Sunday, April 5, 2009

Australian PM calls for new economic order

Australian PM calls for new economic order

SYDNEY (AFP) — Australia's prime minister has called for a "new world order" of government intervention and regulation, blaming capitalist greed for the global economic crisis.

Kevin Rudd's administration came to power in November 2007, ending more than a decade of conservative, free-market rule, and has already launched a series of stimulus measures in response to the crisis.

"The time has come, off the back of the current crisis, to proclaim that the great neo-liberal experiment of the past 30 years has failed; that the emperor has no clothes," said Rudd in an essay previewed here Saturday.

"Neo-liberalism and the free-market fundamentalism it has produced has been revealed as little more than personal greed dressed up as an economic philosophy," he wrote, in a 7,000-word essay to be published next week in The Monthly magazine.

Aligning his views with those of new US President Barack Obama, and drawing on the experiences of Depression-era US leader Franklin D Roosevelt, the centre-left leader called for a "new contract for the future that eschews the extremism of both the left and right."

"Minor tweakings of long established orthodoxies will not do," Rudd said, advocating instead a new era of "social capitalism" involving the regulation and intervention of an "activist state."

But he urged his democratic colleagues not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" by returning to a model of the all-providing state, and said there was a place for open competitive markets, both at home and abroad.

Rudd is expected next week to announce a second major stimulus package in response to the global economic crisis, which has already slashed thousands of jobs in Australia and eroded billions from government revenues.

Measures launched so far include a one-off 10.4 billion dollar cash injection aimed mainly at families and first-home buyers to boost consumer spending.