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

rethinking economics « Previous | |Next »
April 16, 2012

Most of the commentary in the mainstream media around Bob Brown's resignation as leader of The Greens and his retirement from federal politics- doesn't critically address the philosophy behind The Green's politics. The strong emphasis on the politics is somewhat surprising given The Green's claim that they, unlike the others, are a values based political party.

PopeBBrown.jpg David Pope

The Greens reject GDP as the dominant measure of human progress as they are in favour of a more integrated set of ecological, social and economic goals and measures because they consistently highlight the social and environmental costs of the continuation and expansion of capitalism at all costs. They argue that the current economic model or paradigm based on the limitless exploitation of the earth’s limited resources has reached its use by date.

It is surprising given the UN's recent recent conference on a new wellbeing and sustainability based economic paradigm that effectively integrates economic, social, and environmental objectives.

It is a counter paradigm to the neo-liberal one, which as Susan George pointed out, is premised on the idea:

that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given much less rather than more social protection. In this model the market mechanism is the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment... the economy should dictate its rules to society not the other way around.

There is little questioning of the neo-liberal economic in the mainstream Australian media because it is culturally hegemonic and it appears to be the only possible economic and social order available to us. It is natural and inevitable. Democracy is an encumbrance.

It is the Australian Greens who challenge and question this economic model. Hence the ideological attacks from those commentators in the mainstream media who support the neo-liberal agenda of flexible labour markets, deregulation of financial markets, removal of protective tariffs and subsidies on essential goods, privatisation of state-owned industries and utilities, commodification of services once provided free at the point of use, and the shift from direct and progressive to indirect and regressive taxation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:45 PM | | Comments (6)


The lack of comments says it all.
Bob who?

its fascinating how the mainstream media have canonised Bob Brown--charismatic, honest, brave, exceptional etc. Yesterday Brown was the green fanatic who was trying to lead us back to the dark ages and a world of poverty?

It is Milne who is now being made into the crazed ideologue who would send us all back to the stone age wearing sack cloth. Milne is now the figure of hate or ridicule for conservatives---the shock jocks, big business, and all who favour the rule of markets over the safeguarding of the environment.

Good post.

I hope the Greens can survive the departure of Bob Brown better than the Democrats survived the departure of Don Chipp. I fear that they will fall to fighting among themselves, but I live in hope that they can remain united.

I also hope that they can promote a broader vision of sustainability and get some traction for a better core economic outlook, as described in the post. Currently they have too much emphasis on AGW to the exclusion of other important policy goals. This limits their appeal.

The Greens want to scrap billions of dollars of subsidies to the mining industry and invest in preventive health (the disability insurance scheme and Denticare) rather than spend big on Band-Aid solutions.

Sounds good to me.

The Greens under Milne will try to knit together the threads of 'growth' and 'sustainability'. Its no longer an either/or as it still is for the Coalition.

Too true, Nan.

The shock jocks are going to hammer Christine Milne while she's still new to the job. Oh... and expect the right-wingers to add a new subtext... Christine is oh... gasp... a woman!

Dammmit people don't you see the damage JuLiar has done to our glorious nation!!!