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A Fork In Every Socket

March 13, 2011

I remember being at work on Thursday night, and strolled past the newspapers which the office gets delivered to us. The Australian headline caught me out – “Put carbon tax on hold: big business” (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/put-carbon-tax-on-hold-big-business/story-fn59niix-1226018701696).

I laughed when I read it. I’d been expecting it for a while, after all, what’s business to do when it can’t make a grab for cash off the government? It brings me back to one of my favourite quotes, which I will continue to bring up over the years: “Poor little Gerry Harvey says he can’t make a profit selling televisions. Well don’t then. Scratch any red-blooded free-market-loving capitalist and you’ll find someone who either wants a monopoly or government assistance” (http://www.smh.com.au/business/poor-gerry-harvey–tell-him-hes-dreaming-20101124-186nm.html).

Since when does big business have any of the same interests as us? I frankly do not see how the Marxist dichotomy is not 100% applicable in this case – they want to emit uninhibited, most people want them to emit less. They control the means of production, most of us don’t. Yet they want more compensation than Rudd’s god-awful CPRS policy (which essentially just redistributed cash and had no lasting effect, other than to slightly tax higher income earners and give the cash to energy producers)

I don’t understand corporate welfare. Well, rather, I do. It’s the same idea as funding private schools, which should, by the very definition of the word private in the economic sense, not engage with the government sector, asides of course from things such as OHNS, curriculum, teaching standards and the like. Powerful, rich people want more money. As Galbraith wrote, it’s interesting that in all the defenses of inequality, such as increased productivity due to incentivisation, the supposed higher growth rates, or a certain level of profit margin that the formation of capital requires, that the most obvious reason is never mentioned – that those who are richer enjoy their higher levels of income and don’t wish to part with them.

Which is why we provide inordinate amounts of funding for private schools, when our public school system is considered inadequate yet our private schools are considered solid. One would assume that the rational decision that economists love so much would be to shift funds from the latter to the former. Unfortunately Labor lacks the political courage to do so after the Latham disaster and the Catholic Socialists of Liberal would rather die than not use the government as a blunt instrument to stratify their own social position.

Meanwhile,

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with the uni cycle. Political economy is far more work and far more difficult than I ever thought it would be, not to mention that my lecturer’s organisational abilities are impaired at best.

He listed a core set of readers that are compulsory, and some optional ones each week, which makes sense, most subjects do so. Yet he then sends us emails with different readers, telling us to do those instead. However, he doesn’t mandate if we are still do to the compulsory readings. In last week’s case he told us to forget about doing it and to replace the compulsory with the new article. Surely he could’ve done this before the semester started and organised a less confusing reader system?

Not to mention he’s my tutor as well, and spent the whole of our first tute very painstakingly organising our presentations, but then proceeded to explain what he would go into in the next lecture. Admittedly, it was good to have him explain it in a classroom setting where it was fairly clear and easy to understand, but it also meant we didn’t get introduced to anybody in the tute. Ironically this was the one tute where I talked to someone after it finished, while walking to manning. Funny thing life. I do hope we are permitted to talk more, because this modern capitalism unit will require a lot of tute discussions to flesh out the vague concepts – which is another reason why the mixing and matching of readers is so frustrating: we’re dealing with very slight variations in classical economic theory, rephrased many times in many different ways, until Smith and Ricardo no longer mean anything except for “corn corn corn corn corn”.

Lots of corn models.

It’d be good to meet more people this semester. Hopefully some that aren’t ings students, who seem to compromise the majority of people I see at uni now. Not to say I dislike ings students. But it’d be like if all your friends were doing law, meco, commerce or science. Variety is good. Like the banana bread I made. Delicious.

I think I may see if I can do this regularly, as sort of a weekly update on life. We’ll see how it goes. After all, as I’ve come to realise, there’s never enough time in life. You have to make time, right here, right now.

Time is an illusion. Lunch time doubly so.

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From → Personal, Political

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