Now I know squat-all about economics - at uni, my economics lectures were ususally on around the time the bar opened, and even when I bothered to show up all I could think was "If the lecturer is an expert in money, why does he dress like a flood victim?" But it's apparent to all that the world is getting into pretty deep financial doo-doo. I overheard a colleague yesterday calling her mother and telling her to take all her money out of her superannuation, then realised it was not a joke. Last night (AEST) George Bush made an address to - well, I guess to everybody, as he referred to "citizens of all nations" - assuring us all would be well, and he hoped the bailout would go through after all. He was looking grave and standing in front of more books than he's ever read, so I knew things are grim.
Meanwhile back home, all I could think was "thank goodness Kevin Rudd won the last election".
The mantra of the conservatives is that economies should be allowed to do their thing unimpeded. The market is all. The market is the best judge. The market always get is right. But now the spinning plates of the market are falling down around them, and the emperor of the free economy has been caught without clothes, if I may draw a doubly dodgy analogy.
We're likely to escape relatively unscathed by this recession/depression/panic in Australia, for two reasons. The first is in the past - a strongly regulated financial sector (that government intervention that conservatives hate). The second is for the present and the future: what we need now is tarriffs and economic protectionism, and would we have gotten that under Howard? He'd probably have donated $AU500 million towards the bailout. He relentlessly sold off as many government assets as possible, the futility and brainlessness of which is now being shown as government around the world nationalise banks and whatever else they can in an attempt to prop up the financial house of cards. But they haven't learnt anything. Dubya was even speaking of making a profit by selling the yet-to-be nationalised assets in the future, even though it was speculation that got everyone into this mess in the first place.
Conservatives never learn. We were right in the first place. But, you know, we won't expect a thank you.
If you think "women's rights" seem to be exclusively focussed on the rights of mothers these days, then this is the best article I can ever remember reading on the subject. I'l try to post on this later, but for now please read the thing!