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On Fairness

Sally McManus

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Rapid growth in wealth inequality results in the inevitable isolation of a very small, very rich, very privileged section of the community from the material experiences of everyone else. And when this out-of-touch minority group is enfranchised to make the decisions on behalf of people they don't know, can't see, have no wish to understand, and think of entirely in dehumanised, transactional, abstract terms, the results for the rest of us are devastating.”

“You don't fix unfairness with more unfairness; you don't get a fair go by denying one to someone else. You get a fair go by organising; by standing alongside everyone else who's in the same situation and insisting on rules that ensure fairness.”

“When public service jobs are outsourced or privatised, and when the alternative to a job on the corporate sector's terms becomes no job at all, competition in the labour market disappears, allowing wage and job conditions across the board to be driven down.”

“Unionisation, of course, obstructs the extent to which employers are able to squeeze working people in their profit calculations, levelling the playing field between the single, powerful employer and the unified might of an organised workforce.”

“There's now a worldwide industry of companies that offer rewards to political actors - politicians, lobbyist, think-tanks, activists - who show greater loyalty to maximising corporate profits than they do to principles of equality, let alone the public good. It's parasitic capitalism, and it's the economic model that the opponents of fairness prefer.”

“The greater, darker, unforeseen consequences of privatisation are its corrupting effect on social fairness and opportunity more broadly. Corporations that acquire state assets depend on the election of governments with policies that will feed their business, rather than diminish it. It is in the interest of corporations that are paid to supply sub-contracted services to government projects, for example, to lobby hard against political parties mooting a return to better-paid, more secure, direct employment models. ... A powerful incentive to corruption, hard and soft, exists in the dynamics of these economic and political relationships. Big corporations have a direct interest in politics and the political system; their political donations reward those who promise them favourable conditions, and neither the community benefit nor the national interest comes into it.”

“The greater, darker, unforeseen consequences of privatisation are its corrupting effect on social fairness and opportunity more broadly. Corporations that acquire state assets depend on the election of governments with policies that will feed their business, rather than diminish it. It is in the interest of corporateions that are paid to supply sub-contracted services to government projects, for example, to lobby hard against political parties mooting a return to better-paid, more secure, direct employment models. ... A powerful incentive to corruption, hard and soft, exists in the dynamics of these economic and political relationships. Big corporations have a direct interest in politics and the political system; their political donations rewared those who promise them favourable conditions, and neither the community benefit nor the national interest comes into it. (p.69-70)”

“The Australian union movement called an 'illegal' general strike in 1976, when Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's government was trying to destroy our embryonic universal healthcare system. That strike brought the country to a standstill. Fraser backed down, and what became Medicare remains. The same people who disagree [with strike action] may also want to reflect on this the next time they enjoy a leisurely weekend, or are saved from an accident by workplace safety standards, or knock off work after an eight-hour shift. Union members won all these conditions in campaigns that were deemed 'illegal' industrial actiona at the time. These union members built the living standards we all enjoy. They should be celebrated and thanked for their bravery and sacrifices, not condemned and renounced.”

“Respect for the rule of law is about belief in the capacity of that law to dispense justice, fairness and equality for all. But laws aren't passed by principles - they're passed by governments, and governments can be unjust and unfair. Our anti-strike laws are one of many manifestations of this fact.”

“Privatised power companies that profit from a fossil-fuel-generated energy supply are obviously resistant to politicians promising to build and operate the infrastructure of renewable energy. The owners of a private bus company, or a pay-per-use toll road, do not want the government to build you a local train station.”

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Book Keywords:

inequity, public-sector-employment, political-corruption, social-justice, capitalism, organised-protest, fairness, law, government, public-infrastructure, political-interference, labour-market, unions, inequality, privatisation-of-public-assets, rule-of-law, right-wing-politics, structural-inequality, strikes, political-influence, equality, union-movement, workers-rights, equity, social-fairness, political-donations, public-services, privatisation, neoliberalism, unionism, conservatives

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