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10 April 1998. Thought for the Week: "It is quite possible to demand from the economic system a list of different things. For instance, in regard to the question of employment and unemployment, there has been an almost absurd confusion on the part of such people as, let us say - Karl Marx, who complained that the present system provided a parasitic class who fattened on the producers of the wealth of the world. And at the same time, complained that the economic system was breaking down and quite correctly from his point of view that the capitalist system was breaking down because it could not provide employment. Now, either unemployment was a privilege - in which case quite obviously you want to try and get as many unemployed as possible, or else it is something requiring pity, in which case any parasitic class is an object of pity and not contempt or criticism. You cannot have it both ways."
C.H. Douglas in The Use of Money
THE THREAT OF HOMELESS AUSTRALIA
by Eric D. Butler
The major problems associated with providing adequate housing for the Australian people are associated with the black magic known as orthodox finance. The overwhelming majority of those houses being built have only been with the permission of the debt merchants. Where the owner cannot keep up interest and debt repayments, generally because he and his wife have lost their employment and incomes, he discovers that he is only the nominal owner of the home.
Not surprisingly, a growing number of Australians are opting for renting homes instead of trying to buy them. They are being encouraged to do this by some financial "experts". The Chronicle, Toowoomba, Feb. 10th, carried a story concerning the advice of the general manager of the MLC, Mr. Peter Turnbull, that people should sell their homes and residential investments, abandon term deposits and, instead, invest in industrial shares.
The Chronicle report said that a crowd of 130 MLC clients sat "open mouthed" as they heard challenged what they had been doing in an attempt to achieve a secure financial future. Mr. Turnbull told his audience that he longed for the day that he could sell his Sydney home and never own property again. He went on to express the view that there was a wonderful myth "that property is a creator of wealth". "As an investor myself I cannot cope with the volatility of money in the bank. I would prefer the security of the share market."
Mr. Turnbull is a classic example of a victim of the black magic of orthodox finance. Property of itself may not be the creator of real wealth, but the ownership of some form provides a much more secure base from which an individual can operate than shares in industries, which can be destroyed by the types of policies which are bringing thousands of industries throughout Asia and the rest of the world to their knees. Asians committing suicide in despair as a result of their shares in industries becoming worthless, would not be impressed by Mr. Turnbull's philosophy.
It was the dour Socialist member of
the Labor Government of John Curtin, JJ. Dedman, who openly
criticized the suggestion that Australians should be given
financial support to own their own home, bluntly saying that
he was opposed to the creation of a new class of "little capitalists".
The sturdy independence of the farmer who owns his own property has always been feared by the collectivists, who have welcomed the progressive destruction of the family farm. This destruction has taken place primarily as a result of the debt system. Organizations like the National Farmers Federation, ostensibly set up to protect the farmer have shied away from any attack of the debt system. Australia First leader, Graham Campbell, has suggested that NFF should be described as the "No Family Farm Organization".
As in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and similar countries, the spirit of independence and resourcefulness in Australia was the result of the encouragement of the widespread ownership of property. No matter how humble the home may be, it provides the owner with the means through which he can spiritualize his life. The common description of a woman as being "house proud" is a reflection of reality, which the planners of the world detest.
Some years ago a group of Soviet Union architects visiting Melbourne expressed their delight when shown the latest massive block of high-rise Housing Commission flats. These grey concrete monstrosities express the very spirit of uniformity and collectivism. It has now been admitted that such buildings have a serious affect on the personalities of those forced to live in them, particularly the children.
The main argument used to support such
housing monstrosities is that they are more "efficient" to
build. Houses built to cater for individual tastes are described
as being "wasteful" of building resources. If efficiency were
to be measured on a purely material basis then obviously all
houses would be the equivalent of army barracks. But genuine
efficiency can only be measured in terms of human satisfaction.
The old song, which says that irrespective of how humble it
may be, reflects reality. The same type of reality is reflected
in Sir Walter Scott's poem, "Breathe there a man with soul
so dead who never to himself has said this is my own, my native
Some students of history will recall the movement of Distributism promoted by Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton; their basic argument was that widespread ownership of property of all kinds was not only economically essential but also made possible for spiritual development of the individual. As C.H. Douglas said, "the psychology of the distributist movement was sound, but it required the recognition of an appropriate distribution of financial credit to make it a reality".
There was a time when the original Country Party attempted to reflect reality being described. The basic philosophy was the importance of the decentralization of all power, with specific references to the necessity of the widespread ownership of property. That philosophy even resulted in a few faltering steps towards a financial policy, which would enable primary producers to prosper. Long-term low interest finance was essential. The concept of a special type of bank to finance the rural community was promoted. But over time the original philosophy of decentralization was eroded until today the National Party, descendant of the Country Party, is led by a man who preaches the philosophy of globalism and presides over a programme, which is fast destroying what remains of the family farm.
The salvation of Australia requires that
it return to its original philosophic roots. Some latter-day
money reformers have discovered that adequate new credits
can readily be made available to "kick start" with major public
works. Such works are in some cases necessary, but the issue
of new credit to foster genuine decentralization would have
much more beneficial results if directed towards individuals.
A start could be made by making it financially possible for
those farmers who have survived at great cost to start regenerating
A modification of present financial policies would make it possible for private home ownership to be expanded instead of being contracted. Australia can best help its Asian neighbours even with desperately required food by such programmes instead of attempting to prop up Asian economics which are in many cases now doomed. The central theme of a programme of regeneration should be a stress on the necessity to make it financially possible to extend all forms of ownership of property.
RE-WRITING BRETTON WOODS
by David Thompson
The objective of the Bretton Woods Conference was the establishment of an international structure of central banks, under the authority of the IMF, to become the world central bank, and the creation of an international currency. These objectives have been realised over the intervening 54 years, with the IMF itself becoming the defacto world central bank, and the US dollar becoming the global currency.
Alongside this, a new reserve currency was created by the IMF known as SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) which the IMF creates itself for the use of member nations. The SDR mechanism, little understood even by senior politicians, has a powerful function. As a form of international money, SDRs are now being systematically created by the IMF, operating as a world central bank.
In 1970, William McChesney Martin, a former Chairman of Directors of the US Federal Reserve System, lectured on "A World Central Bank", in which he said: "One often hears it said that a world central bank is inconsistent with the maintenance of national sovereignty. So it is, if by sovereignty one means what has been traditionally defined by that phrase - the unfettered right of national governments to act in whatever way they may choose in economic, financial and defence matters."
Now that the IMF is flexing its financial muscles, as in the confrontation with Indonesia, some of the dissidents in member nations are strongly critical of the IMF. We have previously reported that in the USA, a coalition of green groups, churches, community organisations and conservative politicians is challenging the morality of what the LMF is doing in dictating the financial terms to sovereign governments. As a result of this, the news is now beginning to leak out that the IMF is calling for a tough new international financial regime.
In the next round of high-level meetings of the world's financial wizards in Washington next week, it is proposed to construct "a new architecture for the international financial system". In theory, this means that the IMF's 182 member nations will decide on the new structure, but in reality, the United States and Europe will re-cast the rules at meetings of the IMF, the World Bank, and the G7 finance ministers.
A glimmer of the new order is already emerging. It involves even more power for the IMF. For example, Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister, Philippe Maystadt, proposes that the IMF be responsible for ensuring financial systems in member nations meet new international standards. The international bureaucrats have been working for months on the new standards, which seem set to comply with the provisions of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, which has been hammered out in Paris since 1985.
One of the reforms proposed for the IMF is "capital account liberalisation". What does this mean? It means that the IMF will begin to clamp down on "distortions of capital flow" - any national rules, legislation, etc., that frustrates the free flow of "capital" around the globe. Another 'reform' proposed is the power to stamp out trade monopolies in member nations. What might these "reforms" mean for Australia? Well, the Australian Wheat Board is a type of trade monopoly.
What would Australian farmers think of new IMF powers that over-ruled the Australian Parliament to "restructure" the Wheat Board? What might happen to the Australian press, if the IMF had the power to direct that Australia's foreign ownership restrictions "distorted the capital flow" of investors in television or newspapers?
It is clear that, even if some of the provisions of the MAI are watered down in order to quieten strident objections, similar provisions might be simply adopted at the highest level by the world's central bank, - the IMF - with virtually no discussion at all!
JAPANESE CHICKENS COMING INTO ROOST
The strength of the Japanese economy
in recent years has misled many to believe that it was almost
invulnerable. Some Australians are incredulous on being informed
that Japan actually has a national debt (and a big one), and
that the banking structure is in danger of crashing, and engulfing
not only the whole of Asia, but many of her western trading
partners as well.
Such is the Japanese financial dilemma, that some of the world's biggest banks - Japanese banks - could suffer 1.5 trillion yen losses ($17 billion) from bad loans to Asian countries and companies. This would account for around 40% of their operating profits. The Japanese government has been forced to make available lines of credit to the major banks in order to keep them afloat. So far, 2 trillion yen of public (taxpayers') funds had been allocated to propping up the banks, which are far from secure, since more than 5% of their loans being to the crumbling Asian economies.
Although some of the world's largest companies are based in Japan (like Toyota, Sony, Mitsubishi, etc.) the natural assets of Japan are very limited. In fact, their greatest asset is the vigor and capacity for industrial innovation of their people. In terms of raw materials - and the most important of these is energy - Japan is relatively poor compared with countries like Australia. The Japanese depend heavily on their high technology and manufacturing industries, and if forced to do so, could barely feed their high-density population. This is the major difference between Japan and Australia. In times of crisis, Japan's strengths could become their Achilles heel, and Australia's "weaknesses" could become our strengths.
THE WA ABORTION LEGISLATION
It is a sign of the times that the most conservative State in the federation could lead the way with the nation's most liberal abortion laws. After a 24hour sitting, the Legislative Assembly voted by 28-26 to give women who gave "informed consent" the right to a legal abortion. Thus, WA is the first State in Australia where abortion is 'legal'. In other States it remains illegal, but the loose or even nonexistent enforcement of the abortion laws permit over 80,000 "terminations" per year.
The ramifications for WA Premier Richard Court could be substantial, since he failed to use his moral authority to defend stricter limits on abortion. In fact, Court missed the final vote, having left for an engagement in Japan. In hindsight, this may prove to be a serious lapse in judgment, since his vote and his moral authority could have made all the difference to the final vote.
On such a serious and sensitive issue, political leadership is made or broken, and it is clear that the substantial, mainstream pro-life movement would be mainly made up of pro-family forces; mainly coalition voters. Mr. Court might find it difficult to defend his failings on the basis that the abortion decision in Parliament was a conscience vote.
If the WA abortion laws, hotly contested and passionately argued on both sides, qualified for a "conscience vote" why do other issues not similarly qualify? Could it be that political party leadership finds the issue "too hard", and one upon which it is almost impossible to exercise party discipline?
WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GREENHOUSE?
As the apocalyptic scenario predicted by the green revolutionaries fails to appear, those who remember the threats about global warming are entitled to ask, "what happened?" According to Bryce Mortlock, architect and 'planner', the earth was always more likely to cool down than it ever was to warm up. As explained in David Thompson's "Greenhoax" (1988) the earth appears to be in the grip of an ice age epoch, which cycles between cold periods (glacials) and not-so-cold periods (interglacials). Since we are presently in an 'interglacial' period, we can expect global cooling rather than global warming.
The theory that claims that the production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide as a result of man's activities will heat up the atmosphere appears to have been vastly overstated. Mortlock writes: "By 1996 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was unable to explain why earth had not heated as much as predicted, and Bert Bolin, the retiring chairman, reportedly conceded that 'man-made increases in temperature are so small as to be barely detectable'... .The [climate] changes are obviously beyond the reach of human intervention. We must reasonably assume that they will continue to operate and the basic pattern of age-old cycles will continue its merry way into the future. . ."(The Australian, 31/3/98).
MORE ON THE MAI
While there is definitely an increasing intensity of interest in the Multilateral Agreement on Investment at the grassroots of politics, all the evidence indicates that the same intensity of concern simply does not exist among our politicians. Or are they simply lying low? But the Australian experience seems to conform with that in other countries. In Great Britain, for example, our sister journal (the British "On Target") asks: "Where is the great national debate? Where are the radio, television and newspaper discussions? Who is even aware of the detailed proposals? Where are the parliamentary statements? How many Members of Parliament are aware of the implications of the proposed MAI? Have we missed something at On Target, or does this entire business stink to the rafters?"
In Australia, at least there is a Parliamentary inquiry into the MAI, although the inquiry is almost invisible, and has been given almost no publicity by the government at all. The details: the Committee's address is: Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600. Telephone: (02) 6277 4002. Fax: (02) 6277 4827. E-mail: email@example.com Submissions need to be lodged by April 30th. Anyone can make a submission.
PEOPLE'S SUMMIT FOR SYDNEY
A variety of groups have co-operated to hold a "People's Summit", in support of the People's Summit in Birmingham, in England, on May 15-17th. This meeting is being held at the same time and place as the G7 summit, but demands that economic rationalism make way for consideration of the welfare of people and the environment rather than simply profit and economic growth.
Speakers at the Sydney meeting, which will be held on Sunday, May 17th, will deal with issues such as the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, the proposed GST, opposition to 'corporate imperialism' and other matters. Speakers include Mr. John Horrocks (Economic Reform Association Australia), Richard Sanders (Stop MAI Association), Professor Michael Pusey, Professor Frank Stilwell, Shann Turnbull, etc.
The meeting will be held at the Gallery Functions Centre, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, and costs range from $10.00 for the unemployed to $45.00 full fees. For those requiring further information, or wishing to attend, enquiries should be directed to Francis Milne: (02) 98107812.
A NEW GLOBAL RELIGION
Thanks to the initiative of a South Australian actionist, Mr. Hedley Scholtz of Eudunda, a condensed report is available of a Religion and Cultural Diversity Conference, held at Parliament House, Melbourne, from July 28th-30th, 1997. The Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane, was one of the prominent dignitaries present. The actual planning committee comprised Sir James Gobbo, Governor of Victoria, Mr. Hass Dellal, Director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, Professor Desmond Cahill from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
The New Age International Organization, "Conflict Resolution Network", played a major role in the Conference. Hedley Scholtz writes, "Plans for the formation of the United Religions Organization concluded with the Commemoration Service of the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter".
Hedley Scholtz, a former Local Government Councillor who campaigned against the programme to amalgamate Local Councils, has recently stirred the wrath of his Federal Mr. Neil Andrews, Liberal Member for Wakefield and Chief Government Whip, by having published in a number of papers an exposure of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. The initiative of actionists like Hedley Scholtz results in a growing tide of criticism of the MIA right across Australia. Supporters are urged to increase the pressure on all Members of Parliament. Hedley Scholtz and the other letter writers are demonstrating how this can make effective use of local and regional newspapers.
FROM THE PRESSA trickle of excellent letters on the MAI are now appearing in the press, and seem to be the only means of informing the electorate on the issue. The following is a sample, contributed to The Australian (31/3/98) after economics writer Alan Wood had attempted to dismiss concerns about the MAI: "Economics writer Alan Wood misses the point. The MAI is another, incremental step in the direction of the elimination of nation-States in all but name. It in itself isn't 'a constitution for a single global economy'. But it's a foot jammed further in that widening door.
"Wood makes much of the exemptions claimed by Australia 'from the [MAI's] rules'. But exemptions, as we all know, have a way of disappearing once the principle of the legislation has been established in law. Thus exemptions of sporting bodies from the ministrations of the Sex Discrimination Act are quietly eliminated after the fact, and so forth.
"We are up against a debating point about the role of nation-state sovereignty in the face of the juggernaut of so-called free trade (what's free about it when the small business players are forced out by the big boys? That's called monopoly, which used to be frowned on, for good reasons), and what are we getting? Smooth assurances that the wolf in sheep's clothing is, after all, only interested in our best interests."
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