ADELAIDE – In the extract from his book, ‘You’ll Never Work Again – The Great Safety Charade’, Bernard Corden has given us a great example of where letting the market rip, unfettered by effective regulation, combined with blindingly obvious conflicts of interest, leads to disaster in the service of accumulating vast profits.
And, once again, "the weak suffer what they must".
An effective, efficient and honest public service can be a bulwark against the worst excesses of capitalism yet is now regarded by far too many of the political class across the globe as an obstacle to a thriving economy.
This is a fallacy relentlessly promoted by the promoters of the neo-liberal experiment.
Even in the face of utter disaster, promoters of this fallacy like Donald Trump propose giving huge sums to corporate America while simultaneously implying that it is better for millions of Americans to die from COVID 19 than allow the economy (i.e. the rich and powerful) to take a hit.
It is time for us all to wake up to this and other fallacies lying at the heart of neo-liberalism.
For example, the notion that there is equal opportunity in our society is complete bullshit.
One glance at the socio-demographic statistics tells you otherwise.
The wealthier always do better and tend to preserve or even extend their advantage across the generations. Donald J Trump is a prize example of this.
Another fallacy is that it is by individual effort alone that we succeed or fail in life.
This is true to a point but ignores the blindingly obvious. If parents can afford to send their child to Geelong Grammar and then Melbourne University to do medicine or an MBA, that child is hugely more likely to do well in life than a child coming from Redfern or Salisbury North or some other highly disadvantageous post code.
In the context of Papua New Guinea, if you are sent to Australia for your secondary and tertiary education, your life chances are hugely better than someone from your home village who goes through the PNG education system.
All this is blindingly obvious and even given lip service by our political class, but nothing really changes anyway.
This is because the notion that a properly organised and funded array of critical public services such as education, health care and housing can produce a better overall outcome for all citizens is utterly subordinated to the user pays, every man for himself philosophy that under pins neo-liberalism.
Capitalism doesn't have to take the form of a winner take all contest in which the weak and the poor are left to endure miserable lives while the wealthy and influential have their yachts moored at Monaco.
It is not socialism to say this, let alone communism.
It is a question of fairness and equity. It is a moral and political question to which we have yet to formulate a sustainable solution.