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By David McKnight

Maps the dying of politics in response to the normal competition among Left and correct, and gives a provocative argument for the emergence of a brand new values-based politics in Australia.

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In the short run, capitalism can politically afford to be much tougher economically on its workforce than it used to be when socialism or communism threatened it with an internal revolution and an external threat. But at some point, something will arise to challenge capitalism and capitalism will need the political support of more than those small numbers of individuals who are actually owners of substantial amounts of capital. QX5 13/7/05 1:29 PM Page 26 26 Beyond Right and Left Such qualms, based on a sense of history, are rare among the advocates of the New Capitalism.

From the introduction of widespread wage labour and the manufacture of food and clothing to the provision of education and health, the family has been reducing continually. This has not necessarily been a uniformly bad thing. The traditional family depended almost totally on the unstinting and unpaid work of wives and mothers whose choices about their own desires and needs depended on the goodwill of their husbands. The market and the process of commodification, as we shall see later, are by no means entirely bad.

Those supporting community and non-profit child care, such as Alma Fleet of Macquarie University, argue that any spare money should not be for the shareholders, but should be ploughed back into the welfare of children. 41 The benefits of commodification are immense—prepared food, ready-made clothing, professional child care and aged care; the trouble is that the downside and the costs of commodification are at present seamlessly wrapped in the same package. The main cost is the adulteration of the quality of human and family relationships.

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