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26 September 1997. Thought for the Week: "A healthy civilisation rests on a rough balance and harmony between a number of essential interests - economic, social, political, intellectual, artistic, religious - all of which have their material and their spiritual side. When there is a fair balance, there is an integrated civilisation, very much as individual personality is integrated by a sane balance of the animal and distinctively human i.e. spiritual faculties. When one interest gets out of control and crushes the others, the principle of unity is broken, there is disequilibrium and discord ending sooner or later in ruin."
Sir David Kelly in The Hungry Sheep
THE MADNESS TERMED 'SOUND FINANCE'
by Eric D. Butler
One of the superficial arguments used to justify "free trade" is that the Australian consumer gets the advantage of cheaper imports. But this argument overlooks the fact that the closing down of Australian industries generates increased costs to those consumers left with paid work, in the form of higher taxes to finance the welfare payments of those displaced from the Australian production system.
And how do we measure the increasing financial cost of attempting with various welfare and law enforcement agencies, to deal with the effects of growing social disintegration. The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr. Ian Macfarlane, says that inflation is dead. But the same Governor and his advisers have felt it necessary to have a number of reductions in the interest rate- what for? To "stimulate" a "sluggish" economy.
There are now speculations concerning
whether a further reduction is necessary as the much publicised
economic upturn, with a reduction in unemployment, fails to
materialise. One headline reads, BLEAK YEARS AHEAD: BHP CHIEF
Those who have made it their business to understand how the present banking system works, know that an enormous amount of debt is written off by the banking system as a result of bankruptcies. As pointed out in this column previously, while lower interest rates give some short-term relief to some people, every reduction in interest rates seriously affects those who in the past managed to build up some savings. This means that their purchasing power is reduced. Lower interest rates of themselves are not going to result in any economic upturns.
Irrespective of the interest rates, who is going to take risks in the present economic climate? Recent figures reveal that the collective debt of Australians has reached a new record high. There is no known way that the present finance economic system can operate without a total expansion of debt. This is the basic fact, which everyone must bear in mind as he considers what are the best options.
If, as the "experts" say, inflation is dead, then why are the prices of many basic goods and services increasing at least at the same rate that they were 10 years ago? In spite of the brave words of the Federal Health Minister, stating that private health charges would not be allowed to rise, he had to capitulate last week and permit a 20 percent increase in health insurance charges. Over the last year, the price for milk, cream and icecream increased by 10 percent. The cost of entertainment has increased. The cost of taking the family to see a game of football has skyrocketed. And what about increases in transport, car registration and associated costs?
Everyone knows that they have steadily
gone upwards; while in Jeff Kennett's economic rationalist
State, ratepayers are about to feel the impact of higher rates
from those more "efficient" amalgamated councils. "Greater
Geelong" was the pioneer in the field of amalgamation.
The picture right around the developed world is basically the same. In desperate attempts to prevent a complete breakdown, centralisation is held up as "inevitable". The economic waste is horrendous. Mass production has replaced quality production. Quality has been submerged by mediocrity in every sphere. In many areas of human activity it has almost become the norm to "do" your neighbour before he "does" the same to you. If it were not for the smaller and genuinely more efficient organisations, who have managed to maintain standards in spite of the enormous pressures, the general position would be much worse than it is.
The overall situation is one in which
in some areas prices have remained stable, or even gone down
(as witnessed by car prices), the great majority were finding
their standard of living steadily eroded. One inevitable result
is that a relative few are becoming richer while the great
majority are bearing the brunt of the pressure of the debt
The fast growing economies of Asia have been fuelled by the International Bankers. The currency manipulators may be described as immoral, as the Malaysian leader charges, but they can only operate with the co-operation of the International Bankers. The international paper-shufflers are not going to be outlawed while the whole world bows down to the major debt merchants.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's contribution to the growing madness is to announce that Australia is prepared for Australia to increase its support for the turbulent Asian currencies. Perhaps a modern Jonathan Swift could provide a new version of the mad rush of the swine of the New Testament story.
But Australians do not need to follow the mad rush towards the abyss. They can insist that "Enough is enough", and put their own house in order. The first necessary step is stop heeding the nonsense flowing from the certified economic experts. The first answer to black magic is to stop believing in it.
ASIAN 'TIGERS' GETTING COLD FEET
by David Thompson
The previous week, Dr. Mahathir of Malaysia was forced into a most embarrassing retreat in the face of a speculative attack on the Malaysian currency. Mahathir, bitterly attacking speculative foreign interests, conceded that "The Market" could now intimidate the nation-state in the new global economy. This was the reason that Thai representatives called for a new regional single currency, warning of "future dangers to all international currencies from the huge currency flows that have accompanied market globalisation".
Catholic columnist B .A. Santamaria, who has increasingly acknowledged the role of global banking groups in the subversion of national economies, finds his views progressively vindicated by events. Santamaria has been able to use his column in The Weekend Australian to point out some of the realities concerning the creation of credit with apparent impunity. Last weekend (20/9/97) he referred to the plight of the "Asian Tigers" who the economic gurus confidently predicted would form the engine room of global economic prosperity. Santamaria noted that when the financial powers that had built up the Asian "tigers" began to become nervous about stability and growth, they quickly moved to pull out their "global investments".
He wrote: "The results showed who were the masters and who the servants for economies relying on continuous foreign borrowing. Like Marxism-Leninism, the theory of globalisation provides an ideological camouflage for the pursuit of power and wealth by those who control the basic mechanisms of power, the markets: pre-eminently, the multinationals and the great international financial houses."
Unless the nation-state can devise some new means to protect itself from the banking predators in the global market, further international centralisation of power is inevitable. Santamaria has seen this, and is one of the few voices raised in warning, to his credit. We would not always agree with his solutions, but he is adept at identifying the problem.
Last week's Asia-Europe Finance Ministers meeting saw a number of the Asian Ministers express reluctance to open their economies to further globalisation, as required by the Europeans and the IMF Faced with the reality concerning the "global market", the Asians are now feeling the pressure, and wish to use whatever protective mechanisms are available to them. They are refusing to lower tariffs and dismantle other restrictive trading practices in fear of what might happen to their economies.
It is ironic that while the "Asian Tigers" are baulking at globalisation, Australian Ministers have had to be bludgeoned into retaining the last few shreds of industrial (tariff) protection available to us.
MULTICULTURAL CRIME WAVE
The fruits of the open-door immigration policy, together with the multicultural dream, are beginning to resemble a drug-driven crime nightmare in Sydney. The NSW police have been forced to direct more resources to the Asian Organised Crime Group in an assault on the prolific South-East Asian drug syndicates operating in Sydney, and monopolising the heroin trade. Since the heroin comes from South-East Asia, it is to be expected that the crime syndicates are Asian. But it is clear that the immigration policy of the last 20 years has facilitated the emergence of an Asian crime problem, which police believe accounts for 90% of Australia's heroin supply and distribution.
The "30 principle Asian heroin dealers in Sydney" are now under attack by special police drug squads, who need to be able to speak at least three Asian languages between them. It is no coincidence that much of the drug activity centres around the Sydney Harbour Casino, which is heavily patronised by Asian gamblers. Police Commissioner Tony Ryan has banned 30 "undesirable people" - including suspected heroin dealers who may be involved in money laundering - from the casino premises.
NAB AND BHP STRUGGLE FOR TITLE OF 'BIG AUSTRALIAN'Recent growth in the value of bank shares, together with a slide in the value of BHP shares, has threatened BHP's PR mantle as "the Big Australian" - Australia's biggest company. But the reality is that, strictly speaking, neither company is really an "Australian" company anymore, even although their corporate origins are in Australia. Both BHP and the National Bank are, in reality, multinational corporations, which still have their head offices in Australia, and still have a majority of Australians on their boards. For the present, that is.
CLIVE JAMES ON CHARLES
Since the death of the Princess of Wales, every attempt has been made by the (basically republican) press to use this "unrehearsed event" to undermine the Royal family, and hence the Crown. The attack by Philip Adams on the Queen in his last Weekend Australian column was as shallow as it was vicious, and indicates a malicious rising of the heat on the question of the monarchy. The Prince of Wales, however, is forced to bear the brunt of the attack, being depicted as slowwitted and dull, with Adams and others like him openly scathing about him and his role as future king.
But those who know the Prince tell a very different story. One of those who knew the Prince and Princess of Wales personally is Australian television figure and monarchist Clive James. James once wrote that everything should be done to encourage the Wales' to hold their marriage together, and last weekend his own eulogy to Diana was published in The Weekend Australian. In passing, James referred to Prince Charles, and his own agony in the wake of Diana's death: "As for the man who knew her most intimately of all, Prince Charles, he is a man as good and honest as any I have ever met, and I know him well enough to be sure that today he is on the cross, and wondering whether he will ever be able to come down. . . I had wanted to see her beside Charles on the day when he took his proper place as the most intelligent and concerned monarch this country has ever had..."
FROM THE PRESSJobs are not for everyone - Sunday Mail (Qld), 21/9/97
"Federal Health Minister Dr. Michael Wooldridge will not vaccinate every child, no matter how much taxpayer money he throws around (Sept. 14). "Only babies at 12 months and children aged between 12 and 16 will be targeted. "He shouldn't consider those who have previously contracted measles, as they have life-long immunity, or those who react to egg products or have other contra-indications to the vaccine. "And let's not forget the growing number of parents who have made informed, educated decisions they will not vaccinate.
"Will parents be told of the risks associated with the vaccine? "Why are we using the MMR vaccine? The 1994 UK measles campaign was not a complete success as reported. There have been numerous reports of serious adverse reactions and more than 800 UK court cases are pending. "Parents and UK medical experts are seeking a ban of the MMR vaccine until further studies. "Parents must vaccinate with facts and conviction, not fear and emotional blackmail." SUSAN LINDBERG, Australian Vaccination Network.
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