I read the other day that Alan Joyce was paid $21.4 million for the 2023 financial year by Qantas. My first thought was; ‘WTF could one bloke do so much better than your average person, that they should be paid 300 times more?’ 

    With indifference we scroll past news like this every day, desensitised to its absurdity, but everyone should be asking this question. Seriously, send me into Qantas, give me department heads, senior advisors, oodles of resources and a bit of media training and I’ll run the joint for peanuts (let’s say, one million a year?) and I’d do it without defrauding millions of dollars out of people booking a flight and expecting it to, you know, actually fly.

    Further pondering on the balcony got me thinking about the current disconnect between the profit mindset of corporate boards and CEOs and the expectations of non-shareholder everyday people. A gap has always been present and largely accepted by society, but over recent years it’s become seriously out of whack. Cronyism, powerful lobbies, corporate mates, noses in the trough; they all contribute to this vast inequality, enabled by a different set of rules.

    There’s an old saying about capitalism; it is great and everything but it still needs socialism to bail it out every ten years. Naturally on those occasions, whether it’s propping up a bank, an airline, or through covid business support payments, the transference of wealth continues unabated; the rich somehow get richer, and the rest of us endure the heavy lifting and power the slow recovery. 

    Yet whenever capitalism is criticised, the right-wing media gets defensive and the propaganda machine goes into overdrive – usually led by the US and their despicable champion Murdoch – frothing at the mouth about the failures of communism and the threat posed by government-sanctioned socialism to the way of life (and investments) of the Anglo-sphere. 

    The right to hoard wealth, never recognising or even caring when the great goal of ‘enough’ has been achieved, is fiercely guarded by any means. The misinformation and fear spawned is so effective that even your average worker is on board, despite the fact that they rarely benefit; it’s not like the marketing genius of trickle-down economics was ever intended as anything other than a mirage to distract the masses.

    Sure, capitalism can complement, or even play a vital role in a social democracy like ours – companies employ people, generate income and pay taxes which contribute greatly to infrastructure, services and social networks – but we are not talking about a healthy version of capitalism here, we are talking about entitled, unbridled profiteering at all costs, where there’s no moral compass or second thought given to people, the environment or the social fabric and stability of non-white nations. It’s a very different beast and one which many would agree has no place in a functioning, egalitarian society. (I’m obviously talking about Australia here – not the Cayman Islands). 

    And so modern corporate greed persists, mostly mistaken for a version of capitalism that might just pass the pub test, while literally only hiding behind it. Now’s the time to push it out into the open, expose it, and deal with it by whatever means are necessary – it will take more than a couple of marches and a Government with a bit of dare and gumption.

    Meanwhile I’ll just sit here on the balcony and wait for that call from the Qantas board… 

    Derek Green
    Derek Green
    I'd rather die wandering than die wondering. Read more of my travel escapades at:

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest edition

    #96 May 2024

    Recent editions



    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.

    Related articles