As I began to prepare dinner tonight it was our turn to do without power for two hours so that other folk could get a turn at watching the Plasma TV with the AC on. It reminded me of a similar evening back when Jeff Kennett came to power and he embraced Hawke and Keating’s privatisation agenda and flogged off public transport and the power grid to foreign corporations.
The power failed as I was preparing a family meal one hot evening. I was really pissed off about Economic Rationalism*, Tatcherism, Reaganism, Friedmanism Free Marketism – all I am saying is give public a chance. It was a crock from the start. Sure, there’s a mercantile market, and so there should be, but those assets essential to civil infrastructure are best provided by government on behalf of the public, not given as playthings to greedy, fearful, and oh so fallible market traders.
To all those free market acolytes – thanks a lot!
And another thing. The Rudd government needs to mandate flat-tariff prices for all alternative energy fed back into the national grid. This would encourage individuals to invest in energy generating capacity, if for no other reason than to avoid being at the complete mercy of Powercor. We need distributed energy systems – a bit like an electric internet – flexible, localised energy hubs reducing the burden on centralised generation. Let’s just get on with it. How else is everyone on the planet going to be able to watch a Plasma TV? Might have to cut back on the AC ‘though!
* Here’s the ditty I wrote in the style of a Christie Moore ballad. It sang better than it scans in print. but hey, I wasn’t as musically adept back then. It has been a while. I was older then but I’m younger that that now.
Owed to Economic Rationalism
I was in the kitchen late the other night
Off went the power, and out went the light
Right in the middle of my culinary chores
I tried to ring our private Powercor
There wasn’t a single living soul to be found
A recorded message went round and round
Staff are downsized, from blackouts preserve us
For profits have replaced customer service
Where the bloody hell is the rhyme or the reason
To this so-called economic rationalism
People’s well-being, homes and careers
All sacrificed to the free marketeers
Wealthy men of power, self-interest and greed
Are busy trying to tell us just what we need
We must work harder, there’s no time to relax
To increase their profits and decrease their tax!
Feasting on crumbs from the rich man’s table
Thin men will get fat is the modern day fable
Yet the thin get thinner while the fat get fatter
And a decent job for all no longer seems to matter
Survival of the fittest, is now the daily creed
No more sacrificing for a common need
Now it’s user pays and we must privatise
As public assets vanish before your very eyes
Our factories are told they have to compete
On the global market or we’ll surely face defeat
We must do our best to make a level playing field
Costs must be lowered ‘though unemployment builds
For the common people there is little concern
As long as the wealthy have money to burn
Government policy is more concerned now
With the FT100, the Hang Seng and Dow
For ratings and resources now we must compete
And as in days of old the wealthy are elite
The poor and disadvantaged no longer have a voice
As equity’s replaced by efficiency and ‘choice’
If you need a doctor because you’re feeling ill
You better be sure you can afford the bill
Or you’ll be placed on the waiting list instead
And before you get better you may well be dead
No more public housing can we afford
With private landlords the homeless can board!
And if the rent and the bond you struggle to meet
There’s plenty of room out on the street
Where it will end is anybody’s guess
How long before the politicians confess
That their policies have caused so much sorrow and distress
And left us an economic, irrational bloody mess
I guess if one day the power just doesn’t come back on, all bets are off.
This is my 300th Bollocks post!