The financial squeeze gives Boydy flashbacks

By Brian Boyd, VTHC Secretary

The Australian’s Business Magazine recently posed the question: Is this the end of capitalism as we know it, quoting analysts, regulators and - the doozie - one deemed “The True Capitalist,” Chris Corrigan!

This is the Chris Corrigan who, as managing director of port operator Patrick Corp,connived with the Howard government in 1998 in a crude military – style attempt to deunionise the Australian waterfront.

It was a watershed dispute.

Ten years later, this “true capitalist” writes in said magazine that “true capitalism is alive and well in many parts of the globe, especially in Asia”.

In contrast to Asia, Corrigan claims that the Western democracies such as the US, UK and Australia long ago became “nanny states”, rejecting such “capitalist” virtues ‘self reliance, thrift and a belief in markets. According to Corrigan, this is the principle flaw from which all others stemmed to bring on the crisis that has hit the world.

Mr Corrigan must think people have short memories.

He embraced the so called ‘nanny state’ himself back in 1998 when he enthusiastically used the full powers of the Federal Government to help him take on his own workforce. His company asked for and received hundreds of millions of dollars of tax payers’ money to fund the legal redundancies Patrick Corp were liable for.

In turn more millions of dollars were lined up from the ‘evil’ banks to fund the Dubai training operations and his later extravagant corporate takeover bids.

Corrigan really does have a nerve to be the spokesperson for the so called ‘true capitalist’. Over the last decade he went along with his political mates in the Howard government putting up the bubble, without a whisper of the critical analysis he is offering up now.

But one thing he is consistent about. When capitalism needs propping up it is the ordinary working people who inevitably pay. Corrigan says we the workers must suffer a prolonged drop in living standards for his system to recover. The same system he played in for years.

Now a London based “private investor” Chris Corrigan sits back and dreams of the old days, while the global economic crisis hurts the most who didn’t create it.

It was the lack of “moral hazard” that allowed the huge explosion in unrepayable mortgage borrowings (especially sub prime) in the US that led to the recent spectacular collapses of the big home loan companies (e.g. Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac). In turn this lack of conscience triggered the current fiscal crisis. Mr Corrigan’s ‘true capitalism’ model only guarantees we will see it all again.

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