Smokin' Mirrors wants you!!
I would like to try a little experiment with you, dear
readers, if I may. Occasionally some comments filter through about this and
that, but really they are pretty minimal, which for me suggests that a door
should be opened, into which you should feel comfortable enough to tread. In
your hip pocket, I would just request that you carry your ideas for the future.
See, politics is relentless. Every week I
scour and scan story after story, discuss issues, keep my eye on what's
happening, but at the end of the day, it's really all about how our lives are
being run according to certain guidelines made by others.
One of those guidelines I would like to talk
with you about today, and then afterwards, I would like very much to open the
floor for some discussion. I'm not too bothered about whether you are going to
agree with what I have said, but I would like to see if there is anyone
out there who has an alternative plan for the world we live in. That might be
an alternative political system, social system, health, education or beer
drinking system: today, I would like to talk about economics.
Now, before you groan and switch over to the
next column, let's consider this point: without any knowledge of how economics
works, you will never have a hope in hell of reforming didly squat. So, has
anyone thought about the pros and cons of each economic system (without
prejudice, that is)?
Well I, for one, am convinced that liberalism
will be the downfall of the human race, but I will try to look at it without my
bias, just for this exercise. In theory, liberalism is all about buying and
selling fairly and equally. No tariffs, no government interference, no
subsidies to undercut other nations' products, etc, etc. One of the biggest
supporters of this system is of course the
easy to see that what is being said on one hand is largely being ignored in
practice. The government and business actually work very close together to
create new business – the proof is in all of those nice no-bid contracts going
The Iraqi's, on the other hand, have just about lost control of their own
natural resources; instead they have been opened up for private enterprise.
Of course, domestically, liberalism had had a
deep impact upon the social structure of most developed nations already.
Healthcare, education, welfare, correctional facilities and more are now
largely, if not wholly in some cases, under the jurisdiction of private
enterprise. What that means for the baby boomers who are now at retiring age
will be only a drop in the bucket for what Generation X will face after they
are done with a life of work. One thing that is certain, however, is that the
privatisation of social services is largely untested on a retiring generation.
Generation X had better be paying some attention to the baby boomers right now
if they want to see just a slice of what they're in for when it's their turn to
hang up the work belt.
For developing countries, liberalism has not
really been the answer (as was clearly stated by many speakers in the latest
World Bank ABCDE Conference in
recently, where is was largely acknowledged that liberalism has had a negative
effect on the economies of developing countries in the short term. There is now
much analysis going on to ascertain whether the long-term outlook will see them
fare any better). So, what is the answer for developing countries?
A look at the recent shift in attitude
towards natural resources gives us some clue. Resource security is THE most
important issue of our times, and developing nations who nationalise their
resources, particularly those that generate power, such as oil and gas, will be
leaps ahead in the next 10 to 20 years. Owning their own resources will help to
get them out of debt, which most developing nations have been struggling with
since the inception of the IMF, the World Bank and, later, the trade policies
of the WTO.
This should not, however, leave the door open
for a small group of people (i.e., the politicians and their cronies) to skim
the cream off the people's wealth. Like any economic system, State
interventionist policies must have clear checks and balances to achieve what
they should set out to do: underwrite the social development of a nation.
There are more economic theories out there,
but for now, I will leave you with the debate underway, and I hope that this
discussion can be continued over the next few weeks. So, I will leave you with
Q. You have just been assigned to office in a
landslide win, your campaign based on policies of government funded education,
healthcare and retirement, invalid and parenting pensions. You encourage women
in the workforce by creating more equitable working agreements for both men and
women to become shared care givers of their children. You encourage new
business by investing in the international competitiveness of your nation's
scientists, scholars and corporations. Lastly, you instigate tough measures to
protect the environment, but do so by creating open forums between scientists,
environmentalists and the economic community.
What economic system would you use? (You can
make up your own – oh, and you can make up your won campaign policies too! I
know mine are very ideal).
I look forward to hearing form you all!
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