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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Oh so predictable - The AIM Network

Oh so predictable - The AIM Network

Oh so predictable

In December last year, before the government released MYEFO or the
budget giving credence to the agenda we all anticipated with dread,
before we repealed the mining and carbon taxes, before we went to war or
started selling everything we own to lay thousands of kilometres of
bitumen, when I was much more scared of Abbott than anyone in a burqa
(still far), I wrote an article about the role of government.  It
was largely based on an essay that I had read titled Responsibilities of Government.

After twelve months of an Abbott government, and considering where we
are at now, I would like to revisit what I considered important at the

“The government of a democracy is accountable to the people. It must
fulfil its end of the social contract. And, in a practical sense,
government must be accountable because of the severe consequences that
may result from its failure. As the outcomes of fighting unjust wars and
inadequately responding to critical threats such as global warming
illustrate, great power implies great responsibility.”

“The central purpose of government in a democracy is to be the role
model for, and protector of, equality and freedom and our associated
human rights. For the first, government leaders are social servants,
since through completing their specific responsibilities they serve
society and the people. But above and beyond this they must set an
ethical standard, for the people to emulate. For the second, the legal
system and associated regulation are the basic means to such protection,
along with the institutions of the military, for defence against
foreign threats, and the police.”

“Government economic responsibility is also linked to protection from
the negative consequences of free markets. The government must defend
us against unscrupulous merchants and employers, and the extreme class
structure that results from their exploitation.

Governments argue that people need to be assisted with the economic
competition that now dominates the world. But the real intent of this
position is to justify helping corporate interests . . . siding against
local workers, consumers and the environment.”

“Another general role, related to the need for efficiency, is the
organization of large-scale projects. It is for this benefit that we
accept government involvement in the construction of society’s
infrastructure, including roads, posts and telecommunications, and
water, sewage and energy utilities. Further, giving government charge
over these utilities guarantees that they remain in public hands, and
solely dedicated to the common good. If such services are privatized,
the owners have a selfish motivation, which could negatively affect the
quality of the services.

That such assets should have public ownership is expressed in the
idea of the “commons.” They should be owned by and shared between the
members of the current population, and preserved for future

“Indeed, while we of course still need a means of defence, including
against both external and internal (criminal) aggressors, it seems clear
that our greatest need for protection is from other institutions and
from the abuses of government itself, particularly its collusion with
these other institutions. (Many of the needs that we now have for
government are actually to solve the problems that it creates.)”

It didn’t really need a crystal ball to predict our demise. Is there
any hope to inform the electorate in time to avoid repeating the mistake
of 2013?

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