wealthier society, where the excitement of competition is balance by the compassion of cooperation.

    This model can be seen in Nature, where an individual or forest will grow to maturity and then when mature, will settle into a mature role. Within a mature system, like a forest, there is room for growth, but once maturity is attained, the needs of the whole forest are respected.

    Human society must be as Nature, to allow growth, but also respect maturity. For human society this is achieved when competition is balance with compassion.

    This is our individual choice.

    Kim Peart

  34. davies

    August 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    #3 You contradict yourself. A ‘free market’ does not restrict. If there are restrictions then it is not free. Your example of supermarkets is interesting. Overseas supermarket chains like Tesco, Wal-Mart, Aldi and Costco have all been trying to get into the Australian market but complain about the red tape. To its credit, this government in 2008 made an attempt at deregulating parts of the ‘supermarket’ sector to make it easier for these large chains to get into Australia. But I fear they didnt carry through with it.

    So the supermarket sector is not a free market if large overseas chains are complaining about the amount of regulation they have to wade through to get establshed here.

    You say ‘Using the mantra of the free market, governments deregulate precisely so those who bankroll the parties get the legislation they want.’ Huh? Deregulation of a market means less legislation not more. If companies are getting legislation they want then it is making a market less free.

    On deregulation, it is hard to think of any recent examples where governments have done this. From memory, since 2007 there has been an additional 12,000 pieces of regulation added in Australia. Give me examples where governments have deregulated making a section of the market freer.

    You say companies control governments then provide the carbon tax as an example of this? I could also highlight the mining tax and the plain packaging legislation as examples where government does not seem to be kowtowing to big business.

    As for complaining about the Carbon tax are you suggesting big companies can’t make complaints? I would also point out they are hardly alone in opposing this tax. In fact most surveys indicate the majority of Australians are against this tax.

    #4 Lehman Brothers and others only had an impact on you because government interfered with rescue packages. Though in Lehman’s case they didnt. If the US government had said sorry no bailouts, you made the profits now you accept the losses then the fallout on you would have been what?

    As for military-industrial corporations you are quite right you have no choice which companies products your government buys. But is the taxing of your income by governments that gives them the money to then go buy stuff from military corporations. So once again government is the culprit.

    You say I cannot demonstrate one example of consumers controlling the fate of corporations…are you kidding me. Consumers make decisions everyday that effect companies and their profits and if companies do not respond they become unprofitable or less profitable and the good companies react and adapt and the bad ones lose market share and some go out of business. And the mechanism for all this is the consumer deciding what to buy, when to buy it or if in fact he/she buys anything.

    Examples: General Motors havent kept up with people’s increasing wish for smaller more efficient cars in the US. As a consequence they sold less and less cars. Those motor companies that did provide what the consumer wanted eg Toyota sold more cars. Result was GM would have gone bankrupt if the US government hadnt saved them.

    Changing consumer needs and priorities can kill off whole industries – for example buggy whips and records – but can also create whole new industries. It doesnt matter how good the company is if the consumer doesnt want your product and you dont adapt then you go out of business.

    MacDonalds is a classic example of a company that responds quickly to changing consumer needs. It remains profitable.

    I wonder how you can get a co-operative and compassionate population when government keeps interfering in their daily lives.

  35. Tim Thorne

    August 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    #2, I didn’t buy any of the products of Lehman Brothers or Bear Sterns, but their activities and those of similar corporations had a huge impact on my personal economy, thanks to the GFC.

    Nor do I have any control over which of the military-industrial corporations’ products my taxes help buy.

    In theory (but you cannot demonstrate a single example in practice) consumers can control the fate of one corporation, but they cannot remove the insidious concept of corporations from the world.

    I suggest you take as a starting point the desirability of a sustainable ecology with a co-operative and compassionate population, and then find an economic theory which helps achieve that aim, rather than devise the theory and then pretend, in the face of facts, that it works.

  36. John Biggs

    August 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    #2. I’m afraid you have it bum upwards. The “free” market has resulted in precisely restricting choice not increasing it. It’s called monopoly as we see in the price wars between Coles and Woolworths. They squeeze out the smaller providers and then whack up the prices to the detriment of the choices and the pockets of us consumers and of our squeezed farmers. As for governments controlling them — take a look. They don’t. Using the mantra of the free market, governments deregulate precisely so those who bankroll the parties get the legislation they want. Governments are controlled by the corporations; not vice versa. There’s just so many examples of that, perhaps the most recent and dramatic the screaming of the big mining companies to a carbon tax.

  37. davies

    August 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Keynesian theory – flawed and failed. Though at least you now admit it.

    Galbraith – generally perceived by his peers as more a media personality than an economist. Paul Krugman, a fellow Keynesian and nobel prize winner in economics, went further and said Galbraith’s theories weren’t really economic theory.

    Marxism – how many times does this have to fail in the real world before people think its a bad idea?!

    There is a very simple, effective and totally legal thing to do with evil multinational corporations…you don’t buy their product or use their service. That is the beauty of a free market. The consumer is free to choose what they buy, when to buy and even if they want to buy.

    I think you confuse symptoms with causes. ‘Evil’ corporations wield their omnipotent power, for evil purposes of course, because governments let them. This ‘wielding’ of power is a symptom of the real issue which is ever increasing and interfering governments at the behest of vested interest groups and/or mates (both left and right though the left still seem to excel in this area).

    People, if left to their own devices will not do business with a business if it begins to exhibit anit-competitive behaviour or charges ‘monopolistic’ type prices. A competitor will come along and fill that gap. Consumers will go to the new entrant. If the old company continues with its approach then it will become unprofitable and eventually go out of business.

    This natural event does not occur if government interferes. We see examples of this every single day.

  38. Mike Adams

    August 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    The weapons systems that supplant U.S. made weapons systems are themselves U.S made. Thus we see Australia under pressure to buy the latest Lockheed combat jet to supplant the updated Hornet which itself replaced the original Hornet. And a brief survey of modern warfare shows the un-uniformed partisan with an automatic rifle is by far the most likely of any adversary. In short, possession of such weapons is only of benefit when foreign ministers need to apply pressure. Complex weapons manufacture is now about the only major industry where corporations haven’t moved offshore and still continue to employ a U.S. workforce.

    Meantime the Chinese take over the world by producing more, cheaper consumer goods. And just wait until Great Wall or whichever, starts selling cars in Australia…

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