Politics has pulled a Costanza

It is always wrong but right now nobody stands for anything!

The Coalition is a centre-Right, liberal-leaning, small government party with a penchant for individualism and personal, as well as national, security. Yet today it’s major policy platforms are:

  • anti-science and anti-climate change, especially market solutions;
  • anti-markets and innovation in its embrace of rent-seekers;
  • anti-competition and competitiveness in its embrace of real estate distortions;
  • open borders mass-immigration
  • pro big-government and budget deficits.

The Nationals are traditionally an economic nationalist group that only shares power with the Liberal Party owing to shared social conservatism. Economically, it has much more in common with traditional Labor in seeking to protect local agrarian interests. These days that boils down to little more than the odd outburst of China bashing.

One Nation is an anti-evidence, proto-fascist party that bases its policies on deep social conservatism, racism and economic nationalism.

The Labor Party is a centre-Left, liberal-leaning, smallish government party with a penchant for class-based notions of personal destiny, as well as some commitment to economic nationalism in protecting industry and, in particular, the labour market. Yet today it’s major policy platforms are:

  • market-based solutions to climate change;
  • anti-markets and innovation in its embrace of rent-seekers;
  • market-based solutions for real estate distortions;
  • open borders mass-immigration and a supply-flooded labour market that is undermining wages;
  • class is irrelevant and pro-capital;
  • pro small government and budget surpluses.

The Greens are are a centre-Left socialist leaning gaggle that supports:

  • market-based solutions to climate change without any discernible difference from Labor vis wider environmental goals;
  • market-based solutions for real estate distortions;
  • the welfare state;
  • open borders mass-immigration and a supply-flooded labour market that is undermining wages;
  • class is irrelevant and pro-capital;
  • pro bigger government and budget deficits.

In other words in terms of traditional alliances:

  • Liberal and Nationals are incoherent;
  • One Nation is the Nationals;
  • Labor is Liberal, and
  • The Greens are Labor but without the labour.

It’s post-modern politics, a pastiche of parties selectively quoting from various traditional ideologies to support today’s vested interests. Nobody has any real roots in history and all are adrift.

Anything is possible in this environment.

Comments

  1. Bogans kept voting for Howard because they thought he is making them better off, and the unemployment rate did come down steadily from the Ansett collapse of 2001 till the Lehman Brothers collapse of 2008.

    The ALP had a chance – after 11 years of Howard – to genuinely make bogans better off. And they blew it. They actually gave 457 visas to KFC outlets in Sydney!

    Germany had a shrinking population from 1997 to 2011! What frigging “wages explosion”?

  2. in terms of what we’ve got, here is the hierarchy of electoral quality i may have missed a few):

    SAP > Affordable Housing Party > ON > Labor > Liberals > Greens

    greens last, always last. they are the evil party. dumb and dumber (labor and liberals) are both shockers; to quote huey p long, one of them will skin you from the ankles up and the other from the ears down. SAP is a great party with some lovely people. ON have a good migration platform but general policy idiocy otherwise, and while they are obviously unpalatable to a lot of the people on this site, they are probably our only real hope (as in 1984: “if there is hope, it lies with the proles”).

    • Pirate Party > SAP > AHP > LDP > her > Greens > ALP > LNP.

      Pirate Party wants UBI! What is SAP’s position on UBI?

      LDP did want to charge $50k for each PR visa instead of the current $0.

      • Terror Australis

        I think you’ll find a PR visa costs a LOT more than $0.
        Exclude the LDP and ON completely and that is pretty much my Senate voting ticket too.

        People need to start hearing about the Pirate Party’s ideas for UI via reverse taxation.

      • Australia already has a form of UBI, it’s called medicare. I would love to see some sort of survey breaking down use of medicare vs s range of demographic factors, because I suspect it’s disproportionally used by recent migrants.

        Interestingly Switzerland (which has also had high immigration and high house prices recently) ran a referendum on UBI and one of the main arguments of the “no” case was that it would make the country an even migger magnet for migrants.

      • I’m not sure an UBI is the be all solution many like ot make it out to be.

        It’s a very left philosophy that the answer to a problem is $$$$, when quite often more $$$ makes the problem bigger.

        Maybe if AI and 3D printing manufacture with automated manufacturing moves us into a post scarcity society then a UBI makes sense, but till that happens I don’t see how you would fund a UBI without stifling the drive of capitalism to constantly improve.

      • Interestingly Switzerland (which has also had high immigration and high house prices recently) ran a referendum on UBI and one of the main arguments of the “no” case was that it would make the country an even migger magnet for migrants.

        Doesn’t seem like a strong argument. Switzerland makes extensive and carefully controlled use of immigrant labour and has for a very long time. Any sane UBI system would not allow migrants to be eligible until they were naturalised, and it takes ten years to even be eligible for Swiss citizenship, after which you need to convince the local authorities that you have properly integrated into the culture before it is approved (ie: it’s not a rubber stamp at the ten year resident mark).

    • After many years i just re read 1984.
      Didn’t get the sence that smith was doing no more than grasping at straws.
      Also found that we have achieved 84 levels of control but by nudge and debt rather than jackboot.
      Slavery is freedom.

      • Terror Australis

        9-11’s impact on history was to clear any obstacles to the surveilance state. The terrorists may not have won but we have certainly lost.

      • No they aren’t. They are complete opposites on immigration rates, which is a central issue.

        Greens want open borders and MOAR immigrants at every turn. SAP the opposite.

      • Terror Australis

        Find me the page on the Greens policy website that calls for “open borders”?
        Citation needed.

      • No they aren’t. They are complete opposites on immigration rates, which is a central issue.

        No they’re not. SAP’s is just a bit more specific with actual numbers.

        Greens want open borders and MOAR immigrants at every turn. SAP the opposite.

        Not according to their policies.

      • @drsmithy

        The population platitudes on the Greens website are meaningless. They will never discuss what a reasonable population for Melbourne or Australia is, and promote open borders and an ever increasing population as part of their world socialist agenda, far more important than the environment. Any comments about slowing population growth are met with the standard straw man of racism.

      • The Greens were basically in power from 2010 till 2013. Did they cut immigration? No, they kept giving out 457 visas for $0 each.

      • drsmithy, The Greens have a nauseating misplaced maternalism about them, especially evident in their deliberate conflation of opposition to the rate of immigration and racism. It’s offensive, short-sighted and anti-environmental.

      • drsmithy, The Greens have a nauseating misplaced maternalism about them, especially evident in their deliberate conflation of opposition to the rate of immigration and racism.

        That is certainly an unorthodox definition of “maternalism”.

        There’s no need to “conflate”. Many – probably most – opposing immigration are fairly obviously, if not explicitly, doing it along “racist” lines.

        Very, *very* few make an argument based mainly in economic – or even less frequently, environmental – parameters, as MB (mostly, when they’re not playing the identity politics card) does, and of those that do, one rarely has to dig far into their past to find contradictory opinions on either or both of those topics, especially once immigration is taken out of the picture. The canonical example being Hanson, who on the one hand is supposedly worried about the environmental impact of immigration, but on the other hand thinks climate change is a multinational, multigenerational conspiracy.

      • and yet even for a party of climate change deniers, ON would probably a more salutary effect on the australian environment than the greens, simply b/c they oppose mass immigration.

        any attempt at mitigating enviromental damage in the face of massive population expansion is urinating into the wind. QED: america’s population would be about 180 million people today had they kept immigration at pre 1965 levels. imagine a planet with 135+ million less americans.

  3. ceteris paribusMEMBER

    Very good and very humorous H&H. Who needs coherence, consistency or formal logic in the post modern world!! Truth is a plurality, confirmed in the contradiction
    But in this world of ever changing forms, there is one value these bastards share, especially the closer it gets to an election. They will all grasp at any policy wedge, whatever its phiilosophical nature, if it promises them a majority demographic split on the day.

  4. I think the best explanation of all this, is that the rentier capitalist class (including once-producer capitalists who turn rentier) has really got its act together in the modern era, having worked out what was eroding their position through the 20th century. Unfortunately, the masses aren’t bright enough to connect the dots in the same way that the 0.1% are. For example, the most lavish funding of political activism comes “from” the 0.1%, “to” the movements who push for the very things that H&H is pointing to – the open borders, the rigging of urban land markets through central planning, the loose monetary policy.

    It has long since been a myth that political funding favours “producer capitalists” in any way. The connection is almost invariably with rent-seeking. Ironically, some of the most hated (from the left) political funding, is that of the anti-rentier, pro-free-market libertarian type of think tanks – meanwhile the useful idiots of the left think their own sugar daddies – George Soros, the Rockefellers, etc, are saints who genuinely care about the future of humanity rather than their own portfolios in property and finance!

    • Political correctness itself is largely a “bread and circuses” type distraction of the youthful Janissaries of this toxic movement. They haven’t a clue that they are tearing down their own futures as they respond to the dog-whistles from their infernal messiahs.

    • I think the best explanation of all this, is that the rentier capitalist class (including once-producer capitalists who turn rentier) […]

      There’s no distinction to be made here. The latter are just the former reaching higher levels of success.

      The inevitable outcome of unregulated capitalism is oligopolies and rent-seeking, because that’s where the profit-maximisation incentive leads.

      • “Unregulated”? Most of the rent-seeking opportunities are created BY regulations and the solution is DE-regulation!

      • Of course it is in the nature of humans (“capitalists”?) to seek gain by any means, and foul is often easier than fair. Good government, therefore, needs to restrain and prevent this – prevention of rent-gouging should be right up there with prevention of burglary, as a core function of government. The problem is the perversion of government, which is now similar to a burglars collective buying off politicians to have less resources devoted to investigation and solving of burglaries and incarceration of those responsible (hmmm, PC SJW mantras on crime and justice are suspiciously like this…..)

      • Moderation is OTT today. Another reply to Smithy, not long, containing no links, and innocuous in its language, blocked for no reason.

      • Most of the rent-seeking opportunities are created BY regulations and the solution is DE-regulation!

        Rent-seeking opportunities are reinforced by game-of-mates-style regulations fashioned after “natural” market outcomes, put in place thanks to lobbying.

        Good government, therefore, needs to restrain and prevent this – prevention of rent-gouging should be right up there with prevention of burglary, as a core function of government.

        Welcome to the Lefties.

        Moderation is OTT today. Another reply to Smithy, not long, containing no links, and innocuous in its language, blocked for no reason.

        Initial moderation will be entirely automatic, based off keywords and phrases. Implicitly, there’s no nefarious intent there.

      • Lol – deregulation broke up the monopoly, that it was done to put the profits in the pockets of boomers and the boomers are incredibly short sighted economically illiterate isn’t a function of deregulation

  5. so there is right wing, neoliberal center and nothing on the left – just “fake social issues left”

    And we all thought that defeat of USSR was a good think. Employees in the West are some of the biggest losers of fall of Communism because now left is not an option at all.

    • Never understood the ‘fall of” thingy wrt Communism, state capitalism was a stepping stone to Communism, sorta like the stateless free market the economic libertarians envision. Yet at the end of the day both end up just increasing the totalitarian tendencies of elites and the size of the state.

      Especially considering the USSR was never defeated, it imploded, w/ the help of the nice chaps over at the Chicago school.

      disheveled…. strangely ™ they set up the oligarchs too run things…. new day same sun thingy….

    • But Communism was no answer, not like value-adding, rent-eliminating free market capitalism.

      Lenin famously said “a capitalist would sell you the rope you will use to hang him”, and Ayn Rand commented something like “those kind of capitalists should be hung anyway before they get to sell the rope to the communists”.

      The best government would consist of people who steadfastly worked against the rentiers and in the general interest of “producers” and “value adders”. When you let your government get perverted by the rentier classes, you risk an ignorant backlash where all is lost to stultifying, strangulatory socialism. From my own experience, it was many years before I was clear about the two very different types of capitalism, and it was “the empire strikes back” of the rentiers in the form of “compact city” urban planning, that was the glaring example that clarified things to me. Piketty’s data on inequality has correctly been interpreted by Matt Rognlie and others, as explicable almost entirely by urban land rent and its trends. Piketty’s obstinate conflation of both kinds of “earnings of capital” – both rents and “surplus value”, is the epitome of destructive politics if spite and ignorance.

    • Don’t get me wrong, USSR communism was not good for Russians.
      But the constant threat of socialist revolution was really good for people in the West to get more rights (especially economic rights). It was fear from the Communism that benefited the people in the West. Once fear was gone, ruling elites in the West started to squeeze their own population.

      • Terror Australis

        Somewhat agree.
        But the two forcee that are destroying labour today are globalization and automation.

        The machines were coming anyway.
        But communism kept billions of well educated and cheap employees from conpeting with western workers.

      • Actually, the rate at which technology and free markets were allowing the proles to become petit-bourgeoise, had a lot to do with it. Marx never anticipated this. Transport system improvements expanded the supply of resources to well beyond what had been “controlled” by its owners within short practical commercial distances of markets. The entire global economy once upon a time was based around water-borne transport plus what could be carried by pack animal, and further constrained by the distance food could be brought to the city without perishing. Food ceased to require 50% of the household budget once rails and refrigeration and trade got underway. Urban housing lost its opportunity to crowd out 50%+ of the household budget, as the automobile brought similar superabundant essential resources – land – into practical “supply”.

      • there is only one force that is destroying labour today : neoliberalism that fears nothing and controls everything, including peoples’ minds.
        Globalisation and automation are just tools

  6. “The Coalition is a centre-Right, liberal-leaning, small government party..”

    Thought you’d lost your mind in those opening sentences, glad I kept reading 😀

    Great article on the hypocritical stances that most parties occupy today.

  7. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I’m happy with all of our sitting members because every single one of them understands the importance of protecting and boosting house prices especially considering many of them profit from this too.

  8. + Many
    Wonderful pithy analysis of how everything is transactional and divisive rather than coherent broad ideology.
    To my mind it is the agglomeration of a coalition calculated to win a small majority in the reps based on analysis of individual electorates, particularly swinging electorates, and how to raise the funds to campaign as well as the art of politics – creating fear such as energy shortages and blackouts, being overrun by Muslims, destruction of our society (ie no Christmas carols in public schools, even though they are supposed to be separate and secular)

  9. Pretty sure the Greens favour a straight CO2 tax over an ’emissions trading market’. I’d call that a non-trivial difference.

    There’s little evidence they are in favour of high levels of low skilled immigration and undermining wages, as well.

    • $10/tonne is less than half price compared to $23/tonne. We have 1 atmosphere. The carbon tax in AUS should have never been double the price of the carbon tax in Europe. No wonder the Greens vote peaked in 2010.

      William Bourke created a new party because the Greens never agreed to double the refugee intake and halve the 457 visa intake.

      • William Bourke created a new party because the Greens never agreed to double the refugee intake and halve the 457 visa intake.

        I guess I must have missed when Labor or (LOL) the Coalition proposed this.

    • So you are saying the Greens are as bad as the ALP/LNP and offer no alternative.

      There was no such thing as a 457 visa till 1996, so ALP and LNP enacted this policy from 1901 till 1996. Now well over 28% of AUS is foreign born. Much less than 28% of AUS was foreign born from 1901 till 2010. What % of Canada is foreign born? Much less than 28%. Thus Canada is “racist”.

  10. What amazes me is how so many people criticise the government for being so crap at doing most things, yet all we hear is for the Government to do MOAR.

    Is it possible to have an honest talk about what roles the Govt should have, what roles the private sector should serve, and what roles we the people should stand up to do? I’m starting to wonder if the lack of charity I see in strayan society is a shirking of responsibility to the Government rather than in times past where the local community and charities sorted out a lot of problems. Govt wasn’t the reason starvation wasn’t the biggest killer during the great depression.

    • Exactly. In fact government did all sorts of perverse things that made the Depression worse. And even today most of the economic rent-gouging is a consequence of regulatory enabling, especially in urban land supply for housing.

      In rigged housing market dystopias, the call ever goes up for government to “provide affordable housing” and politicians love to get involved directly with taxpayers money. The UK already tried this, after decades of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, by the time Thatcher came into office fully 1/3 of the population was in “social housing” and this was one thing that was “running out of other people’s money”. Unfortunately Thatcher never reformed the Planning system along with selling off the social housing.

      But if you look at RE sites for all the median multiple 3 cities in the USA, you will see that there is hardly any need for social housing. Dilapidated cottages that are $1,500,000 in Sydney are usually <$100,000, and if you are really poor, a "mobile" (prefab) home, still on a small section with essential services, is around $40,000.

      This is freakin' how FREE MARKETS SHOULD WORK, just as they have made a whole range of goods better and better and cheaper and cheaper over time.

    • AlbyManglesMEMBER

      I think you are onto something there, but what I see in Sydney, the local community is gone, its been totally displaced by reckless immigration levels, no one knows anyone any more and most of the people look to the govt for everything instead

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      “Govt wasn’t the reason srarvation wasn’t the biggest killer during the great depression…”
      Correct.
      Rabbits, Chokoes, big backyards for veges and chooks, fed most working class folk.
      My uncle Wal, became a Commo during the depression because he saw the bodies of people who starved to death in the streets of Sydney, while barge loads of food that could not be sold (from lack of money) was dumped outside the Heads.

    • sydboy007, the Roman Empire passed the grain law in 123 BC to ensure that every citizen gets to eat – regardless of a job because the jobs at that time were being done by slaves.

      They also had free entertainment – leading the the phrase “bread and circuses”.

      Now, you say giving a $900 cheque to each poor voter annually will mean James Dyson will no longer feel like inventing a better vacuum cleaner? What is the link between ensuring that each poor voter gets to ride the bus for free (I was so poor that I used to walk home in the pouring rain) and Elon inventing reusable rockets?

    • What amazes me is how so many people criticise the government for being so crap at doing most things, yet all we hear is for the Government to do MOAR.

      Yeah. It’s almost like people have this idea in their heads that there’s some services that should be universally accessible and are best provided through public funding, and are angry at decades of systemic decay and outright corruption of them to favour a few.

      Crazy.

      • sydboy007MEMBER

        I’m a firm believer in social services like public transport and healthcare.

        The sad fact is the majority of the subsidy that goes into public transport benefits the rich far more than the poor since the rich generally have much better access to public transport services. Conversely the fetish for PPPs these days is really just a tax on poor people who can only afford to buy 1+ hour commute out of the city.

        Maybe there’d be more money to fund the upkeep of infrastructure if we weren’t spending hundreds of billions on trying to build infrastructure to cope with our third world rates of population growth??

      • The point is that there is no contradiction between a) being angry at Government doing a shit job and b) wanting it to a proper job. Especially when there’s plenty of c) Government absolving itself from things it SHOULD be doing going on.

        The problem is not “Government”, the problem is the people who have been populating Government for the last few decades.

  11. This part is genuis. Simple and perceptive

    ” Liberal and Nationals are incoherent;
    One Nation is the Nationals;
    Labor is Liberal, and
    The Greens are Labor but without the labour.”

  12. Jumping jack flash

    Meh

    The Libs and the Labs may as well be the same entity – The Liblabs

    Both are equally as powerless to effect any changes that directly affect the people they supposedly are meant to look out for.
    Except for useless and insipid policy that nobody really wants or needs to live, they can’t do anything. Everything important is out of their hands.

    This was done by choice to adhere to the ideology of Thatcherism, which can be summed up as good old “British efficiency” – make your area of responsibility so efficient that it is no longer required to exist.

    And this is precisely what our government has become. Irrelevant.

    So they’ve all given up on looking out for the people, because they can’t, and look out for themselves. Now Australian politics is simply a career-path stepping-stone into a cushy directors or consulting job in some FIRE-related industry or a living-essentials-producing oligopoly.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Log in now