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26 May 2017

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'Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.'

Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

If you really stretch the point you could claim that the so-called leftist media in Australia is represented by the Fairfax press, Morry Schwartz's newspaper and magazines/journals and the ABC.

They are arrayed against the massive right wing media represented by News Limited and all of the commercial radio and television stations.

That has the right wing media heavily outweighing the left wing media in my book.

You don't think that the situation in PNG reflects unbridled capitalism? I think it might be close. Just like the situation in Venuzuela reflects unbridled socialism.

I cannot say that I agree with much of Ross's analysis of the current situation across the world, especially regarding the supposed perfidious leftist media.

While some of the media is obviously left leaning (e.g. The Guardian) this seems to me to be more than offset by the voices of the right (News Corporation, The Spectator, etc.).

PNG Attitude probably tends to be a bit leftist but the huge majority of its contributors could hardly be described as radical.

My personal view is that neither the left nor right of politics are offering either a balanced or comprehensive world view.

The right utterly fails to see or understand the enormous harms associated with unbridled capitalism, persisting in its belief in the entirely discredited idea of trickle down economics.

Meanwhile, the left is busily obsessing about ephemera, unable to offer a coherent description of just how they would set about redressing to blindingly obvious economic imbalances in the world.

So we have a dialogue of the deaf, with more and more of the public turning to other than mainstream political parties.

Our current version of neo-liberal casino capitalism will eventually collapse under the weight of its many internal contradictions.

How can a system that has generated, at last count, more than US$217 Trillion in debt be expected to avoid a hideous market "correction" when it dawns on investors that most of that debt cannot ever be repaid?

That said, socialism, at least of the idiotic variety imposed upon poor hapless Venezuelans, is a dead end. I have a personal association with people in that country and their situation is now dire. Nothing short of a revolution will be necessary to eject the self serving morons now in charge.

To my way of thinking, what is needed is to rein in the worst excesses of capitalism so that it (and we) can be saved from disaster, restoring an acceptable level of equity and fairness across the system by the creation and distribution of critical social goods, notably affordable housing, education and health services.

This will not be achieved by "soaking the rich". There will always be disparities in personal wealth and this has to be accepted as part and parcel of even a manifestly fairer capitalist system.

Also, I am not suggesting or implying that there should not continue to be a large degree of personal responsibility and self reliance for social, economic and personal well being. The proverbial "nanny state" is an anathema to me and most people.

This is, I think, the rational position of a political moderate but we seem to be in very short supply right now.

In a PNG context, it strikes me that the sort of debate we are having is not anywhere on the horizon. Ideology seems to be of no importance in PNG politics.

Rather, it is about individuals and their immediate tribal and familial supporters, with a few people standing on the sidelines trying desperately to interest voters in the urgent need to improve the overall governance of the country.

This is very sad but, for the life of me, I cannot foresee any positive changes in the short to medium term.

I'm not sure I would want to conflate virtue with Christianity, or any other form of religion. Quite the opposite in many cases I think. I mean, what's the difference between the raison d'etre of the Christian crusaders of the 1100s and modern day ISIS apart from the desire to slaughter those on the opposite side in the name of a deity?

I'm also not very comfortable with the rigid political divisions of left and right, or even the subtleties of centre right and centre left. If you make that assumption you exclude a whole range of valid argument.

One thing I do agree with is the destructive nature of welfare. That's one of the causes of Aboriginal social disintegration in Australia. Whether welfare is a leftist or socialist thing is highly questionable. In a purely capitalist sense it is good planning in that it keeps the restive poor happy enough not to revolt.

I think what this all points to is the danger of exerting a particular ideology to the exclusion of everything else - something that the rawer forms of capitalism and socialism both do, as do the far right and far left in local politics.

Remember the rock group Middle of the Road - great music.

I certainly agree with Chris that PNG citizens should be deeply concerned about corruption, and I agree that a revolution is possible.

I also know that the fruits of any revolution would be short-lived. The latest example of a failed state is Venezuela where, despite it having more oil that Saudi Arabia, its people are starving after years of the socialist dream.

It would be pointless to get into an argument over what postmodernism is. But in the end it is nothing more than sophism, just as the emotional force behind Marx’s prose was more evident than the argument.

In his book “Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left”, philosopher Roger Scruton writes of “a shared duplicity of purpose: on the one hand to undermine all claims to absolute truth, and on the other hand to uphold the orthodoxies upon which their congregation depends.

The very reasoning that sets out to destroy the ideas of objective truth and absolute value imposes political correctness as absolutely binding, and cultural relativism as objectively true.”

In other words, it accomplishes Gramsci’s Cultural Revolution, and totalitarianism, by the back door.

It’s unsurprising then, that I read this morning of Hillary Clinton blaming the “domination of the media by the Right” for her failure.

This is completely deranged! I recently pointed out the enormous anti-Trump bias of the media where the percentage of negative coverage of Trump was:
CNN-93; NBC-93; CBS-91; Fox-52; New York Times-87; Washington Post-83; Wall Street Journal-70.

I also pointed out CNN collusion with the Democrat Party.

But then Hillary’s view conforms to a recent book “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the Radical Right” by Jane Mayer, which criticises conservative billionaires, Koch brothers.

However this book completely ignores reality—that most money is actually behind the Left/Democratic side of politics:

Labour unions spend more money per year on lobbying and elections than the Koch brothers, and many of the wealthiest families are liberal Democrats. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Jeff Bezos all support liberal causes and the Democratic Party.

In addition, the large liberal foundations like Mellon, Bloomberg, MacArthur, Hewlett and Soros’s Open Society outspend conservative foundations “by a factor of at least thirty to one each year.”

So here is a woman who proclaims to support the poor, in reality being supported by big money, big media, big multinationals, and the big ‘Deep State” bureaucracy. In fact the same wealthy and powerful people who opposed Trump opposed Brexit.

Yesterday also, the black US Housing Secretary, Ben Carson, said that poverty was largely a state of mind.

Carson ought to know. He grew up in a poor inner-city home with a single mother who had a third-grade education, but he became a world-renowned neurosurgeon.

Other black Americans have pointed out how the socialist welfare state so beloved of the Left has destroyed blacks.

Walter Williams, a George Mason economist has said: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.”

These black Americans could see how Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which sought to eliminate poverty, spend trillions of dollars only to produce a permanent underclass dependent on welfare.

I have showed previously how one bishop, in one generation, turned a society of violent, uneducated drunks and prostitutes into the nation’s finest citizens, without government money, simply by inculcating them with Christian virtues.
https://www.city-journal.org/html/how-dagger-john-saved-new-york’s-irish-11934.html

All the American Founding Fathers knew that the democracy they were creating could only remain successful if the citizens were virtuous.

George Washington: “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”

Benjamin Franklin: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

James Madison: “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.”

And that is why the Marxists devised methods to destroy Western culture and morality from within, using instruments like the Frankfurt School which combining Marxism and Freud.

Philip is also correct that short-sighted capitalism has assisted in this destruction.

But Marxism/Socialism only destroys, and then destroys some more. The best advice I could give the PNG people would be to follow successful blacks like Ben Carson and Walter Williams, rather than deluded white socialists still living in la-la-land.

What those prophets of class warfare and social reform need to bear in mind is that the ultimate contest has always been about the control over resources and who gets to use them.

Wait until we get to the point where we have 'meatless days' or even 'fasting days' to help the food and resources go around a little further. At that point, people should start to wonder why we haven't evolved sufficiently to control our rising populations to match the available resources but guess what? I can't see that happening can you?

It should be obvious to everyone that this conflict over resources is already what's happening and causing the small wars and mass migrations currently underway.

It's happened before and it will happen again. It's the really the reason why we have populated the entire world in the first place.

I think what Marx misjudged was the rise and influence of the middle class.

That class ensured there was a degree of morality attached to capitalism.

That morality is now in steep decline, not so much because of the middle class changing but because of the greed of the super rich and, to a large extent, globalisation, which manages to further divorce morality from capital.

It will be the middle class (read lefties) that eventually seeks to install a heart into capitalism.

You can see the seeds of that in PNG, especially on social media.

While I agree with much of Ross Howard's critique, I think that he is wrong to link post modernism and Marxism.

Post modernism is, as I understand, an explicit rejection of the thinking that we associate with the 18th century Enlightenment. In particular, it challenges the idea that certain ideas or processes (such as the scientific method) can be truly objective in nature.

An unintended effect of this type of thinking is that it has created the opportunity for people to believe that "the truth" about phenomena can be ascertained through means other than the scientific method.

In turn, this has led to a resurgence in what I regard as irrational scepticism about things like climate change, vaccination, diet and even science itself.

Marx was a product of the Victorian age and would, I think, have dismissed most post modernist thinking as sheer nonsense verging on mysticism.

His theories were not, in my opinion, based upon a false or wholly subjective analysis of capitalism as it existed during his era. He applied what he understood to be scientific rigour to the process.

Where Marx went astray was in his prognostications about the future, in which he gravely under estimated the adaptive capacity of capitalism as it was forced to deal with the huge socio-economic fall out arising from its success (not failure).

Now, I think, we are once again in an era where capitalism is in mortal danger if it cannot adapt to the needs and expectations of those whom Donald Trump might describe as losers.

Trump and others seem to have forgotten an important lesson of history which is that, when placed under sufficient duress, the losers can decide to grab their AK47's and do a little wealth redistribution all on their own.

In a PNG context, it seems improbable but not impossible that enough people will become sufficiently disenchanted with the way things are working to decide to simple seize what they believe is theirs and defy the powers that be.

I reckon that a couple of hundred determined and well led guerillas in the PNG jungle could tie up the whole PNGDF more or less indefinitely. It happened in Bougainville and it could happen again.

Marx would have argued that such an outcome was inevitable. I am slightly more optimistic believing that once again, against expectations, capitalism can reinvent itself.

However, history says that this reinvention will necessarily be preceded by a major crisis or series of crises, in which it dawns on the powerful that they can either make voluntary changes to restore a degree of fairness and equity to the system or have such changes imposed by violence.

Thus the British elites of the 19th century gave ground slowly but surely by progressively (and often grudgingly) introducing reforms that hugely improved the social and economic conditions of the masses. In this way, outright revolution was avoided and social order maintained.

In 1917, the Tsar of All the Russia's simply could not grasp this critical insight and he, his family and most of the Russian ruling elite were duly slaughtered.

PNG manifests and even exaggerates most of the ills now evident in capitalist liberal democracies. While it has many local peculiarities arising from its unique cultures and traditions, there is no reason to suppose that the basic dynamics that have fed revolutionary action in the past cannot impact upon PNG.

For this reason, any intelligent and well informed Papua New Guinean ought to be extremely concerned about the governance and corruption issues now besetting the country and vote accordingly.

Some CEOs in government statuary organisations are acting big and they go around as government ministers dashing funds and materials. They lived expensively with many vehicles, houses and even buying shares in big companies. they are corrupt and yet government is not doing anything.

Everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows that the captain lied - Leonard

Chris raises an important, if difficult, issue.

Capitalism/Free Enterprise systems may be the best way to generate wealth. But what is the proper purpose: To make us all rich and selfish; or a moral system that allows us to become the kind of people who have the deep satisfaction of earning our own success by serving others, while making the world a better place for everyone?

For me, some of these issues came to a head with the debates on globalisation in the 1990s. Both Paul Keating and Peter Costello were promoting the “inevitability” of globalisation. Opposition to globalisation brought together some strange bedfellows: former bitter enemies like Left-wing firebrand Clyde Cameron and social conservative Bob Santamaria.

Opponents to globalisation pointed out that the destruction of industries would create unemployment and increase welfare dependence, and might even destroy the middle classes which were the backbone of Western democracies.

It brought to mind Sir Hubert Murray’s fight against capitalists wanting to profit in Papua regardless of the cost to Papuans. He’d even written to his brother of “a gang of capitalists interested in Papua who want to get rid of me in order to have a free hand with the natives.”

Laissez-faire capitalists seemed to forget that the foremost capitalist nation, the USA, had introduced anti-trust legislation in the 1890s, and that restrictions on trade could be traced as far back as the Roman Empire where, under Diocletian, violating a tariff could result in the death penalty.

Capitalists also forget that their ability to operate effectively depends on the health of their own societies (this is not necessarily true for multinationals who can move capital around). I remember reading about a frustrated social conservative who had been rebuffed by businesses when he sought finance to publish a conservative magazine. Business could see no need for one. Yet he pointed out that almost all publications at that time had a left-wing slant.

W. B. Yeats wrote: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

We now see the complete dominance of Marxist postmodern theories in the arts/social science faculties of almost every Western university. These theories are inimical not only to capitalism, but to the very Enlightenment values that have sustained Western democracies for over 200 years.

Karl Popper said that the emancipation of the individual was the great spiritual revolution which led to the breakdown of tribalism and to the rise of democracy. Today’s identity politics are returning us to tribalism.

And sure, there are other major problems. Western welfare and no-fault divorce laws have created a permanent underclass. Some 50% of Australians pay no net tax. And if demography is destiny, traditional European societies with their negative birth rates are finished. PNG doesn’t have these problems.

I agree that many leaders are living in “an alternative universe”. Every day politicians mouth various inanities in their efforts to justify the failing status quo. Some of them seem completely unhinged.

George Orwell got most things right because he always put experience before theory; believed that the ordinary person had a stronger sense of common decency than the highly educated; and believed that human beings mattered more than abstract ideas.

The Biblical Rich Man wasn’t condemned because he was evil, but because he was negligent. It had been within his power to relieve the suffering of Lazarus. The fact that he probably never even thought about Lazarus didn’t save him.

Ross Howard

One wonders how many of the "100 key Papua New Guinea companies" - excluding those owned in part or fully by the State of PNG - are fully owned by PNG citizens?

A thoughtful reader has provided this list from Business Advantage PNG of “100 key Papua New Guinea companies”, many of which assumedly participated in the prospects survey referred to and which you might find interesting - KJ

AGRIBUSINESS/MANUFACTURING
 Coca-Cola Amatil PNG
 Goodman Fielder International (PNG)
 K K Kingston
 Lae Biscuit Company
 New Britain Palm Oil
 Paradise Foods Limited
 Ramu Agri-Industries
 S P Brewery
 Trukai Industries Ltd

BANKING & FINANCE & INSURANCE
 ANZ
 Bank of Papua New Guinea
 BSP (Bank of South Pacific Limited)
 Kina Group of Companies
 Moni Plus (Heduru Moni Ltd)
 Nambawan Super Ltd
 National Development Bank
 National Superannuation Fund Limited (NASFUND)
 Pacific MMI Insurance
 Port Moresby Stock Exchange Limited
 Westpac Bank PNG Limited

BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS
 Asian Development Bank
 Australian Trade Commission
 Australian-Papua New Guinea Business Council
 Business Council of PNG
 Business & Professional Women’s Club of Port Moresby
 Kumul Consolidated Holdings
 Institute of National Affairs
 International Finance Corporation
 Investment Promotion Authority
 Lae Chamber of Commerce & Industry
 Manufacturers Council of PNG
 New Zealand Pacific Business Council
 Pacific Islands Trade & Invest
 Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce & Industry

BUSINESS SERVICES
 Airswift
 Cadden Crowe
 Datec
 Deloitte PNG
 DHL Express PNG
 Ela Motors
 Gadens Lawyers
 Guard Dog Security Services
 Lyndon Air Cargo
 PVM Advertising

CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
 Avenell Engineering Services Ltd
 Hebou Constructions (PNG) Ltd
 Hornibook NGI
 Kramer Ausenco
 Lamana Development Ltd 1
 Monier (PNG) Ltd
 PICSA Group

DIVERSIFIED INDUSTRIAL GROUPS
 City Pharmacy Ltd
 Rimbunan Hijau (R H) Group
 Steamships Trading Company Limited
 W R Carpenter Group

FISHERIES
 RD Tuna Canners Limited

FORESTRY
 PNG Forest Products

INFRASTRUCTURE
 Bmobile Vodafone
 Digicel PNG
 National Airports Corporation
 PNG Ports Ltd
 PNG Power
 PNG Waterboard
 National Information and Communications Technology Authority
 Telikom PNG

LANDOWNER COMPANIES/FUNDS
 Anitua Group
 Hides Gas Development Company
 IPI Group
 LABA Holdings
 MRL Capital
 Transwonderland Limited

LOGISTICS
 DHL Express (PNG)
 Lynden Air Cargo PNG Ltd
 Maersk International
 P&O Maritime Services

MINING & PETROLEUM
 Barrick Gold
 ExxonMobil PNG (PNG LNG Project)
 InterOil Corporation
 Kumul Petroleum
 Morobe Mining Joint Venture
 Mineral Resources Authority
 Nautilus Minerals
 Newcrest Mining
 Oil Search Limited
 Ok Tedi Mining Ltd
 PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum
 Repsol (formerly Talisman Energy)
 Total E&P (PNG)

TOURISM/TRANSPORT
 Air Niugini
 National Airports Corporation
 PNG Air (formerly Airlines PNG)
 Tourist Promotion Authority

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