Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers: I will remake capitalism

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers: I will remake capitalism.

Tom Dusevic:

Jim Chalmers is pledging greater government intervention to radically remake post-pandemic capitalism by redesigning energy, finance, labour, and social services markets — which he says are failing — while putting “fairness” at the centre of a plan Labor believes will deliver decades of national prosperity.

Young know-it-all wants to remake the economy

Foreshadowing a seismic policy shift, the Treasurer says Labor will ditch the free-market policy consensus that has steered rich countries over two generations and fashion a values-based economy in partnership with business, unions and community groups.

The essay signals that Labor is abandoning the bipartisan economic orthodoxy of the past four decades, with the Treasurer arguing the rise of populism in response to income stagnation demands a fundamental redistribution of wealth and opportunity. …

While respectful of the legacies of Labor reformers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in the 1980s and ’90s, the Treasurer argues the party must embrace a new social democratic agenda, where markets are built in partnership with business and unions to allocate capital and labour. …

He identifies the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as a successful model in allowing the government to partner with investors to “direct capital where it can have the greatest impact”.

Alan Moran:

Jim Chalmers wants to replace naturally evolved markets, where individuals’ decisions drive outcomes, with collective decisions of business governments, unions, and community groups using newly forged markets to deliver the outcomes. If all this sounds like socialism and its near cousin, fascism, it is because that’s what it is.

Chalmers wants to replace the rule of law and property rights that allows trillions of individual market-based decisions to determine the expenditures, savings, and investment patterns in ways that optimise present and future consumption levels. He does so out of a general frustration that a market system undirected by political elites is not delivering the outcomes he prefers to see. …

Like the Holy Grail of the Workers’ Paradise that drove earlier generations of radicals favouring reformulated market processes, the goals of the ‘energy transition’ — the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions — cannot come about by market forces based on individuals exercising their own preferences.

Tom Dusevic in a second article:

Jim Chalmers believes in the genius of the market, but not so much that he’ll cede the levers of power to the caprice of supply, demand and the animal spirits of capitalism. …

Intervention is back …

Chalmers will be putting government at the centre of how key markets operate: sometimes it will be gentle, other times it will be brutal, messy and (hopefully) short, as in the gas play. …

The Treasurer clearly has his eye on the long game. He knows he’ll need to bend, not break, institutions to impose values capitalism on our shores, including key actors such as Big Super and the official family of economic advisers whose professional religion is free market orthodox, capital F, capital M.

I don’t recall any of this being mentioned before the last election. Labor kept awfully quiet about wanting to replace our economic system.

More echoes of the Whitlam disaster.