Gillards Labour Government: A Unique Form of Mussolini’s Corporatist Model set to an Australian Context?
I was reading Warren Meyers article in FORBES MAGAZINE where he asks whether Barak Obama is a classic Socialist or Corporatist and I was struck at how that question might be answered in the current Australian Julia Gillard context. Why?
Why look for a model or framework to look at an issue? Usually of course to give explanative or predictive help in understanding that issue or phenomenon. You can then test that usefulness of that model against real world events to hopefully help that understanding.
Is there an anti-business true socialist agenda in the Australian Labor Government?
A true redistributive social justice model at work in the current Rudd then Gillard Labor machine ? While there are occasionally some features of that, quite obviously that’s not the whole story.
Is there a generally pro-big government corporatist partnership – where business elites influence government actions in a preferential system where profits are maximised for those businesses that support the government?
Lots of quid pro quo’s with lots of Quids?
Welllllllll sounds maybe more like the liberals so thats not really useful either.
What about the ‘Mussolini corporatist system’ where rather than profits it is the government allowing of the big business elites to exist and to thrive by then directly and indirectly kill off annoying small business competition so as to keep the big business elites supporting the government.
After all it is possible that the personal interests of the elites in maintaining their status/position may be in direct conflict with maximising profits for the business as per Hayek’s classic free market principles. We might well suspect this is the case worldwide with big business elites. Again some features may resonate but still not close enough for me to be a model for the modern labour government in Australia.
But there might be a hint here. The crucial factor in Australia rather than just a factor for Meyers in the USA is the role of the union movement in Australian politics. The union movement has an official central role in the labour Party and has to varying degrees since it’s inception. Unions in Australia tend to manifest more heavily in big rather than small businesses and in the Public rather than the Private sector.
If we look at the ever expanding Public sector we could perhaps consider this as a form of big business – why not? – consider a corporatist model but without the direct profit motive as in the Mussolini example. Even big businesses in the private sector are generally unionised so the relationship is one step separated but obvious none the less. It would be not only the big business plus the public sector elites that would unduly influence government but also the unions within and behind them in this approach. Insidious? Maybe, bloody effective? definitely.
I would argue that part of this analogy holds for liberal governments as well. Malcolm Fraser on Q&A 30/09/2010 argued that fundraising targets threaten Liberal politicians preselection hopes so closer relationships between politicians and money are structurally/ Party imposed. It is the system/big boys club after all ,but for them without the added union factor. In many ways it could be a distinction without a difference in that the average Aussie is getting done over it is just a different set or subset of rapists doing the screwing.
If we acknowledge the deep and powerful relationship between the ALP and the union movement could the interests of the union movement be a basis for a more comprehensive and effective partnership of big business (unionised pvte and public sectors)-for a more dominant corporatised model in the Australian context?
Are they part of an elite cabal not answerable to the Australian people?
How powerful would this partnership be? Could that explain the actions of the modern Labor government? Does the model work? …..A test perhaps?
If there is this structural corporatist power relationship then one would predict that the government and even the Prime Minister would be strictly constrained in their actions/speeches/policies. Especially where they were against those interests of the labour movement/public sector elites and when they are in direct conflict with the best interests of Australia . They have to be so powerful as to counter a politicians overwhelming instincts for the popular.This can be problematic with some personality types…….hmmmmmm
There would be a problem should this politician of course be silly or “arrogant” enough to believe that they could get away with defying this corporatist group. “Not listening enough” to his real masters .. not being “consultative enough”. And of course IF this model is right and IF those faceless men actually exist there would be consequences.
Now for a little history …
Kevin Rudd gloried in union accomplishments and virtues in his speech at the HSUA annual convention 07/06/2010. He also made similar speeches 2007×4, 2008×3 and 2009 x6 Suggesting that the union movement was the core of the labor government. Yet he may have “misunderestimated” to use a Bushism the ruthlessness of these same corporate power elites that he extolled when they saw their power threatened. What has that silly democracy crap got to do with thier interests?
But of course Rudd thought he was safe, anything else would be totally unprecedented.
I wonder how the faceless men really viewed that…..
And what happened to PM Rudd?
Hello PM Julia Gillard with the assistance of ……….