Oz Update and some random thoughts

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at SPAMqut.edu.au
Sat Mar 17 16:32:18 MST 2001

I have just posted off two articles I wrote for Neighbourhood News.  The
latter publication continues to build a readership and is having some
impact if one could judge by the increasing threats to sue.  It amuses me
that a radical newspaper which is run on the advertising of small business,
can have an impact precisely because local small business support it.

That aside the big news here is once again the economy.  We have just had
the first quarter of negative growth since 1991 or thereabouts.  One paper
told us "the Boom is over".  One could be forgiven for asking , "What
boom?"  The dollar is collapsing in keeping with the frantic lowering of
interest rates.  At some stage the value of the currency will restrain
interest rate cuts.  We will then have the 1931 scenario where the American
Federal reserve raised interests rates in the Depression to protect the dollar.

What is happening, is that three decades of supply side economics is
finally reaping the whirlwind.  Domestic demand has been crushed and those
who sell to Australians are feeling very hard hit.  The irony is that this
is the very base of the conservative Howard govt.  Howard has in fact
cannibalised his own supporters and this weekend he looks set to lose a
former safe seat in a by-election.

The Labor Party meanwhile looks like all its fantasies are coming true.  It
is going to come into office without having to make any commitment to
reform.  There is merely some vague Third Way talk of "civilising" (global)
Capital.  What a joke.  However this is nothing if not a recipe for deep
and lasting disillusionment.  Initially this will be reflected in the rise
of a far right.  Such a grouping is already in place with Pauline Hanson's
One Nation Party.    However inevitably a Left will re-emerge.  What kind
of Left is of course the real question.



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