Despite all the political scandals, Gough Whitlam was indeed a great leader and reformer. Much of the lingering bitterness directed at Whitlam’s economic performance has completely ignored the then world’s greatest real estate bubble which burst on his watch and put extreme financial pressure on many Australians. Our hip pockets certainly felt it. It hurt.
Yes, like all of us Whitlam had his weaknesses, but can you name one Australian prime minister who has been able to manage a collapsed real estate bubble? (Rudd spent billions only to delay this one from bursting.)
Although Time magazine of 1 October 1973 devoted a special cover story to the bubble which doubled US and world land prices from 1972 to 1973, there was no mention at all of it in the ABC’s two hour coverage of the Whitlam prime ministership last Tuesday night. Then, as now, a revisionist view of history–which allows us to speak of the OPEC crisis–obscures these speculative real estate disasters so we can repeat them again.
Again, vale Gough Whitlam.
We witness instead the private plunder of vast slabs of community resource rents, whether by Russian oligarchs or Nigerian oil crooks abroad, or to a lesser extent by Macquarie Bank and leveraged buyouts of our natural resources at home.
- Unlocking the Riches of Oz (2007)
That’s why I am unsurprised at the case now being put by Macquarie Bank as covered on The Drum by Ian Verrender.
A great reformer but, unfortunately, another prime ministerial victim of a burst real estate bubble – although the revisionists claim it was errant ministers, the Khemlani affair and the OPEC crisis that had him thrown out in the constitutional crisis. (These didn’t help, of course!)
From Lindsay David’s blog
Of course, Southern California’s “housing shortage” also eventually proved to be bulltish! –> http://thedepression.org.au/?p=2557
Why is it that the real estate lobby ALWAYS claims high land prices are due to shortages or zoning restrictions, rather than the number one reason: i.e. we are not capturing enough of the land rent for public purposes, therefore leaving more rent to be privately capitalised into higher and higher land prices? And, unfortunately, until the land price bubble bursts, many people believe this little canard!
The RBA, and governments of all persuasions, always seem stupid enough to believe it until it’s too late, too. Is this a case of vested interests–namely the FIRE sector–running rampant over all Australians?
THE RADICAL CENTRE?
Georgists have become lonely souls within the current bifurcation in world politics. Neither the answerless left nor right want to know them, because it takes humility to acknowledge arguments that embarrass both sides equally.
Rather than either (or both) moving to accommodate the Georgist explanation of current world events, it’s easier to dismiss it by argumentum ad hominem, or else for the left to decry supporters of the ideas of Henry George as being of the right whilst (at the same time!) the right declares them to be Marxist.
Therefore, this rather amazing Marxist/Fascist creature has no alternative but to look to a rapidly depleting constituency to follow their argument, namely, those people still capable of thinking for themselves and ideologically committed neither to the left nor right.
Though the Georgist task is extremely difficult, it is currently gaining many supporters, partly because its case is being put cogently, and partly because the excesses in the so-called property “market” have become so apparent–and the “lack of supply” argument so threadbare–to open minds.
Whilst it could have just as easily been the left calling him a fascist, I was thoroughly entertained to follow how some in the right-based Catallaxy group treated Georgist, Dr Gavin Putland, in a discussion yesterday on Australian house prices and “negative gearing”.
Putland is known to eat such barbs for breakfast!
Rich getting richer as plunder runs rife.
How do we achieve a fair distribution? (Hat-tip to Lindy Davies.)
Further, Karl Marx v. Henry George