Prospective future Labor Prime Minister wants to channel those who cut real wages, privatise and extol neoliberalism

It’s Wednesday, and I am flat out today on a range of things including two live events to finish of the edX MOOC we have been running over the last 4 weeks. These sessions go for around 90 minutes each and have given the participants from all over the world a chance to discuss things about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and clarify uncertainties etc. It also helps me find out what beguiles those who come into the material for the first time. So it works to benefit both ways. Today, I am sad that the Australian Labor Party federal leader, who is in the box seat to become the next Prime Minister in May this year has just announced his model is a past Labor prime minister (Hawke) who turned out to be a US corporate spy acting against the labour movement when he was President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (the peak body) and who fast-tracked neoliberalism in Australia during the 1980s. His other model apparently is John Howard, the conservative prime minister from 1996 to 2007, who accelerate that neoliberalism, locked up refugees on remote islands indefinitely (some are still there), turned against the unions, turned against the unemployed, and oversaw the explosion of household debt while his government ran surpluses and crippled public infrastructure and services. What gives? And the music today had to be an antidote to the anger that the Labor leader’s revelations today have engendered. And a tiny thought on Russia.

Australian Labor remains unelectable if you have progressive aspirations

Today the Federal leader of the Labor Party, which is a solid chance to take the government in the May federal election, presented to the ‘Business Summit’, which is sort of like the British Labour Party duchessing the City financial moguls, begging them to not veto them (as John McDonnell did before 2017 election).

The UK Guardian article (March 9, 2022) – Anthony Albanese to embrace Labor luminary Bob Hawke’s consensus style if ALP wins election – provides a clue to what the Australian Labor leader is pitching.

None of it is good.

He is going to “take his lead from Bob Hawke” to reduce business costs and energise industry.

Hawke was Labor prime minister from 1983, before he was deposed by his scheming Treasurer in 1991.

His government reduced costs for business by undermining the capacity of individual unions to gain wage risess through his prices and incomes accord.

Real wages were systematically cut under his watch and he oversaw a massive redistribution of national income to profits.

He claimed the business sector promised to lift investment rates if the real wages were cut. They didn’t – instead they pocketed the largesse and we started to see the obscene corporate takeovers and massive rises in executive salaries as the result.

His government also changed industrial relations legislation that made it extremely hard for workers to enjoy wage rises and for low-income workers to share in national productivity gains.

His government also pushed the fiscal surplus mantra heavily and began the privatisations, outsourcing and the deregulations generally that transferred wealth to the top-end-of-town.

He is a summary graph that captures the Hawke government’s approach to workers – who after all are the reason the Australian Labor Party exists – as the political voice of the unions.

Hawke was elected in 1983. The graph shows that this was the point where labour productivity and real wages diverged for the first time in recorded history.

The Hawke government engineered this divergence as noted above. It celebrated the redistribution of national income to profits.

It shows that over the period of the Hawke government real wages barely grew after falling for several years. Meanwhile productivity outstripped real wages growth significantly, redistributing GDP to profits.

That trend continues today, but it was Hawke and his institutional machinery that began the rot.

His period of office was a disaster.

Recently, it has been disclosed that he was also a traitor to the union movement while he was leading it.

This UK Guardian article (July 3, 2021) – Secret embassy cables cast the Bob Hawke legend in a different light – tells the sordid story:

Papers show Hawke as a unionist said one thing to his members, and something quite different to his US embassy friends

For a modern Labor leader to aspire to model the Hawke government is a disgrace.

Worse still, we learn that:

While styling himself in the consensus tradition of Hawke, Albanese will also borrow a maxim from John Howard, noting you never reach the finish line in the race for economic reform because there is always more to do to make the economy stronger and more productive.

John Howard did little reform – in the sense that reform makes things better.

He just took the ground that the Hawke-Keating government had shifted towards neoliberalism and refined the perniciousness of that regime even further.

No Labor leader should take anything from his 11 years in power.

Sanctions will not stop Russia making bullets

The propaganda coming out of the West is not surprising – it is the norm.

But ordinary people believe this stuff.

I read in the news this morning that a senior official from a Washington think-tank claimed that the latest US sanctions banning the US purchase of Russian oil was welcome and would prevent Russians capacity to earn income:

… to rely on to keep making bullets, to keep making armour …

Russia is a massive exporter of iron ore and has all the steel-making capability that it requires to make the nasty weapons.

Much of the talk about sanctions has ignored the fact that Russia is a currency issuer and has a diversified manufacturing sector that can supply most of its capital equipment needs.

And it has many avenues still to gain imports that it cannot produce itself.

There was a case in history where trade did influence military might.

Between November 1938 and January 1939, there was a major industrial dispute at Port Kembla in NSW, Australia which became known as the – 1938 Dalfram dispute.

Port Kembla was then a vibrant port linked to the steelmaking in the area and the waterside workers union refused to load pig iron on a ship – the SS Dalfram – because it was going to take the resources to Japan.

It was destined to supply the inputs to the Japan Steel Works LTd in Kobe, which was producing weapons and ammunition in the Japanese government’s military assault on China (the undeclared war).

The dispute was motivated by the Nanking Massacre in December 1937.

The trade unions argued that the pig iron would be used to make military weaponry that would kill innocent Chinese, and, perhaps, later Australians. They were prescient in that regard.

There were several other union-led resistance efforts in other Australian ports that were protesting against the Japanese aggression towards China.

The Dalfram dispute lasted for more than 10 weeks as workers refused to load.

The Federal Attorney General at the time was Robert Menzies, who would eventually become Australia’s longest serving conservative prime minister.

In typical form, he was anti-union and claimed that only the federal government had the right to make decisions with international ramifications.

He gained the nickname ‘Pig Iron’ Bob during the dispute.

It was later used in the Second World War to conjure images of the conservatives shipping steel making resources to Japan only for them to return in the form of ammunition killing Australian soldiers.

Music – The King

This is what I have been listening to while working this morning.

In general, I was not a rocker in my youth. In fact, I was mod-oriented and the local rocker gang in the housing commission slum I grew up in in Melbourne hated the long-hair, corduroy jacket-wearing mods.

They used to walk around with transistor radios bigger than them with their slick back hair and their portable radios pumping out – Elvis Presley – songs. Ad nauseum.

I was into R&B, Jimi Hendrix, and starting to appreciate fusion jazz.

So it was a bit hard embracing his music even though I had seen the movies and secretly loved his voice, which ranged between high baritone register and tenor (quite unique), and beautiful sense of melody.

If we abstract from the syrup (they were the times) and the American jingoism then some of this songs were incredibly well crafted and his guitarist – Scotty Moore – was a legend.

So sometimes I listen to some of the early songs that I liked and still find motivational – despite the sentiments sometimes expressed in the lyrics.

The composition and delivery is the thing that makes Elvis a ‘King’.

Here is a song – Can’t Help Falling in Love – which was from the 1961 album – Blue Hawaii. I can’t recall when I saw that film – sometimes later in the 1960s – but this song hit me.

It has the fabulous – The Jordanaires – on backing vocals, who are worth listening to in their own right and – Floyd Cramer – on piano, who was a great musician and defined the Nashville sound.

It’s melody repeats the classical French romance song from 1784 – Plaisir d’amour.

I don’t have regrets but the closest thing is that Elvis is one performer I would have loved to see live but never got the chance. Although his later live performances on this song, which usually closed his shows, became over produced with excessive string arrangements and other superfluous noise!

While it is naive to keep spreading the peace and love message – I wish for a moment naivety ruled in Europe at present.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2022 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. “Russia is a massive exporter of iron ore and has all the steel-making capability that it requires to make the nasty weapons.”

    Interestingly, 25% of Russia iron ore exports go to Ukraine. Presumably this will stop.

    While commercial exports of iron ore to Ukraine will stop, Russia has replaced them with refined (that is steel) non commercial forms of iron shaped as bombs, missiles and tanks.

    At least the Ukrainians won’t have to pay for this steel, not with money anyway.

  2. While Biden banning Russian oil buying may not directly hurt Russia for the reasons you mentioned, I think it still is a good look. Why support a thug??
    Great song btw

  3. Were the lockdowns the first episode of an authoritarian push of the neoliberal establishment to keep the status quo in gear?
    We’re seeing calls for censorship everywhere.
    Censorship to anything that doesn’t fall in the official narrative of the US/EU/UK (brexit was a partial exit of the Brits from the EU, as they both keep tapping their feet to the US whistle).
    In Portugal, a right-winger MP just filed a complaint on another MP of the communist party, because he said that the Ucranian President incorporated nazi militias in the Ucranian armed forces.
    Why this fact troubles those troubled blokes?
    Because it is what Putin has been saying from the start.
    So if Putin says it, we got to oppose what he’s saying, even if we know it’s the truth.
    Truth hurts these feeble minds and so they need the police to enforce their narratives.
    We’ve seen this before, many times.
    Between 1939 and 1945, Ukraine was detroyed by alternative truths.
    And so, history repeats itself – as a farce, as MARX predicted.
    Now, sue me!

    P.S.: Note how the decarbonisation issue vanished away and everybody is talking now about pumping oil, natural gas and digging coal. And how hedge funds and investment banks are buying the assets that oil companies held in Russia.

  4. Well, if bullets were all about iron, or war material all about making bullets, the war would go on as long as needed by the strongest side. But with modern industry being long chains of resources transformed multiple times, it’s a much more complicated story about what countries (Europe and Russia; sorry Ukraine, realpoltik calls) can actually get, especially in the short term, before conceding; along with internal politics, but that is not as new a consideration.
    And, well, it would be hard to do, so I haven’t seen anyone do it; it’s easier to either write all about currency and rates (yawn), or about the inevitable loss of currency reserve status (hitting my head against the wall).
    Nonsense black and white all around this, I’m afraid.

  5. Austerity and war, that’s all we have to talk about, as if there’s nothing good left… it’s oppressive.

  6. If there were no Labour Party, somebody might be tempted to invent a real one. A Labour Party like Albanese’s fills a need, in fact, plugs it up solid.

  7. Are we watching the collapse of the neoliberal world order? If so, how might things shake out, assuming there are things left to shake? Dispassionate economic analysis through the lens of MMT would be most welcome. Or would such analysis be censored or vilified for lack of partisan passion?

  8. “get greedy when everybody else is scared… Right now, everybody’s scared – there are opportunities”

    The quote above came from a speech by James Gorman, the Australian head of Morgan Stanley, at the festival of greed mentioned in Bill’s blog today.

    As this gathering of the business elite was happening, the Georges River in Sydney’s south-western suburbs was in flood, wrecking the lives of tens of thousands, and townships such as Coraki, Woodburn, and Murwillumbah in the north east of NSW became reachable by road, after a week with no power, water, sewage, or communication with the outside world for a week, during which time, the nation had watched in horror as the city of Lismore was dismantled by a flood two metres higher than any previous records.

    Those people, whose lives have been totally upended by this climate-driven catastrophe are the very people this “leader” of the business world is exhorting his community to prey on, while they live in fear, having had the entire accumulated possessions of a lifetime stacked in the street for landfill, and the prospective Prime Minister of the nation felt the need to dine with this tribe and guarantee them that his government would keep the working class in their place so they could carry on business as usual.

    The leader of the federal opposition should know that If you lie with dogs, you get fleas.
    He is a Class Traitor.

  9. A lot of commentary has likened his ‘small target’ approach to that of Howard; but did Mr Albanese actually mention Howard in his speech? I read his intent as more to emulate the consensus style of the Hawke era, not necessarily the actual policies. Jim Chalmers has spoken more than once of Labor emulating the policies of the Curtin/Chifley in creating a high wage, high growth economy as the way of reducing the relative size of the deficit against GDP among other objectives.
    (Disclaimer: I am a member of the ALP.)

  10. For your consideration
    The Ukraine Crisis with Dan Cohen and Scott Ritter

    US marine Major Scott Ritter was the chief UN weapons inspector for Iraq who repeatedly and publicly called the Wests WMD’s in Iraq line as complete bullshit before we illegally invaded Iraq.

    I’m not sure if it’s this interview or another recent interview but he predicts that once Russia reacts to the new sanctions on it in a few weeks they will cut off gas (45% of EU gas imports 2021) and oil (about a quarter of EU imports I’m led to believe) exports to the EU and NATO member states.

    If this is true not only will Russia get around most sanctions but the blow back from those sanctions will be even worse especially for Europe.

    NB: Not that I agree with the Russian invasion of Ukraine … but I try not to get my geopolitical information from the exact same political, beautification and mass media sources that bullshitted us 20 years ago and are currently glossing over the 6 million people killed in the war on terror in that time not to mention the illegal US occupation of a third of Syria stealing that countries sovereign oil and wheat reserves.

    As for the “Honourable” Leader of the Opposition I think the tag “Leader of the Shit Light Party” is most appropriate.

    And if my tone isn’t all that great well I’m a bit pissed off because my favourite socio-economic TV program “Renegade Inc” one of the few media sources covering MMT and interviewing MMT economists was just forced to cease production. It was on RT UK.

  11. “They Tell You That We Are Nazis…”

    Warning it is quite horrific

    So did all of the Western media until we started funding them and arming them to the teeth. Who now deny they Even exist.

    Which should come as no surprise to anybody. As It was our strategy in the Middle East when we funded and armed to the teeth the far right wing factions of Islam.

    British Empire playbook 101.

  12. Derek,

    The Jacobin article fails to mention the evidence for Russian interference in Ukraine’s affairs at the time of the Maidan protests. There is no doubt the US was supporting regime change just as Russia was supporting Yanukovych and assisted in “managing” the protests. It is also clear that the various oligarchs in the Ukraine were jockeying to maximize their political influence. The place is the wild west of Europe.

    Leftist commentators paint the Ukrainian rightists as fascists and Nazi collaborators when in fact they were people who despised the socialist Soviets. The irony is that leftist commentators want to the current fascist Russian regime to succeed in the Ukraine.

    What leftist commentators also ignore is the will of the mass of the Ukrainian people who want to turn away from Russia towards Europe. Of course there is a clear division of support – the further east one looks, the greater the support for Russia. The further west one looks, the greater the support for Europe. This is evident in the voting patterns in the 2004, 2010 and 2014 elections. Although, by the 2014 election, majority support for pro-Russian political parties was confined to the far east of Ukraine. Ironically, in the face of current events, in the 2019 election, Zelenskiy’s support was strongest in the east and waned towards the west.

    You talk about the leftist attitudes to NATO. The fact is the Finnish and Swedish governments are considering joining NATO. The Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians are shitting themselves in the face of potential Russian invasion. The Russians decry the eastward drift of NATO. It could not have done this without the support of the mass of peoples in the buffer states. These peoples have turned away from Russian towards Europe. They have spurned Russian oppression and interference in their affairs. The leftists ignore this fact entirely. While NATO does seek to influence the governments in the buffer states, it has never held a gun to the head of these peoples – the Russians have.

    The greatest irony of all is the leftist support for the fascist regime in Russia. Puzzlingly, somehow the Russian oligarchs and kleptocrats are more acceptable than US oligarchs. The US is decried for its appalling behaviour in Iraq and a myriad of other places yet the Russians can level Grozny and Aleppo and murder hundreds of thousands with impunity. The murder of members of the Russian opposition by the regime is of no consequence. The brutal suppression of dissent is of no consequence.

    Leftists speak as if it is only Russia that has legitimate strategic interests in Europe or at least has primacy over those of NATO and the fact that Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet need not be of concern. The truth is that the strategic stalemate in Europe has ensured that Russia has nothing to fear militarily from NATO. When has a NATO state attacked Russia in the last 75 years, since the end of WWII? Why did not NATO invade Russia at its (probably never to be repeated) weakest moment in the early 1990s? Why did NATO degrade and dismantle its conventional forces after the collapse of the Soviet Union? These facts do not support the notion that NATO is a military threat to Russia. Yet the Russians persist in attempting to dominate the buffer states, arguing that NATO is a strategic threat. This is pure Russian paranoia and expansionism.

  13. Dear Derek Henry,

    Please take a plane to Warsaw, head off to Central railway station (you can take a train) and start reading loudly the same supposedly leftist propaganda you are feeding us here to Ukrainian refugees (mostly women and children), stranded there. The fact that over a million people crossed the border with Poland is indisputable. Whatever happened in Maidan and regardless how much CIA and whoever else was involved is totally irrelevant when crimes against humanity are perpetrated by Vladimir Putin’s regime. By giving dodgy moral excuses that Russia was squeezed, by reciting arguments produced by Russian agents of influence, you have chosen to share the moral responsibility for the death and suffering of innocent people of Ukraine. Their blood is on your hands and it becomes personal. Because there are no “two sides of the coin” and there is no room for relativism when it comes to murdering women and children. You are defending war criminals by trying to shift the debate away from these facts. By defending the indefensible you are giving the best arguments supporting T.I.N.A. – that there is no alternative to liberalism because so-called leftists are blind to the reality and therefore potentially dangerous to the rest of humanity. Let me repeat it for the third or maybe fourth time. The fact that followers of Stepan Bandera committed genocide in Wołyń does not make another genocide committed in Mariupol any more morally acceptable. The possibility that CIA got Russia dragged into this war and that dodgy character were involved in the regime change in 2014 does not mean that you can defend killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure by Russian troops. The fact that the US bombed Iraq, Libya and many other countries does not change anything in this equations, waging major wars against neighbouring countries is NOT acceptable as a political tool in 21st century. You cannot expect Ukrainians or Russian-speakers or whoever else lives in Ukraine (Jews, Tatars, Poles) to surrender when they are attacked and bombed. So the war will drag on until the bitter end, when both Ukraine and Russia are destroyed (but at different levels). I think that you are trying to reframe and shift the debate, that there are historic rights and imperialism and all of that, using the arguments I thought became irrelevant after WWII. Hitler and Stalin were also producing these types of arguments to shift focus away from their crimes. We must not take this bait. I am not going to debate your claims about the role of NATO. To me this is not relevant. Please look straight into the eyes of Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw and tell them that they must suffer because of a whatever historical process, imperialism and all of that. Just like Mayakovsky did. But later (way too late) he realised his mistake. You may still avoid making it (and I hope you don’t have a Nagant).

    To me the only relevant facts in the field of view are that there is human suffering caused by a madman and there is also (small at the moment) risk of my home country being nuked by that madman. That madman and his cronies must be stopped at any cost lower than WWIII. This is the only framing which is relevant to me at this stage. Once the main problem is resolved we can get back to the usual debate about neoliberalism and all of that.

    Also regarding the combination of sanctions and protracted war this is more than enough to finish off Russia economically in the sense that their living conditions will be similar to what is currently in North Korea (which roughly corresponds to what was in the Soviet bloc in the 1950s-1960s). I disagree that having a sovereign currency plays any role here as all countries in a war go “fiat”. It is obvious now that China won’t substantially help Russia because they are playing their own game. The Russians are severely supply-side constrained in terms of technology. They can’t even make secure digital walkie-talkies in Russia, they have some garbage analogue frequency-hopping systems looking like someone’s MEng project, but in general Russian army is relying on communication equipment one can buy off eBay from China. They may have a few modern missiles and planes but the rest is straight from the Soviet Army depos. Not any better than the most of the Ukrainian gear – but the Ukrainians are getting better gear now and this is an element of war of attrition which Russia cannot win. Russia is thoroughly corrupt as a country and it can only get worse, the army has low morale and using Chechen as “blocking detachments” won’t solve any issues in the long run. (please look up “Order No. 227” on Wikipedia). Also middle class people (managers, intelligentsia ) are leaving Russia, who is going to invent and manufacture advanced weapons while the West is supplying state-of-the-art gear to the Ukrainians? In the end this tragic moment is most likely also the end to so-called Russia (Moskovskaya Rus) and most likely the moment Western liberalism has risen from its ashes. However the oil crisis sparked by this war will finally help us decarbonise as the pricing structure of the commodities has changed, making the renewable sources of energy more profitable in the long run.

  14. You used the word Irony quite a lot there Henry. So it is quite ironic that a lot of your reasoning is clearly a figment of your own imagination.

    The Jacobin article mentioned the Russian meddling quite clearly. You should read it properly next time instead of reading it between your fingers.

    All commentators from both the left and right painted them as Nazis and wrote about it considerably after the coup. Which can easily be found in left and right wing news archives. The very simple reason for that is because they are. You are in complete denial.

    Zelensky ran on a peace platform based on the Minsk agreement and promised to create a neutral Ukraine with equal representation. That explains the shifting patterns of the voting across Ukraine. Even a complete buffoon knows what happens next Henry. He done a full 180 and treated Eastern Ukraine like Vermin. Because he was just another patsy who had no power, a comedian who was comfortable talking in front of people. The Nazis had already taken over the parliament in the form of the Sovdova party using intimidation to do it. Sound familiar does it ? There’s those wind chimes blowing in the breeze again Henry.

    Once again you confuse independence with NATO. You can be independent without arming your country to the teeth placing missiles that can hit Moscow in 3 mins. Once again completely ignore the history of Cuba. How the US acted when it felt surrounded and missiles were going to be placed on America’s borders. Is it a referendum they hold in these countries to decide if they join NATO or is it just another neoliberal globalist puppet who decides if they join or not?

    The Russians didn’t level Grozny and Aleppo. Your TV fooled you again Henry which always seems to be the case. Your mind seems to be made of putty that your TV can bend to its will. Instead of reading different books from every point of view on the subject.

    Nobody supports what Russia is doing and I’m not even as left as you paint me to be. You paint me to be left wing to fit your narrative. But many people believe across the political spectrum the hypocrisy is just to much to accept. Believe Russia has a right to defend itself after being surrounded. That this is not about democracy it is about real resources and the theft of them.

    Finally and more importantly Henry – Do you really understand the MMT lens. Understand what Bill has been saying for over a decade?

    Yanukovych’s successor signed off on a round of privatization after Ukraine’s move to the West, raised the pension age, and slashed gas subsidies, urged on by then vice president Joe Biden. Ukraine’s move to the West, ushered in brutal austerity measures demanded by the IMF. After the US encouraged them to take the IMF loan. Unsurprisingly, angry Ukrainians voted with their feet and threw him out in a landslide.

    That’s MMT 101 Henry. What MMT warns countries against and is also the economic paradigm of NATO expansion. The expansion you clearly love so much. MMT economists have written about it for decades.

    That’s the problem with liberals Henry. Not only do they poison every river they touch. The fact the Ukrainian people voted in HUGE numbers to reject the type of freedom and liberty they were offering. The liberals imposed it on them anyway like a true authoritarian dictator.

    The liberals used censorship and the rolling back of free speech to achieve it. They crossed that Rubicon cheering and with ease. How very liberal of them.

    Please see South America, Middle East and European Union for details. The liberals imposed their version of freedom, liberty and democracy on these countries wether they liked it or not. MMT economists have explained how they did it. Bill has written a few books on the subject Henry.

    Nathan Tankus has just completed a fantastic podcast on Argentina.

    Nathan spoke to Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima, a law professor at the University of Leeds, and Chris Marsh, a macroeconomist at Exante Data, about their paper questioning the legality of the International Monetary Fund’s 2018 program in Argentina. The interview runs through the important background history to the IMF’s most recent Argentine program, the questionable changes which have been made to the IMF’s operating procedures in the past few decades and the legal constraints which are supposed to exist for IMF programs. Our guests went on to explain the specifics of the 2018 stand-by arrangement with the IMF and the reasons they think this program was particularly egregious economically, to the point of being illegal. Finally, we discussed the limited legal recourse Argentina has to challenge the legality of an IMF program and the implications all this has for the IMF’s Coronavirus response. This interview was recorded before the recent Ukraine crisis, but has obvious implications there too.

    Not only are you tone deaf and can’t hear the wind chimes of history. You are blind and don’t know how to use the MMT lens. Or if you do understand it you are selfish and only focus on yourself. Instead of shining it across the globe like a lighthouse and use it to see the atrocities carried out under the name of liberalism. Constantly confuse independence, with the economic paradigm of NATO expansion.

    My guess is you could probably paint by numbers but simply cannot connect the dots and see how neoliberalism, globalism and NATO expansion are all linked in the same “mythical ” economic paradigm that MMT’rs have fought against for years. Your child like imagination that clearly makes things up to support you narrative just gets in the way.

    Give me a belly laugh Henry. Get your paint brush out Henry and paint by numbers and show me what picture of freedom and Liberty and macroeconomics you would impose in Ukraine and the Baltic states and across the EU. Even though NATO expansion has already completed that project.

    That ship has already sailed. As Your conscious turned up too late to the party, as you watched silently as NATO murdered children in the name of liberalism. What trick do you have up your sleeve that will appease the Pentagon and the CIA. What will you be offering them. Why would they support your vision.

    When you can’t even change the one party nation state you live in to how you want it to be. When the people you are going to impose your vision on might not even want it. How authoritarian are going to be Henry on the Dictator scale to achieve your vision. Are you going to be Hilary, Bill Clinton and Obama like and just murder a few hundred thousand or are you going to go full pol pot on me.

    Using your child like imagination explain to me how you would fix Ukraine that the Minsk agreement didn’t already have covered?

    I doubt you can even get passed the “West good – Russia had narrative.”

  15. “Unelectable”

    Maybe you should elaborate a bit on what you mean here, because much as we may dislike it, someone is going to be elected in May.

    As far as I can see being “electable” involves not being “afraid” of coal and of touting “gas-lead” recoveries. It involves keeping the “trains running” and the “lights on”. It involves keeping the unions in line and gaslighting the unemployed. I don’t even want to think about what it means for new migrants and First Nations.

    If that is what you mean when you say the ALP is “unelectable”, then it is a backhanded complement of a sort I guess, but I think it would be hard for a professional politician to take it so.

    It is sort of like criticising Pepsi for being too much like Coca Cola. No doubt they would be more socially useful if they were marketing herbal tea, but that’s not the game they are playing, not the market that needs to be contested.

    When you tell a politician they are “unelectable”, you can be sure they will try to fix that by being more like those currently elected and not by setting up a YouTube channel.

    The way to get Pepsi to market herbal tea is for every Coca Cola customer to start buying herbal tea. Stopping drinking Pepsi is just going to make them try to be more like Coca Cola.

  16. Henry,

    As Google blocks a documentary about Ukraine by the award-winning Oliver Stone from Youtube, Ukraine on fire. It is worth remembering that Director of Trust & Safety at Google, Ben Renda, was employed by NATO as a Strategic Planner & Information Manager.

    The White House is briefing TikTok users about Ukraine. The Top 30 influencers are being told what to say about Ukraine. It is also alarming that the current Livestream Policy Manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa at TikTok, Greg Anderson, worked in psychological operations for NATO.

    A free society is not shaped like this.

    We have a one-party parliament, a one-party media. Contrary voices are being systematically eliminated, one by one, by a one-party big-tech army of auxiliaries.

    This is the liberal democracy they want to export around the world. Russia today, anyone they feel like doing it to tomorrow.

    Ramin Mazaheri tried to be explain it ….

    ” For many years Europeans have said the European Union was the only way to have peace on the continent. I always had a tough time seeing the direct correlation.

    I often wondered if the thinking was: Europeans are so bloodthirsty and savage that they have to join themselves together just to keep from killing each other. It reminded me of English critic A.A. Gill’s explanation of why the English line up in a queue so well – because, “if they didn’t, they’d kill each other.”

    The claim that the EU is a force for peace only works if one looks at it this way: There has not been a war between the current members of the EU since 1945, therefore, all one needs to do in order to enjoy peace is to join the EU – those who won’t join will either get invaded, destabilised or forced to join. Basically, join the “universal value” of the EU or face a “humanitarian intervention” of some sort – people behave as if these ideas are passé just because the politicians who originally uttered them have aged out of office, but they are truly part and parcel of EU ideology.

    The claim that the EU is somehow pacifist and benevolent was always nonsense but it was an idea pushed endlessly by the UK’s Remainers and Europhiles. They will have much more difficulty now. Even if a definite European army isn’t going to come out of the current two-day meeting at Versailles of EU leaders, there’s going to be a giant step towards that.

    The average European knows – via the Age of Austerity – that the EU is not at all benevolent, and many of them want out. A February poll conducted by France’s top polling agency found that a whopping 63% of France are favourable to a referendum on Frexit.

    What’s interesting is that only 11% of respondents were totally opposed to a referendum – it’s truly just a small minority which is strongly attached to the EU. That minority is the hardcore half of the “Bourgeois Bloc” in France, which is led by Emmanuel Macron. ”

    Why Brexit was an IQ test.

    Neoliberalism, Globalism and NATO are all linked. What I have been trying to explain in detail on Billy Blog over the last 6 months. The war in Ukraine exposed it for all to see. If you know what you are looking for. How the current economic paradigm is the heart and soul of NATO expansion. Is geopolitical foreign policy.

    So this question now remains – Have the US and NATO overplayed their hand and have they gone too far?

    As people marched in Italy over the weekend to leave NATO. Will other countries follow and simply realise without Russia or China They could very easily be next ?

  17. The Jerusalem Post highlighted the problem in 2015 Henry

    The United States has been at war for 225 of the 246 years it’s been in existence. That’s more than 91% of the time they’ve been a nation. No other nation on earth comes close. It’s basically all they do.

    Thought what a wonderful idea it would be to fund and arm these lunatics to the teeth to provoke Russia. After Russia lost millions of lives to the Nazis in World War 2.

  18. Dear All

    I think the conversation about NATO, Russia and all the rest of it, inasmuch as people are not talking about MMT issues has run its course here and I will delete comments from now on.

    If there are MMT consequences then please continue to comment but for now we are done with this topic.

    best wishes

  19. I have come to this late in the conversation but my favourite Elvis songs are In the Ghetto and Kentucky Rain 😉

  20. In your income rip off chart, why is nominal GDP growth in terms of hours worked and worker income in terms of real wages not nominal wages? Shouldn’t they be compared either on a nominal or real basis but not both?

  21. Dear Tom Nugent

    The output measure is constant price GDP per hour worked. The numerator and denominator are both in real terms. I took it for granted that a national accounts measure like this would be easily understood.

    Best wishes

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