As I noted back in 2014, Immanuel Wallerstein, the great sociologist of capitalism in the late 20th century, has been writing about the instability of the ‘world system’ (a term he coined) for over 40 years. He believes that the ‘world system’ of capitalism has been in decline since about 1968, so that we are now in a transition phase. The new system will not necessarily be better for ordinary people. In an intriguing piece from May 2014 – “The center isn’t holding very well” – he says:
As our existing historical system is in the process of dying, there is a fierce struggle over what kind of new historical system will succeed it. Soon, we may indeed no longer live in a capitalist system, but we could come to live in an even worse system – a “rough beast” seeking to be born? To be sure, this is only one possible collective choice. The alternative choice is a relatively democratic, relatively egalitarian system, also seeking to be born. Which one we shall see at the end of the struggle is up to us, bottom-up.
Continue reading Towards civilising capitalism
1. You don’t need enemies when you have friends
You’ve probably been living under a log if you haven’t seen this photo:
They say Trump does not like G-7 meetings because they are short on people who massage his ego.
According to this account the photo was released by Angela Merkel’s office. Trump looks like a naughty school boy, recalcitrant and unrepentant. The bloke behind him is John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. Not sure what he was doing there. Continue reading Saturday salon 16/6
1. Electric shock
The big story in Australian politics this week was the shocking state of the political debate on electricity. Giles Parkinson says, when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did.
‘People will die due to renewables’, said Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly.
Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate, said Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant for the renewable energy industry. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/7
1. Bullying bosses behaving badly, and it’s not cricket
The New Daily sport editor James Willoughby’s article Cricket tour of South Africa cancelled over pay dispute is typical of the coverage. The players want everyone to be treated fairly, and want the grass roots to be looked after. Seems Cricket Australia wants the same, but with a different way of carving the pie. The chasm is so wide people are talking about an Ashes tour being junked, and worry about the future of the game.
Yet most of the reporting and commentary misses the main point – Cricket Australia refuses to attend mediation or offer any genuine flexibility in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations. They simply will not deal with the Australian Cricketers Association. Continue reading Saturday salon 8/7
The Senate has passed the so-called ‘registered organisations commission bill’, with only Jacqui Lambi joining the Greens and Labor to vote against it (see also Michelle Grattan). Now the game moves to proposed legislation to restore the Australian Building Construction Commission, which I’ll examine below.
Essentially the government succeeded with the registered organisations commission bill by doing deals with The Nick Xenephon Team (NXT) and Derryn Hinch on whistle-blower provisions. Hinch reckons the whistle-blower provisions are the best in the world, and the Government has agreed to extend them to the corporate and government sectors by 2018. Continue reading ABCC: a better plan for union governance?
Almost everything conservative commentators say about the industrial relations system is wrong, says Peter Martin. It works well, it isn’t creating wages explosions, and it isn’t pricing people out of work.
What do the conservatives think about Sunday penalty rates? Mark Kenny explains: Continue reading Sunday penalty rates