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Tasmania: liberal corporatism « Previous | |Next »
March 15, 2004

Writing in today's Sydney Morning Herald Richard Flanagan says that, just like the old days of hydro-industrialisation, the Tasmanian government, the unions, big business and an acquiescent local media are in agreement. They agree that the clear-felling of old-growth forests for woodchip is the path of development in the state of Tasmania in a global world.

Flanagan then makes an interesting observation. He says:


"Three years ago, a report based on consultations with the Tasmanian community and initially sponsored by the state government found that Tasmanians were overwhelmingly against further logging of the island's old-growth forests. But neither of the major parties reflect their beliefs."


The politicians (the Lib/Lab ones) have re-organized liberal democracy to marginalize any democratic opposition to their mode of governance. They have instituted corporatism as a political system.

Its form is not a fascist corporatism. It is a system of liberal corporatism, consisting of governance by Big Business, Big Labor and Big Government. In this system, the State functions to balance the interests of large economic power blocs while maintaining their common ascendancy or dominance in the face of potential democratic and green threats from below.

Corporatism is favoured when the goal is to ensure rapid economic development, guided and spurred by a government that is simultaneously dedicated to enforcing political and social stability within its borders. Democracy is sacrificed in the process.


I do not see Mark Latham challenging this corporatism when he visits Tasmania? I'd say he'd go along with this liberal corporatism. He will quietly forget to talk about his old theme of needing more democracy will he not?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:29 PM | | Comments (1)
Comments

Comments

Living in the UK I cannot comment on how accurate you are about Tasmania but the problems seem familiar . Part of the problem is the way in which we measure economic growth in the first place. This is because we ignore externalities i.e. cost of pollution and the Australian and USA governments are some of the worst of the developing countries in ignoring this although the U.K. is not much better if at all. If we started to measure externalities and priced them then we would have a sensible economic route. We could use the OECD measure of economic growth , which I describe in one of my books Penguin Master Studies.
We also obviously need to see how sustainable ideas are. The U.K. government now seems to be willing to go for nuclear since this is easer than to try to persuade people to cut down. part of the problems may be with a low level democracy which means people do not have to think about doing or thinking about anything but relies heavily on a press which for the middle brow and low brow papers is to put it mildly inadequate on matters such as global warming


David Spurling

Chairman of Learning Through Cooperation