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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the corporate backlash « Previous | |Next »
May 30, 2010

Paul Krugman has an interesting article in the New York Times entitled The Old Enemies that has some relevance to Australia, where the miners are digging into their deep pockets in order to beat up the Rudd Government over its proposed resource super-profits tax.

Krugman says:

They’re as mad as hell, and they’re not going to take this anymore. Am I talking about the Tea Partiers? No, I’m talking about the corporations...corporate interests are balking at even modest changes from the permissiveness of the Bush era...what President Obama and his party now face isn’t just, or even mainly, an opposition grounded in right-wing populism. For grass-roots anger is being channeled and exploited by corporate interests, which will be the big winners if the G.O.P. does well in November.

Isn't this happening in Australia with the mining corporations? They are as mad as hell over an emissions trading scheme to address global warming and the proposed new resources tax. They have the Murdoch media onside and the Coalition in their pocket.

MoirAMiningCo.jpg No doubt the mining industry's money is flowing into the Liberal Party's coffers.

Will the grass roots ---the battlers --rebel? Unlikely. They'll be fobbed off with identity politics says Krugman:

If this sounds familiar, it should: it’s the same formula the right has been using for a generation. Use identity politics to whip up the base; then, when the election is over, give priority to the concerns of your corporate donors. Run as the candidate of “real Americans,” not those soft-on-terror East coast liberals; then, once you’ve won, declare that you have a mandate to privatize Social Security.

The Australian Right's embrace of populism under Abbott is a populism that is sympathetic to big corporations such as the multinational miners who are so full of sound and fury.

What Krugman doesn't say is that the strategy is to polarize the electorate and so shrink the middle ground. As Paul Kelly says in The Australian:

The middle ground that is the bedrock for successful Labor governance and policy reform is being pulled apart. This is a new phenomenon and a negation of the politics of the past generation...The centre is weakening; votes are moving to the polarities; populists on both the Right and Left carry sway.This undermines the basis for middle-ground Labor reformism. If this phenomenon became the new trend, the policy consequences would be far-reaching.

Is it becoming the new trend? Kelly is persuaded. I'm yet to be convinced.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:06 PM | | Comments (6)


Oh how proud we used to be of our healthy cynicism. How we used to crow about our mistrust of authority and our disregard for the powerful elite. How we loved to heap scorn upon the gentry.

But now we're just a nation of aspirationals, right?

The coal miners (BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata) are making a killing. The lead coal analyst for Australasia, Ben Willacy, said the tax would only put marginal projects at risk of failure in the short term, but the lower returns would put a question mark over projects planned for further down the track.

So much for the miners lobbying campaign, which says miners will ditch Australia en masse.

mars08---aspirational is a market kind of right wing populism that is voiced in terms of the politics of the envy. and class warfare. The left are envious of those who have become successful in the market's world of the pursuit of profit and capitalist competitiveness.

"Class warfare" and the "politics of envy" suggest sniveley wimps who want to get something for nothing. It is used to target those who point out the inequality due to the massive redistribution of wealth upward has occurred with neo-liberalism

The Rights' 'aspirational', 'class warfare' and the 'politics of envy' (sheer hatred of people with money) is an attack on the arguments of the social democratic left's to create a more egalitarian society. This is nothing more than mere envy.

This ideology claims that the left strategy is one of excessively taxing people's thrift, enterprise and hard work, and the desire to bring about an egalitarian utopia through social engineering and state control of individual lives.

In education, the redistributionist left have systematically rigged the system to boost artificially the achievements of under-qualified young people, thus penalising those showing real merit.

The left's agenda is about bashing the middle class, and rewarding young people not for what they have achieved but on account of their family background. Aspirational middle class people only want to provide for themselves and their families, and to avoid asking for help from the state.

Of course it is the ALP that engages in the "politics of envy"--eg Mark Latham's call for redistributive funding of schools and hyis plan to divert funding from 67 elite private schools to needy government schools in 2004. The politics of envy says that ALP has an irrational dislike of private schools and the aspirationals who simply want the finer things of life that capitalism has to offer for those who work hard to become a succcess.

The Parties of the right have learned how to portray themselves as down-to-earth, abandoning or downplaying the patrician outlook of traditional upper-class Tories. They now speak for an average Australian bloke and their egalitarianism is one of character and personality rather than of economic equality.

This morning I saw a sticker on the back of a ute. It was not a new sticker. Looked faded and I suspect it had been hanging there for years. It said.... LIFE: BROUGHT TO YOU BY MINING. That sums it up really. They're untouchable because we owe them for... well.. ah.. everything!