I’ve just caught up with Denis Lenihan’s excellent account of Ben Chifley’s bank nationalisation case. It was a more nuanced event than I had originally thought, with things transpiring in such a way as to only to leave Chifley “the nuclear option of nationalisation”.
Whatever the characters and events of banking and the Melbourne Establishment versus the Chifley government’s proposals, it nevertheless boils down to the same old story: the rent-grabbing elite indoctrinating people to the belief that any change to the economic status quo isn’t in their best interests – ‘because it amounts to socialism’.
If people understood the rapacious nature of rent-gouging from the national net income, they’d see the essential need to tax away publicly-generated economic rent if economics is to operate in their favour: that the taxing of labour and capital is a curse to which they’ve submitted themselves.
That many Australians consider we need more taxation in order to afford necessary government spending in health, education, infrastructure and welfare is testament to which side of the argument is winning.
Economically at least, there’s real reason to be optimistic, IMO. The Liberal government’s COVID-19 fiscal action fortunately didn’t square with its usual ‘reduce spending’ program. Maybe they’re mellowing, actually assisting people by spending during harsh times such as these? [I wonder where that leaves their critique of the Rudd government’s $50 billion spend during the GFC?]
So people are beginning to understand the positives about ‘modern monetary theory’. Government expenditures can help, and deficit budgets don’t amount to the neoliberal scare that we hear about ‘the national debt’ that will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. It’s actually spending into the economy to positive effect. And it doesn’t have to be “paid back” at all!
And maybe it’s not my taxes ‘funding’ this government spending, after all? Maybe people are correct who say that taxes simply withdraw money from the economy to deal with latent inflation? Pity about conventional taxes on labour and capital also injecting more than twice the amount levied as a deadweight burden on the economy, though? Taxing land values/ground rents don’t do this, so why are we so slow to act on this important distinction? Australia used to do it even better than the USA did during the Progressive Era 1897 – 1920s!
Then there’s the groundswell of people who realise we need a citizens’ dividend/universal income from the nation’s net product, instead of allowing rent-grabbers to expropriate most of it? [They’re the true leaners, Joe Hockey!]
Things aren’t exactly rosy at the moment, but people are asking challenging questions about all the nonsense that’s been spouted about the way the economy works.
If we can see past their leaders, both the USA and China have extremely threatening economic issues to be solved.
Since ‘post-industrialisation’, financialisation of the economy in the USA has amounted to the inflation and the grabbing of asset values. Industrial capitalism has been thoroughly replaced by rentier capitalism.
The USA could be characterised as ‘Wall Street Rent-Seeking versus The People’.
Industry is thriving in China, of course, but localities are doing very poorly, having sold out their future rents to the cities. So, it’s a matter of ‘The Cities v. The Localities’.
Who’s better-placed to solve their respective issues?
This is a wide-ranging economic discussion between Pepe Escobar and Michael Hudson for those people able to see beyond the words ‘capitalism’ and ‘communism’ if we are to understand the failure of both the West and East to publicly capture their ground rents.
It seems Australian governments and the Reserve Bank of Australia have taken the game “Monopoly” to heart, instead of the more-considered “The Landlord’s Game” from which the concept of the game had been purloined.
Whereas “The Landlord’s Game” had provided salutary warnings of the ills that landlordism would visit upon societies—instead of seeing land as the common inheritance of humanity for which the rent must be paid—the aim of “Monopoly” is for one person to win out by sending all others in the game broke – with the assistance of the bank.
The game “Monopoly” is fun, of course, but when taken seriously by governments and central bankers, the consequences for their societies are dire.