On politics: Neoliberalism in Action

#1 Paul Wolfowitz interview on Jim Lehrer’s News Hour:

JIM LEHRER: Much has been made, of course, always that you are a “political conservative.” How does that relate to this, to being president of the World Bank?

PAUL WOLFOWITZ: Well, I could argue whether I fit into any cubbyhole or not–


PAUL WOLFOWITZ: — but, you know, let me say this, I think that if you want to say there’s a “conservative view” of the whole issue of development assistance, and I’m not sure I buy into any doctrine, but it tends to emphasize — and I agree with this part of it –that development involves really three things and assistance is one thing, but trade access is at least as important. And perhaps more important than any is creating a climate where private investment, especially indigenous, domestic private investment is encouraged. You have to have all three things together. But I don’t think that’s the conservative view any more, I think it’s close to being a consensus view.

Dromocratic neoliberalism in action. ‘Trade’ is code for opening up the national markets of developing countries to foreign products so money flows out of the country. ‘Private investment’ is code for allowing foreign ownership of the means of circulation of commodities produced elsewhere. ‘Assistance’ is code for the ideological ‘education’ of developing countries so they become ‘flexible’ to globalisation.

#2 Tony Abbott’s Pollie Pedal Exploits.

What is Tony Abbott’s job? Minister for Health and Ageing. What is Pollie Pedal? A charity fundraising event that this is trying to raise money for a leukaemia research laboratory at Westmead Hospital.

Highly admirable, except the Federal Minister for Health has been treated as a celebrity to assist with fundraising, rather than being lobbied for funds as a representative of the bloody government! Is this lost on everyone in the media or what? I mean, for fuck’s sake, the government releases this press release last year on Federal funding for Health Research Centres and the previous Pollie Pedal was trying to raise money for the exact same leukaemia research laboratory at Westmead Hospital. This is just a totally ridiculous situation. Surely the left-wing columnists will drill Abbott for this? What’s next? Amanda Vanstone Riding for Refugees? (Maybe it is all an elaborate April Fool’s joke from the government? It certainly is a joke!)

In both cases, Abbott and Wolfowitz, the protagonists appear to be extremely sincere — efficiently locating themselves within a politics of sentiment — and yet they act either as colonists for the neoliberal order (Wolfowitz) or as the person in (poor) control of a lot of funding who would rather go fundraising (Abbott).

02/04/05 post edited in response to comments and to clarify Abbott’s (non)celebrity status

2 replies on “On politics: Neoliberalism in Action”

  1. It’s not correct to say Tony Abbott has been brought in as a celebrity for the Pollie Pedal. He’s been doing this for several years… maybe 10?

  2. Oh, sorry about that. Tony Abbott is not a celebrity; he is a politican… that gains celebrity status when he is treated like one. He was treated like a celebrity on the ABC coverage of the Pollie Pedal I saw on Friday night (01/04/05). Sorry to write it in my original post in such a way that inferred that the organisers involve Abbott because he is a celebrity.

    However, Tony Abbott’s non-celebrity status and relation to the fundraising event doesn’t change the fact that:

    He is the politician in charge of ‘Health and Ageing’ for the whole country and he is fundraising for health based research centres instead of doing his job and funding health based research centres.

    So the donations he helps collect are they tax-deductible or just a tax?

    Because the research centre needs Tony Abbott to go bike riding for it does this mean Abbott didn’t beleive it was worth properly funding in the 2004-2005 round of Federal Health funding? If that is the case, then why is he trying to raise money for it through fundraising? Why is it important enough to go bike riding for, but not be given funding through the proper channels?

    Surely even the organisers of the fundraising event would be asking themselves these sorts of questions?

Comments are closed.