With European markets spooked again, it’s the Dutch that are the culprits this time. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has offered his resignation when the support by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party was withdrawn. The markets dropped over 2% and with an early election now looming, the predictions are that the winners will be the Socialist Party with a possible doubling of seats from 15 to 30. Geert Wilder’s Freedom Party is on the wane and predicted to lose some seats.
If elections are held in the Netherlands, possibly as early as September, the most likely scenario will be a copy of the present French election with a big increase in both the left and right vote and the traditional liberal or conservative vote ending up the losers.
What makes the recent Dutch upheavals interesting is that the austerity measures needed to bring back its deficit to a maximum of 3% of GDP is being exploited by the extreme right. Their opposition is based on the same principles that the Liberals are opposing some of the economic measures here in Australia; that economic growth is more important than bringing budget deficits down. Economic growth above all is the mantra owned by the right.
In Australia the proposal to tax the mining industry more vigorously together with the introduction of a carbon tax on polluters is being opposed by those believers in ‘economic growth above everything else’, even if, as we all know, the continuation of polluting our earth will make the world unlivable for our grandchildren. It seems almost beyond belief that there are political ‘leaders’ who don’t belief in climate change no matter what the science is telling them.
The dogged and obstinate stance of those ‘economic growth ‘believers are what seem to be bedeviling many countries and it will be interesting to find out who will be the winners. The danger is that unless solutions are found and the people reassured that all will come good, a rise in those tens of millions of seething and restless masses could turn very nasty. We don’t have to go back all that far to see similarities cropping up that resulted in some very nasty wars.
It was perhaps never a good idea to promise lower taxes and at the same time fan material expectations of voters riding towards the horizon with more and more goodies with a never ending wealth. We now can have not one massive TV but TV’s in every room. Not just one simple modest car but multiple ones and SUV’s to boot. We expect an Iphone for the ten year olds going to private schools and our cupboards are full of tangled battery chargers and dated electronics with small buttons.
Fiscal prudence together with taxing the obscene wealthy, who are always best able to afford contributing to societies, might give the opportunity to give the restless masses seething with discontent a much needed relief and reassurance that all will come good again.
There are some who hold the view that economic growth is old hat and that governments ought to become more aware that the world is precariously close to losing out to an inevitable closing down of its support system. Ecological balance ought to be as important as economic prudence. We can’t continue taking out more than putting back. Something has to give way. Let’s hope the seething masses will sway towards demanding its representatives to heed what the world’s ecology is telling us. Give up your squandering ways. Tighten up and balance things out. Don’t spend more that what you’ve got. Prudence even abstemiousness might give us a way out in the nick of time.
There are no other solutions that can avoid disaster.