joe.toscano's blog

The Great Sleeper

In “State up for Grabs” (Sunday Age 16/7) Farrah Tomazin canvasses the idea of the Victorian Greens holding the balance of power after the next State election in 2018. She suggests that Brunswick, Richmond and Northcote could fall to the Greens as a result of a number of issues. Unfortunately she does not canvass the elephant in Labor’s inner city seats – public housing. Under the Housing Minister, Martin Foley, the Labor government has embarked on a policy of privatising public housing by stealth.

We don't value the future

We don’t value the future because the world is dominated by an economic system based on creating ever increasing profits irrespective of the human, social and environmental damage that is caused. As the four horsemen of the post-modern apocalypse – increasing population growth, finite resources, increasing greenhouse emissions and an economic system based on creating ever increasing profits irrespective of the costs involved – move from a canter to a gallop, the future looks much bleaker than it needs to be.

Reap What You Sow, Part II

One of the more insidious consequences of the neo-liberal deregulation, privatisation, globalisation, corporatisation revolution that has swept the globe over the past 40 years is the human cost of allowing corporations whose primary responsibility is to create ever increasing profits for their major shareholders, to self-regulate.

Reap What You Sow Part I

The problem with 40 years of neo-liberal experimentation is that all the seeds they have sown seem to have fallen on barren ground. The latest revelations about the perils that have accompanied the privatisation of old age care in Australia highlight the deregulation, privatisation, globalisation and corporatisation revolution was a complete and utter waste of time. When you dissect Islamic State, Stalinism and the Nazi ledger you can easily count the social and human costs.

Housing: What Can We Do?

The Victorian State Labor government has embarked on a journey that will eventually result in the privatisation of public housing. Their strategy is based on the redevelopment of the public housing sector through private public partnerships that will see prime public residential land on which current public housing stands into freehold titles for developers who will build housing on that land. Of new housing built, 80% will be allocated to the private sector while 20% will be allocated to public housing.

The Ubiquitous Petrol Station

One of the most important and least recognised points of contact in a 21st century petrol driven economy, is the ubiquitous petrol station. I'm pretty familiar with the petrol bowser in Melbourne town as the nature of my work means I drop into a petrol outlet at least once a day. In Melbourne the market is carved up between the big three – Woolworths, Coles, 7-Eleven and a smaller franchise United Petrol.

Islam and Islamism

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are monotheistic religions which trace their origins to Abraham. All three religions are riddled with contradictions and differences which are based on different interpretations of the Torah, the Bible and the Koran. Tens of millions of people have died as a result of clashes between these three monotheistic faiths and intractable disputes within these three separate religious traditions.

Dinosaur Dreaming

It’s so sad. The good old corporate dinosaurs that are making a buck from industries that do more damage than good are coming under increasing pressure from managed Ethical Funds. Over the past few years the amount of money invested in ethical funds in Australia has doubled to over 50 billion dollars. Surprise, surprise those investors who put their money in managed ethical funds received a better return than from the traditional managed fund.

Triumph and Delight

The biggest smiles in Congress and the US Senate are on the faces of the Republican ideologues. Blindsided by President Donald Groper during the never ending US Presidential campaign, they will be the major beneficiaries of President Groper’s political demise. Irrespective of what we may think of President Groper’s behaviour, he is not, unlike those Republican Senators and Congress members who currently have a Cheshire cat size grin on their dials, an ideologue.

Hand on Hand Interaction

Have you noticed how the interaction between human beings involved in a financial transaction is charging. I’m old enough to remember the days when cash and bartering were the main means people used for their day to day transactions. Today the act of passing change from one person to another is slowly being superseded by the ubiquitous tap of a plastic card. Technological innovations have not only had a significant impact on financial transactions, we now pay a third party for the luxury of being involved in a financial transaction, they have also changed the way human beings interact.

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