Perhaps the "Brexit" vote and the recent election results in Australia should be looked at together. It seems that too often, the public is expected to "believe as faith statements" those which are, in fact, contestable hypotheses and in particular, that "free trade" and "globalisation" are somehow good for the economy and hence us. The older generation is blamed for Brexit, but it seems forgotten that older baby-boomers and their parents voted for the UK membership of the EU in 1975. Perhaps they have cause to question what they voted for in 1975?
Free-trade theory is 200 years old, and the conditions upon which it is based haven't existed for at least 100. Why should the predicted results? Free-trade theory only guarantees full employment; it does not make any promises about the types of jobs, their location, the rates of pay nor their permanence. Has any politician bothered to tell us this?
More recently, mathematical economists have been revisiting free-trade theory and openly challenge the conclusions; the two country model of 200 years ago isn't valid in today's multinational banking and corporate world and the theory of "comparative advantage" cannot be shown to always work. It is "comparative advantage" that is used as the rationale for globalising a country's economy, as distinct from simply selling stuff like coal and iron-ore to overseas markets.
The other feature behind Brexit was the sense of loss of sovereignty. Our governments have increasingly signed us up for unelected, undemocratic governance by multinational corporations. One example of this is the way that rulings of the World Trade Court become binding on governments (except perhaps the USA and China). Our own courts are open, why are WTC hearings held in secret? Is it reasonable that a body that has powers greater than governments be so opaque? What of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal? Why was that conducted with so much secrecy in Australia (and Canada)? Perhaps if politicians explained what they were doing, treating the public with dignity, respect and intelligence, using the ten-second sound bite to present reasoned arguments and to open debate rather than self-promotion, we might get somewhere towards a workable parliament, elected by an informed citizenry. The alternative is always a "hung Parliament" and divided Senate, for our own self-protection.
Perhaps the "Please Explain" message of 20 years ago is just as relevant today.
P. Woof, Mollymook
If people started cleaning up tomorrow it would take one thousand years for the oceans of the world to correct themselves. The world can’t wait for someone to invent a solution just in the nick of time.
Microscopic pieces of plastic with a life span of 450 years are being ingested by marine creatures and have found their way into the food chain. This pollution problem is out of sight, out of mind and requires a consistent approach with people chipping away at it until nations respond in a united way.
At the June Ordinary meeting Council took yet another step in the right direction to keep the Shoalhaven environment unspoilt. All other councillors came on board and voted unanimously to support a group of local champions led by Monica Mudge to implement the Take 3 initiative.
Eighty per cent of all ocean pollution is land based and the Take 3 initiative is an attempt to stop it at its source. Keep your eyes open for the Take 3 signs being installed around the Shoalhaven.
I am pleased to have played a small part in establishing the Take 3 for the Sea Initiative and am inspired by the amount of work Monica Mudge has done in turning her vision into reality. She is proof that ‘determination wins in the end.’
Cr M. Kitchener, Mollymook
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