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24 July 1992. Thought for the Week: "A basic principle in a democracy is that the politicians and bureaucrats are the servants of the people, sharing their hardships and sharing their prosperity. But the Federal Government over the years has so arranged its affairs that its civil servants and its parliamentarians are protected by superannuation schemes of incredible security and generosity. From these schemes the public are excluded. They are merely people whose taxes have to finance the pensions."
Professor Geoffrey Blainey
RUNNING HARDER ON THE WRONG ROAD
The wise Chinese sage observed that it is fatal to continue running harder if you are already on the wrong road. If one takes the trouble to try to make some sense of the babbling of the various economic "experts" offering their numerous explanations for the cause of the worldwide recession, and their solutions, one longs for the emergence of a modern Jonathan Swift or similar satirist to expose what is a form of collective madness.
Like different cults of the same basic religion, the economic gurus, all properly certified by some University Department of Economics, all strive to demonstrate their expertise by mildly criticising their fellows but all agreeing, for example, that the only hope for Australia is to become "more internationally competitive". Even Victorian Premier Joan Kirner, striving desperately to survive politically, after making some noises about the necessity for a "pause" in tariff reductions, makes it clear that she is not against the strategy of tariff reductions over a longer period, so that, yes, Australia can become more "internationally competitive".
Ye must become as little children, said the Founder of Christianity. Confronted with the present babblings of the economic gurus, a child might well ask the simple question: "But why does Australia have to become "internationally competitive?" "What is the purpose in attempting to drive the economic system harder, using up valuable natural resources, to make, for example, more motor cars to export, when every other industrialised nation is being urged to do the same?"
A little child might also ask, "But what is the true purpose of production?" adding, "Surely the true purpose is consumption?" If told that consumption cannot take place unless sufficient "export credits" are obtained, the child could then ask, "Are you saying that Australians cannot make full use of their own vast productive resources unless they obtain what you call export credits? Does this mean that if the rest of the world disappeared, or disintegrated as a result of civil wars, Australians would not be able to make use of their own production?" The logic of this line of questioning is unanswerable.
A problem correctly stated is one already half
solved. The basic problem confronting Australia is not one of production,
but of consumption. Consumption requires that people have adequate monetary
purchasing power. The gurus of the Reserve Bank, having honestly said
that their policies were primarily responsible for the present depression,
also admit that one of the purposes of the depression was to bring inflation
"under control" and that the big problem now is how to "re-stimulate"
the economy without causing increased inflation.
Is there some way in which the collective purchasing
power of the people can be increased without increasing financial costs?
The simple answer is a distribution of new, debt free credit direct
to the people through a system of consumer discounts used with such
success during the Second World War and a pension scheme which would
make it possible for older wage earners to retire from the work place
and make way for the employment of the young.
An enterprising League supporter has recently republished a book first published on the eve of The Second World War, The Enemy Within The Empire, authored by Mr. Eric Butler, who has written a short introduction to the new edition. Here is some untaught history, of how in the Days of Merrie England, even a simple economy compared with today's, made it possible for even the ordinary English working man to earn enough in a few months in the year to support himself and his family for the whole of the year. Housing was adequate and food and clothing plentiful. There was no national debt. And what did a few million Englishmen do in the time not required for sustaining the economy? They expressed their creative talents by working on the building of the famous Gothic Cathedrals, which stand as a physical manifestation of a deep Christian Faith. What about the creation of a "Merrie Australia", with money the servant, not the master?
Containing a short Introduction by the author, the new edition of The Enemy Within The Empire is available from all League bookshops. Price: $6 posted.
THOSE 'EXPERT' LEAGUE WATCHERS
We must confess that until Wednesday of last week, July 15th, we had never heard of Dr. Pierre Jones, of the Adelaide University, but in the ABC programme, "Late Night Live", Dr. Jones was being interviewed by Mr. Phillip Adams concerning the League of Rights and "right wing extremists", and assured Adams that he carefully monitored all League journals with the inference that he was an expert on the League. This programme was repeated next day at 4 p.m. (July 16th).
Adams based the "Late Night Live" programme on another ABC programme "Background Briefing" in which supporters of the American based Larouche movement were interviewed. In essence the woman reporter said that rural Australia was coming to the conclusion that financial policies were primarily responsible for their problems. Reference was made to ex-Senator Paul Maclean and his criticism of debt finance. And, of course, the League of Rights was mentioned, but as usual, no one from the League of Rights was interviewed.
It was claimed that there was a struggle between the League of Rights and the Larouche movement throughout rural Australia. In our view the reporting was, to put it mildly, rather sloppy. But Phillip Adams eulogised the quality of the reporting and, never missing an opportunity to have a sneer about Eric Butler, suggested that he was rather upset because the Larouche movement was invading what had been traditional League territory.
But Dr. Jones, the "expert", did not agree with the Adams view, stating that while there was a controversy between the League of Rights and the Larouche movement for public purposes, he was satisfied that there was some collusion in private. We would not bother spending valuable time and effort referring to the Larouche movement if it were not for the fact that the Larouche movement has been making a determined effort to establish itself in Australia and while allegedly trying to find ''common cause '' with some League supporters, has conducted a venomous campaign against Eric Butler.
Currently in Australia on organisational activities, these designed to gain support for an international Larouche conference in Melbourne later in the year, Mr. Al Douglas is one of those who has written some of the most absurd nonsense about Eric Butler. The leader of this movement, Lyndon Larouche, has been in prison for some time. Irrespective of what Larouche and his supporters say about his conviction, our difference with the Larouche movement is basically philosophical. We also reject some of their methods of operation.
Everyone who has taken the trouble to study the Larouche movement knows that Larouche charges that the British Royal family is at, or near, the centre of some giant international conspiracy including drugs. Much of what is written is so patently absurd that we must pose the question: What is the purpose of all this? And why the campaign to attempt to link the League of Rights with Larouche, in the same way that attempts have been made to link the League with the National Socialists and other exponents of hatred and violence?
The reality is that the League is consistently smeared because it has developed a movement firmly rooted in the heritage upon which traditional Australia was built. Its long record is one of objectiveness and balance. Alien movements like that of Larouche have nothing to offer Australia at this critical time.
HATE CRIMES ACT IN DOUBT IN U.S.A.
In mid 1990, in the American State of Minnesota, the city of St. Paul enacted an ordinance outlawing "hate crimes" or racial vilification. We assume that this was similar in principle to the proposed national legislation for Australia, which already exists in W.A., N.S.W. and the A.C.T. In Australia, almost no debate has taken place about the effect of such laws on freedom of speech. In the U.S.A., however, where the commitment to freedom of speech is much stronger, the Minnesota ordinance was tested in the Supreme Court, where it was struck down. The reason was that, in the opinion of the Court, the legislation violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution concerning free speech. Not only do Americans take free speech fairly seriously, but their Constitution as well. According to a report in The Australian (2/7/1992) this ruling has cast doubt on scores of State and local laws that seek to impose stiff penalties on crimes motivated by "religious, racial or other bias".
WHERE IS THE OPPOSITION?
APPALLING IGNORANCE OF FINANCIAL FACTSfrom David Thompson
One feature of rural Australia (tacitly acknowledged by the ABC programme "Background Briefing" 12/7/1992) is a general and widespread agreement that the rural crisis has something to do with finance and the banking system. It is almost universally agreed, for example, that banks do, indeed, create credit, even if this mechanism is not generally understood. It is therefore all the more astonishing when some prominent person in a position of responsibility, demonstrates an abysmal ignorance of the financial facts of life.
The "media critic" and occasional columnist, Mr. Gerard Henderson, reviewed Bankers and Bastards by Paul McLean & James Renton, and exposed his own ignorance in an article, "Bank bashing: a sign of the times" (Sydney Morning Herald, 14/7/1992). In a superior, sneering article about "conspiracies", etc., Henderson took ex-Senator McLean to task for his views on finance. Paul McLean, having stumbled upon the banking issue during allegations of banking corruption, had acquainted himself with the basics of finance while in the Senate. As his book demonstrates, he well understands the creation of credit. Henderson, however, writes: "In fact, the role of banks is somewhat mundane - they borrow from one sector of the community, and lend to another."
IGNORANCE EXTENDS TO PARLIAMENT
ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL POLICIES
WHY CONTINUE WAR CRIMES TRIALS HERE?from The Age (Melbourne), July 18th
It has recently been suggested that Australia's war crimes investigators would be keen to extend their field of view well beyond those crimes committed in (effectively Eastern) Europe during World War II. We all, of course, want to hold on to our jobs in these tough times. "But world events have already rendered their efforts redundant. Now that Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Croatia and the Baltic States have democratically elected governments, there is no longer any reason for Australia to continue with either the investigations or the trials which have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. "Those supporting the controversial War Crimes Amendment Act argued that the accused must be tried in Australia to ensure a fair trial. Such an outcome could not be guaranteed behind the Iron Curtain. These circumstances no longer exist. "Just as local authorities would not have persecuted Ronald Biggs for the Great Train Robbery when he was discovered in Australia, so alleged war criminals should be tried in the country in which their crimes were committed. It's a simple procedure - it's called an extradition treaty. "If the Ukrainians think Ivan Polyukovich has a case to answer, they can file for his extradition. As they would be au fait with the language, the historical context, the K.G.B. manipulation of evidence, and have access to the archives, it would seem that the new authorities in Kiev might be better placed than us to ensure that justice is done." (Brendan Rodway, North Melbourne)
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