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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Smart Politicians Stand Naked Before Labor's Master: Ideological Stupidity

By Con George-Kotzabasis June 28, 2016

Since the economically profligate Whitlam era, the only Labor government that was bracketed off from Labor’s inveterate stupidity was the Hawke-Keating government. The present leadership of Shorten-Bowen taking a leftist turn in its politics, like the Rudd-Gillard administrations had done, as adumbrated in its pre-electoral commitments of “big-government,” is repudiating the prudent policies of Hawke-Keating and wilfully adopting, retrogressively, the stupid and disastrous paradigm of European socialism that had sunk Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus into the abyss of bankruptcy, economic crisis, and political instability. Moreover, it is doing so in the face when even the Scandinavian haven of the social democratic Welfare state is severely clipped of its largesse, as at last has been realised to be no longer economically viable. Anders Borg, the wunderkind as finance minister of Sweden, initiated the incremental dismantling of the Welfare state, lowered taxes in the private sector, which has galvanized the creation of new jobs. 

Returning back home. The leftist political editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Mark Kenny, is forecasting “dire trouble” for Labor on the debt and deficit front. Terry McCrann, of The Daily Telegraph, ominously declares “Shorten would plunge the country into greater debt”. And Henry Ergas, of The Australian, claims that even the latest backflips of Labor will not be sufficient to close the deficit gap and its “mythmakers” will be tempted “to conjure revenue increases out of thin air, just as the Rudd-Gillard governments did pointing to a golden future time when receipts would soar.”

But to believe in myths and tales of future increases in revenue, when The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund slash hopes of economic growth in the near future, is highly precarious, as it would lead the country into complacency and prevent it from taking the necessary measures to countervail a looming long recession. Furthermore, such a possibility is strengthened with the present event of Brexit, which could ominously beget both the dismemberment and the disintegration of the UK and the European Union, whose widespread ramifications upon the geopolitical and economic spheres of the world would devastate any prospects of economic growth for many years. And it is most unlikely that there will be, like in 2008, another China to save Australia from woeful economic distress.

Further, Labor with egregious lack of imagination and foresight is not factoring-in such imponderables as a precipitous fall in world prices of minerals in a context of world recession and the calamitous consequences that would follow, hitting public finances to smithereens and engendering a seriality of deficits with no hope of being reduced, with the outcome of plunging the country into the abyss of bottomless debt and insolvency. Is Bill Shorten going to be the “Maduro” of Australia, who, as the world price of oil dropped to lower depths, as a socialist president of Venezuela, continued the dissolute economic policies of his predecessor, Chavez, that turned the country from contrived prosperity to real poverty, once the government coffers were emptied, and indeed, into a hunting ground for dogs and cats to feed his people?

It goes without saying, of course, that this is an exaggeration and one could hardly imagine Australians shooting dogs and cats to feed themselves. It is merely used as an example to emphasize the dangers overshadowing an economy, when its Stewarts, the government, insouciantly do not take in consideration future possible events that could dramatically affect the economic course of a country and do not take prospective measures that would shield the country from such catastrophic effects.

One asks the question why the smart as they come politicians of Labor, such as Andrew Leigh, the assistant shadow treasurer of Labor, let their guard down and are reluctant to prepare themselves for these uncertainties of the future, believing that Australia somehow is protected by divine mandate from the ills of world recession and that Australia’s “economy is indestructible”, to quote Rex Connor, a minister in Whitlam’s government? For people who have studied the policies of Labor over a number of years the answer is simple and obvious. All their major policies are motivated by their passionate belief in the socialist utopia. And the implementation of these policies requires, according to this ideological schema, big and interventionist government and hence, high taxes; and the redistribution of wealth and not its greater increase are their priority. Despite the glaring evidence showing that augmenting the size of wealth is the only and sure way to enhance the standard of living of the ordinary people. The latter proposition has indisputable historical precedents, as it was the flourishing and ever increasing wealth of capitalism, that for the first time in history, pulled millions of people from the hovels of poverty onto peaks of prosperity. But Labor is blind before this historical fact. Like a drug addict Labor is fixed to its socialist doctrine and lives in a stupefied world of unreality and wishful thinking.

The matchsticks foundations of socialism are collapsing all over the world, especially in Europe, yet Bill Shorten’s Labor continues adamantly to believe that from this wreckage one could still build the just and equal society as envisaged by Labor’s quixotic visionaries. It is under this standard of socialist ideology that Shorten undermines and repudiates the prudent and pragmatic policies of the Hawke-Keating government, whose “Accord” between employers and workers engendered a congenial milieu for investments and the creation of new jobs with the consequence of increasing the living standard of Australians. Bill Shorten’s silence about these productive structural reforms and fiscal frugality of the Hawke-Keating era that had put Australia on a track of prosperity is a contemptuous affront to the two architects of these reforms. It was therefore rather surprising and amusing to have seen the two conductors of this inimitable political and economic performance sitting on the front-row of Shorten’s Launch of the Labor campaign, clapping at a leader who had mockingly renounced their wise policies. For Paul Keating, especially, standing next to Bill Shorten who had adopted and announced policies that would lead to a “Banana Republic,” it must have been an exceedingly painful occasion. Perhaps as painful as replacing Placedo Domingo with rock-and-roll.


I rest on my oars: You turn now

Thursday, June 02, 2016

How the Good Intentions of a Left-Wing Economist Lead to a Bad Result


By Con George-Kotzabasis May 19, 2016

The following is an unconsummated reply to professor Andrew Leigh’s lecture with the title,  “Markets Monopolies and Moguls…” held at Melbourne University, on May 19, 2016. This was due to the chairman’s instruction that only a sprinkle of questions would follow the end of the presentation and there would be no debate 

I’m overly distrustful of people who use scarecrows, in this case the “mogul” Richard Pratt, to make their argument. Moreover, it is a term associated with sinister practices and easily tantalizes and incites the feelings of the crowd to purge the evildoers. But more dismally it is wrong in your case, as it is an exercise in a fallacy of composition: Just because there are few rotten apples in the cart it does not mean that all apples are rotten. The unprecedented prosperity of capitalism was not engendered by rottenness but by the creative, innovative, and dynamic spirit of entrepreneurship.

The great economic historian, Fernand Braudel, depicts the shifts of capitalist centres and their entrepreneurial moguls, from Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, Amsterdam, London, to New York, spreading boundless prosperity to these metropolises and their environs by means of the ceaseless division of labour, international trade and the capitalist dynamic ethos of entrepreneurial creation. It was the sun-king of entrepreneurial capitalism that had pulled millions of people out of the sunless caves of poverty into the sunlit vistas of capitalist plenitude, heightening their standard of living, for the first time in history, on ever-higher plateaus.

(The scientific writer, Arthur Koestler, contends that the great discoveries of science were motivated by ambition, competition, and vanity, which happen also to be the inherent characteristics of capitalist moguls.)

You have mentioned a lot of negatives about “bigness” and market concentration but not the fact that they rather have a short life since there is no blockage of entry in a competitive economy to other entrepreneurs into these concentrated areas. One example, the entry of the innovative entrepreneur ALDI into the food-chain services and its reduction of the prices of its products in comparison to other chains, not only attracted many consumers to its stores but also forced the other two major super markets of COLES and WOOLWORTHS to reduce their prices at the feel of the competitive pinch of the newcomer. Competition does not discriminate between big and small but it equally affects both.

But to deal with your argument that inequality should be a major consideration in competition policy, and regulating mergers and prices would be beneficial to the consumer. The competitive market in itself, without the need of regulation, spreads its cheaper products to an ever-greater number of consumers and therefore decreases inequality. The competition of Telstra and Optus is an example. The same applies to iPods. Ride a train, a bus, or a tram and you will see even the lower classes fully equipped with these cheaper gadgets of a competitive technology and once again the line of inequality is lowered down for the less wealthy consumer.

It is not the business of government to regulate mergers and pricing. This is the bailiwick of entrepreneurs who decide if such a merger will be profitable, whether it will be able to compete with an already established corporation producing the same product, and setting its price on such a level that it will attract consumers to buy its product en masse. 

Furthermore, as far as the regulation is close to the estimates and interests of the entrepreneurs it is superfluous; and as far as it is distanced from these estimates and interests, it is destructive. No businessman will invest his money in a venture where profit is unattainable. Hence, your regulation, that aborts the setting-up of a merger that would produce cheaper products for the consumer, by depriving the latter from having these goods, increases the inequality of the mass consumer. Not surprisingly, as often happens, good intentions lead to bad results.

Therefore, your proposal of government dirigisme as a panacea in regards to competition and regulation is inutile, fanciful, and fallacious, and more perniciously may turn out to be a destructive force.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now






Friday, May 20, 2016

Dangers Lurking in Having a Big Heart for Refugees of Muslim Origins

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It is most unwise to have a “big heart” for refugees indiscriminately as one might finish-up with no heart for refugees at all, as Europe has presently shown by closing its borders. This is because its foolish politicians never asked the crucial questions, i.e., what is the cultural and religious background of these refugees and whether they would be assimilable to Western culture.

Presently, the heart of Europe is mortally threatened by two great implacable foes: By the peaceful enemy of demographics and by the bellicose enemy of Islamist terror. Just two examples: In Holland, 33% of children under the age of fifteen are Muslim; in the welfare bliss of Norway, there are Muslim enclaves where indigenous Norwegians are persona non grata. And one must not delude oneself that Islamist terror is an ephemeral threat or a rivulet within the Muslim mainstream; on the contrary, it is a powerful current that determines the course of the mainstream. Thus European humanitarianism in an adolescent rush of romanticism, embraced its beloved refugees only to find out that it had embraced its own destroyer.

The great Islamist scholar Bernard Lewis, predicts, that if this sinister trend of demographics does not change, Europe will be Muslim in seventy years, if it is not destroyed first by suicidal fanatics.

Australia also faces the same predicament, perhaps even in a more exacerbated form. With 250 million Muslims on its north and a sizable and ever increasing Muslim Diaspora on its land, and the possibility in the near future of a military conflict with Indonesia, it would become a lethal fifth column. In such a situation, Australia will hardly be able to prevent its decapitation by the myrmidons of fanatic Islam.

A grandmother warned that one had to be very careful where one put his loyalty and his genetic organ. It is advisable that humanitarian policy-makers on open-door non-discriminatory migration take notice of this grandmotherly precept.        



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Marx and his Reincarnation Continue to be Hotbed of Gross Erata

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The following is a very brief reply to professor of economics Kostas Lapavitsas, and former member of Parliament with the Party of Syriza, to his thesis, that Greece can achieve its national sovereignty only by going back to its own currency, i.e., the drachma, delivered at the Ithacan House, Melbourne, on April 15, 2016. The three first paragraphs were omitted from my response as I assumed regrettably wrongly, that the time allotted to the questioners at the meeting would be too short and hence I did not include them.

Professor Lapavitsas, allow me to make a short comment before I come to my question, as at the start I want to point out what I believe to be the roots of your erroneous proposition.   

Dialectical materialism even in its modern reincarnation of neo-Marxism, which you espouse, is a hotbed of gross errata, not to say terata (monsters), and hence a fallacious doctrine.

Yet the ghost in the machine of Marxism, despite its irreparable breakdown, continues to churn-out apparitional panaceas for the ills of global capitalism. One such quack panacea is your own proposition.

My question is: Show us one country in the world hit by absolute poverty, which, your implied return to the drachma entails, that by adopting your proposal has achieved national sovereignty and kept it; If you cannot show us such a country, then your proposal is a mirage, a will-o’-the-wisp, an occult fancy.

But what is more worrisome is that you are asking the Greek people, after the botched Tsipras-Varoufakis experiment, to be also the guineapigs to your own theoretical experiment which has hardly better odds of success than the Varoufakian one.

National sovereignty is the result of prosperity not of poverty.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Suspicion toward Muslim Women Hidden behind the Veil of Victimisation

The following is a would be reply to Dr. Shakira Hussein’s talk at Readings in Carlton, on March 15, 2016, with the title “From Victims to Suspects”…, which I was not allowed by the chairperson to elaborate, as she considered my questions hostile and uninteresting towards Muslim women.    

In the mad world of the Taliban, ISIS, and suicidal Islamist terror, it is not difficult for sane people to become “paranoiacs”.

By Con George-Kotzabasis  

You are attempting to hide suspicion behind the veil of victimisation whose presumed agent is Islamophobia. The real agent, however, is your own religion that classifies women in comparison to men as second--rate beings.  

As long as Muslim women cannot attain true femininity and banish the burqa and the hijab, symbols of their absolute bondage to Muslim male supremacy and its sex morals, they will have a cloud of suspicion hanging over them. As most Muslim men, if not open supporters of Jihad, are at least justifying the actions of Jihadists, since they believe unswervingly that all actions, no matter how atrocious, against the Great Satan America and all other Western Nations that are in league with it and are responsible for all the ills that have been fallen upon Muslim countries, are justifiable. A very thin line separates justification from Jihad and it takes only one step to be on the other side. And since Muslim women are submissive and docile to their men, they have to abide to the beliefs and actions of the latter. Hence, potentially, they can become active participants in this Holy War against the West. Hence, there are solid grounds for suspicion.

Only Muslim women who have the moral and intellectual fortitude, like the brave and great Somalian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to renounce and liberate themselves from the rigid tenets of the Koran can remove the shadow of suspicion that are enshrouded in. And no professed adherence to Multiculturalism and human rights can bail out either Muslim men or women from this suspicion. What human rights would the devotees of the Koran give to the offspring of Satan? And don’t reply to me with the platitude that you can make distinctions among the people of the Western world. For how can you distinguish good infidels from bad infidels?

  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Defeat not Degrade ISIS Correct Strategy

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Brief reply to: An Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) First Strategy

By Robert Bunker Small Wars Journal August 30, 2014

One has to make a clear distinction between real existent hostility (ISIS) and potential hostility (by other uncertainly defined actors), so one has to be decisive in one’s choice which hostility to confront first. Robert Bunker is correct in stating, “an Islamist state has to be considered more dangerous than a secular autocratic state.” The latter is “ideologically bankrupt” whereas the former because of its “spiritual ideological component” has “a very real expansionist potential” and therefore is “more dangerous.” According to this logic therefore, one has primarily to confront and eliminate this danger emanating from ISIS and not merely weaken the latter for the purpose of maintaining it as a force that would prevent other forces inimical to the United States from filling the “political and institutional vacuum” left by the decimation and total defeat of ISIS. First, ISIS in its short reign, other than verbally and ceremonially as true believers of the Koran, have hardly established a “political and institutional” framework that with its ousting would be occupied by other belligerent and hostile forces. The area upon which its so called Caliphate was established, from which thousands of people fled to save their lives, will once again, with the total defeat of ISIS, revert back to its original occupiers, Syrians, Kurds, and Iraqis, who with the exception of Syrian supporters of Assad, the latter two groups are hardly enemies of the USA.

The defeat of ISIS by American airpower and by forays of its Special Forces and its allies of Kurds and Iraqis on the ground will be a decisive blow to all Islamist terrorists, including those of al Qaeda. And it will put an end to the flow of its recruits from internal and external sources. I would suggest therefore that to achieve this great victory one must adopt the strategy that will defeat and eliminate ISIS and not the strategy that will degrade and weaken it. 


Con George-Kotzabasis http://kotzabasis3.wordpress.com  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Open Letter to Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

By Con George-Kotzabasis November 27, 2015-

A few days ago, Reuters ranked the Tsipras government as the worst ever government of all times amongst the developed and Western world. It was this government that you served with overweening pride and engendered, by your unprecedented irresponsibility in the annals of politics and quack economic policies as its finance minister, this historically ignominious rank in which Reuters placed Greece.

Strutting, in an extraordinary theatrical performance, the European corridors of power clad in the mournful colours of a mortician with a red ribbon around your neck symbolizing that you were no run of the mill mortician but a proletarian one (It was this red ribbon that within the short span of six months would strangle economically both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in Greece) who had come to slay and bury the “Minotaur” of capitalist exploitation and save the peoples of Greece, and indeed, of Europe, from the grisly and greedy fangs of their exploiters. But in an ironic twist of fate, after the guffaws for your thespian performance on the stage of Europe by your European confreres and the kick-out from the economic portfolio by your comrades for your total failure as finance minister, you have finished-up not as a saviour of Greece and Europe but as a slaughtering gladiator. Killing the beasts of capitalism in your global performance of panem et circenses before an audience of bien pensants and nipple-fed intellectuals, AKA the lost generation,  who have learnt nothing from recent history and who lack the spiritual and moral fortitude to free themselves from their childish obsession of the socialist nirvana.


The Tsipras Government’s performance since its ascension to power on January 25 can be described by its three basic characteristics, infantilism, naiveté, and insouciant irresponsibility, which, as its finance minister, you embodied to the highest degree. Don’t expect to be treated kindly, at least by me, for the most unkind cut you inflicted upon the Greek people. Within the short time of six months you managed to destroy the economy by closing the banks and bringing in capital controls, and nipping in the bud the positive results of the Samaras Government that slowly but decisively were pulling the country out of the crisis. For the first time after the long economic stagnancy and recession, growth was recorded to be 0.8% and expected to be 2.5%-2.9 of GDP for the years 2014 and 2015 respectively, according to the IMF; also, unemployment was prevented from rising to 35%, as was predicted by eminent analysts, and indeed, had fallen by 2%, from 26% to 24% by the end of 2014. And all these heartening results happened within two and a half years under the prime ministership of Antonis Samaras. But you, like a revengeful immortal Olympian god full of envy for these mortal achievements of the Samaras Government, destroyed them with ambrosial delight. Your ludicrously eccentric policies and your barren and inflexible arrogant stand in your negotiations with the European Union brought the country back into recession and you capped this with a bill to Greece of an extra 90 billion to be paid to its creditors, which would come from the pockets of future Greek taxpayers. This was your enviable success story in contrast to the real success story of Samaras.

And yet blind and callous before this stupendous calamity that you delivered upon Greece, you proudly and insensitively claim to be “sitting on top of the world.” (I would add in your first word “sitting,” an h, so to make it a better fit to your ravishing pleasure: It must have been a relishing sensation to you, almost an aphrodisiacal one, defecating on “top of the world”.) You should be instead sitting in a dock charged with high treason for the great hurt and harm you afflicted, with such insouciant irresponsibility, upon the ordinary people, whom with unheard hypocrisy you claim to represent. And no wonder that your European confreres were not listening to the bullshit you were emitting in your negotiations with them on the Memorandum, and their justifiable rebuke of your crank economic policies delivered to them in the form of lectures, in an aura of omniscience.

You claim to be a “liberal Marxist.” But you seem to be oblivious of the dismal fact that “Marxism” with any epithet before it, is “a skull that will never smile again,” to quote the ex-Marxist Polish philosopher, Leszek Kolakowski. You are not a denizen of the real world but a denizen of the phantasmagorical world of Marxism whose legacy left behind not the Eden of Marx’s polytropos, many-sided, man, fishing in the morning, playing the flute in the evening, and writing poetry at night, but the police state of the NKVD, Gulag Archipelagos and Killing Fields.

In a footnote of the history of the twentieth-first century you will be described as a crank economist, a cowardly chicken gamester--taking risks not with your own but with other people's money-- and intellectual highjacker, who filched the writings of Marx and Keynes for the purpose of making your hybrid mulish economic doctrine, on whose back, as finance minister, you carried Greece to perfidious treasonable economic and political destruction.

Alas, after your pernicious mischiefs and gross offences toward the Greek people, you stand between the ferryman to Hades, Charon, and the butt of Aristophanes. Whom of the two would you choose, an afterlife of torture in the Underworld or a present life of ridicule in this world?