Category: Capitalism

Jim Chalmers manifesto in favour of values-based capitalism – Pearls and Irritations

Treasurer Jim Chalmers at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Image: AAP / Mick Tsikas

Given the LNP’s approach “do nothing” privatise the market Chalmers can’t be all wrong if we judge the LNP did a fantastic job these past 10 years for the country. Nope Nope Nope brought them to government, through government and still echoes in opposition. Abbott never really left the LNP or the Monkey Pod Room. However isn’t Value Based Capitalism a partnership that has never really worked?

Thus, instead of the neo-liberal model that relies purely on market prices to determine the allocation of resources, with no interference by the state, Chalmers argues persuasively that his “values-based capitalism”, based on “well-designed and well-informed markets, can “facilitate flows of capital into priority areas, and ultimately make progress on our collective problems and purpose.”

Source: Jim Chalmers manifesto in favour of values-based capitalism – Pearls and Irritations

Struggle to survive in Torres Strait Island ‘paradise’ – Michael West

$7 for a loaf of bread that’s $2 in Cairns

The Torres Strait Islands are like a tropical paradise to outsiders but for many traditional owners it has more in common with a failed state as they struggle to survive amid the soaring cost of living.

Source: Struggle to survive in Torres Strait Island ‘paradise’ – Michael West

What Makes a Thieving Culture

What makes for a thieving culture? An overabundance of pickpockets? Tsunamis of burglary and shoplifting? Most definitely not.

To truly gauge a society’s larcenous leanings we need to look beyond the nimble-fingered and focus more on the smooth-talkers, the power-suited flimflammers who thrive in any society where significant numbers of people feel a driving need to get rich quick.

Source: What Makes a Thieving Culture

PwC scandal: who’s guarding the guards? Nobody – Michael West

PwC, the Big Four

The Big 4 are too big, too powerful, too secretive, and corrupt. The PwC scandal is merely the tip of the iceberg. The answer is to break them up and force them to incorporate. They thrive in secrecy. Michael West reports.

Source: PwC scandal: who’s guarding the guards? Nobody – Michael West

The Story of Palm Oil Is a Story About Capitalism

Palm oil is in everything: what we eat, wear, read, drive. And like so much else that we consume and can’t disentangle ourselves from, palm oil is enmeshed in global supply chains that rely on brutal working conditions and the destruction of the planet.

Source: The Story of Palm Oil Is a Story About Capitalism

Michael West Media – Byron Bay blue between “Airbnb mafia” and grassroots groups highlights costly housing crisis

Byron Bay blue spotlights tensions between “Airbnb mafia” and grassroots community groups

The market hasn’t “bounced back” it’s been manipulated. Technology has accelerated the corporate invasion of market sectors to plunder and take over areas where once many more middlemen grazed. Uber did it to the taxi industry, Airbnb the Real Estate management market, Amazon the retail industry and so on. Like the East India Company the first corporation, a modern management system can be run from a single office and is able to do what Atlassian did to the rapid registry of shares and even allowed Madoff to create the world’s biggest $64bill Ponzi scheme.

Yes, the global landscape is rapidly changing but not the Capitalist system and its value for the accumulation of private profit, time, and less labour. Where money makes money for those with a generational excess of it and already loaded. They are simply ready to continue investing their wealth rather than productive labour to exist. Labour today can cost less, be done by machines and if socially distributed provide less work and more leisure time for everyone rather than be a means of exploitation.

Pandemic lockdowns crushed Airbnb, Stayz and other short-term rental operators but the market has bounced back sharply, creating tensions in popular tourist destinations between councils, community groups and well-heeled property owners. Callum Foote reports on the case of ritzy Byron Bay.

Source: Michael West Media – investigative journalists – always independent

Turning Influence Into Money in the EU Parliament – CounterPunch.org

It’s petty cash compared with what media influencers like Murdoch’s News Corp and Sky News can achieve. “News” is an illusion that runs second to their primary product of the business of influence and persuasion and worse confusion. The magic it always continues despite regular failures as recently seen in Australia, US and the UK. Money flows from the top down from the capital accumulation of the ever-expanding wealthiest interests and from not the bottom up. Money from the bottom up tends to be a competition among grifters like Trump, QAnon, Alex Jones et al the bottom feeders trying to impress individuals and ambitious smaller fry extreme associations. The camp followers of Capitalism.

It is not as though MEPs are poorly remunerated to begin with, each of them earning about €9,400 a month as well as €4,800 general expenses for which they need not produce receipts. In addition, they are allowed to hold as many other jobs as they want with the nature of their activities often declared in the most general and untransparent way.

Source: Turning Influence Into Money in the EU Parliament – CounterPunch.org

Global Capitalism Will Never Lift Workers Out of Poverty

Because Capitalism is Debt Creation, Not Loan Creation,

Apologists for capitalist globalization claim that global value chains spread prosperity around the world. In reality, they allow firms like Apple to maximize labor exploitation while keeping workers chained to poverty.

Source: Global Capitalism Will Never Lift Workers Out of Poverty

How Capitalism Worms Its Way Into Every Aspect of Our Lives

“The official economy within a capitalist society depends on a background of social relations, social practices, and institutions that are regarded as noneconomic.”

In other words, we live in a society where Elon Musk gets to decide that he’s firing a car into space for fun and that’s how our social wealth is being used.

Nancy Fraser:   whereas there might be many other things that we would prefer to do with that wealth. We might even prefer to produce less wealth and to live more simply, companionably, socially, and easily in a more relaxed way. We could have a much freer and more democratic life. But that’s not compatible with capitalism.

Source: How Capitalism Worms Its Way Into Every Aspect of Our Lives

We Should Celebrate the World’s Population Passing the Eight Billion Mark

Sections of the environmental movement bemoaned the birth of the world’s eight-billionth person, but the Left should have no part in this cynical misanthropy. The cause of food insecurity and climate change is the irrationality of capitalism — not rising populations.

Source: We Should Celebrate the World’s Population Passing the Eight Billion Mark

Billionaire babies: how James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch kept their eyes on the prize – Michael West

The Succesor by Paddy Manning

Australia’s own  MERITOCRACY is a fable. “If they can do it you can too in the land down under” is the myth preached just as you to can win the lottery and some do while the system guarantees you won’t because it’s designed that way. Inheritance ensures an increase in generational poverty and a flow up and an imaginary promise of a better trickle-down in the next decade. Remember Hawke’s promise that no child will be born in poverty well it worked for James and Lachlan

Billionaire media scions Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer have a close friendship which has endured the ups and downs of mega-deals including Australia’s ‘Super League’ war, the collapse of One.Tel, the rise of Realestate.com.au and failure of Channel Ten – some of the best and worst moments of Lachlan’s career. This edited extract from Paddy Manning’s new biography of Lachlan Murdoch sheds new light on their tumultuous business history.

Source: Billionaire babies: how James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch kept their eyes on the prize – Michael West

The Face of Liberal Democracy’s Enemy Is White | The Smirking Chimp

It’s here that we get to the real meat of the issue – the real reason white people are prepared to abandon liberal democracy in order to protect their precious privileges built into our political system.

It’s not that they love their country. It’s not that they love the Constitution. Their opposition to liberal democracy, and all that it costs them politically, does not rest on positive principle.

It rests on laziness.

Most white people don’t want to compete.

Source: The Face of Liberal Democracy’s Enemy Is White | The Smirking Chimp

“Green Capitalism” Is a Lie

Policymakers who have belatedly recognized the peril of climate change now promote incremental, market-based solutions to the crisis. But there’s no way we can prevent ecological disaster without tackling the vested interests at the heart of global capitalism.

Source: “Green Capitalism” Is a Lie

Capitalist Inequality Won’t Last Forever

Karl Marx said this but he didn’t put a date on it. History to date seems to have shown Capitalism is far better able to organize and adapt to any systemic threat it encounters now and over the horizon. Its strength of the organization is far more adaptable and faster than its opposition relies on Democracy to move forward in a system without an accelerator.

You must have an incredibly dismal view of both human agency and human nature to believe that we will continue to live in the future much as we live today.

Source: Capitalist Inequality Won’t Last Forever

Capitalism, the Fourth Great Humility, will consume us all

Just now, I searched online for the Three Great Humiliations of humanity. There were many references to the Century of Humiliation in China, but it turns out Sigmund Freud coined the term.

They are:

1 the discovery by Copernicus and Galileo that we are not the centre of the universe;

2 Darwin’s discovery that we are descended from apes;

 3  Freud’s discovery that we are not in control of our minds.

The Fourth Great Humiliation of our species is upon us. We’re stuck on this beautiful blue gem in space and we’d better learn to live within its limits. If we do, we have a chance at peace, harmony and happiness. We also have a chance to reach a similarly livable planet in the galaxy in the distant future. If we don’t, our prospects are very grim indeed.

Source: Capitalism, the Fourth Great Humility, will consume us all

Claims That Capitalism Is Eradicating Global Poverty Are Wildly Misleading

Boosters of the capitalist system love pointing to statistics suggesting stunning progress in eradicating global poverty. But those metrics set the bar pathetically low — and don’t account for the obscene explosion in global inequality.

Source: Claims That Capitalism Is Eradicating Global Poverty Are Wildly Misleading

Luring Doctors From Poorer Countries is the UK’s Quiet Scandal – scheerpost.com

The UK isn’t the only one “looting” trained professionals from third-world countries Australia is too,

Meanwhile, the voice of Andrew Bolt can be heard crying ” don’t allow our medical professional’s to volunteer” in the case of Ebola in Africa.

While Cuba at times of need sends their professionals to where they are needed most. While our Australian Medical Association retains a post-WW2 attitude that cries out ” don’t let these Imports into practice because how do we know they are sufficiently trained?

Self-interest is reflected over and above the “common good” in our not so  “Free Market Place” What’s left is fear, confusion and disrespect for practitioners.

The looting of artistic and religious objects from Africa and Asia by British invaders in the 19th century causes much rancorous debate about whether the artefacts should be returned to the countries they were originally stolen from. But the discussion is much more muted about equally acquisitive expeditions launched by Britain today that may ultimately cause more suffering than those imperialist ventures long ago.

Source: Luring Doctors From Poorer Countries is the UK’s Quiet Scandal – scheerpost.com

The world is ablaze and the oil industry just posted record profits. It’s us or them | Hamilton Nolan | The Guardian

It is useful to think of capitalism as a robotic savant, spectacularly gifted at doing one thing and cripplingly blind to everything else. Global capitalism is an incredible machine for extracting fossil fuels from our planet, refining them, shipping them to every corner of the Earth and making staggering amounts of money doing so. The humming of this machine, the fuel and the money that it spits out, has powered a century of unprecedented production and consumption by the Earth’s first-world nations. Unfortunately the machine is also poisoning us all. But one of its exquisitely evolved functions is to make it almost impossible to turn it off.

The world is ablaze and the oil industry just posted record profits. It’s us or them | Hamilton Nolan | The Guardian

Springsteen tickets are going for a whopping $4,000 – AUD $6000 what else are we paying dynamic prices for? | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian

The cost of a ticket to see the Boss has rocketed due to dynamic pricing strategies.The cost of a ticket to see the Boss has rocketed due to dynamic pricing strategies.The cost of a ticket to see the Boss has rocketed due to dynamic pricing strategies.The cost of a ticket to see the Boss has rocketed due to dynamic pricing strategies.

Working Class Man

 If you want to see Bruce Springsteen play in the US, it may cost you. Some of the tickets for the Boss’s forthcoming tour are going for over $4,000 (£3,300) on Ticketmaster AUD $6000

Source: Springsteen tickets are going for a whopping $4,000 – what else are we paying dynamic prices for? | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian

How Corporate America Uses ESG to Polish Its Image

Green-Colored Glasses

Private Prisons Are a Socially Responsible Investment, According to Bizarre Wall Street Measures

“We didn’t change any business practices. It’s a charade, yet no one questions this stuff,” he added. “It sounds good, but it doesn’t do anything.

How Corporate America Uses ESG to Polish Its Image

Woke capitalism distracts from economic inequality

Woke Capitalism isn’t new. Capitalists will turn to anything that supports or even distracts from their economic activities. Anything doesn’t attempt to aggressively change them. In fact any cultural change that promotes and doesn’t directly harm is seen by definition as progressive even by capitalists. It’s why they even see social welfare as a business opportunity. They in fact need to allow for cultural change and use it to maintain or increase their bottom lines. As long as they can prevent unionization they are int the box seat.

The good news is that progressive political causes are so popular that they are worth cashing in on — times are changing for the better. But there is a critical caveat. When corporations get political, it is almost exclusively on social and environmental issues rather than economic ones.

Increasing the minimum wage, combatting aggressive corporate tax minimization, promoting income and wealth redistribution, reversing excessive executive remuneration, sharing the spoils of economic growth and curbing economic inequality are entirely off-limits to the woke corporation’s activist agenda.

Right-wing commentary over woke capitalism is distracting attention from addressing economic inequality.

Source: Woke capitalism distracts from economic inequality

Eugene V. Debs: Socialist Internationalism Versus Capitalist Nationalism

This Memorial Day, we should rededicate ourselves to fighting the horrors of war. So here’s a 1916 Eugene Debs piece, never before republished, about why internationalism is at the heart of socialist politics.

Source: Eugene V. Debs: Socialist Internationalism Versus Capitalist Nationalism

When it comes to Guns, the US is a Third World Country run by Corporate Lobbyists for a Profit

The MAGA promise

21 are dead in another mass shooting, including 19 schoolchildren. The white slavers of the Old South used to call US slavery our “peculiar institution.” Nowadays we have another peculiar institution, the gun culture.

Source: When it comes to Guns, the US is a Third World Country run by Corporate Lobbyists for a Profit

Three companies control a piece of nearly everything. Should you worry?

BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street hold colossal sway over some of the biggest companies on Wall Street.

‘Control of most public companies – that is, the wealthiest organisations in the world, with more revenue than most states – will soon be concentrated in the hands of a dozen or fewer people.’

As journalist David Dayen has argued, this increasing market concentration reduces consumer choice, raises prices and most likely harms workers.

Source: Three companies control a piece of nearly everything. Should you worry?

How Migrant Workers From the Philippines Power Modern Capitalism

Millions of Filipino workers travel abroad each year to labor in dangerous, exhausting, and unregulated conditions. Scattered throughout the world, these hyperexploited workers have been delivered by the Philippine state to serve the needs of foreign powers.

Source: How Migrant Workers From the Philippines Power Modern Capitalism

Low wage growth in Australia didn’t happen by accident – it’s the system working as intended | Richard Denniss | The Guardian

NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association (NSWNMA) members march from Queen's Square to the NSW Parliament building on Macquarie Street.

The living experience of ordinary Australians isn’t working but then it was never intended to be taken into account by the LNP and its very, very, kind-hearted, religious leader who we know so well!!

The only people in Australia who can boost wage growth are employers and the only way they can do that is by giving people pay rises.

The whole point of abandoning what was once called “centralised wage fixing” and deregulating the labour market over the past 30 years was to put employers in charge of deciding how much they pay their employees. And, guess what, on the whole Australian employers have decided to boost their profits rather than boost their workers’ wages. Just as Scott Morrison wants to see more women get into parliament (but not at the expense of men) and wants to see housing affordability improve (without house prices actually falling) the prime minister is all in favour of stronger wage growth – but not at the expense of higher profits. Unfortunately for Australians struggling with the rising cost of living, they can’t feed magic pudding to their kids.

Source: Low wage growth in Australia didn’t happen by accident – it’s the system working as intended | Richard Denniss | The Guardian

The Communist Manifesto Shows Why Capitalism Won’t Last Forever

The second most read book on the planet with the greatest influence in the most shortest of possible time.

Published this day in 1848, The Communist Manifesto didn’t offer blueprints for a communist future. But in showing that capitalism is not eternal or natural, Marx and Engels explained how the crises of the present prepare the way for our future liberation.

Source: The Communist Manifesto Shows Why Capitalism Won’t Last Forever

Retirement villages: the destruction of retiree capital – Michael West Media

Are retirement villages a rip-off? Retirees could be up to a million dollars worse off if they moved into a retirement village than if they remained at home, according to new analysis. Callum Foote reports.

Source: Retirement villages: the destruction of retiree capital – Michael West Media

Why are young Australians locked out of home ownership? The answer is politics | Intifar Chowdhury | The Guardian

A sign displaying a property sold for Auction in Sydney, September 2021

 

Indeed, treasurer Josh Frydenberg remarked back in June that the rise is good for the economy. The federal government extended lukewarm sympathies for those who are struggling to get a foot in the property door for the first time, while merrily pointing out that many households are gaining from continued property price inflation. Therefore, price hikes are here to stay because simple solutions – such as building more houses and properly taxing property investments – are not as politically sound. That’s the reality of things: those with power and money impact the market more than those without. That’s why the winners become fatter winners and the losers continue to lose. What we are facing today is not an unsolvable crisis, but there is a lack of willingness to solve it among those in a position to do so.

Source: Why are young Australians locked out of home ownership? The answer is politics | Intifar Chowdhury | The Guardian

Why Should Members of Congress Be Able to Make Money on Inside Information? | The Smirking Chimp

With distrust in government near an all-time high, even the appearance of a conflict of interest hurts our democracy. Members of Congress are elected to represent the interests of the people, not the money in their brokerage accounts. Banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks should be a no-brainer. Congress should pass the Ban Conflicted Trading Act. Now. You might suggest this to your own members of Congress. What do you think?

Source: Why Should Members of Congress Be Able to Make Money on Inside Information? | The Smirking Chimp

Year of the RAT: Positive results for rapid test entrepreneurs

Nightclub owner Martha Tsamis set up a medical supplies business that has sold more than 800,000 rapid antigen tests since October.

State and federal governments may be scrambling to secure rapid antigen tests to ease the burden on PCR testing, but several Melbourne businesses recognised the potential of the fast-acting and relatively inexpensive technology months ago. Nightclub owner Martha Tsamis has sold more than 800,000 of the 15-minute tests since October, when she negotiated distribution deals with manufacturers in Australia, China and South Korea. Ms Tsamis had originally bought a few thousand rapid antigen tests for staff and patrons of her late-night venues Chasers in South Yarra and Inflation in the CBD. Now, her new business Oz Medical employs seven full-time staff and supplies thousands of the tests to every Australian state – other than Western Australia, where they remain prohibited.

Source: Year of the RAT: Positive results for rapid test entrepreneurs

Your Debt Is Someone Else’s Asset

Covering thousands of years in just under seven minutes, “Your Debt Is Someone Else’s Asset” ends with a rousing vision of the future: a world after a jubilee, an ancient term for the abolition of debts and rebalancing of power between the rich and the poor.

Source: Your Debt Is Someone Else’s Asset

A century of Criminality: How the car and gas industry knew about the health risks of leaded fuel but sold it for 100 years anyway

Like the Sacklers and Purdue  the oil industry normalized death to ensure profits weren’t lost

By the early 1920s, the hazards of lead were well known – even Charles Dickens and Benjamin Franklin had written about the dangers of lead poisoning. When GM began selling leaded gasoline, public health experts questioned its decision. One called lead a serious menace to public health, and another called concentrated tetraethyl lead a “malicious and creeping” poison.

Source: A century of Criminality: How the car and gas industry knew about the health risks of leaded fuel but sold it for 100 years anyway

Want to be a criminal in America? Stealing billions is your best bet to go scot-free | Judd Legum | The Guardian

‘Walgreens workers in California were able to recover wages lost from wage theft by filing a class-action lawsuit. But, for many workers, that kind of lawsuit isn’t an option.’

A wave of shoplifting crimes are attracting front-page news, while the $15bn stolen by corporations from workers receives no coverage at all

Source: Want to be a criminal in America? Stealing billions is your best bet to go scot-free | Judd Legum | The Guardian

Richest 1% Took 38% of New Global Wealth Since 1995. The Bottom Half Got Just 2%

World Inequality Report chart

The new analysis shows that 2020—a year of pandemic-induced economic dislocation that pushed tens of millions of people worldwide into extreme poverty—marked “the largest increase in the share of global billionaires wealth available on record.” “In the U.S., the return of top wealth inequality has been particularly dramatic, with the top 1% share nearing 35% in 2020, approaching its Gilded Age level,” states the report, whose contributors include prominent economists Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman. “In Europe, top wealth inequality has also been on the rise since 1980, though significantly less so than in the U.S.” At present, the richest 10% of the world’s population grabs more than half of all global income, the researchers found. The billions of people in the poorest half of the global population, meanwhile, get just 8% of the world’s income.

Source: Richest 1% Took 38% of New Global Wealth Since 1995. The Bottom Half Got Just 2%

Australian Universities Are Finance Investors With a Side Hustle in Education

Thanks to neoliberalism, Australia’s universities have become profit-seeking businesses. But they don’t just sell education: University executives are increasingly transforming their institutions into financial speculators and real estate investors.

Source: Australian Universities Are Finance Investors With a Side Hustle in Education

There’s No Moral Justification for Capitalist-Owned Enterprises

This may tip the scale too far to the left but why is it that Germany and other countries are far so much more progressive than Australia is in the structure of representation on it’s corporate boards? So much so it never really discussed publicly?

Capitalist “liberty” is just another word for private tyranny. Workers, not capitalists, should control economic enterprises.

 

Source: There’s No Moral Justification for Capitalist-Owned Enterprises

“Foreign Investors” Aren’t Causing Canada’s Housing Crisis. Capitalism Is.

Ahead of the coming election, Canada’s main political parties are arguing that “foreign investors” are causing a housing crisis. But the problem isn’t foreigners — it’s the commodification of housing.

Source: “Foreign Investors” Aren’t Causing Canada’s Housing Crisis. Capitalism Is.

‘Catastrophic Injustice’: Judge OKs Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan Shielding Sacklers | Common Dreams News

purdue

“The greed of some Sacklers fueled an opioid epidemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans,” said Rick Claypool of Public Citizen.

Source: ‘Catastrophic Injustice’: Judge OKs Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan Shielding Sacklers | Common Dreams News

Erik Prince Is Charging $6,500 a Person to Evacuate Afghanistan on His Chartered Planes – Mother Jones

Mr. Prince, whose Blackwater guards were convicted of killing civilians in 2014 while providing security for Americans during the Iraq war, said he was charging each passenger $6,500 to get them safely into the airport and on a plane, and it would cost extra to get people who have been trapped in their homes to the airport. It remained unclear whether Mr. Prince had the wherewithal to carry out his plans.

Source: Erik Prince Is Charging $6,500 a Person to Evacuate Afghanistan on His Chartered Planes – Mother Jones

Capitalism Is What’s Burning the Planet, Not Average People

Not all humans are equally culpable in the climate chaos outlined in Monday’s IPCC report. Identifying the rich and powerful as the principal culprits is key to stopping further destruction.

Source: Capitalism Is What’s Burning the Planet, Not Average People

The Market Is Incapable of Creating Affordable Housing

There isn’t a single place in the United States where minimum-wage workers can afford to live near their jobs. Addressing the affordability crisis will require a major rollback of market influence over the housing sector.

Source: The Market Is Incapable of Creating Affordable Housing