An article today in The Age by my very favourite journalist Kenneth Davidson, is titled, 'The AWB scandal is a lesson on the pitfalls of privatisation'. And of course relates to the bribery scandal of the Wheat board and Iraq.
It got me thinking about a pet topic I have going around my head at the moment. That is that we as a species will find it almost impossible to wind back, unravel, undo, the way we survive. We are very good at inventing ways of survival, or reinventing our habitat. But if we were met with the challenge of undoing technology or reducing our populations, using less of things we consume as nations we don't just don't get it. We always want to do better than the last generation. We can pull together to improve our lot, but not to [in our eyes] diminish our standards of living.
Privatisation has been part of all that, because 'Wealth creation' is the corner stone of a capitalist society and by and large that is the predominant system around at the moment. I see privatisation as a last ditch attempt by big business to take from the many and give to the few. And I don't just mean the assets that they are taking, but the control as well.
If we want to control the green house gases, or the water resources, the energy consumption, Limit the population growth, protect the environment. All these things and more, require good unselfish governance, not privatised companies running these sensitive areas with profit as a motive, and a way out, if it all gets too messy.
An example of how bad governance that allows big business to get away with corruption. One response from the Government can be, 'I know nothing response.' If as prime minister you claim you haven't been told, you therefore don't know, so you can't be blamed. Or as our prime minster says of the AWB bribery scandal.
"There was absolutely no belief anywhere in the government at the time that the AWB was anything other than a company of great reputation. It had been involved in the wheat trade since the 1930s, it had not entered my mind that it could have acted corruptly."
This is a company that had been given the unique position of being the sole exporter of Australian Wheat. A monopolist in a capitalist world. Allowed by a government that professed to support free trade and enterprise. Note: [Take from the many give to the few] style of capitalism.
So in a world where we increasingly need to put our resources into sorting out our environmental problems our government shut their eyes to hundreds of millions of dollars going to a regime that we were at war with, in the form of bribes to prop up a dictator that we were being told had to be deposed with force.
Our government is a disgrace in so many areas, and to boot they have wasted the prosperity of the last decade on this kind of behaviour.
By the way congratulations to Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Lets hope they win the next election and bring about some honesty to governance in Australia.