The State

I’ve been trying to define ‘corruption’. This word is often used to determine whether something is good or bad.

For example until the 1990s in Australia, ‘conflict of interest’ was ‘corruption’ and ‘bad’. Where a politician had a business, this was a conflict of interest in making decisions to protect citizens and improving business growth. A sensible and clear law was that politicians had to divest all business interests to avoid corruption.

Earlier, the separation of church and state ensured one particular religious doctrine did not impinge upon the freedoms of non-members in society. Society is never homogeneous and the role of the state, to ensure all citizens’ rights equally, requires that religious corruption be severed from the state.

We can see the development of a neoliberal theocracy with the USA: lobbying has ensured the state no longer has the means to protect citizens from exploitation by business interests, nor can it ensure each person’s right to exercise agency over their own lives. Australia took steeps toward a similar development until the Labo(u)r government was voted back in. No changes made have been rolled back, just merely frozen. The Labo(u)r government has only introduced progress in recent decades with the help of a coalition Greens government.

Those carbon emission reduction policies were immediately terminated by the Liberal-National coalition, of course.

So corruption requires a clear definition of the power groups for us to proceed.

The state is the civil-empowered governing body which protects all citizens’ rights equally and with transparency. Secular education, health, transport, utilities, privacy and community.

Religion is a personal choice made on tradition which depends upon donation to exist as a power group. Many ascribe to one and each functions as a section of society but must be separate from the state and business. These are parts of the state, of society, not definers of them.

Business is a private enterprise which exists to expand at other’s expense, including the environment. Most sources of journalism have been corrupted by business to become ‘media’.

Journalism is that which balances all three, informing the public and ensuring clear decisions can be made. Journalism must be supported by law and law enforcement to ensure the integrity of all three.

The environment is that which has sustainability thresholds for population, management and usage. All three power groups only function as a result of the environment.

Authoritarian capitalism and neoliberal theocracy represent critical corruption of the definitions as given above. Checks and balances have failed in similar ways.

The role of the state in one and business in the other has removed the secular rights of citizens, forcing people to comply with the state’s ideology. Neither allow for independent journalism. Neither protect the environment or are predicated on sustainability.

Capitalism has defeated socialism and communism and it has also defeated, as neoliberalism, its own contribution to humanity: raising standards of living for its inner participants. Neoliberalism is resulting in energy and rental crises but even more so in climate catastrophes.

It is in everyone’s interest to ensure a strong and transparent state as this is the only power group which functions to protect citizens. Neoliberalism barely recognises citizenship but still extracts billions in taxes for private and religious agents.

It is in everyone’s interest to ensure sustainable practices: business cannot, religion does not. Only the state may and only journalism, impartial and independent, can ensure accurate democratic process.

A fun quote I heard recently from AdamSomething was, ‘Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.’ Corruption is a stupid game and the stupid prize is the environmental collapse of this global society.

Restoring separations between these power groups is essential. Balance must take place between these groups each playing their specific role.