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

time for the party to stop « Previous | |Next »
July 5, 2010

I'm on holidays at Victor Harbor and doing some photography. So posting will be light for this week.

Australia appears to be insulated from what is happening in Europe: call for cutbacks in public spending, savage budget cuts in response to the big budget deficits run up by government to prevent a recession (or is it a depression?) and saving the big banks from the global financial crisis they caused.

We have the new austerity voices in Australia--eg., the Coalition and News Ltd--but the mining boom is cushioning us, and keeping the neo-liberal slashers and burners at bay. If Europe is shrinking its economy, then Australia has the option of growing its way out of the budget deficit problem.

Cameroncuts.jpg Martin Rowson

The UK, for instance, is facing future cuts to public spending up to 40% according to the Treasury.

Or is that a scare campaign designed to create a panic about the deficit so as to soften up the voters to a harsh "spending review"?

In Europe--and probably in the US--- it would appear that the politicians have decided that the financial sector can be rescued only by cutting back social spending on social security, health care and education, bolstered by more privatization and sell-offs. Apparently, they, as good utilitarians, reckon this is worth the price.

Bryan Gould points out that Nick Clegg seems to have gone along with the basic strategy of cutting the deficit, come what may, without firing a shot. He asks some good questions:

How else to explain the extraordinary spectacle of a supposedly left-of-centre party and its leader tamely endorsing a budget strategy that is positively perverse and that threatens a re-run of the global recession that similar neoliberal doctrine produced less than two years ago? How is it that a financial crisis that failed to become a full-scale depression only because governments and therefore the taxpayers bailed out the failed financial institutions has become the launching-pad for savage cuts in public spending and a punitive scaling-back in the role of government?

Why should anyone believe that throwing people out of work, and then cutting the support available to the unemployed, will somehow set the economy back on its feet? Why should anyone believe that the government's finances – including an indebtedness massively increased by the billions spent on the bailouts – can be restored by ensuring that tax revenues are depleted because economic activity is flattened?

He adds that those with a knowledge of economic history will know that George Osborne is all too faithfully following in the footsteps of those like Herbert Hoover who followed similar policies in 1932 and plunged us all into depression.

It’s capitalism that presents itself as having dissolved all illusions and exposed the underlying reality of things. Late capitalism is all about ceaseless reinvention, nothing is solid, everything is mutable. And yet late capitalism is alsosabout recapitulation, homogeneity, minimally different commodities. Capitalism is a bizarre mix of the ultra-modern and the archaic.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:15 PM | | Comments (2)


How can Rowson conceive of these things?
Bedlem and mayhem gone daft, truly..

Rowson is a bloody good political cartoonist with a deep knowledge of the visual arts.