Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Friday, 24 December 2010

The New Religion













As Bob Dylan once wrote, the times are a changing.

For about thirty years a mantra of greed and materialism has been inflicted upon us by the old political parties. 

It matters not whether they are Labor or Coalition, Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal-Democrat; the heartfelt values once held by these parties have dissolved into an indistinguishable mush of pragmatic materialism.

The same phenomenon is obvious even in totalitarian countries - Doi Moi in Vietnam, and economic liberalism within a pseudo-Marxist framework in China.

This scourge has been given various names, including economic rationalism and corporate managerialism, and has been sold on the basis of efficiency and effectiveness. What has been most efficiently pursued is profit, and this pursuit has been characterised by an almost missionary zeal.

We have ceased to become citizens, and have been transformed, often against our will, and in some case our awareness, from citizens into consumers.

The concept of national sovereignty has been eliminated for the most part by the rise of multinational corporations, whose only allegiance is to their bottom line, and for whom national borders are a nonsense.

This efficient pursuit of profits has been at the expense of gross inefficiency and distorted values for society in general.

Despite its name, the neo-liberal ideology behind this mantra lacks a rational basis, theoretical or practical. It emanates from the deluded and falsely named "profession" of economics, which when subjected to any real analysis has as much credibility as the science of astrology. This pseudo-science conceives of human individuals as using only their lower brains, and interested only in what they can eat, drink, consume and discard.

This philosophy has made a tiny minority obscenely wealthy, but otherwise has performed poorly, then disastrously. The gap between rich and poor in all countries with a substantive middle class is expanding at an exponential rate. It is reducing our well being.

We should have learned during the GFC that markets left to run rampant and unmanaged, descend into catastrophe. The values of cooperation and compassion need to be regarded as highly as competition, as they trend to social harmony and development. Competition unaccompanied by these higher values inevitably leads to conflict and discord. The evidence during this century (two world wars and two depressions - the GFC was a global depression by another name) is available. 

We need to elect governments that govern for society, not just the economy.

To paraphrase Maggie Thatcher - There is no such thing as "the Economy".

Happy Christmas…..

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