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Abbott adrift

August 11th, 2010

Tony Abbott got away with his howler on the effects of carbon taxes on electricity prices. But, in a piece of poetic justice, he’s now been tripped up by his ignorance of the technical issues underlying his broadband policy, not nearly as bad a piece of intellectual laziness, in my view, but enough to cement the (correct) impression that he is not across the details of key policy issues. To be fair, he doesn’t pretend to be: he offers simplistic slogans to the voters because that’s all he is capable of understanding. In the US, such self-confessed ignorance is a pre-requisite for political success, at least on the right. It seems we are heading the same way.

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  1. August 13th, 2010 at 14:12 | #1

    @Jim Rose

    Don’t divert. You don’t like my claim:

    There is only everybody’s work, everybody’s goods and everybody’s needs and how we resolve these matters to achieve equity

    Address that.

  2. August 13th, 2010 at 14:20 | #2

    @Jarrah

    Yet that quote from the Manifesto says nothing about a system based on theft. It’s about the creation of a new proletarian mode of appropriation. In short, all bets are off.

    The fact that the word proletarian is used shows that Marx is not talking of communism but of proletarian class rule i.e. a period of transtition towards communism, which is

    a) classless

    and

    b) materially abundant

    meaning that private property loses all meaning. What point could there be in theft, in a society where material abundance prevailed?

  3. August 13th, 2010 at 14:28 | #3

    The question was, what system is based on theft. If proletarian revolution is the necessary precursor to communism, and their revolution involves the theft of… well, everything, then it could be said that communism is based on theft. Just as you tried to say capitalism is based on theft.

    If, however, you are actually concerned with the mechanics of an already-functioning communism or capitalism, then neither is based on theft. Because,as the Manifesto describes, each system ordains ‘property’ and ‘theft’ according to its own needs.

    And that’s not to forget that property IS theft in some conceptions ;-)

  4. Jim Rose
    August 13th, 2010 at 14:37 | #4

    Fran Barlow,

    I reject your position that each member of society has an equal claim on their society’s goods as in clear conflict with distributive justice.

    Rawls argues that inequality is acceptable if it is to the advantage of those who are worst-off.

    Risk-minimisation is a part of Rawls’ strategy in setting up the original position. All consider worst case scenarios, where on the lifting of the veil of ignorance they discover that they are at the bottom of society.

    Rawls argues that if this possibility is considered then all will be concerned with ensuring the best possible circumstances for the worst-off members of society.

    The wealth of an economy is not a fixed amount from one period to the next. More wealth can be produced and this has been the experience of industrialized countries over the last few centuries.

    The most common way of producing more wealth is to have a system where those who are more productive earn greater incomes. This inspired the difference principle. The possibility of earning greater income will bring forth greater productive effort. This will increase the total wealth of the economy and, under the Difference Principle, the wealth of the least advantaged.

    Rawls is concerned is about the absolute position of the least advantaged group rather than their relative position. If it is possible to raise the absolute position of the least advantaged further by having inequalities of income and wealth, then the Difference Principle prescribes inequality.

    Advocates of strict equality argue that inequalities permitted by the Difference Principle are unacceptable even if they do benefit the least advantaged.

    The problem for advocates, which include you, is to explain in a satisfactory way why the relative position of the least advantaged is more important than their absolute position, and hence why society should be prevented from materially benefiting the least advantaged when this is possible.

  5. August 13th, 2010 at 14:39 | #5

    @Jarrah

    If proletarian revolution is the necessary precursor to communism, and their revolution involves the theft of… well, everything, [...]

    And there’s the flaw. You call it theft and the socialists call it recovery of stolen goods.

    And that’s not to forget that property IS theft in some conceptions

    That was certainly the communitarian Proudhon’s view.

  6. August 13th, 2010 at 14:59 | #6

    Interesting. Clicked ‘Submit Comment’, and nothing appeared. Tried submitting again, and WordPress objects because it’s a duplicate comment. Tried re-submitting with minor changes, nothing appears. Yet this comment gets through.

  7. August 13th, 2010 at 15:05 | #7

    @Jim Rose

    I’m no babeuvist Jim. I accept that, unless an until material abundance is achieved, class society and social inequality therewith, will persist. Attempts at forcing equality will simply equalise misery.

    Accordingly, in so far as acceptance of inequality leads to higher labour productivity, I have no fundamental political objection to it. Yet this is not what we are discussing. We are discussing your rather curious notion that the concept “other people’s money” is meaningful and more, that some state can “run out” of it.

    Ultimately, money is in unlimited supply. What is limited is labour power. A class that misapplies/misappropriates this resource necessarily increases arbitrary inequality, imposes misery where it need not be and perhaps just as bad, both constrains the ability to produce it, deploy it and improve its quality.

    So your swing at “socialists” –a product of your own cultural angst — is utterly misdirected. Putting aside your attempt to blur the lines between boss class social democrats and socialists, at a certain point, the attempt to protect privileges associated with property and inequality more generally becomes a constraint upon development of the productive forces. Every time people get laid off, capital lies idle. That’s wasteful.

    Of coruse, the exclusion of the interests of labour from the polity underpins some odf the most inequitable patterns of deployment of labour power. Would a society that was focused on how to improve the quanitity of socially useful labour and labour productivity be deploying it to fashion the equipment needed to destroy populations and their infrastructure elsewhere. I’d say not. Would it have housing as a tradeable commodity? Almost certainly not. Would it be delpoying labour to build housing over fertile land? Again, I’d say not. Would enormous volumes of labour be used simply to coerce populations into refraining from use of mind-altering substances? Again, it is hard to see how this could happen. Would such a regime wait even a moment after discovering the prejudice industry was doing to human life chances through damage to the biosphere before retooling to mitigate it? Of course not.

    Of course, if the protection of the privileges of the propertied classes is the sine qua non of “civilised” life all the above becomes comprehensible. Protection of privilege is always the lesser evil in such societies.

  8. Chris Warren
    August 13th, 2010 at 16:43 | #8

    @Jarrah

    Property here concerns property used in production, (ie owned individualy but used in society) or obtained through profits of exploitation.

    Marx said there was no need to abolish personal private property.

    This underpinning in fact goes back to the English Diggers and Levellers, and the original theft of the previous common ownership of lands. Google: Irish plantations, English enclosures, and Highland clearances.

  9. paul walter
    August 13th, 2010 at 16:52 | #9

    Jim Rose, can’t we get past a mindset that seems so about hordeing and so little about what really matters in life; the blessings of human company, family and community?
    You come across as a bit Hobbesian defensive and Fran’s right, we could do a lot better without such a defensive mindset for our own culture; surely we have moved clear of the middle ages?
    Gee, what about the level playing- like envrionmental sustanability as to thebase, don’t we sort that out first, then do the blokey “competition” bit?
    Why are billions of people living like dogs, while we privileged are given a good run without particularly much justification?
    If we had some sort of basic standard of living that provided opportunity for all, then, theoretically, your positon could be justifiable, but at the moment, in the world of reality, that precondition has not been met.

  10. Alice
    August 13th, 2010 at 18:32 | #10

    @Fran Barlow
    Can anyone tell me why Jarrah and JR seem to be talking about communism and the threat of communists when it and they no longer exist – although some effort on co-operatives wouldnt go astray right now!

    Old ghosts – andpeople fighting old ghosts. The conservatives seem to think they can rescusitate old enemies even though they are long dead and buried.

    If they really thought about it long enough they might realise that what sends people the way of a socialist view or a democratic socialist view is the failure of the insensitve market ideologies to accommodate all strata in an group of those eligible to vote that actually vote.

    Makes sense to me. Politicians and their policies go too far one way (right or left) and the voting public will punish you.

    All is as it should be.

  11. Alice
    August 13th, 2010 at 18:35 | #11

    @Jim Rose
    But at least JR – I have no problem with Rawls. I have a large problem with the Utilitarianists.

  12. Jim Rose
    August 13th, 2010 at 19:02 | #12

    @Fran Barlow
    so you no longer hold to your prervious position that “There is only everybody’s work, everybody’s goods and everybody’s needs and how we resolve these matters to achieve equity ”

    you now say “unless an until material abundance is achieved, class society and social inequality therewith, will persist. Attempts at forcing equality will simply equalise misery.”

    is there any difference between what you say and what hayek and nozick say about forcing equality?

  13. Chris Warren
    August 14th, 2010 at 00:02 | #13

    @Alice

    It is not an old ghost that scares them – it is an old spectre that haunts them.

    As the financial contradictions mount- even over 150 years, the Marxist analysis shines through – even through the fog of Keynesianism and the noise of Samuelson etc.

  14. August 14th, 2010 at 07:17 | #14

    @Jim Rose

    There’s no inconsistency between the two claims I made Jim. I stand by both.

  15. Jim Rose
    August 14th, 2010 at 09:38 | #15

    @Chris Warren
    What is the Marxist analysis of Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac?

    Does the Marxist analysis of “To big to fail” attributed this regulatory intervention to a free market capitalism or to corporate capitalism?

    In this regard, I commend the writings of New Left historians Gabriel Kolko’s and James Weinstein’s books on the rise of political capitalism in the progressive era.

    Kolko has remarked that “The dominant fact of American political life at the beginning of this century was that big business led the struggle for the federal regulation of the economy.”

    The last thing the corporate capitalists wanted was a profit AND loss system and the threat of new entry.

    Economic regulation was intended to create monopolies and oligopolies. While sounding well-intentioned, so-called progressive government interventions exploits the consumer in favour of the politically privileged.

    Social regulation is a bargain between business and consumer pressure groups who want, among other things, to raise the production costs of small rivals, an outlet for expressive and rationally irrational voting, and jobs as cogs in the machine.

    Regulation and the welfare state are not only now backed to the hilt by Big Business, but were originated by corporate capitalist for the purpose of shifting from a free market to a cartelised economy that would benefit corporate interests and selected smaller allies including sub-groups of small business and sub-groups of consumers who provide the needed bloc of votes in return for cross-subsidies.

    Self-styled progressive intellectuals such as you are and were vital propagandists in duping the public into thinking the liberal corporatist suppression of competition was in their interests.

  16. Alice
    August 14th, 2010 at 10:10 | #16

    @Chris Warren
    Im inclined to agree with you Chris – what else explains the extraordinary power and influence over governments of the global financial and other firms? The creeping monopolisation of many industries? The rising unemployment?

    It shines through as showing that in the end capitalism cannot be kept in suspended animation in anyone’s ideal view of how it could or should work. It will destroy the worlds resources, governments and the quality of lives (for all the comforts it has delivered along the way one cant helping thinking that ultimately capitalism will take back in kind).

  17. Jim Rose
    August 14th, 2010 at 10:45 | #17

    @Alice
    Most public policies are in place because they are popular with voters for expressive reasons or because the voter is rationally irrational about what they support. It is possible for officials to deviate only moderately from voter preferences without being removed from power to pander to the special interests.

    Can Marxist analysis explain the large differences in the size of the public sector on each side of the Atlantic and respective differences in economic and social regulation? The state sector is and always been much larger in NZ than in Australia. NZ general government spending accounted for 1/2 of GDP in 1986 while accounting for 1/3rd in Oz.

    The greens and those further to the left get nowhere these days because their policies are deeply unpopular with most voters. Everything from the two-airline policy to tariffs were popular with the voters in that mast, and interests groups tool advantage of these opening, but times changed.

    Immigration is kept low not because, to use your words, because “the extraordinary power and influence over governments of the global financial and other firms”, did not extend to remembering about this opportunity to increase the size of the reserve army of the unemployed. Immigration is kept low because of the anti-foreign biases of voters that the Left stokes up whenever it suits them at other policy forums.

  18. Alice
    August 14th, 2010 at 13:03 | #18

    @Jim Rose
    For a party that as you say “gets nowwhere these days” JR – why are the greens growing? You will may try some reality about exactly who’s ideas are gaining and who’s are losing if we end up with a hung parliament.

  19. Alice
    August 14th, 2010 at 13:11 | #19

    @Jim Rose
    Oh and Tony Abbott is losing ground to common sense (not that I think Labor has much of that either). The Greens are getting my vote JR and I hope they get more votes. It would actually be nice to have people talking about some important issues instead of “great big new taxes”, various other two bit quips, “turning the boats back”, “oh woe is me debt”, “Mark Latham’s handshake” “fiscal austerity measures”, and not doing anything for young people and not giving a damn about public investment or unemployment.

    Green shoots is what we need to send a big message to both majors that they are both doing pretty much the same, treat Australians like children, dont have policies to do much at all about big issues, couldnt give a damn about public transport and are still busy sitting on their parliamentary perks hoping private sector samaritans will solve all theirs (and our) problems.

    As Singo said – they dont build the snowy mountains schemes anymore (because they outsourced all their nation building skills years ago) and as another commented

    “if we had left the harbour bridge to Tony Abbott to build – there would now be one lane with a man holding a stop and go sign at each end”.

  20. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 14th, 2010 at 15:30 | #20

    For those interested in the latest news on Abbott the creationist who does not know whether he is coming or going, the not so smart tech head has announced today the Coaltion will be cutting some $400 million of government funding from the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) program because he THINKS CCS technology doesn’t work. That is correct Abbott THINKS CCS technology doesn’t work. Well I have information for the creationist who does not believe in science, since 1996 Statoil (Norwegian State Oil Company) has been successfully sequestrating some 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually into a porous salt water aquifer. And given Abbott’s continuous false claims, I am of the opinion Gillard who believes in science is much more knowledgable on matters when dealing with the real world than Abbott the creationist who seems to have problems in understanding basic science. No wonder voters are now starting to question Abbott’s credentials and ability in understanding many issues outside his small world.

  21. August 14th, 2010 at 16:51 | #21

    @Michael of Summer Hill

    If cutting funds to CC&S were the only difference between the parties, and they both had humane policies towards refugees I would consider voting Liberal.

  22. Chris Warren
    August 14th, 2010 at 17:02 | #22

    Jim Rose :@Chris Warren What is the Marxist analysis of Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac?

    Simple.

    Capitalist enterprises MUST fail when countervailling tendencies they rely on, become exhausted.

    Does the Marxist analysis of “To big to fail” attributed this regulatory intervention to a free market capitalism or to corporate capitalism?

    Stupid question. It all capitalism, and the fact that you have so misunderstood the question then leads you into the following nonesense

    “The dominant fact of American political life at the beginning of this century was that big business led the struggle for the federal regulation of the economy.”
    The last thing the corporate capitalists wanted was a profit AND loss system and the threat of new entry.
    Economic regulation was intended to create monopolies and oligopolies. While sounding well-intentioned, so-called progressive government interventions exploits the consumer in favour of the politically privileged.
    Social regulation is a bargain between business and consumer pressure groups who want, among other things, to raise the production costs of small rivals, an outlet for expressive and rationally irrational voting, and jobs as cogs in the machine.

    And especially the following:

    Regulation and the welfare state are not only now backed to the hilt by Big Business, but were originated by corporate capitalist for the purpose of shifting from a free market to a cartelised economy that would benefit corporate interests and selected smaller allies including sub-groups of small business and sub-groups of consumers who provide the needed bloc of votes in return for cross-subsidies.

    And just to get a feel for the quality of Rose-rubbish, here is his conspiracy theory where nasty progressives “dupe” the public!

    Self-styled progressive intellectuals such as you are and were vital propagandists in duping the public into thinking the liberal corporatist suppression of competition was in their interests.

  23. Jim Rose
    August 14th, 2010 at 19:34 | #23

    @Chris Warren
    so marx predicted the rise of the mixed economy and corporate capitalism, and capitalists forming coalitions with unions and workers who wanted regulation and the welfare state.

    Popper criticizes theorists like Marx who attempt to accumulate evidence that corroborates their theories and not looking for evidence that would demonstrate that their hypothesis is false.

    regulation was not inspired by the progressive intellectuals and activist political leaders eager to put a check on the rising power of big business. It was really inspired by the drive of businessman to limit competition and bring stability into the market.

    The left makes a common assumption that regulation hurts big business. This isn’t the case. Big Business is in favor of regulation and the throttling of competition.

    The Left and progressives in general have never seen a regulation-based barrier to entry that they did not like.

    progressives and the Left have never seen a deregulation that they did not oppose. By supporting regulation-based barriers to entry, the Left plays into the hands of the corporate capitalists. If progressives had won their fights, we would still have:

    • the two airline policy
    • banks opening at 10 and closing at 3
    • no competition in telecommunications
    • no interstate power market
    • No Pay TV
    • Fewer free-to air channels?
    • No ABC 2?
    • No FM radio?
    • No colour TV?

  24. Alice
    August 14th, 2010 at 22:36 | #24

    @Jim Rose
    Jim Rose – re your comment above. Its starting to look like like a Fox repeat..Im sure I have read it before.

  25. Chris Warren
    August 15th, 2010 at 00:51 | #25

    Jim Rose :@Chris Warren so marx predicted the rise of the mixed economy and corporate capitalism, and capitalists forming coalitions with unions and workers who wanted regulation and the welfare state.

    Unbelievable! – Jim Rose got something right!?

    Marx bitterly resented this tendency particularly with his break-up with Ernest Jones. But more than this. Marx also recognised that this degeneration in workers politics could be expected in nations that (like Britain) exploited the rest of the world.

    marx did not ‘predict’ it he saw it.

    Popper criticizes theorists like Marx who attempt to accumulate evidence that corroborates their theories and not looking for evidence that would demonstrate that their hypothesis is false.

    This is an old Western canard. Popper manufactures evidence without looking at the facts that his canard as false.

    regulation was not inspired by the progressive intellectuals and activist political leaders eager to put a check on the rising power of big business. It was really inspired by the drive of businessman to limit competition and bring stability into the market.

    his is your pet theory.

    The left makes a common assumption that regulation hurts big business.

    Twaddle, nonsense, fiction, undergraduate stupidity.

    The Left and progressives in general have never seen a regulation-based barrier to entry that they did not like.

    Twaddle, nonsense, fiction, undergraduate stupidity.

    progressives and the Left have never seen a deregulation that they did not oppose.

    Twaddle, nonsense, fiction, undergraduate stupidity.

    By supporting regulation-based barriers to entry, the Left plays into the hands of the corporate capitalists. If progressives had won their fights, we would still have:
    • the two airline policy• banks opening at 10 and closing at 3• no competition in telecommunications• no interstate power market• No Pay TV• Fewer free-to air channels?• No ABC 2?• No FM radio?• No colour TV?

    These useless, rants just waste time.

  26. Jim Rose
    August 15th, 2010 at 11:33 | #26

    @Chris Warren
    Marx predicted the growing misery of working people, and this would lead them, in the end, to revolt. I would like to see how a cradle to the crave welfare state still has enough misery left in it to not put off the revolution.

    I agree with G.A. Cohen when he argues that there is no group in advanced industrial societies united by:
    1. Being the producers on which society depends;
    2. Being exploited;
    3. Being in conjunction with their families the majority of society; and
    4. Being in dire need.

    No group because of their neediness and exploitation have a compelling interest in, and because of their productiveness and majority numbers, the capacity to archive a socialist transformation. Because of the rather unforeseen withering away of the proletariat, Marxism failed to predict the natural course of the evolution of capitalism.

    As for being a moral philosophy, Marxism is equally withered at the vine because if justice is the Marxist pattern ‘from each according to ability, to each according to need,’ then workers cannot be entitled to the full value of their own labour. This adage requires the taking the product of some workers’ labour and giving it to those in need.

    If people are entitled to the full value of their own labour, they are entitled to it regardless of whether or not the distribution within a society adheres to each according to their need pattern.

    But if workers are not entitled to the full product or value of their labour, the Marxist moral concerns about capitalist exploitation loses all of their force. A serious Marxist must give up either ‘…to each according to need’ or their critique of capitalism as exploitative, because the two are mutually incompatible.

    btw, which of these deregulations do you support:
    • the two airline policy
    • banks opening before 10 and after 3
    • competition in telecommunications
    • an interstate power market
    • Pay TV
    • More free-to-air channels?
    • ABC 2?
    • FM radio?
    • Colour TV?
    You must, at least, support the repeal of the regulations outlawing colour TV?

  27. Alice
    August 15th, 2010 at 12:16 | #27

    Come on Jim Rose (above post). Knock of the repetition of posts. That is trolling.

  28. Donald Oats
    August 15th, 2010 at 13:55 | #28

    Is someone channelling Glenn Beck here?

  29. Jim Rose
    August 15th, 2010 at 14:17 | #29

    @Alice
    you can not even get the number of airlines curretly operating in oz right. you claimed that it was 2, when it is 4, and forgot about 3 others that went broke for failing to serve passangers well.

    I repeat the list because you and others do not want to admit that deregulation worked. I assume you do not have pay TV at your house because it is the spawn of deregulation.

  30. Jim Rose
    August 15th, 2010 at 14:31 | #30

    @Donald Oats
    I assume you watch Beck. I do not.

    BTW, if deregulation is bad for consumers, why are you watching pay TV? It is bad for you. you are let yourself be ripped-off! cancel your pay TV subsciption and you will be richer and more informed.

  31. Alice
    August 15th, 2010 at 14:43 | #31

    Im not watching pay TV JR. Whatever gave you that idea? Who on earth is Beck?

  32. Jim Rose
    August 15th, 2010 at 15:05 | #32

    @Alice
    I am sure you would be worse-off for watching pay TV. too much danger of running into ideas, arguments and facts that disturb your settled world view.

  33. Alice
    August 15th, 2010 at 16:56 | #33

    @Jim Rose
    Huh? Any pay TV I have watched so far dulls my brain as Murdoch designed it to do.
    I try to avoid the plethora if cop shows and repeats or mindless movies…
    Maybe you should try avoiding as well JR. There is a real life out there.

  34. Alice
    August 15th, 2010 at 16:57 | #34

    @Jim Rose
    If my settled world was dictated by pay TV JR I would be seriously worried about myself. Ever heard the word SOMA – it means sleep drugs for the masses…
    thats pay TV.

  35. Alice
    August 15th, 2010 at 16:59 | #35

    @Jim Rose
    Maybe you should try talking to your neighbours JR and turning pay TV off.

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