January 31, 2006 | Graham

AWB – Think East India Company

One of my heroes is Edmund Burke. He is claimed by the conservative tradition, but is persuasively portrayed as a liberal by Connor Cruise O’Connor in his The Great Melody. He spent his last 12 years in parliament working to impeach Warren Hastings. I can’t quite work out the relationship between corporation and state from the web, but Warren Hastings was a functionary of the East India Company, and simultaneously he was also India’s first Governor-General.
The East India Company strong because it was a mecantilist outreach of British Government. In return for a monopoly on trade with India it agreed to pay a large percentage of its income to the government as tax.
What surprises me is that neither our left or right leaning press has fastened on to the parallels between the East India Company and the Australian Wheat Board.
The left in Canada has fastened onto the Hudson Bay Company, another mercantilist enterprise, as a sign of the evil at the heart of colonialism. We don’t have the same history, so the same parallels don’t necessarily present themselves. But as Samuel Clemens said, “History rhymes,” and there are certainly sympathetic harmonics here.
The AWB shows similar traits to the East India Company, even if it is a minnow by comparison. Burke wasn’t successful in impeaching Hastings. Will
Cole impeach anyone? History suggests that the Howard government won’t pay a cost…but it should. And the AWB should be dismantled. It’s a dinosaur in the present age.

Posted by Graham at 8:38 pm | Comments Off on AWB – Think East India Company |
Filed under: Australian Politics

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