Governments and Corporations – An Update
THIS PAGE IS A DRAFT
From the time Tony Abbott became leader of the Opposition, displacing Malcolm Turnbull over his various policies including endorsement of specific approaches to mitigating climate change and related issues, the Gillard government was criticised as illegitimate and non-functional when it was in fact legitimate (as are many coalition governments around the world) and was able to pass substantial amounts of legislation, albeit not all representing the best that could be put in place.The government of Tony Abbott spent much time blaming the previous Rudd and Gillard governments for the financial situation they inherited and much of the legislation introduced, and other actions including establishing Royal Commissions, sought to attack the previous government and its supporters. But they faced trouble from cross bench Senators throughout the year, passing little legislation.
The Labor government’s economic policies which allegedly had been profligate, accumulating a huge deficit and debt. The claims were nonsense: not one economist agreed with these claims and indeed Australia had survived the Global Financial Crisis better than almost every government in advanced economies
The Welfare Crisis
The Business Outlook
The Middle East
Climate Change and Energy Policy
I reiterate the issues that deserve critical support
- a substantial reduction in inequality,
- consideration of the status of those on the margin, especially including indigenous people, granting them the dignity and recognition to which they are entitled including equitable access to the judicial system,
- adequately housing and other support for the poor and economically disadvantaged instead of having them living on the street,
- treating drug addiction as an illness and not a crime,
- encouraging children to play by themselves unsupervised as part of their learning,
- abandoning standardised test scores at school because all that can be measured is of little consequence,
- investing in childhood education as the key to the future,
- paying for health care through taxes because the net gain to the community at large is positive over the longer term,
- recognising public transport, urban planning and health as fundamental to a just society and to gains in other areas,
- recognising industrial relations as constituting the processes for mutual satisfaction of competing wants in the alternative village that workplaces are,
- investing in scientific research as the principal driver of future prosperity broadly defined and abandoning the unsupportable view that economic and population growth are essential to prosperity.
I believe these are amongst the most important and critical issues. The economy is not the principal issue, at individual, family, local or national or international level. (Economic success follows quality product well marketed. Unfortunately some “entrepreneurs” consider exaggeration or even lies and deception can not only generate wealth but amount to innovation.) Writers like the Australian sociologist Hugh Mackay have been saying this for some time and so have many people who have pointed to the importance of issues beyond the economic.
In his commencement address at American University June 10 1963, President John F Kennedy said, “So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal…”
In the 2010 Deakin lecture Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainability at the University of Surrey said,
“The concept of prosperity as an ongoing drive for growth is inconsistent with human nature. … prosperity has a meaningful sense that isn’t directly about income growth. It’s about the health of our families. It’s about the trust of our friends. It’s about the security of our communities. It’s about participation in the life of society. It’s about some sense perhaps of having a meaningful life and a hope for the future…
“We evolved as much as social beings as we did as individual beings. We evolved as much in laying down the foundations for a stable society as we did in continually pursuing novelty…”
Some of these ideas are explored in my book “Education: the Unwinding of Intelligence and Creativity” (published early 2014 by Springer) and in other posts.