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The Forum > Article Comments > Australia must invest in renewal > Comments

Australia must invest in renewal : Comments

By Lindsay Tanner, published 29/3/2005

Lindsay Tanner argues we must have a bipartisan infrastructure commission.

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Lindsay, it is my understanding that the major road, rail, water and sewerage infrastructure in this country was built by national and state government investment and borrowing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to encourage private enterprise to invest in productive industries, including agriculture and manufacturing.

That is, an early form of democratic socialism provided the national infrastructure for capitalism to flourish.

This was followed by mid-twentieth century post-war reconstruction on Keynsian principles that continued the program of building the national framework for capitalism with a human face.

However, in the latter part of the twentieth century, international capital demanded that governments withdraw from borrowing and investment and hand over the productive parts of the economy for the purposes of furthering profit alone. National infrastructure building, both social and material, was dumped in the pursuit of economic growth at any cost. Both the ALP and the Liberals went along with this (although the Nationals, the rural socialists, were less enthusiastic).

Our national infrastructure has now been sold off, used up, and is not being replaced. History suggests that governments (we taxpayers) must again step in and provide the funding for capitalism to continue to profit. Give us the historical narrative Lindsay, and you might connect better with the taxpaying voters who must again be slugged to allow capitalism to drive our economy.

The problem is that international capitalism is now so unrestrained and rapacious that we are facing social disintegration and planetary meltdown. Unless the ALP faces up to the damage that has been done, and puts forward a program that acknowledges history and faces the future with courage and conviction, the taxpaying voter will continue to disengage from tweedledee and tweedledum choices at the ballot box.
Posted by grace pettigrew, Wednesday, 30 March 2005 8:34:34 AM
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