[PEN-L:1573] Re: Unions win against RTZ/CRA

bill mitchell ECWFM at cc.newcastle.edu.au
Sat Nov 25 03:40:09 MST 1995


peter responded:
>
>Bill Mitchell has been somewhat critical of my account of Australian
>unions' campaign against RTZ/CRA, and highly critical of the role of the
>Australian Labor Party and the Australian Council of Trade Unions over the
>last 10 years.
>
>At the obvious risk of starting a debate that I do not have the time to
>continue, and which may be of little interest to those in the northern
>hemisphere, my response follows.  I should make it clear that I am not an
>employee of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, nor a member of the
>Australian Labor Party.

[stacks followed - more than one half of which i disagreed with]

interesting technique though. say you have no time and tell the list they won't
be interested in the discussion anyway and then restate the position.

peter negated my claim that the ACTU and the ALP govt was not in league at the
expense of workers. the most obvious demonstration that the ALP is still th
political arm of the TU movement (which has been emasculated in its power and
intitiative by the centralisation under the ACTU) is the fact that the last
three ACTU leaders (Hawke, Crean and now Ferguson) have been given privileged
paths into federal parliament in safe ALP seats (in the latter case - he is
not there yet but will be soon and trampled over a person who had been
expecting the endorsement).

there was no need to go down the enterprise bargaining route. it was a
political judgement based on paranoia about the strength of the new right and
what had happened in NZ. it was also to hide the fact that the ALP (with the
ACTU has active partners) had delivered an unprecedented redistribution of
national income away from wages to profits. the rhetoric of both groups in
1983-87 was that a realignment of factor shares was required. in return the
govt would help out with higher social wages and that the private sector would
create employment.

the facts are now well known. the social wage increases were largely manifest
in tax cuts for the top income earners with lower increases for the middle
class. the move led to a stifling of macro policy b/c taxation was no longer
seen as a discretionary instrument unless it was downwards.

the private sector squandered the income redistribution in speculative ventures
which largely came to a halt in oct. 87 when the stock market blew. many of the
entrepreneurs who the ACTU/ALP helped to line their pockets through the real
wage cuts are in or have been in prison for fraud inspired by their incredible
greed.

the economy was plunged into the worst recession since the 1930s as a reaction
b/c all the profits rises meant little for investment in productive capacity.
so when our terms of trade collapsed our current account blew and so a
recession was induced. they relied on monetary policy b/c they had effectively
hamstrung discretion over fiscal policy.

so the real wages cuts were now accompanied by high unemployment and the boasts
of the govet and the ACTU were very hollow indeed.
to hide the fact that they had completely fucked the economy with their stupid
policies "courting the financial markets" - we were told that we had to become
globally competitive and that meant a zealous tariff cutting program (despite
the fact that our principle trading partners maintained their own trade
restrictions) - the govt/ACTU nexus decided to free up the labour market in a
controlled manner. hence the IR ACT of 1993. a total disaster as a document and
a vehicle for smart coys like CRA to further fuck the workers.

now the ACTU is claiming a new era of collectivism. the problem is that the
horse has already bolted. like in NZ, the ALP (labour govt) has merely pushed
OZ so far to the right that it will be so easy when the conservatives win the
next election to fully NZ us. that will be the legacy of the last 12 years of
ALP/ACTU government.

kind regards
bill



--
         ####    ##        William F. Mitchell
       #######   ####      Head of Economics Department
     #################     University of Newcastle
   ####################    New South Wales, Australia
   ###################*    E-mail: ecwfm at cc.newcastle.edu.au
   ###################     Phone: +61 49 215065
    #####      ## ###             +61 49 215027
                           Fax:   +61 49 216919
                  ##
WWW Home Page: http://econ-www.newcastle.edu.au/~bill/billyhp.html



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