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Keynesianism and neoliberalism

Graham Matthews' interview with Professor Bill Mitchell (GLW #785) presents a standard Keynesian view of the economic crisis. Essentially, it claims that the crisis is due to the bad policies of neoliberalism: "Mitchell argues that the roots of the current economic crisis lie with the failure of neoliberal policy adopted after the 1974 economic crash."

The article ignores a pertinent question: Why was there an economic crash in 1973-74, when Keynesian policies had been in effect for two decades? The answer is plain: Keynesian and neoliberal policies can affect details of capitalist crises, but they can't prevent them. The only thing that can stop capitalist crises is the abolition of capitalism.

The interview concludes: "'In order to get out of this crisis the public sector will have to become a significant employer again', Mitchell said." In reality, the alternatives for overcoming the crisis are the same as they were in 1973-74: either the capitalists pay, or the working people pay. Keynesianism is one method of making workers pay, which the capitalists alternate with neoliberalism.

It would be nice to see a socialist analysis of the economic crisis in GLW. The Keynesian one can be read everywhere these days.

Allen MyersPhnom Penh

Racism in Coffs Harbour

When my sister decided to head to Australia for a working holiday I was not entirely comfortable with it. As a child of a Jamaican father and white English mother, I knew she would run into uncomfortable situations while there.

She has told me about some of the comments she received while in Sydney, Perth and the West Coast. But even I was surprised when she told me that she had been hit by a plastic object thrown from a car while walking down the street in Coffs Harbour.

Upon going to the police station to enquire about her safety in the town, the "police officer" in question did not even offer to fill out a report. But I suppose it is a cheap and easy way of maintaining favourable statistics.

Racism is prevalent everywhere, and depending on the context all colours and creeds can be victims. It is, nevertheless, unacceptable.

There are countries that make more of an effort than others to deal with this phenomenon. Spain is notoriously regressive in its approach to racism, as too is Ireland.

I just wonder how seriously Australians take it too. And no, I don't mean the government, or councils as institutions or even the police as an institution. I'm talking about Australians as people; such as the police officer who didn't seem to recognise a problem that a young, single, mixed-race woman had been pelted with an object from a moving car.

Let's be honest, we already know the answer.

Errol BaileyBy email [Abridged.]

Fire aid

In the Age Diary on March 3, Suzanne Carbone notes that "someone concerned about survivor's not receiving freebies [to Peter Garrett's bushfire benefit concert] has posted notices in Chapel Street".

Up in Kinglake, if just a couple of our families got burnt out in a fire and we decided to hold a dinner dance to raise money, we would never dream of leaving them off the invitation list.

We would not say to them "you're not coming now that you can't afford the donation/ticket, and you just want a free meal anyway". But this is what Peter Garrett is saying to us. Up in the bush, these families would sit at the big table.

But because of the loss of a few thousand dollars, out of all the many millions already donated to the fire ravaged communities, survivors will not be invited to SoundAid.

It leaves you asking, "Why is everything always about money?" It also leaves you wondering how the Minister for the Environment, Mr Peter Garrett, could do this to communities who have lost so much.

Kate McDonaldKinglake [Abridged.]