Deregulation, self-regulation, red tape, green tape, nanny state, small government, privatisation, asset recycling, compliance costs, free market, one-stop shop – these are some of the phrases religiously chanted by big business, and echoed by conservative think tanks and governments, with a certainty that smacks of zealotry.
We are told that the private sector is more efficient so we outsource service provision to them. We sell off valuable assets and profitable government-owned enterprises. We remove regulatory oversight and streamline approval processes.
We sack public servants, urge wage restraint, remove penalty rates, freeze the superannuation guarantee and hobble collective bargaining.
We provide so many concessions for the owners of capital and assets that they end up paying little to no tax. We encourage exports whilst enduring shortages at home. We provide a guarantee for the banks to protect them from the financial turmoil afflicting the rest of the world. We have a whole government department dedicated to making sure the private sector does not face unfair competition from the public sector.
And still, even as companies continue to announce record profits, it’s not enough – they want more.