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As 2016 draws to a close, commentators are making the point that in western democracies a disgruntled working class has wrought the unexpected in political terms. Brexit, the election of President-elect Trump, and the rise of Hanson and the minor parties in the Australian Senate are all being sheeted home to those who believe they have been poorly served by past governments which have allowed their working and living conditions to stagnate or deteriorate.
Will the presidency of Donald Trump herald the slowing-down or even reversal of US social inequality? I doubt it. Highlighted awareness of the gross social inequality in the US clearly had him elected, however. The Donald has grandiloquently promised that, from ‘Day One’ of his presidency, he will “bring back our jobs”. By “putting America first” in “making steel, building cars, and curing disease, American innovation will create wealth and, with it, jobs for American workers. The middle class will be rebuilt, and the result will be that America will be great again – for everyone”.
We are still coming to terms with the cataclysmic political events of the year. Brexit was a starter. But the big one has been the election of Donald Trump. We don’t really know exactly how Trump will act as a President. We have his radical statements made during the campaign, some of which have been moderated since. However, clinging to hope that he may change his mind over some of these statements may be a case of hope against reality.
‘Gen Rent’, the unfortunate demographic
The data on Australian residential property is scary. In the overheated Sydney market, the aspiring homeowner will receive no change from $300,000, after a 20 percent deposit, legal costs, and stamp duty. Even given oft-cited parental support, it is members of a rare group indeed which can rifle that level of savings from the piggybank to make it into their own home. More and more Australians are being priced out of the homeowner stakes and shunted to rent status. ‘Gen Rent; used to be about young folk only, and was transitory – a temporary bridge to home ownership. the Gen Rent demographic has rapidly expanded to include many people aged 50-plus, many permanent renters, and of course the young.
Posted on John Menadue’s blog Pearls & Irritations 24 November 2016
For open markets to work well, they need well-developed market institutions and social safety nets. Whether you love or loathe the president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump can achieve media attention for an economic policy issue, as well as for himself. Take the issue of trade and jobs, for example.
Elizabeth Thurbon UNSW Australia & Linda Weiss University of Sydney
President-elect Donald Trump is right: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a damaging deal, and deserves to be killed off. But he tells a half truth about why the trade accord among a dozen Pacific Rim nations is a bad deal. In Trump’s view, trade agreements like NAFTA have allowed developing countries to “steal” American manufacturing jobs and decimate the well-waged middle class. This is why he says that America should reject the TPP.
But shifting the blame for American joblessness and stagnant incomes obscures the more complex, largely home-grown pressures that led U.S. companies to offshore manufacturing production to low-wage jurisdictions. Promising to tear up certain trade deals and impose tariffs on imports (chiefly from China and Mexico) will do very little if anything to reverse the problem.
National and international law prohibits torture. These laws are based on a consensus that torture is immoral. However, as Amnesty International reports, at least 81 world governments currently practice torture. US president-elect Donald Trump has publicly favoured waterboarding. Why do governments engage in torture, and why do their supporters accept this?
Sherry Balcombe Coordinator
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria
Pope Francis has been a breath of fresh air for people around the world, and especially for us in Australia. He has spoken of us all attending to the most disadvantaged, and he has done so in his own actions. He is leading the way. Pope Francis wrote, ‘This anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s address at Alice Springs in 1986 affords me the happy opportunity to express my deep esteem for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, and for your ancient cultural heritage’.
Serious about social justice?
Consider study at Yarra Theological Union (YTU), or at other colleges within the University of Divinity in Melbourne. Undergraduate to higher degrees. Auditing also possible. YTU units include :
- Justice & Human Rights
- The History of Catholic Social Thought & Movements
- Equity & Sustainability: Pope Francis & Social Reform
- Major Issues in Contemporary Moral Theology
- Comparative Study of Religions
- Social Teaching & Aboriginal Australians
Contact the Dean of Studies Yarra Theological Union 98 Albion Road Box Hill 3128 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 03 9890 3771.