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John Passant

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Miniposts

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)

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Bankers: taking us to the cleaners

Bankers are a pack of worthless, useless, value destroying arseholes.  And these money grubbing low life get paid millions to stuff things up and then survive on handouts from us and pay themselves huge bonuses for their ‘success’.

It’s good to know that the latest research, from the New Economics Foundation, backs me up. According to their most recent report A bit rich: calculating the real value to society of different professions

While collecting salaries of between £500,000 and £10 million, … City bankers  …  destroy £7 of social value for every pound in value they generate.

On the other hand they estimated that: 

[F]or every £1 [hospital cleaners] are paid, over £10 in social value is generated.

It was the same with advertising agents and accountants (social value destroyers) and childcare workers and waste recycling workers (social value creators).

Given the social value the City bankers destroy, we’d actually as a society be better off without them (and advertising agents and accountants to the rich and powerful.)

After all, sub-prime loans, derivatives like options and swaps in bond and foreign exchange markets, margin trading and short selling in the stock market, collateralised debt options, hedge funds, index futures, warrants … none of them create new value.

In fact by hiding real risk they create short term benefits for their creators and others. However long term these ‘innovative financial products’ lay the groundwork for a collapse in financial markets with flow on effects to the productive economy where profit rates are stagnant.

At the moment it may be that we are in the upswing of a W shaped recession, but as Greece and much of Eastern Europe, along with Iceland and Ireland show, all is still not well in the fairy land of global capitalism. Britain could be the next domino to fall after Greece.

The NEF uses their estimates to justify a curb on high pay as well as lifting the minimum wage.

It argues for a more progressive tax system and universal child care and paid parental leave. It posits a program of millions of green jobs and suggests that we should be building social and environmental values into prices to to change relative profitability.

The NEF is a radical keynesian outfit. Its solutions are developed within the framework of capitalism and the continued exploitation of the working class. 

For example Eilis Lawlor, spokeswoman for the New Economics Foundation, argues for a radical re-ordering of pay structures. She said:

Pay levels often don’t reflect the true value that is being created. As a society, we need a pay structure which rewards those jobs that create most societal benefit rather than those that generate profits at the expense of society and the environment.

This cannot happen under capitalism.  The bankers will continue to receive their bonuses for bullshit and hospital workers will be paid crap. 

As Marx, Lenin and Trotsky argued, paying people according to the social value they create is one of the first tasks of a successful workers’ revolution. 

For example Trotsky in the Revolution Betrayed argues that:

in its first steps the workers’ state cannot yet permit everyone to work “according to his abilities” – that is, as much as he can and wishes to – nor can it reward everyone “according to his needs”, regardless of the work he does. 

He goes on to say:

In order to increase the productive forces, it is necessary to resort to the customary norms of wage payment – that is, to the distribution of life’s goods in proportion to the quantity and quality of individual labor.

So while the NEF argues for solutions within capitalism, the logic of its position appears to me to be inexorable. Capitalism can’t and won’t build social and environmental values into pricing. Even if it did, the essential exploitative nature of capitalism would continue and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall would assert itself.

Only a fundamental re-ordering of society to one where production is organised democratically to satisfy human need can overcome the catastrophic profit cycle and reinvestment addiction and thus truly value human worth, not eventually in terms of money or pay, but in terms of contribution to society and then in the ultimate abolition of exchange value.

However that is but the first step. As Marx wrote in the Critique of the Gotha Programme:

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

We are a long way indeed from that!

Nevertheless the NEF’s research is worthwhile and useful in the struggle for a just society in the here and now.

Every time one of those apologists for finance capital starts telling us what a great contribution to society bankers make, we can quote the NEF’s 7:1 value destruction ratio back at them.

Get rid of the bankers and their advertising and accounting mates. Pay child care workers, hospital cleaners and waste recyclers much much more. Pay postal workers and BA cabin crews much much more!

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Comments

Comment from Arjay
Time December 16, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Who are the least productive on the planet, yet are the most powerful determining who US presidents shall be?Yes it is the Banksters.

They actually rule the planet at the moment.Their power exists only because of the fractional reserve banking system in the creation of money from nothing.

If you counterfeit $22 million ,it is akin to stealing one $ from every person in Australia.Banks do this with impunity on a daily basis.

With just 3.4% average inflation we have a compounding depreciation of our currency of over 40% in 10 yrs.

This is why the worker cannot possibly catch up and why our living standards continue to fall.

They have been doing this for over 300 yrs.One $ today will is worth just 2 cents back in 1913.

Comment from Abi
Time December 16, 2009 at 11:56 pm

As i was reading your article i thought, wow this sounds great. But then you lost me when you quoted Marx. Its not that i didnt understand, its just that i’m a 21st century kid who would love for people like you and the left to come up with alternative views rather than continuing the rhetoric of the old that never worked and never will. I whole heartedly believe in this as the human consciousness will always defy your old views. So please start preaching something different that we can all support.

Comment from John
Time December 17, 2009 at 6:36 am

Abi, the concepts from Marx are important to understand hwo we can get to a society which really rewards the true worth of people – for example pays cleaners and childcare workers and tax office staff their real worth, and stops paying bankers millions. I thought some more about what you said and added in the quote from Trotsky to make it clearer that the NEF’s dream of fair pay was just that under captialism – a dream.
The ideas of dead men dominate all our thinking and action today. The point is to take radical ideas and translate them into soemthing suitable for today.

Comment from Marco
Time December 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

John and all,

Sorry for the off-topic comment, but today appeared this SMH note that might interest you:

ATO cracks down on quick sales
by Jacob Saulwick
December 17, 2009
http://www.smh.com.au/business/ato-cracks-down-on-quick-sales-20091216-kxjq.html

It appears that ATO finally decided to do something about corporate raiders. As this follows some of your ideas, John, as published here, I thought this may be of interest.

It goes without saying, though, that it remains to be seen is if TPG will actually pay any taxes.

Comment from Arjay
Time December 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm

The International Reserve Banks want a Global Currency.This was raised at the last G20 meeting.This is something we must fight to the bitter end.Mayer Rotheschild,”Give me control over a nation’s currency and I care not who makes the laws.”

They are intentionally trashing the US $ to eventually achieve this aim.The have created the crisis and now will offer a solution of their choosing and benefit.

We must fight this to the bitter end.How much do you treasure your liberty?

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