I guess "balance" is a dirty word?
Balance has been one of my favourite words for many years. The reason for this is that when it comes to life - including political views, economic policy, etc - the concept of "balance" seems to elude almost all human beings on the planet. You are a righty, OR a lefty, you want free markets OR regulation, you like icecream OR pizza. This final (rediculous) example should now elude to what I am about to say next; often, you can replace the "OR", with an "AND" to achieve a stronger position. Does this idea seem paradoxical?. It is. But first, let me point out (obviously) that there are times when you cannot replace an "OR" with and "AND"; racism v's equality, slavery v's freedom, sexism v's freedom. Polar opposites that cannot be united to form a stronger middle ground.
To assume that you cannot combine other SEEMINGLY polar opposits is not true, although lazy thought would prefer it to be true. Combine pizza and icecream and you have a meal, PROVIDED you don't eat them at the same time. Combine free markets AND regulation and you have stabilty AND prosperity PROVIDED neither becomes too strong a force. Combine government AND individual freedoms and you have, justice AND liberty for all PROVIDED again that neither ideal dominates the other. This is not fence sitting, it is an intellectual approach that does not allow for lazy opinions handed down from generation to generation via rhetoric and cliche's.
Our Prime minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, has written a paper due to be published shortly that will show how this idea of synthesising seemingly opposite views can create a stronger middle ground.
"While Mr Rudd advocates new regulation and government intervention for financial markets, he warns that the advantages of the free market should "not be thrown out with the bath water"...Ironically, it falls to social democracy to prevent liberal capitalism from cannibalising itself... The intellectual challenge for social democrats is not just to repudiate the neo-liberal extremism that has landed us in this mess, but to advance the case that the social-democratic state offers the best guarantee of preserving the productive capacity of properly regulated competitive markets, while ensuring government is the regulator, that government is the funder or provider of public goods and that government offsets the inevitable inequalities of the market with a commitment to fairness for all,"
full article available here...
My previous blogs, here and here, resulted in some healthy discussion, but it unfortunately also drew alot of extreme views. It should now be clear that I am not saying that a government should take ALL of your hard earned dollars as tax, I am saying SOME of your hard earned dollars should go towards building a better society for all, through taxes, and thus find a stronger middle ground.
PS. could we please not get in to a debate about guns on this one, let's stick to the idea of synthesizing ideals to create a balance, particularly regulated free markets.