Monday, 1 September 2008

A sensible idea known to too few

On page 3 of today’s Business Age, I discovered a letter that called for the transfer of the labour of Australia’s car factories to the building of forty new railway vehicles that would help reduce greenhouse emissions and provide transport to outer suburbs like South Morang and Rowville.

It is frustrating to see ideas take decades to get into mainstream papers after they were advocated in such books as ‘Environment, Capitalism and Socialism’ twenty years ago. When you see Melbourne’s dams at an abysmal 33 percent full when they should be 100 percent and the government allowing car sales that should have been targetted to fall to a rigid zero by 1990, temper tantrums are hardly surprising in a person as prone to violence as I am.

However, one thing I have learned is that even if Australia’s emissions policy is “a joke” according to The Age, the country whose greenhouse emissions should be no more than one-hundredth to one-thousandth the world per capita average lags further and further behind. One thing I hope to soon write about is why Australian culture, at least in the outer suburbs where most of its working population lives, resembles that of the Europe before the end of the monarchical era and not, in Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s terms the post-World War I “democratic” Europe. This can be seen in the extreme passivity of Melburnians to a 70 percent decline in the city’s water supply in the past dozen years. Most modern cultures would no doubt demand without compromise radical measures like completely banning private cars and investing in a rail system with services superior to any in the world today. As it is, we see increasing support for the freeways that cause the problem! This is because Australian culture, like the “monarchical” Europe before World War I, accepts the right of corporations to the social power they enjoy and believes that the class structure of society is a natural good. Under this view, there can be no justification for the struggle necessary to move Australia towards sustainability.

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