Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Police State: is This the New Normal?

In Australia, freedoms of speech and press are not constitutionally protected.

Last week the Australian Federal Police, which reports to Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton -- himself a representative of the COALition far Right and former policeman -- legally raided the Canberra home of journalist Annika Smethurst (News Corp Australia) and the offices of the ABC.

Both  Dutton and Prime Minister Scott Morrison deny previous knowledge of the raids, and, whether by accident or design, both were in official visits overseas when they took place, all but out of reach of the media. They claim the raids were instigated by the higher echelons of the defense and police bureaucracies acting with absolute independence of their political bosses, the relevant ministers (Dutton being one of them).

Criminal charges against leakers and journalists (and, presumably, against their publishers although no one really expects News Corp being charged) have not been ruled out.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Getting all Tied Up (5)

This series considers Paul Mason’s “Risks are ‘a Thing’… and so is the Death of Capitalism”, a critique of MMT.

In the previous post I argued that Mason’ s choice of Prof. Ferguson’s views as emblematic of the theoretical differences between Marxism and MMT was problematic.

Thus, so far in this series I’ve focused on things I believe Mason got wrong. But it’s time to go into the things he got right.

There may not be a theoretically “irreconcilable split” between Marxism and MMT, as Ferguson claims. However, to me and in terms of policy recommendation, things look different. Mason pointed to this passage in Ferguson’s article
“Rather it [MMT] implicitly de-prioritizes gravity’s causality in political and economic processes, showing how the ideal conditions the real via money’s distributed pyramidal structure”.
That was a good choice.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Take that, Bitches.

In the wake of the botched Hayne Royal Commission on Banking, yesterday the RBA finally decided to cut interest rates to a historical low of 1.25%: a drop of 25 basis points.

The RBA governor, Philip Lowe, using the insipid bureaucratese spoken at the RBA, explained that was meant to “help make further inroads into the spare capacity in the economy”, which in English means something like they are trying to start the faltering economy run by those clowns who just got re-elected on their claims of being great economic managers.

The idea is to make loan repayments to banks more affordable to consumers and investors, to try and avoid a recession.