What is the cost of society?
I just had an awkward interaction with someone from the wanna-be affluent section of society who used a variety of avoidance and personal blame techniques to counter my argument that some societies are healthier for a larger majority of their citizens than Australia is.
This is an obvious fact to me but a vital refutation for others.
Taxation is a wonderful indicator of the movement of wealth in a society and is easy to track with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
But first, a statement of principles.
Taxation is secular and is there to support the running of government, management of infrastructure, and to supply services such as communication, health, education and transport. The objective is to ensure a comfortable standard of living for all people regardless of capabilities.
Now, a statement of anti-principles.
Taxation is just another form of revenue to enhance profits. Government is the viaduct of policy to ensure profits may be continually enhanced and guaranteed where interruptions occur in supply and demand. Every person must pay taxes to ensure profits continue growing and any policy which reduces profit enhancement must be adjusted accordingly.
The Scandinavian countries best exemplify the first set of principles, the USA the second.
Emerging from the Humanist movement about 500 years ago, understanding, compassion, fortitude and honour emerged as better principles on which to structure both society and ourselves. The West took centuries to gradually separate church and state and to implement regulations to prevent conflict of interest between state and business.
Australia has leapt backward centuries over the past few years. With the collusion of Murdock’s newsertainment and the free-floating horror of post-modernism, many assert their right to live in a society independently of the costs of that society.
I tried describing the difference between a socialist society which affirms the right of all people to live to minimum standards and which also has regulated free market capitalism, and the acquisition of society as a resource for profiteering by private companies in neoliberalism, but my adversary merely responded by confounding my definitions.
There seem to be a few lies which folk like him invest in, and I shall address each:
⁃ It is people’s choice to live poor and not get a job, however, no industrialised society has ever achieved 0% unemployment and no capitalist enterprise fair and equal wages.
⁃ Rich people pay enough tax, however, children, the unemployed, the disabled, full-time parents and retirees paying tax is not addressable.
⁃ Australia is a free market, however, bailouts and tax breaks, subsidies and conflict of interests greatly warp the market as do policies created to favour off-shore accounting.
⁃ Everyone can vote so this is a democracy, however, policies are not made with public transparency and are not made in favour of the middle or lower classes. Neither are representatives accountable for their decisions or behaviour.
⁃ Christianity is the source of Western morality, however, note one denomination or its representative who pushed for the education of women or their ability to vote, who pushed for Indigenous people’s ability to vote or identity equality in school – let alone ending their definition as ‘flora and fauna’ – or has made a stand against deaths in custody, or any religious group who supports the right of any person to love, marry and build a family with whomever they wish.
⁃ Climate change has always happened throughout the history of the planet, however, none as severe and destructive as we have been experiencing with such regularity over the past 10 years.
⁃ Facts and evidence don’t actually indicate any serious change in climate and this is just a normal part of the evolution of the planet, however, if the tax cuts for the rich aren’t put through, that’s an awful lot of profit lost as evidenced on a balance sheet.
⁃ The acquisition of finite resources is our right, however, what our grandkids are going to live on, heat homes and power transport with is not addressable. Neither is where those finite resources will be acquired after the current ones run out.
What is the cost of society?
Australian society costs a lot in terms of compassion and foresight. Ethics and morals are sacrificed for short-term profit enhancement. Religions passively suck the blood out of society and claim superiority after social change has been fought for by secular peoples, some of whom may still identify with their faith.
Australian society costs a lot in terms of realistic appraisals and ethical considerations. Personal integrity and responsibility are sacrificed for keeping ahead and calculating ways to protect what has been accumulated. The efforts of so many to build a society where the homeless are not running the streets with guns, but where everyone has housing and a subsistence income, those efforts are irrelevant. That is, merely current resources to extract revenue from.
Australian society costs a lot in terms of humanity. Empowered self-interest ensures disconnection, people empty of awareness of other people, and a devolving collapse into interpersonal hostility. Care of the aged? Not profitable. A roof over everyone’s head? Not profitable. Ensuring everyone is healthy and educated? Not profitable. Replacing sewage and roads? Not profitable.
Profiteering as a social value is the destruction of society.
Capitalism is an engine of innovation and functions at its best when left alone in its strictly regulated sandbox of a free market. Socialism is a brilliant system which ensures every person has a roof, food, education and is healthy. Keeping these two separate allows for innovation and, where Indigenous peoples and their lands, and non-renewable resources are protected from exploitation by strict regulations, sustainable innovation at that.
Neoliberalism offers increasing levels of profit enhancement at the wholesale destruction of the natural environment, cultural diversity, compassion, and honour. Enacting policy to acquire more power and wealth divides a society into haves and have nots. With no one possessing ethics or integrity, there is no trust. Each day a war to out-smart current and potential competitors infects all levels of society.
To the richer and more powerful members of society I say this: you may have the resources and influence to protect you and your children, but will they?
Australian neoliberal society is too expensive.