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Issue #1751      October 5, 2016

The death of the Nation State

Neo-liberalism has seen the gradual erosion of the nation state, and in its place transnational corporations have infiltrated federal governments worldwide. The beginning of this atrophy in Australia can be traced back to the Hawke/Keating governments. Hawke and then Keating implemented the neo-liberal system in Australia, via the weakening of import tariffs and the selling off of public assets such as the Commonwealth Bank. The LNP has continued to implement this dogmatic ideology on Australian citizens.

Neo-liberalism by its very nature is anti-worker and anti-society. This ideology first gained a foothold in Chile after the assassination of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. The basic characteristics of this toxic ideology are smashing unions, weakening government protection for its citizens, selling off all state assets to corporate interests, cutting taxation for the very wealthy and eroding social services such as healthcare and education. Basically it entrenches systemic poverty and erodes the middle class, while making the top 1-2% extremely rich.

Another disturbing characteristic is the undermining of governments to pursue full employment through economic growth. Governments could eradicate unemployment tomorrow almost completely, via state run utilities and government funded work. In decades passed, the public sector created hundreds of thousands of jobs, via the public school system, state-owned utilities, companies such as gas and electricity providers, the fantastic Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) which legitimately helped job seekers find real jobs.

Today we have fake job centres churning people through a system that has at least one million unemployed and close to a million underemployed. The system is designed to be dysfunctional. It is the perfect opportunity for privately owned job agencies to suck government funding for a nonexistent service. Added to this, it suits the neo-liberal power-brokers to keep millions unsettled and poor. This serves their ultimate purpose, which is to make people so desperate for employment, that they will take any job, no matter how poor the conditions. Mass unemployment also keeps the hourly rate of pay low. The greater the demand for work, the more power the capitalist class have in exploiting workers.

Privatisation has been consistently shown to increase prices for consumers, provide a substandard product, cut health and safety, and create obscene wealth for the board members and the CEOs who work for these private companies. The privatisation of Victorian electricity was just one example. This theft of a state asset resulted in mass redundancies, huge price gouging and the ultimate destruction of a whole community. All the utilities and public services which generations of citizens paid for, via their tax, in good faith, for the benefit of all is sold at often bargain basement prices to corporate raiders and wealthy political backers and their associates. Privatisation is a political activity … bringing benefit to some groups and disadvantaging others.

Another terrible result of Globalisation is the huge loss of local jobs, particularly in once public owned sectors. Look at the amount of off-shoring of service jobs to India and China. One cannot even speak to a technical officer in Australia for assistance, as all these jobs now reside in India, where these poor people are exploited for multinational profits.

The disastrous free trade agreements are also highly damaging to the Nation State. The Trans Pacific Partnership has a section called ISDS (Investment State Dispute Settlements). These clauses can give corporations the power to sue a national government if its profits are threatened … even if the government decides that legislation is vital to protect the health and well-being of its population!

If a sovereign government cannot enact legislation to protect its own citizens, then it essentially ceases to have any validity or control of its sovereignty. Increasingly multinational corporations are encroaching on the democratic processes of parliament and sovereign legislation. Many politicians are compromised by the lure of post-political jobs, earning seven figures salaries if they comply with the undemocratic draconian demands of these Multinational entities.

The trajectory of neo-liberalism and globalisation over the past three decades indicates that Australia’s national sovereignty is in a weakened state and arguably terminal. If a government is hampered by constraints from multinationals and their thirst for profit, how can it work in the best interests of its citizens? The whole purpose of a government is to protect its citizens from predatory capitalism and ensure the well-being of the taxpaying citizens that it governs for.

A robust and transparent voice is needed to report the danger of neo-liberalism to the wider community. Unfortunately with a morally bankrupt and deceptive corporate-run media, this is sadly lacking. It is ultimately up to the citizens of Australia to use the power of alternative media and the Internet to bypass the lies and the corporate cheer squad for neo-liberalism, or the Nation State will be a system of the past.

Next article – Action urged to protect children

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