This is a form of corruption whereby people in office unfairly enable favourable access to state resources for their benefactors and abandon their duty to protect the state’s interests.
I follow the news of the sub-continent of my birth and read with interest the reports on “state capture” in South Africa. This is supposedly secret corruption which loots the government revenue intended for all citizens, inflates project costs and denies fair competition.
Government ministries, processes and security services have been corrupted by the appointment of corrupt and pliant associates, apparently at the direction of a wealthy family that has spread its tentacles wherever government money is to be had.
In Australia, the curse of the resources boom blunted governments’ abilities to ensure institutions sufficiently robust to withstand the end of the boom.
The Labor party, dazzled by the riches of the boom and driven by Unions, embedded industrial relations structures that cemented employment costs at unsustainable levels. This has stifled enterprise and competitiveness, crippled essential services and generally hamstrung the political ability to change. Looks like state capture to me.
The recent squirms of the Labor Party Transport Minister while being skewered over the recent train driver debacle in Queensland are interesting. Not surprisingly the whole issue had been engineered by union demands leading to a shortage of drivers. The union went on to talk about stop work meetings over the new arrangements …Talk about wielding the whip hand.
Then there is the ongoing kerfuffle with the construction union and its bunch of standover artists, holding up project schedules and threatening managers, which started over two years ago; surprisingly unresolved by the Labor government.
One wonders who is pulling the strings and for what purpose? Are the unions aware of the groundswell of opinion swaying to the right? Is the government allowing these infrastructure breakdowns to stimulate electorate outrage and thus justify smothering the unions?
The plot sickens.
When will the pain to the electorate drive government to break the power of the unions to enable economic and social reform to re-open pathways to growth and stability? Something has to happen.
The neo-liberalism of the 1970’s was essentially a swing to the right by western democracies to roll back the structures that socialism was building into society and the economy. Australia missed that bus, which was hidden by the rich dust of the resources boom.
We are now seeing another swing to the right, this time emanating from the electorate, who seem to be rejecting the status quo and the increasing faceless and ineffectual bureaucracies which are resulting in the abandonment of the middle and lower sections of society. Maybe Australia can catch this bus?
It strikes me that what government is all about is control of government revenue, expenditure and the benefits to be derived from the awarding government contracts, (read “backhanders”).
Reading about the patronage in the American Presidential election, makes me wonder if the South African politicians are just clumsy.
It certainly puts a new perspective on the need for changes.