Turnbull’s class war

The right is fond of decrying as “class war” any proposal that would benefit Australian workers and low income families. But, we finally have a genuine “class war” election in view and it has been launched by Malcolm Turnbull, with his attempt to tie future governments into massive income tax cuts for high income earners.

The good news here is that, despite some wavering, Labor held its nerve, opposed the second and third stages of the package and voted against the entire bill. Some people (I imagine the kind who call themselves “hardheads”) were worried that defeating the entire bill would be hard to explain to voters. They didn’t apparently consider how they would campaign against regressive policies they had already voted for (or maybe they supported those policies).

In any case, voters in Australia finally have a clear choice. Massive tax cuts for companies and high income earners, or a progressive tax system that provides the revenue we need to provide decent public services. It seems that a majority of younger voters, at least, know where they stand (more on this soon, I hope).

5 thoughts on “Turnbull’s class war

  1. Did other folk laugh when some senators said they voted for the third part because they were concerned refusal would cost sections one and two? Can you imagine the stupidity or weakness of such imaginings?

    Firstly, can we surmise that the third section would pool nicely into the first parts, for lower and middle earners?

    Second, if money is offshored rather than reinvested, does that not mean that the economy suffers and not only from an outflow from the country but because of added strains on social infrastructure, cuts to social infrastructure that decrease the social wage for the less well off?

    Enough of the bribe to real estate “aspirationals”, what about people who genuinely need a little extra money for existential reasons, such as indigenes and or the unemployed, who would keep the money circulating within the Australian economy? I understand the idea that a more “relaxed” set of conditions to facilitate offshore investment but don’t that it benefits us or facilitates meaningful reform in places like the USA, which is sadly out of whack with reality unless I am wrong.

  2. If we take a cursory look at the work of Timothy A. Kohler et. al., such as “Greater post-Neolithic wealth disparities in Eurasia than in North America and Mesoamerica”, and at related data, we learn that;

    (a) “wealth disparities generally increased with the domestication of plants and animals and with increased sociopolitical scale, using Gini coefficients computed over the single consistent proxy of house-size distributions.” – Abstract of above document.

    (b) “hunter-gatherer societies consistently getting Gini scores around .17.” – 2nd hand reporting from Inverse online.

    (c) “The small scale “horticultural” farmers had a median Gini of .27, and larger-scale “agricultural” societies moved up to .35.” – 2nd hand reporting from Inverse online.

    (d) “Overall, the highest-ever historical Gini the researchers found was that of the ancient Old World (think Patrician Rome), which got a score of .59.” – 2nd hand reporting from Inverse online.

    (d) “Currently, the United States Gini score is around .81, one of the highest in the world according to the 2016 Allianz Global Wealth Report.” – 2nd hand reporting from Inverse online.

    (e) “Unfortunately, Kohler points out, humans have never been especially good at decreasing inequality peacefully — historically, the only effective methods for doing so are plague, massive warfare, or revolution.” – 2nd hand reporting from Inverse online.

    I think we can come to a few provisional conclusions from this kind of data.

    (1) The increase in availability or exploitation of energy sources resulting in increased availability for economic work, leads to a rise in the Gini score.

    (2) The wealth of all classes can and does rise with the rise of civilization, hence the wealth of the poorest can rise while the wealth of the rich rises even faster. This can lead to higher but still socially stable or socioeconomically sustainable Gini scores. Hence, the USA can sustain (so far), an historical all-time high of .81. This statement makes no comment on the advisability or morality of such a high score.

    (3) Historically, Gini scores have tended to rise and rise (along with increased energy consumption) in the absence of plagues, massive warfare, or revolution. The post WW2 period (Keynesian Golden Age) is not really an exception as it took the great destruction of WW2 and resultant democratic pressures to inaugurate a counter trend. This counter-trend exhausted itself by about 1970. The neoliberal era is a return to the historical trend.

    (4) Very High Gini scores can only be maintained with high energy consumption. (See point 1). Collapses in the supply of food and energy, if they occur, will initiate massive warfare or revolution at least where they occur regionally.

    (5) If the US or any nation attempts to push its Gini score higher than its current level, then increased per capita energy consumption and/or considerable increases in energy efficiency will be needed.

    (6) Finally, humanity and nations have not so far proven enlightened enough to lower Gini scores without plagues, massive warfare or revolution. This is not to say it is not possible but it is to say that a qualitative and quantitative socioeconomic change unlike anything so far seen in human history will have to occur to achieve this. Conclusion, a revolution unlike any other in human history will have to occur. Whether humans and human systems are capable of such radical and novel emergent behavior remains to be seen.

  3. Ikonoclast (likes). Haven’t been out of the trees for long enough. Would evolution solve the problem given what appears to be the preconditions for humanity and existence, reality actuality, appearance etc,

    It is not Hobbesian deterministic, there are after all “known unknowns” and “unknown knowns”, but for now it seems very Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    Sorry, I can do no better. Bad mood tonight, pessimistic.

  4. Paul Walter,

    This concluding quote, from “The Physics of Capitalism by Erald Kolasi, sums up our position. The fully article is on the website of “Monthly Review – An Independent Socialist Magazine”.


    “Our fundamental problem is easy to state: modern civilization uses far too much energy. And the solution to this problem is equally easy to state, but very difficult to implement: humanity must reduce the rate of energy consumption that has prevailed in modern times. The best way to drive down that rate is not through messianic delusions of technological progress, but rather by breaking the structures and incentives of capitalism, with their drive for profits and production, and establishing a new economic system that prioritizes a compatible future with our natural world.

    Governments and popular movements around the world should develop and implement radical measures that will help to move humanity from capitalism toward ecologism. These measures should include punitive taxes and caps on extreme wealth, the partial nationalization of energy-intensive industries, the vast redistribution of economic goods and resources to poor and oppressed peoples, periodic restrictions on the use of capital assets and technological systems, large public investments in more efficient renewable energy technologies, sharp reductions in work hours, and perhaps even the adoption of mass veganism among industrialized nations that no longer rely on animals for food production. The economic priorities of the ecological project should focus on improving our existing quality of life, not on trying to generate high levels of economic growth to boost capitalist profits. If human civilization is to survive for thousands of years, and not just a few more centuries, then we must drastically scale back our economic ambitions and focus instead on improving the quality of life in our communities, including our community with nature. Rather than trying to dominate the natural world, we should change course and coexist with it.”

    End quote.

    The idea that we will voluntarily take this “de-growth” path is not very plausible. There is the growth imperative of capitalism which is systematically built into its mode of operation. Competitive survival under peace condition relies on the process of differentially greater growth. Nation-state survival, dominance and military defence are also predicated on differentially greater growth under peace conditions.

    If “endless growth will lead to inevitable ecological disaster” is accepted as a very probable prediction, then a Machiavellian approach to nation-state competition (under the theory of “Offensive Realism”) would take the following form. The Machiavellian State would seek to implement global de-growth with “endless war”. The differential goal under endless war de-growth would be to shrink less and control-collapse slower than rivals. This would lead to a relative increase in national power. However, this is an extremely risky strategy and could go out of control in all sorts of ways.

    A far better option would be a global agreement to progressively evolve our system away from capitalism. It is often said that a common enemy unites us. The common enemy is capitalism through its impacts of environmental destruction. Capitalism probably won’t be recognised as the common enemy of humanity until environmental damage becomes severe, widespread and undeniable. At that point, the choice will be between nation-state Machiavellian-ism and global socialist values.

    At least, that is the way I see it.

  5. Turnbull and Murdochs) class war has been grimly typified in two current events demonstrating the grim underlying realities.

    Firstly the Leyjonhelm SKY/ SHY smear campaign, which tells us what to expect for political coverage over the forthcoming pre-election period (along with Kill Bill) and running parallel, the Nauru wedge of Turnbull enabling Murdoch to scab to the excluded sections of media and press. This is telling us it’s a dictatorship regardless of an election formality.

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