Sunday, August 29, 2010

Event in Fremantle on the harm caused by markets and corporations

Great to see this event The Global Economy and Human Wellbeing  being run by Rob Lambert* at the Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice in Fremantle this Saturday 4 September, 2010 between 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

The event is designed to provide people with a deeper understanding of what global free markets are doing to persons, families and societies;  the nature of corporate restructuring of work, and its social and psychological impacts for families and communities; - basic analytic techniques of ‘political economy’ necessary for understanding these changes; - the values underlying these changes, and how they might be ethically assessed; and - how to envisage (imagine) alternative models of work, and the process of realising such change.

 *Winthrop Professor Rob Lambert is based at the University of Western Australia’s Business School, where he specialises in labour studies. He is co-author of the award-winning book, Grounding Globalization: Labour in the Age of Insecurity (Oxford, Blackwell, 2008),a critique of the free market economy that identifies destructive impacts for the environment, society, families and persons. Rob is the founder and coordinator of the Southern Initiative on Globalization and Trade Union Rights (SIGTUR), founded some 20 years ago. This movement brings together democratic trade unions across 15 countries and four continents in the global south. Rob has a background as a South African activist, and was National Secretary of the South African Young Christian Workers and then advisor to the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference before coming to Perth.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The power of corporations over the political process

"Recent events have shown how much the interests of corporations now dominate the political process. Mining companies mobilized more quickly than the government to challenge the resource rent tax, and effectively bought down a Prime Minister...... But political systems merely reflect the society which gives rise to them. And we live in a society- and a world-where the power of corporations is much greater than that of "ordinary"people. Corporate power can readily be seen in our homes, our workplaces, our public spaces and our national debates."
Josh Fear
The Nemesis Project aims to support efforts to wrest power back from corporations. We seek to connect the dots between issues to show the extent to which corporate power and corporate interests dominate across a wide range of policy issues and influence every part of our daily lives.

Josh Fear from the Australia Institute has written a fine piece about the extent of corporate power in Australia. His argument is that the power and interests of corporations dominate and control government decision-making.

He shows the ways that corporations now dominate the political process in Australia. Fear's point is that across a range of public policy issues- the super profits mining tax, emissions trading, carbon tax, executive salaries, banking profits and fees and superannuation- the interests of corporations have dominated.

As Fear points out, and as recent events show, corporate power played a major role in the overthrow of an elected PM and manufactured the demise of a Federal government who were seen to threaten corporate interests. Politicians heed that message, meaning that no real reform is likely when corporate interests are threatened.