Mick Wallace The #US and #EU are increasingly using #sanctions as a weapon against countries that don't bow to their financial i… https://t.co/qMbVI1XYfc
Mick Wallace How bad that the #EU of the so called 'European Values' has supported this Terrorism against the people of #Syriahttps://t.co/wRXMSubfYi
Mick Wallace Western Colonialism never really stopped, it just got a make over - It's now called 'Financial Imperialism'. Are we… https://t.co/KoMpQ69bBw
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: Would mean something for Irish people and the notion of 'Irish Neutrality' if Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs @simoncov

Dáil Diary no 18- 2 March 2015

Inequality is rising. And that's a Fact…

Inequality is rising, particularly in the so called developed world. It is the natural outcome of austerity policies. Which are part of the philosophy of Neo Liberalism. One might think that the primary responsibility of the State would be to take best care of those who most need their help. Sadly, this isn’t how it works, and as the recent bailout of our failed banking system emphasises, our present Government, and the Government before them, have proved much better at taking care of the interests of powerful financial groups and large corporations. To be fair to Fine Gael, they are a right wing party and they make few excuses for representing the better off. – It does what it says on the can. Labour, on the other hand, are supposed to champion the less well off, and work actively towards challenging inequality. – This has not happened, and the Labour deputies can twist language as much as they like but the people are not stupid, and the people know how this Government’s austerity policies have impacted on them. The Global Wage Report by the International Labour Organization- the UN Agency dealing with international labour standards - released in December 2014, found that Irish workers are receiving lower wages now than they were at the start of the crisis, despite an increase in their productivity. Inequality between those with the least income and those with the most has been growing in developed economies, but in Ireland it has hit the middle classes most with their household incomes falling further behind the most wealthy. This is a result of political choices made by the Government parties. Here’s my Dáil contribution on the issue last Wednesday.-

“I heard a few Labour Party Deputies earlier and I believe they protested a bit too much. They insinuated that members of the Technical Group wished matters were worse so they could get more votes in the next election. First, I am not awfully worried about what votes I get in the next election. I do not believe we are so bad over here that we actually wish bad on people and want things to be worse in the economy. That is a bit much.

Austerity policies have been implemented over the four years of this Government's term. This was obviously started by the previous Administration. Austerity is not just about balancing the books; it has a purpose. It is very much like an aspect of neoliberalism in that it is an effort to undermine the social contract. Many people with good jobs lost them, and now we see new jobs being created, but most are for less pay and have poorer working conditions attached. There have been serious cuts in social services. This is part of the neoliberal plan and part of what we signed up to with the Nice and Lisbon treaties. Neoliberalism is about a smaller group of people controlling more of the wealth and having greater control over social life to maximise their personal profits. It has been the dominant ideology, probably since the time of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Milton Friedman was the genius who introduced it and there has been strong adherence to it since. It has led to serious inequality. For Labour Deputies to come in here and pretend that inequality is not increasing is not honest. There was recently a meeting of G20 finance Ministers in Istanbul at which it was warned that the gap between the rich and poor had widened following the financial crisis of 2008. That is not rocket science; it has happened.

According to Mr. Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois, neoliberal initiatives are characterised as free market policies that encourage private enterprise and consumer choice, reward personal responsibility and entrepreneurial initiative, and undermine the dead hand of the incompetent, bureaucratic and parasitic government. A generation of corporate-financed public relations efforts has given these terms and ideas a near-sacred aura. Mr. McChesney states also: "The economic consequences of these policies have been the same just about everywhere, and exactly what one would expect: a massive increase in social and economic inequality, a marked increase in severe deprivation for the poorest nations and peoples of the world, a disastrous global environment, an unstable global economy, and an unprecedented bonanza for the wealthy." The defenders of neoliberalism claimed that the tide was going to rise, that all the boats would rise with it and that it would be great for everybody, but we know that is not true.

Mr. McChesney outlines that neoliberalism works best when there is formal electoral democracy, but when the population is diverted from information, access, and the public forums necessary for meaningful participation in decision-making. We know our media play a very strong role in that. The neoliberal system, according to Mr. McChesney, therefore has “an important and necessary byproduct - a depoliticized citizenry marked by apathy and cynicism.”

Mick Wallace.

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.


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