Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Just Who Is Pulling the Strings?

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Just Who Is Pulling the Strings?

Article excerpt

Byline: GREG WILDIE

THE January 23rd 2001 New York Times column by Paul Krugman entitled aThe Competition Mytha should be nailed to the foreheads of politicians everywhere.

Krugman holds a Nobel Prize for economics and is by definition no mug.

He asks the very pertinent question that our political masters seem to lack the intelligence to ask: Where is it written in stone that what is good for the corporations is good for the country?

To the layman, this would seem an obvious issue to investigate. After all, a chief executive officer who increases the corporate profit margins by reducing the workforce is generally hailed as a success.

Woe betide any government that proposes the same measures to improve the economy.

In most civilized countries, full employment is seen by the masses as desirable. This is not necessarily the position of governments.

Judging by the bleating about the lack of qualified tradesmen and the risk of wage inflation, which from another perspective is merely the sheeting home of the result of industry being too tight to train staff, and the emerging possibility of trained staff getting paid what they are actually worth, one would form the impression that governments and their industrial mates actually see around 15 per cent unemployment as the desired position.

That gives just enough taxation to keep the basic functions of government while ensuring competition for jobs prevents the masses from getting uppity.

Thus forcing staff to work unpaid overtime becomes abeing competitivea while walking out with a bushel of office supplies remains theft.

Krugman is not so gauche as to point this out directly. He writes for the NYT after all, not the Daily Worker, but there are enough hard questions in his article to jerk most politicians out of their comfort zone.

What sense does it make to view current (US) woes as stemming from lack of competitiveness?

Short of finding another planet to export to, how can every country be more competitive, produce more and have more jobs in industry, agriculture or commerce?

If only some countries are producers, how do the consumers get their income?

Short of war, how does the US force China to shrink its trade surplus?

Given that GE earns more than half its income offshore and has less than half its company based in the US, why the immediate assumption that what is good for GE is good for the US?

In our terms, given that most of our large corporations are foreign owned, how is their benefit guaranteed to benefit Australians rather than merely being a capitulation to the threat of withdrawing investment?

Krugman says aThe financial crisis of 2008 was a teachable moment, an object lesson in what can go wrong if you trust a market economy to regulate itself. …

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