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Byron Shire
March 22, 2023

Food prices are up, and so is…

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‘Nearly two-thirds of all global wealth produced last year went to the one per cent, the other third
went to the 99 per cent’.
Richard Jones

I was shocked to see the cost of local bread I buy in Mullumbimby had risen 40 per cent. That particular loaf is becoming a luxury item.

‘Give us this day our daily bread’ – but at what price? There was no wheat in the bread, so the steep rise probably wasn’t caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The price of vegan dumplings we sometimes buy had also risen by over 30 per cent.

I asked the woman at the checkout, ‘How do people manage?’. She then proceeded to tell me how bad things were in New Zealand where she had family. She said stealing is up, as people simply couldn’t afford the high prices.

I’ve asked a few people how they are managing with the hike in food prices.

They are being more careful about what they buy and they’re eating less. They’re buying cheaper cuts, if they’re meat eaters, and basically having to cut their coat according to their cloth, as the old saying goes.

Those of us lucky enough to have acquired a piece of land when prices were really cheap are able to grow more of our own food. I planted hundreds of Davidson’s plum trees years ago, and now they are beginning to fruit abundantly. I’ve made loads of jam and given away thousands of seeds for people to grow their own. They’re local, and endangered in the wild. They take up very little room in a garden.

Every time we eat a pineapple, we plant the top and a new pineapple grows like magic.

They love the local growing conditions. Apparently, three hundred years ago, pineapples were so rare and prized in England they cost the price of a townhouse. Next time you see a pineapple, imagine it’s worth a million dollars. Luxuriate with every bite! Better still, plant it and grow your own.

So many food plants can be grown successfully in quite small spaces, even in containers.

Our farmers’ markets are a good source of fresh, clean, local produce – and without all that throwaway plastic packaging.

Some people seem to forget they pay hard-earned money for single-use packaging.

It’s not just food costs, of course. Rents are quite ridiculous, a probem exacerbated in our community by so many properties being bought as holiday lets. It’s quite iniquitous as these residential units and houses were never built as commercial properties. They were built for families to live in them full time.

Understandably, people are quite disturbed when the place next door in a quiet residential street suddenly becomes a holiday house with short-term rentals and raucous parties. It can wreck the amenity of the whole street. It really is so wrong this has been allowed to happen.

Governments are reluctant to interfere in the so-called ‘marketplace’. Both Liberal and Labor are still in thrall to neoliberal economic policies, introduced by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

It has produced the ugliest form of capitalism possible.

Nearly two-thirds of all global wealth produced last year went to the one per cent, the other third went to the 99 per cent. Surely, this is the stuff of revolutions. Why do the 99 per cent allow this ridiculous level of inequity and inequality? Why do people accept that it is okay for Gina Rinehart, for example, one person, to make $40 billion out of resources owned by all Australians? She hasn’t invented anything, she doesn’t make things. She just pays people to dig up minerals and export them.

Billionaires who flew in their private jets to the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos asked to be taxed more. Well, yes, that’s obviously necessary, but will it actually happen?

We’ve heard nothing from the Albanese government yet about raising taxes for the super wealthy. Corporations still hold sway over the federal government. We’ve seen no evidence of that changing.

One significant environmental test is coming up for the Albanese government.

Dr Bob Brown detailed it at the launch of Tamara Smith’s campaign to retain her seat of Ballina in the upcoming NSW election.

The magnificent Tarkine wilderness, clearly of World Heritage status and home to endangered species, such as the Masked Owl, is under threat from the Chinese government-owned MMG mine. They want to clear ancient forest and site a poisonous tailings dam in it!

Will Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, favour the corporation over endangered species?

Will the coming state election change anything, or will we be swapping one set of conservatives for another? With a bit of luck, Independents, Greens and the Animal Justice Party (AJP) will hold the balance of power in both houses of parliament.

Then, we might just wrestle control of the agenda from corporations and start getting far better action on inequality, community housing and the environment. We won’t have a genuine democracy until the people have real power and priority over big business.

Richard Jones is a former NSW MLC, and is now a ceramicist.

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  1. That woman from NZ was telling porkies: situation is not as bad as here as their inflation is 7.2% to ours 7.8% . Same as here businesses are taking advantage and putting up tge price making huge profits .

  2. It’s bad for people everywhere Richard, not just for you.
    Here in Oz we make things worse for ourselves by not allowing transition fuels to be used.
    Plus divisive attacks against the family, Western heritage and religion.
    It can only get worse before people come to their senses.

    • Traditionally they deal with it by creating a sudden reduction in population. Global warfare, depression, pandemic, and famines are the usual tools. They never fixed the problems of 2008, they have just been using the credit card to kick the can down the road. They will have to have a correction eventually….or just let the old system collapse and let Russia, China, and friends take over with their new system. Globalist bankers have no national allegiance, that’s why the are called globalists. East or West, all the same to them.

    • Tina – I feel the ‘worm is turning’ against the Progressive’s enthusiastic destruction of Oz.
      While Labor is no longer representing the “working class” – neither are the LIbs while they slavishly follow ‘the vibe’.
      The Nats seem to be the only ones with any integrity left.
      At least the majority are being more honest with the electorate over where they stand.
      How many would have voted as they did in the last Federal election, if they knew what secret Marxist plans Albo had in store for all of us?
      I’m now waiting for a Julie Morosi-type to come wiggling down the corridors of power arm-in-arm with Jim Chalmers !
      Shades of the Whitlam-mess and perhaps even a modern version of 1972-5 all over again ?

  3. The BRICS+ nations are de-dollarising world trade, thus years of exported inflation from money printing is returning to the US. As the value of western currencies are linked to USD, we all cop it too. We also have no manufacturing due to the Lima and Kyoto agreements (and their descendants). Our problems are exacerbated by the growing number of ‘middle men’ that don’t actually create any wealth, they make money from other peoples wealth creation. As the system becomes more financialised, it becomes more degenerate, distorts the free market, and will eventually fail for the same reasons the Soviet Union did. Creating parallel system really is the answer. Grow your own food, barter, build/repair your stuff, home school your kids, and all that good stuff.


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