Oz & economics was Re: France's Hot December - 2

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Tue Jun 4 21:03:13 MDT 1996

At 09:16 AM 5/23/96 +0000, you wrote:
>"The US has one. The Europeans have one, and now even Japan has one.
>What do they all have ? A serious fiscal problem. This is the theme
>of the decade, one that will shape the rhythm of financial life and
>form the cacaphonic background sound to political debate in almost
>every industrial country".
>Harman locates the cause as the lower rate of growth in the 80s and
>90's than in the 50's, 60's and 70's ( and which elsewhere he
>related to the fall in the underlying rate of profit ).

I was very interested in all this, but I am afraid  that economics is beyond
me.  I have tried, god knows, to follow the debates about LTV & FRP.  Every
January I make a resolution that this will be the year when I understand the
conversion problem  but Lord I am not worthy...

However what specifically intrigues me is the relationship of what happened
in Europe to what is happening in Oz now.

Here the new conservative govt seems poised to attack on a wide front-
education, the public sector, the waterfront and unions generally.

They have however come across an unexpected problem.  The current attempt to
control guns has led to what seems to be a fairly widespread revolt in the
countryside. The rural based National party which is the junior partner in
the ruling coalition,  is in danger of splitting over this issue.  It seems
them farmers want their guns.

This unrest among the conservatives' voting base has narrowed their option
of an early federal electiuon to ram home their industrial reforms. At
present they do not control the Upper house or Senate and so need an
election to  give them a joint sitting of both houses to pass their reform
legislation.  However they do appear to be stalled at present and as a
consequence a leading right wing  rag, The Financial Times, has just rated
the Tories high for intention but low on achievement.

At the moment then the principal political determinant in Oz would seem to
be a city-country divide.  However I still believe that the underlying
imperative is the ruling class' need to produce a low wage economy. This is
producing widespread resentment, which lacks a  rational (i.e. Marxist)
focus and can light on strange things such as the "right to bear arms".

It seems that the economy  here  cannot grow at more than 4% per annum
without there being a massive blow out in the trade figures.  Imports shoot
up, largely due to  the fact that Australia produces so little now.  To grow
the economy at a faster rate there has to be an effort to drive  down wages
at the same time.

But the problem is that most countries are attempting the same thing to
prdouce exports and reduce imports by lowering the working class'
consumption power.  Right????

Any feed back on this would be very welcome as I am presenting a paper
sooooon on Marxist politics.



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