‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money’ - Matthew 6:12
TUMBY BAY – There has been a lively discussion about capitalism and neo-liberalism on PNG Attitude for a number of years now.
Most of it seems to be among the blog’s cadre of old duffers ruminating about their lives and the current state of the world.
Papua New Guinea is often used as a kind of meme because that’s where many of the old duffers spent significant parts of their lives.
PNG is also a reference point because it continues to be home to one of the most rapacious forms of corporate plunder imaginable.
I use the word ‘discussion’ rather than ‘debate’ because counter arguments are thin on the ground. The rejoinders are pretty tame from those correspondents game to stick their head above the parapet.
At best they are gentle jibes about overt pessimism. John O’Brien’s 'We'll all be rooned', said Hanrahan" is often quoted.
The obvious conclusion on PNG Attitude is that while the discussion is often lively and interesting it is ultimately a case of preaching to the converted.
There’s nothing unusual about that. The promulgation of any idea always comes up against the hard armour of counter ideology and very seldom penetrates it. When it does it is usually in times of crisis and existential threat.
Like the one the world is going through right now with Covid-19.
Who would have thought that the continuing discussion among PNG Attitude’s old duffers would bloom and spread like it appears to have done?
Many people everywhere are now asking themselves, “Do we really want to live in a savagely unequal world dominated by the endless, growth-addicted quest for profit over everything else?
“Do we want the corporations and their malevolently egoistic owners to push the planet beyond the limits of liveability to ultimate destruction, with or without viral pandemics?”
Some people say that now is an opportune time to choose a better course for the future. Explicit in this call is the idea that humanity and capitalism are largely incompatible.
At least that’s what some people say.
Others say nothing.
Some are waiting until the crisis is gone and the world can get back to normal. That this ‘normal’ is decidedly abnormal doesn’t seem to register.
It’s pretty clear now that leaders like Scott Morrison are in this camp. Once the crisis is over all the socialist measures he has used to combat the virus will abruptly end.
It will be interesting to see whether the political capital he has built up from handling the crisis will allow him to survive the savage economic and social reversal he intends to implement.
As a Christian he clearly believes, despite Matthew’s wise words, that it is possible to serve both God and money at the same time.
At least in Australia we know what to expect from our leaders. In Papua New Guinea things are a lot less clear.
It seems that, regardless of what happens, leaders are going to blunder on as normal without an intermediate stage.
They are making the usual positive noises and promises with absolutely no intention or ability to carry them out.
The extent of their planning does not seem to have progressed beyond the old hollow rhetoric and spin they apply to everything.
A political promise is something quickly forgotten in Papua New Guinea.
As the right wing British comedian and commentator, Simon Evans, says, “Apathy is all”.
There will be no socialist revolution in Australia, Papua New Guinea or anywhere else.
People have long been tranquilised by technology into a state of compliance. And, besides that, as Evans gleefully points out, they are now all too fat to get off their arses to do anything anyway.
At best, in the final analysis, it will give the old duffers on PNG Attitude a little bit extra to chew over.
I guess we have to be thankful for that at least.