The mines are running themselves. The workers who produced the profit that pays for the machines get none of the benefits of the machines that were bought with the sweat of their brows. All the profit from the machines will go to the shareholders. This is the way of the future. One day the machines will do everything and the shareholders will own everything.
BHP, the largest mining company in the world, can now produce 1 tonne of iron ore for $12, and sell it for $80. We, the people of Australia, who own that ore, get 73 cents. If we, the people of Australia owned BHP, we would get $68 per ton, or $12 billion per year, that’s about $500 each, for every man, woman and child. So a family of four would get $2000. Now that would come in handy wouldn’t it? Last year the mining industry generated $148 billion dollars from digging up our dirt. That is $6,000 for every man, woman and child in Australia. For a family of four, that is $24,000 per year. A lot of families could survive on that amount. A lot of families DO survive on that amount.
Then we have the banks: $30 billion profit per anum. Add another $5,000 per family. Now we are up to nearly $30,000 per family, and we still haven’t picked all the low hanging fruit.
So how could we possibly afford to buy all the shares in the resources industry and the banks?
Not a problem. For over 30 years now, the Superannuation industry has been amassing a small fortune, sorry, a very large fortune. We now have almost 3 trillion dollars saved up. That is more than enough money to buy every single company on the Australian Stock Exchange.
So what is stopping us from buying all the publically listed Australian companies. Or as Karl Marx would put it: What is stopping us from taking over ‘the means of production?’.
Nothing is stopping us. All we have to do is direct our super funds to invest our money where we tell them to. After all, it is our money, and at the very bedrock of the free market system lies the notion that we can spend our money however we see fit. We can even spend it dismantling that very system.
Now, the more you think about this tantalizing prospect, the more benefits start to accumulate:
For a start, we would all have a universal basic income. Now wouldn’t that be nice?
But not only that, we would hold the power to direct those companies to be better corporate citizens: Taking action on climate change, equal pay, free child care, paternity leave, environmental standards, slavery free supply chains, higher wages, better, safer working conditions, the list is endless.
Ben Laycock July 2020