By Joe Montero
The Australian cricket team ball tampering scandal has focused on the wrongdoing by the captain. There is no argument that Steve Smith and Dave Warner too, should be accountable for his own actions. Their 12 month suspension may even be too lenient. But to leave it at this, avoids a far more important reality.
Cricket, like all major sport nowadays, is driven by the race to make money. Billions are at stake in terms of broadcasting, promotion and gambling. The turning of sport into a money making machine, exerts an enormous pressure to win at all costs. A winning team brings in more money and the players’ ongoing careers depend on delivering. Losers are soon cast aside.
The cheating that the Australian cricket team has been caught out in, must be taken to the sport’s officials. They manage the machine and therefore play a major part in creating the atmosphere that colours expectations and the demands put on players.It is not known whether they were complicit in this particular case. That’s not the point. Their ongoing support for the commercialisation of the sport is.
Even recognising of this does not go far enough. The cricket scandal is a microcosm of the way in which Australian society has developed in recent times. We have become increasingly corporatised. Everything we touch is a commercial transaction. Someone is making a profit out of it.
In the pursuit of personal gain, there is little space for helping each other out, for compassion towards others and a fair go. Not everyone has gone all the way down this road. Most of us do value these principles. Unfortunately, this is countered by enough of the other to permeate through society.
Its rise has been a characteristic of government, exhibited in the turn towards corporatism and the making of government operations into profit opportunities for some. This transformation has been accompanied by the growing problem of corruption among politicians, political parties and bureaucrats.
In this atmosphere of the rise of unabated raw capitalism, compassion and fair treatment have gone missing. We see this in the cruel treatment of refugees, the targeting of the unemployed, disabled and single parents. Even age pensioners have copped a hit or two. The refugees cannot be easily turned into commodities to sound the cash registers. They are expendable. The other groups are much better are seen as a source of cheap labour.
We see the lack of compassion and fair treatment in the existing industrial laws, designed to individual and collective rights of workers and lower the wages share of the proceeds of participation in the economy
Services are sacrificed on the altar of doing business and communities have been turned into a resource to exploit.
This involves a mindset that values personal greed above everything else, extols the extreme individualism of to Hell with everyone else.
A mindset that is most thoroughly expressed in the corporate world. The biggest corporations enthusiastically stand in line for large government handouts, as they take part in a massive tax avoidance industry. The activities of the banks are notorious. Others can be added to the list. The overcharging of the telco and electricity companies immediately comes to mind.
The corporate world hires lobbyists, writes policies and provides money to politicians and political parties for favours.
The prime minister himself was found to have shares in 7 Eleven, a franchise company notorious for squeezing its franchisees and gross under payment of staff. When this controversy came to light, Malcolm Turnbull refused to take any responsibility, and did not see why he should consider divesting his investment.
It is but one small incident that unveils the umbilical cord joining government and the corporate world.
Is it any wonder than that the disease infects major sport, including the Australian cricket team? Instead of focusing solely on the actions on an individual, it would be much more productive to turn an eye to the bigger picture.
Consideration needs to be given to building doing things together, compassion and a fair go. Humanity must prevail over the commercial transaction and extreme individualism. We need to learn that our individual needs do not stand opposed to our collective needs. They compliment each other.
Some people suggest that taking this road is to be civilised. The alternative is barbarism.