Friday, December 31, 2010


Paul Krugman analyzes the strange persistence of Neo-Liberal thought despite the total failure of Neo-liberal economics to deliver.

"How, after the experiences of the Clinton and Bush administrations — the first raised taxes and presided over spectacular job growth; the second cut taxes and presided over anemic growth even before the crisis"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More on Solutions.


Tidal energy.  is attractive because it gives a predictable and constant energy source, unlike many other renewables.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Global warming and our children's future.


While we spend our time nit picking, we should never lose sight of the real problems.

1. Anthropogenic global warming. (Climate change).
2. The political and economic system which supports short term gain for a few people at the expense of our children's future.
3. The widening gap in income and power between most of the worlds people, and a few who have stolen most of the resources.

4. How we can ethically adjust resource use and human population to allow a sustainable and just society.

James Hansen on Climate change.

“Human-made climate change is a moral issue. It pits the rich and the powerful against the young and the unborn, against the defenseless and against nature.
“Climate change is a political issue. But politics fails when there is a revolving door between government and the fossil fuel-industrial complex.
“Climate change is a legal issue. The judiciary provides the possibility of holding our governments accountable for their duty to protect the public interest.”

Monday, December 27, 2010

More on Neo-liberal motivations.


The 9/11 nihilism of GOP senators - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

"Yet, this latest stunt, well, this one even shocked me. Senator McConnell’s boisterous brood decided that it was too expensive to fund healthcare for 9/11 first responders. That’s right, the guys and gals who ran into cascading buildings, brick bonfires and smoldering ash, many of whom - the ones lucky enough to get out alive - developed respiratory illness and cancer for their troubles".

Friday, December 24, 2010

Heroes amoungst us.


The people who really did make a difference in 2010.

The real heros of 2010.

At the end of 2010 We should remember all the heroes amongst us.
Bradley Manning who is in solitary confinement because he did not believe his country should hand over prisoners to torturers.
The aid convoy to Gaza who risked their lives knowing the Israeli reaction would be violent.

Closer to home. The Waihopai 3. Who remind us their are more important things than personal gain

People who are fighting oppression and authoritarian regimes all over the world.

To all of those who want to bring up their families in fairness and  peace.

Whatever your god my be/ or not. Best wishes for the season and the new year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Perceptions of the Future.


China is busy spending their US dollars on land, coal, timber and other resources as quickly as they can while they are still worth something.

NZ is busy selling off resources for US dollars as fast as possible so we can buy more to join the money market casino.

I would not hold much hope for your retirement savings unless they are invested in future sustainable development industry and infrastructure within NZ.



The private sector has forgotten how to make business work.

The present business leaders and bankrollers are so bereft of ideas for new business they are trying to grab the natural monopolies and infrastructure owned by us.

Generations of Managers who are incapable of anything but cost cutting, asset stripping, firing money around and social destruction are turning their sights again to the public sector to make money.

The wealth they have already stolen off us is obviously not enough!

The people behind privatisation.

The usual suspects.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Moral Philosophy on Money.


Somebody who puts it much better than I can.
Alistair McIntyre on money.
“MacIntyre maintains, however, that the system must be understood in terms of its vices—in particular debt. The owners and managers of capital always want to keep wages and other costs as low as possible. “But, insofar as they succeed, they create a recurrent problem for themselves. For workers are also consumers and capitalism requires consumers with the purchasing power to buy its products. So there is tension between the need to keep wages low and the need to keep consumption high.” Capitalism has solved this dilemma, MacIntyre says, by bringing future consumption into the present by dramatic extensions of credit.
This expansion of credit, he goes on, has been accompanied by a distribution of risk that exposed to ruin millions of people who were unaware of their exposure. So when capitalism once again overextended itself, massive credit was transformed into even more massive debt, “into loss of jobs and loss of wages, into bankruptcies of firms and foreclosures of homes, into one sort of ruin for Ireland, another for Iceland, and a third for California and Illinois.” Not only does capitalism impose the costs of growth or lack of it on those least able to bear them, but much of that debt is unjust. And the “engineers of this debt,” who had already benefited disproportionately, “have been allowed to exempt themselves from the consequences of their delinquent actions.” The imposition of unjust debt is a symptom of the “moral condition of the economic system of advanced modernity, and is in its most basic forms an expression of the vices of intemperateness, and injustice, and imprudence.”

When it comes to the money-men, MacIntyre applies his metaphysical approach with unrelenting rigour. There are skills, he argues, like being a good burglar, that are inimical to the virtues. Those engaged in finance—particularly money trading—are, in MacIntyre’s view, like good burglars. Teaching ethics to traders is as pointless as reading Aristotle to your dog. The better the trader, the more morally despicable.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Solutions. Discussing money.


Currency does not have to be based on anything. 98% of money now is fiat currency issued by private banks.
Its issue is too important to be left to banks instead of being under democratic control.
There are well known problems with resource based currencies and no real reason why a currency should be resource based to be credible.
All currency is a token of labour productivity, present or future.
The trillions of US$ debt at present exceeds any possible future US productivity many times.
For a sustainable economy we need to return to the idea of money as a medium of exchange, not as a commodity which can be magically increased in a computer unsupported by work.
The central bank should be the only issuer of money and the whole concept of interest and charges on the economy by the financial sector needs to be revisited.
Their share of GDP has grown rapidly since the withdrawal of restrictions on them since the 70′s (80′s in NZ) without any corresponding benefits to society as a whole.
Instead we are all supposed to have austerity imposed on us to pay their gambling losses.

The madness continues.


Meanwhile, as the neo-liberal circus carries on, China is spending as much of their US dollars as possible in buying concrete assets and resources before the $US becomes as valueless as blankets and beads.

New Zealand continues to invest pension and other funds in $US investments (Money market gambling)..
Without the productive capacity and income within NZ to support pensioners and other investors in future it does not matter how much is saved. Re-introducing money into an economy which does not have the capacity to absorb it simply inflates that money to the degree the goods and services are not available.

The money would be better invested now in NZ  in infrastructure, education (For useful jobs such as the trades and engineering) and sustainable energy efficient production to ensure our kids have a future. And so the can keep us in old age.

That is if the US$ has not inflated to be almost valueless because there are already more dollars floating around than can ever be redeemed by future US productivity.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More solutions. The First Light Passive Solar House.


First Light. House

Designed by Kiwi's for a US competition.

The Kiwi bach as an energy saving dwelling.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The end gme in Britain.


"This is not to say Parliamentary politics is meaningless. They have one meaning now: the replacement of democracy by a business plan for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope, every child born".

"Where Britain goes, We will follow".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Five Zombie Economic Ideas That Refuse to Die - By John Quiggin | Foreign Policy

Five Zombie Economic Ideas That Refuse to Die - By John Quiggin | Foreign Policy


The ideas that ruined the Western World.

Five Zombie Ideas.

"Trickle-down economics was conclusively refuted by the experience of the postwar economic golden age. During this "Great Compression," massive reductions in inequality brought about by strong unions and progressive taxes coexisted with full employment and sustained economic growth".

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

mars 2 earth: living well - a Bolivian view

mars 2 earth: living well - a Bolivian view


"Living Well means living within a community, a brotherhood, and particularly completing each other, without exploiters or exploited, without people being excluded or people who exclude, without people being segregated or people who segregate.
Lying, stealing, destroying nature possibly will allow us to live better, but that is not Living Well. On the contrary, Living Well rather means complementing one another and not competing against each other, sharing, not taking advantage of one’s neighbor, living in harmony among people and with nature. It is the basis of the defense of nature, of life itself and of all humanity, it’s the basis to save humanity from the dangers of an individualistic and highly aggressive, racist and warmongering minority."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Energy and the Economy.


Copy of my comment on Frogblog on energy.

“We have so many good options in NZ or renewable power that compared to most countries we are spoiled for choice.

Unless we are invaded for energy, food and living space which would be a strong possibility. I do not see the people who happily murder just to become richer sitting put and starving while countries like NZ and Australia are available.

I agree with Kevin. Apart from bigger schemes that work on already degraded areas like Stockton. Reducing demand with green buildings, energy efficient transport and lower energy technology is one strand.
Renewable energy. Distributive generation, bio-mass solar water heating, wind, geothermal, solar tidal and run of the river hydro are the other.

I gave an example above of how the timber industry. (To build Green houses) can produce all its own renewable energy from the waste stream.

These are only very approximate numbers to get the idea. I have some, but do not have the time to wade through all my papers at the moment. Orders of magnitude are close enough to show the theory. Changes in technology may mean more or less contribution. Bio fuels from sewerage are now looking more promising than first thought. Especially for farming which produces lots of it. :-) . Those tractors will be run on bio-methane produced on site.

Electric urban transport. (Trains and cars). Reduce transport fossil fuel demand by 50%. 100 PJ saved. Green buildings in California reduce demand by 15% 20 PJ saved.
All houses with solar heating. 40 PJ saved.
Ships and trains for long distance transport another 50 PJ saved.
Distributed generation by households on a smart grid. 50 PJ.
Council woody waste 4PJ. Bio-mass (Sewage plants) 10 PJ.
Forestry waste stream. 9 PJ short term. Up to 20 medium term.

It will require a lot of work and commitment, but I do not see why we cannot be 100% renewable in electricity and 50% in transport fuels by 2020 if we started now. Good for employment too.
Get the idea. New Zealanders are well placed to have a good life style with our current resources and technology.

There will likely even be some surplus for exports to pay for things which it is not sensible to produce locally. The French and Russians will sell us all the weapons we may need.

The caveats are. We need to start NOW.

We cannot afford to wait until politicians, who have too much invested in the current system, do something.

Carrying on as we are is not an option. Niether is a reversal to some agrarian horse drawn utopia.
This requires a change from the bottom up. Real democracy.

Saturday, October 16, 2010



“People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them. We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.”
George Monbiot

We should fight those who  are destroying our society with self interest and greed..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Offshore drilling Safety??


Maritime NZ have a road show going around the country with a proposal to make things cheaper for the offshore oil drilling industry.

Current requirements for STCW/SOLAS certification for crews and the vessel on oil rig tenders may be relaxed to allow inshore qualifications up to the new within 200 miles of the coast “Near sheltered waters limit”. About the same as allowing someone with 200 hours in a Cessna to drive a jumbo jet.
I.E. Off the East Coast or in the Great South Basin.

Oil rig tenders are supposed to be the stand by vessels for rescue and firefighting for the rigs.

STCW is the minimum requirement for international vessels. It is already compromised by ship owner interests. Attempts to relax requirements below this level are not going to increase the safety of offshore drilling.

Especially in light of the Coastguard findings in the US that lack of knowledge of stability in ship and rig firefighting at the scene may have contributed to the Transocean rig sinking.

I think this shows the Governments real level of commitment to environmental safety.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Direct Democracy.


Direct democracy may have prevented Muldoons spending for election bribes. The 1984 Labour Governments throwing the baby out with the bathwater, Ruthenasia etc.

We would have also had women’s suffrage and Gay rights sooner as it was the politicians that held them up.
One unpublished study here showed that most people, given a choice of policies only, preferred green Policies. The same people when given a choice of parties chose John Key. Go figure.

 Research shows that decisions arrived at by BCIR are often better and better supported by research than those made by Politicians. If people have to make a decision themselves they tend to look into it more deeply.,

The political parties in the States are also reducing taxes to the extent they cannot pay back debt or support disadvantaged people. California  is a reflection of their society, not the type of Government.

People did make an informed and rational choice here given the available options. The only way in NZ to get rid of a parties policies you do not like is to vote in the lot you did not like last time. We only have the choice of Neo-lib heavy or Neo-lib slightly lighter.

Lastly as “No right turn” says. “Even if we make the wrong decisions at the end of the day it is our decision to make”.

Democracy. and capitalism.


Unlike some though I do not believe capitalism and a decent socialist society are mutually exclusive.
The problem with badly regulated or un-regulated capitalism is the cheats prosper. Capitalism is fine as a means of resource allocation if it is DEMOCRATICALLY regulated to take externalities into account and so people cannot cheat the system.
New Zealander’s as a group have proven to have a pretty good sense of fairness and justice. I think we can be trusted to get it right more often than a self selected group of marginally competent politicians.
Often when some one says the public’s choices are un -informed it is simply because it is not “their choices”.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

White Roofs Project

White Roofs Project


More on sensible solutions.

White roofs cut global warming and air conditioning costs.

Renewable Energy Solutions.



More about solutions.

SEANZ is the sustainable energy association of NZ.

Members are suppliers and researchers into sustainable small scale distributed power generation.

A couple more renewable energy links.

Peace of the Action

Peace of the Action


'The only way to peace is through the people and obviously not through our corrupt and corporately controlled government.
Most of the rest of the world is aware that the US is a Military/Corporate Empire and that the spread of this Empire is harmful globally to peace, the environment, and economic health.
Part of POTA is to bring awareness to Americans about the profound cost to all of us from this Empire'.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

ITV - John Pilger - Globalisation Articles

ITV - John Pilger - Globalisation Articles


'In Indonesia 35 years ago, a military dictator took over, a million people were killed and a red carpet was rolled out for western capital. It was the start of globalisation in Asia, a model for the rest of the world, leaving a legacy of sweatshops and corruption'.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Prescription for New Zealand


A few ideas.

My answer would be to use Government finance within NZ to build up Kiwi bank until we have a banking system controlled by and for New Zealand. It is a good opportunity at the moment. The private finance sector has cocked it up so badly that there is a huge worldwide demand for Government bonds. They are perceived as one of the few safe-ish investments left.

See the Green new deal for some ideas on sustainable development.

Follow Singapore’s example and do not be afraid to pick winners. Invest public and private money in innovative sustainable technology.

Follow the example of successful countries, like the Scandinavian ones, instead of slavishly following States like the US and UK which are essentially failed States.
Accept that businesses that cannot pay the true costs of externalities. Like the real cost of labour, their use of the environment and their true costs to society are not sustainable and should be allowed to fail.
Adam Smith.

Regulate capital outflows and shift taxation to things like capital gains to encourage people who do useful things. Allow land prices to drop to where land use incomes cover the cost of capital. Making sustainable and ongoing income from land use more profitable than farming it for short term capital gain.

Follow Switzerland and make New Zealand’s Government arrangements
a democracy instead of a pretend one.
We should control our country, not, 122 self appointed incompetents, the OECD or IMF, or a bunch of failed idealisations from a few true believers in neo-liberalism.

Every country believes they are going to pay back debt by out exporting the others. Not possible.

Accept that taxes are the price of having an educated, housed and healthy labour force, adequate infrastructure, a local market, social cohesion and protection, protection from unprincipled competition and from crime and invasion.

Those who object to taxes are really just saying they want to free load off the rest of us as I doubt they would like having to provide all of the above privately.

People (usually claiming to be right wing) keep saying they want ideas from us on how we would do things differently. I suggest there has been plenty of ideas from the Greens and others. Many on these blogs. Some people just have not been listening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Democracy in Action.

ISIL -- The Swiss Cantonal System


"Good government is achieved when rulers are made accountable – and accountability is assured when ordinary citizens can participate in decisions, remove elected representatives who abuse their mandate, and repeal unpopular laws.
The Swiss system has served the ethnically diverse people of that country well for over 700 years. The rest of the world could learn from the example set in this mountain country and adopt similar systems of citizen-based government.""

OpEdNews - Article: How we can take stolen profits back from banksters

OpEdNews - Article: How we can take stolen profits back from banksters


"We need a grass-roots money-reform movement to take banking away from private interests and put it back in the hands of government -- initially at the state level and eventually at the federal level too. Indeed, North Dakota has very profitably run a state-owned bank for nearly a century, and not coincidentally is the only state in the union that has survived the recent recession unscathed, with the lowest unemployment rate in the country. "

"Representative Democracy" ??


Representative democracy is a contradiction in terms. You either have democracy, which is rule by all the people, or you do not. Representative democracy is simply a change of dictatorship, possibly, at each election.

Democracy is resisted by politicians of all stripes because they are all arrogant enough to believe they know better than the rest of us, being, mostly, self selected people who want power.

They will resist giving any power to the rest of us to their last breath.

A few cherry picked results of Switzerland's or California's system of voting are commonly used as an argument against democracy. The results are representative of their societies and would probably have occurred in the quoted cases under a revolving elected dictatorship anyway.

In fact, in New Zealand, the public supported women's suffrage. It was parliament who held it up. Under the Swiss system of direct democracy NZ would have most likely voted women the vote much sooner than we did . Same with gay rights.

Politicians very often get it appallingly wrong.
It is doubtful that a majority of the public would have voted to throw the baby out with the bathwater in the 80's. Or to Ruthenasia in the 90's, to name just two cases.
Muldoon would not have been able to gerrymander his way into power for so many years with election bribes to a couple of minorities.

Just because some people on the left disagreed with the majority on a recent referendum does not invalidate the principal.

Wisconsin and some other American States have a good track record with BCIR. Why do opponents of democracy always talk only about California?

Other arguments against democracy usually show an unstated contempt for ordinary people. They "dared to disagree with me they must be wrong" or "they cannot have understood the question".

Self determination means making decisions for ourselves, not having 120 self important, arrogant and mostly ignorant politicians making them for us.

"If voting made any difference they would abolish it" Abe Lincoln.
"Democracy is the worst system of Government, except for all the others" Winston Churchill.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Address to the Brazilian council of economic advisers.


A succinct description of how economies are manipulated to transfer wealth to US banks.

"Indebted “host economies” are in a similar position to that of defeated countries. Their economic surplus is transferred abroad financially, while locally, debtors lose sovereignty over their own financial, economic and tax policy. Public infrastructure is sold off to foreign buyers, on credit and therefore paying interest and fees that are expensed as tax-deductible and paid to foreigners. "

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The shadows behind the National figureheads.


Some idea of the motivation behind the NACT's Labour and bene bashing. Making the world safe for corporate doners.

"January 21, 2010 will go down as a dark day in the history of American democracy, and its decline. The editors of the New York Times did not exaggerate when they wrote that the Supreme Court decision that day "strikes at the heart of democracy" by having "paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding" -- more explicitly, for permitting corporate managers to do so, since current laws permit them to spend shareholder money without consent."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On a sustainable society


We will not have a sustainable society with an economic system that requires continual growth to function. With all its commensurate requirements such as monetary growth, planned obsolescence, continual expansion of production, concentration of wealth and strip mining of natural and human resources.
Social justice is a requirement for an environmentally sustainable society.
Democracy, In reality, not pretend as at present, is a requirement for a consensus on how to get there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the foreshore and seabed.

I strongly believe all foreshore and seabed should be commons. None should be in private hands and none should be salable because a future right wing Government decides.

"The Greens are confident that if we lay aside our fear and anger it is possible to reach agreement about a system that recognises Maori Customary title, prevents it from being turned into individual saleable title, provides for all New Zealanders to have access to the beach provided they respect it, and puts in place a range of measures to ensure the values we all cherish on the coast are protected.
It can only happen through rebuilding trust and good will. The heritage of the Commons is one of Europe's gifts to our cultural imagination; the Customary tenure of iwi and hapu is an indigenous taonga. Together, they can give us a shared appreciation of a sustainable relationship with our environment."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A neo-lib recants


"It is not surprising, then, that during the last bubble (from 2002 to 2006) the top 1 percent of Americans — paid mainly from the Wall Street casino — received two-thirds of the gain in national income, while the bottom 90 percent — mainly dependent on Main Street’s shrinking economy — got only 12 percent. This growing wealth gap is not the market’s fault. It’s the decaying fruit of bad economic policy".

The New York times.


"That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them." 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foreshore and Seabed


“It’s disappointing that John Key has put nothing in the proposal to stop owners of private title restricting access to or selling the foreshore into foreign ownership.”

Exactly. Do it to every one then we can all retain the foreshore and seabed as commons.

NACT are fine with the Maori party/aristocracy claiming veto/ ownership rights because they know they can then buy Maori “elite” off to put fish farms and mines anywhere they like.

This needs a lot more thought and discussion.

If Maori agree that putting all privately owned foreshore and seabed into “commons” Crown ownership/public ownership is acceptable then this may be an answer.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Economic Sovereignty

Russel Norman: Economic Sovereignty and Dignity - Speech to Grey Power Rotorua | Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand


Russel Norman on Economic Sovereignty.

"But we will only have the opportunity to make the right decisions if we have the right to make the decisions at all. We can only make the right decisions for the future of New Zealand if we protect and take back our economic sovereignty."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Does this sound like NZ.


"But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care — that a" 

The arrogant disregard of ordinary people in NZ is just an imitation of the States.

It is time the strip mining of the people and country of New Zealand for the benefit of as few is stopped.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A working class hero. One of the great speeches.


"Government by the people for the people becomes meaningless unless it includes major economic decision making by the people for the people. This is not simply an economic matter. In essence it is an ethical and moral question for whoever takes the important economic decisions in society ipso facto determines the social priorities of that society."

More on compulsory savings.


Peter Harris also has reservations.

Compulsory savings.


I don't always agree with Gareth Morgan, but he often makes a lot of sense.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where are Labour?


We need valid alternatives to neo-liberalism.

Labour opened the door in the first place and some of the culprits are still there. Douglas and co like teenage vandals in a toy shop. They were unable to stop at the necessary reversal of some of Muldoons rorts.
If Labour is just going to fiddle around the edges like the last 9 years then they have really lost their way.

Face some facts. The current system only works for overseas financiers. Productive people are leaving in droves as their pay is reduced. Sticking every one in jail does not cut crime. Inequality is increasing rapidly. The new generation think that antisocial greed and loss of community are normal.

NACT are borrowing for election bribes just like Muldoon. How long before they start rigging election boundaries like them also?
Unless Labour comes up with some sense and courage NACT will have us down the toilet.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On taxes.


The rich do not pay tax because they can use all sorts of dodges. Tax is generally paid by higher earning wage earners.
GST does catch the tax avoiders in the tax net to some extent. Broadening the tax base.
Some things need to happen for a fairer tax system.
Capital gains tax.
Transaction taxes.
Currency speculation taxes. Needs other countries to implement at the same time to work.
45% on really high incomes. Over $150k.
Get rid of trusts and other dodges.
Except for taxes on high wage earners are all means of broadening the tax base.

For income taxes I would like to see Gareth Morgans idea of a universal individual minimum income administered through IRD replacing benefits. The main advantage is reducing administration costs, but it also removes the need to go and beg to WINZ for a benefit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Industries we could lead in.


Anyway I said I would be positive.

Admit this is one of my pet projects.

I have not managed to find the website again. But a UK firm was looking at designing and manufacturing electric city commuter cars for lease.
Something NZ could be a leader in.
The sort of investment it is worth borrowing for.
Composite construction with the renewable composites Waikato is researching.
Intellectual property for export.
Power from renewable s on the grid is more energy efficient than petrol.
Petrol cars can be kept for long distance travel.
Carbon offsets.
Foreign exchange savings from offsetting hydrocarbon imports.
May help develop renewable energy industry also.
Manufacturer leases so incentive to make the cars long lasting. No planned obsolescence.
Simple design as restricted to 50k/hr.
Leased so drivers do not have to buy another car.
This sort of thing will not happen however without Government leadership.
As NACT have shown with biofuels they would rather we stayed followers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not Quite Steinbeck: WTF is Neoliberalism?

Not Quite Steinbeck: WTF is Neoliberalism?

" Do you want to know why the Wall Street crashed? Because of neoliberalism. Do you want to know why there are so many illegal immigrants in the US? Because of neoliberalism. Do you want to know why you can’t find a job? Because of neoliberalism."

Performance Pay for Teachers.


On the face of it, It seems fair to reward people who perform better than others with more pay.
If anyone can come up with a fair and valid performance measurement. Fine.

However even in the private sector this is fraught with difficulty.
Unless performance has a single clear measurement business has a poor record with targeting performance pay.
Sales may be OK. As you can measure performance by the number of sales. But, what about the back office contribution to sales. The receptionists contribution.
In less easily defined jobs like management, performance pay has failed to deliver better performance.
In fact higher pay to top management and higher performance pay, in British research, correlates with the worst performing companies.
What measure do you use. Return to shareholders. It is easy to maximise return to shareholders short term by sacrificing the long term viability of the company. By then the manager has taken the money and run.
Production. Was it the manager or the staff?
Sales. Was it better training, better support, better product or sales team performance.
While I would be the first to agree that there are some time serving teachers who should not be there. I’ve seen those people in many other professions also.

There are also stars who stand out, however the majority, like most professions, are dedicated, hardworking people who try to do their best for their students. This is constantly made more difficult by power seeking politicians attempting to impose their latest fad.

If performance pay is such a good idea how about tying MP's pay to the average wage. 5 times the median wage with an 85% tax abatement rate on any other income would seem about right.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On the US vs Germany


"Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? Why You'd Probably Be Healthier and Wealthier in Germany

How Europe makes people's everyday life much more pleasant to live in."

"That's easy: Europe. I can answer that as their lawyer, the way a doctor could answer about their health. The bottom two-thirds of America would be better off in Europe. I mean the people who have not had a raise (an hourly raise in real dollars) in maybe 40 years, and who do not even have a 401(k), nothing but Social Security, and either have no health insurance or pay deductibles of $2,000 or more. Sure, they'd be better off in Europe. When unemployed, they'd certainly be better off in Europe. Over there, even single men can get on welfare. And in much of Europe, contrary to what we hear, unemployment is much lower than over here".

Monday, August 16, 2010

On Kiwisaver being compulsory.


The worry is that Kiwi saver in private finance company hands may become like company super schemes in the 70's and 80's.
The fact that most of them performed miserably, except for enriching fund managers, was hidden by the tax rebates and employer contributions.
The fund management industry will be fizzing at the idea of this windfall.

A sovereign fund investing in NZ infrastructure would help make our kids able to support pensions.
And allow the money to extend Kiwibank to remove the overseas sources of finance from the equation.

 Hell we may even get back control of our country from the banks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Solutions. Banking and finance.

I have put in a lot of doom and gloom here, but I do think we have some solutions.

 Dug out my economics textbooks and did a lot of research and discussion.
Nationalising banking is the only solution which people would except. The only one which could be sold as an election policy.

Recent rorts by finance companies and investment firms will help the case. We are being forced at the moment to put Kiwisaver accounts directly into financial firms which are likely to go down with the US share markets final crash. Better to reinvest it in constructive areas for the future of NZ.

We have already seen the effects of Kiwibank on the amount of money the other banks can remove from the system.
Kiwibank actually has the capability to remove the other banks from our system because it can operate like a co-op with no need for profit, the private banks could be removed by making them unable to compete.

Banking is too important to be left to the control of private shareholders whose only motivation is extracting money from us.

There will always be those who extend credit and borrow privately, but credit supplied by the Government is always cheaper and a private credit providers will stay on the fringes. Laws against loan sharks already exist.
The only difference between legal private finance providers and loan shark are a few percentage points.

Those who control the money have the say. It should be the citizens of NZ.

With democratic control of credit restored we can deal with other externalities of credit creation.
A library book or student loan model of credit where constant economic growth is not required to maintain a constant increase in credit supply.

What the worlds richest share trader thinks of class warfare.

In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

The economy and peak oil.


Food production, energy and even the production of substitutes for oil depend on petroleum.

So does the economic system. It is unlikely it will survive the loss of cheap energy.

"To illustrate, if home and business loans are issued with interest rates in the 7% range, the assumption underlying the loans is that the monetary supply will increase (on average) by 7% per year. But if that 7% yearly increase in the monetary supply is not matched by a 7% yearly increase in the amount of economic activity (goods and services), the result is hyper-inflation. The key is this: in order for there to be an increase in the amount of economic activity taking place, there must be an increase in the amount of net-energy (i.e. the net-number of BTUs) available to fuel those activities. As no alternative source or combination of sources comes even remotely close to the energy density of oil (125,000 BTUs per gallon, the equivalent of 150-500 hours of human labor), a decline or even plateau in the supply of oil carries such overwhelming consequences for the financial system. Dr. Colin Campbell presents an understandable model of this comple  relationship as follows: "

Dire predictions from the USA.
All is not rosy in the land of the neo-libs.



A few Unions abused monopoly power. = ECA.
Fonterra, supermarkets, power companies, ports, banks etc etc form cartels or abuse monopoly power to rip us all off = What??

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Portugal Makes the Leap to Renewable Energy -

Portugal Makes the Leap to Renewable Energy -


Portugal has made the leap to clean energy without a blowout in Government debt.

Shows initiatives like the Green new deal can work.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

State welfare.


Yeah we should be doing something about those on State welfare.

  • Banks and finance companies who fail with Government guarantees.
  • Employers who can pay low wages because the state takes up the slack with WFF and childcare allowances. Poor employers who drive good ones out of business because labour laws are so slack.
  • State owned companies given away to corporates.
  • External subsidies from ratepayers to dirty Dairy.
  • Employers given handouts to employ people who then get rid of them when the subsidy ends so they can get someone else who is subsidised.
  • State pays training for employees so employers do not have to pay for it.
  • Banks getting windfall profits when the OCR is raised.
  • Currency speculators who short the NZ dollar.
  • Police protection against people they have disenfranchised.
Yep we really do need to cut welfare.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Stupidity from the reserve bank act. Bollard Raises interest rates in case we dare to ask for wages to stay constant in real terms.


Of course raising business interest rates beyond that of overseas competitors has no effect on prices and competitiveness. Right!! And interest rate rises of themselves are not a driver of inflation. Right!! And higher interest rates in NZ do not give windfall profits to overseas banks and finance companies. Right!! And lower wages and higher prices do not drive borrowing to live. Right!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On Skilled Wages and student loans


People have short memories. Before the student loan scheme only the children of the rich went to University paid for by the taxes on those who did not. Student loans spread some of the cost. It is easy to get loans repaid. Pay decent wages commensurate with skills and use the same sanctions on defaulters as the private sector.
The real problem is salaries for educated and skilled people have dropped so much since 1984 (40% in my profession) that it is stupid for any young person to stay in New Zealand. Employers have managed to pass their training costs onto tax payers. (Apprentices are now paid a training allowance and many work for nothing) or onto other countries by bleating to the immigration department they cannot get NZ’rs to do the job. Meaning they can’t get us to work for SFA or they have not trained anyone for 30 years. This will dry up as even Indian and Chinese wages for highly skilled people are starting to exceed ours.

On Reducing Crime.


A senior judge suggested some proven effective ways to cut crime and she was silenced. 

I have copied her speech as it is very hard to find. It has been removed from the appropriate websites.

Student Union Complex, Victoria University, Wellington
Wednesday 9 February 2005
Sian Elias*
Criminology in the Age of Talk-back
This conference deals with difficult topics. Identifying the causes of crime and
correcting and preventing criminal behaviour has exercised every society. We
should not be surprised that they continue to vex us.
The level of crime is a source of proper public concern. As such, in a democratic
society, crime is rightly the subject of close political attention. In recent years the
level of anxiety has intensified. How crime can be best prevented and how the
balance is to be struck between punishment of a criminal and effecting safe
reintegration of the offender into society are old questions. But they are of particular
urgency today. They are the subject of heated debate within the wider community
and within the political arena. That is not something we should deprecate. These
are matters of legitimate interest to all in our society.
What the level of public anxiety and political interest means is that there are some
particular challenges for those who work in the field of criminal justice and penal
policy. Popular anxieties are never an easy background for scientific discourse.
There are no simple answers. But that message itself is hardly welcome. Nor is the
public and political debate easily informed in an age where modern mass
communication is geared to simple messages. The images and stories of individual
crimes are readily and graphically communicated to a mass audience. They are
properly shocking. The level of anger and anxiety they generate is not easily
addressed. But if we are not to lurch from one ineffective and increasingly punitive
reaction to another, the debate must be reasonably informed. Not just about the
facts of crime. But also about the principles and practices our law requires and how
criminal justice fits into the wider legal system and its principles.
There is much room for reasonable differences of opinion on the difficult questions
thrown up by criminology. It is necessary for all engaged in the field in one capacity
or another to keep an open but critical mind about developing policies and strategies.
We need to be rigorous in the methodology by which we evaluate strategies and
innovations. Simplistic enthusiasms may work as much damage in the end as
punitive reaction.
We need to be very careful that we do not load more expectations into the criminal
justice system than it can deliver. We must ensure that our institutions are not put
under intolerable strain by the heat of the debate. We need to acknowledge and be
respectful of informed public opinion and accept the obligation to inform the public of
the work we do, so that the debate is based on fact, not fiction. We need to
recognise that all of us are on the same side, even if we have different ideas of how
to make progress and even if we have different functions to perform. All of us want
to see crime reduced and increased safety in our communities.
I feel diffident about addressing a gathering of criminologists, particularly as you
come from a number of disciplines. The experience of a working judge in the
criminal justice system is a narrow one. I talk about aspects of punishment today.
Criminology does of course bear upon other work judges do, particularly at appellate
level where questions of policy in criminal law can arise. Perhaps the insights of
criminology are not taken into account as much as they should be,1 but there is I
think a growing appreciation of the insights to be gained from scientific research into
crime and its causes. Such research tests some of the assumptions and
generalisations we have been too comfortable with in legal reasoning about such
matters as provocation, vulnerable witnesses, victims, policing, gang culture,
remorse, and alcohol and drug abuse.
But the principal way in which our disciplines converge is in the sentencing of
offenders and it is in connection with sentencing that I want to raise a few questions
about criminal justice.
My perspective is skewed by being that of a judge dealing with serious crimes in
which the truly difficult threshold question of imprisonment or community based
sentence is seldom in issue. It is also skewed by the fact that, as a judge of a court
of general jurisdiction, I am concerned with wider values in the justice system than
the ends of punishment in the particular case. That makes me cautious about
strategies which may have real merit in terms of penology but which could
compromise other important values in the legal system.
Therapeutic intervention and incapacitation through secure containment of offenders
have the potential to impact adversely upon human rights. Pilot programmes for
sentencing (such as the current Restorative Justice pilot being undertaken in New
Zealand in selected District Courts) and regional variations in the availability and
quality of community programmes have the potential to cause injustice through
inconsistency in sentencing. Informality in the procedure adopted in Youth Courts as
part of the restorative justice initiative (such as the acceptance of a “no-contest”
indication at Family Group Conferences and greater use of inquisitorial procedures)
has the potential to undermine procedural safeguards developed over many years to
ensure fairness and to prevent wrongful conviction. The central position now
accorded to victims in sentencing, bail, and parole determinations and the
importation of a concept of community distinct from the State both have the potential
to change the face of public justice and to cause inconsistency in sentencing. If
parole eligibility arises at an early stage of the sentence (as it does under the New
Zealand legislation) and requires reconsideration of the factors taken into account at
sentencing, public expectations of “truth” in sentencing may be disappointed and,
* The Rt. Hon. Dame Sian Elias, Chief Justice of New Zealand
1 The High Court of Australia has been criticised for seldom referring to criminology scholarship and
research. Blackshield et al (eds), The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia (OUP,
2001), 183.
more importantly, in effect substantial sentencing discretion (in our system a judicial
responsibility) has been transferred from the court to the Parole Board. In addition,
we continue to struggle with the disparate ends of sentencing and the lack of a
coherent theory of punishment to provide guidance to judges and to quell those who
believe the sentencing judge is a “free-wheeling palm tree”, accountable to no one.
I do not suggest that these risks will necessarily eventuate. But we need to take
I want to expand on a couple of these points. First, I want to say something about
my perception of where penology is at the moment, and why I think you should be
optimistic about where it is going.
Optimism, it has to be said, is not exactly the frame of mind one gets from reading
some of the criminology literature.
So, for example, there is a sense of weariness indicated in the 50th anniversary
edition of the Criminal Law Review by such veterans as ATH Smith, Martin Wasik,
and Caroline Ball. Referring to the English experience, the articles deprecate the
highly politicised way in which sentencing issues are now characterised, the “talking
up” of sentences by politicians who portray the public as “insatiably punitive”
(contrary to the research findings of a number of studies)2. They refer to the
“managerialist” takeover of youth justice in the 1980s and resulting inconsistencies in
treatment, inefficiencies, and punitiveness.3 Professor Smith expresses the gloom:
The extent to which the criminal justice process has become a matter of party
political posturing must be (well, it is for me) a matter of regret. The nostrums that
“prison works”, and that it is possible to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of
crime” are perhaps the best known illustrations of the sloganising with which
politicians from either side of the political divide vie to outdo one another in pursuit of
electoral supremacy. The result has been a cascade of criminal justice and cognate
legislative measures, filling prisons to bursting point, and prompting the editor of
Archbold to plead for mercy.4
The same disenchantment appears in the works of many of those engaged in
rehabilitation and reintegration. Modern research from the 1920s into the causes of
crime identified the multiplicity of factors bearing on criminal behaviour, including the
personal background of the offender and the social conditions in which he
developed. That led to therapeutic interventions and welfare programmes for
rehabilitation. From the 1970s empirical research increasingly seemed to suggest
that optimism about the efficacy of the initiatives adopted in preventing crime had
been misplaced. Through the 1980s in particular the prevailing mood that “nothing
works” resulted in widespread retreat from programmes of rehabilitation and paved
the way for more punitive responses.
2 Martin Wasik “Going Around in Circles? Reflections on Fifty Years of Change in Sentencing”
[2004] Crim LR 42.
3 Caroline Ball “Youth Justice? Half a Century of Responses to Youth Offending” [2004] Crim LR
4 ATH Smith, ‘Criminal Law: The Future’ [2004] Crim LR 183.
In her Hamlyn lectures in 1963, Baroness Wootton advocated treating crime as a
social pathology best addressed by medical and social services, with prevention of
crime the primary policy of sentencing policy. By 1981, she was pessimistic.
Reviewing her earlier lectures then, she expressed sadness that in the intervening
17 years “in spite of all the words that have been spoken and books and papers that
have been written on penal policy, the crime rate has persistently risen … the
prisons are more crowded than ever”.5
…I have to confess that over the years since these lectures were delivered, I have
been increasingly haunted by the image suggested in the concluding paragraph of
my first lecture of the whole penal system as in a sense a gigantic irrelevance –
wholly misconceived as a method of controlling phenomena the origins of which are
inextricably rooted in the structure of our society.6
The conclusion that crime and its causes cannot adequately be addressed through
penal policy alone strikes me as inevitable. David Garland has expressed it best:
…it is only the mainstream processes of socialization (internalized morality and the
sense of duty, the informal inducements and rewards of conformity, the practical and
cultural networks of mutual expectation and interdependence, etc.) which are able to
promote proper conduct on a consistent and regular basis. Punishment, so far as
“control” is concerned, is merely a coercive back-up to these more reliable social
mechanisms, a back-up which is often unable to do anything more than manage
those who slip through these networks of normal control and integration. Punishment
is fated never to “succeed” to any great degree because the conditions which do
most to induce conformity – or to promote crime and deviance – lie outside the
jurisdiction of penal institutions.7
If punishment is rightly to be seen as a backup to more reliable social mechanisms, it
is critical that the strategies for addressing crime are wider than penology can deliver
and that they are directed at reinforcing and building on the mainstream processes of
socialisation. But it does not follow that those who have “slipped through the cracks”
should not be the subject of specific strategies delivered through the criminal justice
Nevertheless, in the last 20 years there has been widespread public and
professional disillusionment about the effectiveness of rehabilitative strategies.
Crime rates rose during the period dramatically. There were calls for increases in
prison sentences and the imposition of minimum sentences. In New Zealand the
average prison muster increased by 99% from 1985 to 1999. Pessimism among
professionals and government policy advisers led to a retreat from rehabilitative
programmes. Law and order became a highly charged political issue. Public
confidence in the criminal justice system declined.
My sense is that the mood has turned a little. There are signs that professional
pessimism about the efficacy of corrections based programmes for rehabilitation may
5 Barbara Wootton, Crime and the criminal law: reflections of a magistrate and social scientist (2nd
ed, 1981), 117-118.
6 Ibid, 119.
7 David Garland, Punishment and Modern Society: a Study in Social Theory (1990) University of
Chicago Press at 288-289.
be waning.8 The huge public cost that results from recidivism means that a punitive
strategy alone towards offenders is demonstrably contrary to the public interest.
That message has I think been understood by decision-makers.
The fact that we cannot expect too much of strategies for dealing with those in the
criminal justice system has not deterred us from seeking better ways. We all have
cause to be grateful to the professionals within our justice sector agencies for their
efforts. In New Zealand, criminologists in both the Ministry of Justice and the
Department of Corrections have carried out important research and been willing to
address new strategies in a way that may not be sufficiently appreciated in the
community. They have informed the choices made in our present system and their
work points to the way forward.
In law reform of sentencing and parole considerable effort has been made to ensure
that a proper response to electorate requirements that serious offending is met with
firm punishment does not require the imprisonment of those for whom a communitybased
sentence will best promote reintegration. Nor does it preclude programmes to
rehabilitate. Effort continues into the causes of crime, in significant studies of the
mental health and other characteristics and history of prison inmates. It would be
wrong not to acknowledge that this work is an outcome of the political will to address
crime. And that political priority is to be welcomed, not deprecated.
Better communication with the public about the efficacy of sentencing options is
clearly necessary however. (It would certainly help the sentencing judge!) There
appears little public consensus that the interests of the offender and society are
reconcilable. At the same time, there is an unwillingness among some to face up to
the cost and risk to society in treating prison and lengthier prison terms as the best
strategy for dealing with crime, in what Garland has called “punitive segregation”.9
Some groups seem to consider that community based sentences are no punishment
and are ineffective compared to prison sentences. The research into the
comparative efficacy of sentences needs to be more widely available. Canadian
research10 demonstrates that rehabilitation is not promoted by prison sentences and
that community sentences are more effective in reducing crime. Long prison
sentences are counterproductive for the eventual security of the public, measured by
recidivism rates. Getting that message across should be a priority.
If we are serious about crime reduction, then it seems to me we have to have a
strategy that goes beyond criminal justice. Such strategy is discussed in the
Department of Corrections 2001 publication About Time.11 It is clear it would require
8 See, for example, Brendan Anstiss, Just How Effective is Correctional Treatment at Reducing Reoffending
(Corrections Department, 2003): (last
accessed 1/3/05).
9 Garland, supra, n.7, 140.
10 Thus, Canadian research based on 300,000 offenders found that imprisonment, compared with
community sentences, did not reduce re-offending after release. Longer prison sentences did not
reduce re-offending and may indeed have increased it. Gendreau et al, The effects of prison
sentences on recidivism (User report: Office of the Solicitor General, Canada, 1999), 24 cited in
About Time: Turning people away from a life of crime and reducing re-offending (Wellington,
Department of Corrections, 2001), 10 (About Time).
11 Ibid.
a wide public commitment and a willingness to reserve imprisonment for serious
crime. In New Zealand, the Sentencing Act 2002 points in that direction, although it
does not rank the policies of sentencing to make things explicit. It is not clear to
what extent a wider strategy than a punitive penal one has widespread acceptance.
What might be entailed in gaining such acceptance is illustrated by the effort in
Finland discussed in About Time to reduce the number of prison inmates.12 Key
factors identified in the considerable success of the strategy were:
· Clear expert understandings of the criminology basis behind the policy
changes, both in government and in the public service
· A political accord, maintained across the 20 year period of the
reduction that it was necessary and that there would be no use of “fear
of crime” as a populist theme
· Sober and reasonable media reports of crime stories
· A strategy both of reducing sentence lengths and reducing the range
of crimes resulting in imprisonment
· The support of the public, which was attributed not only to the political
accord and the news media restraint but to regular public education
pieces about the limited crime reduction gains to be had from
· A range of crime control strategies beyond the core justice sector,
including education, social welfare and youth justice.
In the meantime, judges are left with the criminal justice system. Criminal law is, as
Professor Smith describes it, “…the bluntest of society’s social instruments of
control...”.13 In New Zealand, the Sentencing Act 2002 avoids mandatory and for the
most part, minimum sentences. It is a restrained and sophisticated statute which
identifies the purposes, principles and factors bearing on sentencing, without ranking
them. It creates a presumption in favour of reparation, and is supportive of
community based sentences and restorative justice procedures and outcomes.
Because the principles identified are mandatory considerations and because of the
statutory requirement to give reasons, full explanations of sentences are necessary.
It is early days yet, but some of my colleagues on the Court of Appeal think they can
detect a drop off in sentence appeals as a result of the elaboration of reasons
against the statutory considerations. It is hoped that the more extensive
consideration required will also achieve greater consistency in sentencing.
The purposes of sentencing identified in s7 are familiar considerations. They include
denunciation, deterrence, rehabilitation and reintegration. But they also emphasise
accountability to and reparation for the victim and “the community”. The principles
required to be taken into account under s8 are for the most part similarly familiar,
starting with the culpability of the offender and the seriousness of the offence. The
Court is required to impose “the least restrictive outcome that is appropriate in the
12 M Lappi-Seppala, Regulating the prison population: experience from a long-term policy in Finland,
National Research Institute of Legal Policy Research Communications, Helsinki, 1998, 38 cited in
About Time, supra, n.10, 11-12.
13 Supra, n.4, 192.
circumstances” (with a hierarchy of fine, community-based sentence and
imprisonment), but is directed to impose penalties “near to the maximum” if the
offending is near to the most serious of its type. The Parole Act 2002 provides for
home detention for those serving short-term sentences (2 years and less) who have
been granted leave by the sentencing court to apply and eligibility for parole for
those serving long-term sentences after one-third of the sentence has been served
unless a minimum non-parole period is imposed by the sentencing court. The
paramount consideration in releasing an offender under s7 of the Parole Act is the
safety of the community. Subject to that consideration, offenders must not be held
“any longer than is consistent with the safety of the community”. The rights of
victims and any restorative justice outcome must be taken into account by the Parole
It remains to be seen whether the new system over time results in a reduction of the
prison population. A recent Corrections Department study of high-risk offenders
indicates that approximately 28% of prison inmates have risk scores assessing them
at 70% risk of serious recidivism. In a sample of 150 inmates studied at Waikeria
Prison in 2002 with a mean sentence length of 33 months (with a range from 6
months to 11 years), 48% were in the very high risk group (80% risk of serious
recidivism). It is not clear whether the “safety of the community” permits the Parole
Board to reconsider general deterrence and denunciation.14 If so, as Young and
Trendle point out, the Parole Board will effectively be undertaking a second
sentencing exercise. The length of the period of eligibility for parole may give rise to
difficult decisions and issues of principle. As the Corrections Department study
shows, many of those assessed as being a high risk to the community have been
sentenced for relatively minor offences. It is reasonable to expect that some of those
sentenced for crimes which have outraged the community may be assessed at low
risk of re-offending. Under the legislation they may be released after one-third of the
sentence imposed unless a minimum non-parole period has been imposed. There
are concerns from some about the methodology of assessment of risk and fears that
it discriminates against those of particular race, social background, and mental
health status. It is likely that matters such as these will end up before the courts.
Although understandable that the sentencing legislation does not rank the purposes
of sentencing, it seems that the axis between retribution and rehabilitation remains.
That is likely to be less troubling to the Courts than to legal philosophers. Most
judges15 do not adopt the utilitarian view that the only ethically defensible end of
criminal punishment is crime prevention. The view is regarded as counter-intuitive to
the deep-seated belief that someone who has committed a grave crime should be
punished. Just punishment is considered a proper response to transgression of the
criminal law. And indeed, is considered in itself to have rehabilitative value. The
liberal justification of punishment as retribution accords with the ideas of criminal
responsibility and culpability applied in criminal law. Sentencing has therefore been
traditionally concerned with retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation. These
purposes remain in the legislation. But they are joined by concern for restorative
justice outcomes, reparation to victims and consideration of their wishes, and an
14 Warren Young and Neville Trendle, ‘Developing the Sentencing Framework: The Sentencing Act
and Beyond’ in J Bruce Robertson (ed), Essays on Criminal Law: A Tribute to Professor Gerald
Orchard (Brookers, Wellington, 2004) 50, 68.
15 A distinguished exception is Lord Steyn.
emphasis on community safety which, with the length of the period of eligibility for
parole, may suggest a purpose of incapacitation.
Research cited by Lord Bingham suggests that the effect of incapacitation on
general levels of crime is very small.16 He points out that it presents problems when
the offender does re-enter society (as will almost always be the case), often more
dangerous than before. He suggests that ensuring certainty of punishment and
speed of its delivery may be more critical in deterrence (and therefore the safety of
the public) than the sentence itself.
Both the justification of utility and the justification of retribution in liberal theory are
based on impersonal and impartial administration of punishment. Retribution is
justified in liberal tradition as in itself the rightful response to someone responsible
for a public wrong,17 not to effect a private vengeance. McCormick and Garland
explain the procedures of criminal justice as having been designed “to turn hot
vengeance into cool, impartial justice”.
They aim to interpose rationality, reflection, circumspection, balance and collective
group interests as a break upon the unrestrained expression of individual emotions.18
Some aspects of penal policy are now difficult to reconcile with these attributes.
Some may be thought to fit uncomfortably with basic assumptions of criminal law
and human rights. David Garland has commented that “…the modern Western
division between ‘public justice’ and ‘private right’ is being quietly redrawn...”.19
MacCormick and Garland and Ian Edwards have pointed out difficulties for traditional
approaches in moving the victim of crime to a central position in sentencing. Courts
have been quick to point out that an injured party cannot dictate the sentence to be
imposed and that vengeance is not part of criminal justice.20 But forgiveness or
compensation as part of restorative justice outcomes is even more difficult. Ian
Edwards says of forgiveness:
First, it threatens to upset retributive orthodoxy when introduced into traditional
sentencing processes by compromising principles and proportionality and
consistency….Second, giving weight to forgiveness appears incompatible with
deterrence. It would undermine the potential deterrent effect of the criminal sanction,
either on the individual offender or potential offenders. Third, forgiveness is
incompatible with an incapacitative basis for sentencing, under which an offender is
sentenced on the basis of his dangerousness. Forgiveness provides no insight into
an offender’s potential for offending.21
16 Tom Bingham, “The Sentence of the Court” (delivered to Police Foundation at Merchant Taylor’s
Hall, London on 10 July 1997) in The Business of Judging (OUP, 2000), 304, referring to Tarling,
Analysing offenders: data, models and interpretations (HMSO 1993).
17 See RA Duff Punishment, Communication and Community (OUP, 2001), 7.
18 N McCormick and D Garland “Sovereign States and Vengeful Victims: the problem of the right to
punish” in Ashworth and Wasik (eds) Fundamentals of Sentencing Theory (Clarendon, 1998), 26.
19 Ibid, 12.
20 See Nunn [1996] 2 Criminal Appeal Reports 136; Roche [1999] 2 Criminal Appeal Reports (S)
105. In New Zealand, see R v Kanura (CA 238/93, 9 August 1993), 3.
21 Ian Edwards, “The Place of Victims’ Preferences in the Sentencing of “Their” Offenders” [2002]
Crim LR 689, 697.
I do not think that the problems are insurmountable. It is certainly the case that in
the past victims have felt marginalised in the criminal justice system. The criminal
justice system will adjust. But in achieving the balancing required by the sentencing
policies of the Act, some expectations may be disappointed and appellate and
perhaps further legislative attention seems inevitable.
Similar problems may arise in application of an apparent policy of incapacitation. (I
say apparent because it is not clear to what extent the size of the parole period is to
be attributed to concerns for community safety and to what extent it is prompted by
concerns about cost and/or the belief that release into the community is the best
policy in achieving reintegration except in cases of risk.) The Courts are not wellequipped
to predict future behaviour, particularly when viewed at the time of
sentencing. It is true that the same disadvantage attaches to prospects of
rehabilitation, which have traditionally been considered in the sentencing exercise.
But that did not call for anything like the assessment that will now be expected of the
Parole Board. And arguably, the Court may now have to consider what portion of
the sentence should be ascribed to deterrence and denunciation (and the subject of
a non-parole period) and what is to be ascribed to the preventive detention (unless
the prisoner is assessed by the Parole Board to be no risk).
I do not have answers to these questions. Nor do I know how the community is
properly to be identified, and how it differs from the Crown. Some of the literature on
the fragmentation of the community suggests it is largely a romantic construct which
causes inconsistency in treatment of offenders in practice. The insights you have on
these and the other topics you are to discuss during the course of the conference are
of great practical importance.
I conclude by reiterating the view that criminal justice is part only – and not the most
important part – of an integrated strategy to deal with crime and the safety of our
communities. There are challenges in the current heightened public concern about
crime. In the age of talk-back, it is important to communicate with the public about
what works and what does not. It is important that the views put forward are based
on solid research rather than pious hopes or negative reaction. It is necessary to
keep in mind that strategies to address crime must fit into a wider world view and be
consistent with values which underlie our legal system. But the political will to
achieve lasting change is an important opportunity for those interested in
criminology. As the range of topics you will consider over the course of this
conference suggests, there is much going on and much to share.

Reducing inequality also cuts crime.
Of course if you have a lot of people on the breadline you need tough security forces to protect the well off. What there are left of them.
Increasing penalties does not cut crime, Giving people a reason to feel part of society from a young age does.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On Money


When money supply was limited because it was tied to real assets such as land or gold it was beneficial to allow lending beyond the actual amount of gold. as it allowed a larger volume of commercial transactions and access to capital beyond the money supply. This is what allowed tradesmen and businesses to grow, in Europe, in the renaissance, by transferring wealth from the landowners.

The prudential ratio is the proportion of deposits in the bank that a bank is allowed to lend out.
Interest charges for the time value of money. Ie if I need a house or business capital  now it is worth my while to pay the owner of the capital extra to have the use of the money immediately.

Velocity of circulation is also important. How fast money flows around the system. The more transactions it is used for the greater the effective money supply. M3.

Too much money chasing too little production leads to inflation as the real basis for money is labour production. loans are charges on future production.

The next source of money are derivatives. Money not immediately associated with the money supply. Shares, futures, onlent mortgages, financial products such as bonds. (Not all bonds are derivative). Keynes called this money market, the casino.

The idea of floating exchange rates was if a countries exports were valued less than its imports its currency would deflate evening up the values so that there was no currency  deficit.

The neo-liberals cut or removed financial regulation such as prudential ratios. Internationally now, there are effectively none, allowed all sorts of funny money derivative markets, allowed capital flows to be unrestricted, sold everyone o the idea that privatization and the market cured everything and the idea that inflation is a great evil. (Because it transfers wealth from the owners of capital to younger working people).

In NZ.
The reserve bank act was bought in to cut inflation. Resulting in an overvalued currency and international deficits as the casino gambled with NZ money. Whenever our exporters showed signs of recovery they were clobbered again and again by excessive interest rates. Manufacturing in nZ almost disappeared as a result.

Banks and overseas investers took windfall profits out of the country from the high rates. gambling with our currency meant that it was way over the value it should have been resulting in borrowing to cover export deficits. Removal of jobs, businesses and manufacturing from NZ increased our reliance on imports.
Prudential ratios were removed from the reserve banks control and they were given the narrow focus of fighting inflation with only the OCR as a tool.

With free flows of capital, asset strippers moved in and bought companies that were earning adequate incomes. Took all the capital out and reinvested it in the casino because they could make 20% or more profit by gambling.
De regulation of finance companies allowed the crooks to move in with obvious results.

In the states the share market money value went up 40 times while in the same period the underlying productivity of the companies went down. The US now owes so much that the future productivity of the States can never catch up with the compounding interest on their borrowings. Federal debt alone is now $13 trillion. $42000 per American.
It must be every bankers nightmare at the moment that debtors just say to hell with it and refuse to pay. Especially indebted countries.

A replacement financial system still has to account for the time value of money, allow some form of borrowing for things such as starting businesses, (You cannot have no cost to borrowing) allow supply for transactions, moderate between exports and imports and allow sufficient velocity of transactions for people to live.
We also say it has to be steady state. (Sustainable) . Ie a business person  who is satisfied with the boat, beamer and bach should not be forced by their finance sources to choose between continual expansion and asset stripping or bankruptcy.

 To those who argue against a Government producing fiat currency. What about the money market in the US where the price of shares rose 40 times and the price of derivatives many times that while the underlying productivity of the companies traded dropped. If that is not producing money out of nothing, what is!  Before we even begin to talk about bailing out failed banks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What i would like to see from our politicians.


I want to see a commitment to real democracy. BCIR for example. See Switzerland. "The point is not whether we make right or wrong decisions, but it is our decision!"(Quote from no right turn)  Not as we have to do at present, vote for the lot we threw out last time to get rid of policies we don't like, who then introduce another lot of failed imitations of US and UK policy.
A sustainable economic system that works for all the rest of us. Those that do the work, not the ones that juggle the money. Recognise, that, as the adage holds "those who have the money makes the rules" and take back control of our currency from financial burglars.
Recognition that GDP is not the only measure of success.
Fair and reasonable provision for disadvantaged people.
An education system that is based on evidence, not the latest fad from some politician. In fact that should apply to everything.

More on this as later.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball « The Standard

Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball « The Standard


The whole article.

Money as commodity.



"Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball
Capitalism is dead, but we still dance with the corpse
By Joe Bageant …"

"As my friend, physicist and political activist George Salzman writes,
“Everyone in these ‘professional’ institutions dealing in money lives a fundamentally dishonest life. Never mind ‘regulating’ interest rates,” he says. “We must do away with interest, with the very idea of ‘money making money’. We must recognize that what is termed ‘Western Civilization’ is in fact an anti-civilization, a global social structure of death and destruction. However, the charade of ever-increasing debt can be kept up only as long as the public remains ignorant. Once ecological limits have been reached the capitalist political game is up.”

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thoughts on the Whangarei Auckland Highway.


I have a slightly different take on transport. Commuter travel which is most of our private travel can be easily replaced by electric cars and a good commuter system if the political will is there.
Leisure travel cannot be so easily replaced by sustainable means.
However there is an argument for improving intercity highways to make freight and leisure travel more efficient. The bypass has taken a 5th off the fuel bill for an Auckland Whangarei truck. (20% reduction in emissions) At the same time replacing commuter travel with electric cars (charged by, mostly, night time spinning reserve) and decent public transport would cut emissions and cost of commuting. (Rapid rail along motorway corridors). Buses which run largely empty during the day are not actually reducing emissions. A lease model would work for supply of electric cars so commuters do not have to own two cars. As a commuter electric cars can be simple low speed models.
Freight is a problem because we have a low population density so there are no easy answers. Replacing overnight trucking with a ro-ro ship service between Auckland and Whangarei is an obvious means of cutting emissions and costs. We had a lot of buy in from local trucking firms and business when we floated the idea. Rail needs to up its game in terms of efficiency and reliability to be a contender. The Government owning the tracks and allowing anyone to run rolling stock would help. Some things do work better with competition!

Efficient low speed electric cars built of composites is an opportunity for NZ to be leader. We already lead in composite technology and original engineering solutions.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? -

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? -


Clean technology: NZ's agents of change |

Clean technology: NZ's agents of change |



We do not actually have a democracy and probably never will because of politicians inability to give up any vestige of power and their contempt for the rest of us. Representative democracy is a contradiction in terms as we simply have a choice of dictatorship. (“Our only option is to vote for the other party. Then we get the lot we voted out last time” in another recent blog). What a real democracy looks like! .

More on Democracy

 In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: "The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Challenge for Progressives | Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Challenge for Progressives | Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives


We are not on our own!

New Statesman - The high cost of neoliberalism

New Statesman - The high cost of neoliberalism


Noam Chomsky again.
 From Wikipedia.
One of the main corporate members is BP.

WBCSD's 10 messages by which to operate

  1. Business is good for sustainable development and sustainable development is good for business. Business is part of the sustainable development solution, while sustainable development is an effective long-term business growth strategy.
  2. Business cannot succeed in societies that fail. There is no future for successful business if the societies that surround it are not working. Governments and business must create partnerships to deliver essential societal services like energy, water, health care and infrastructure.
  3. Poverty is a key enemy to stable societies. Poverty creates political and economic instability, a big threat to business and sustainable development. By contrast, businesses can lift living standards and eradicate poverty.
  4. Access to markets for all supports sustainable development. Sustainable development is best achieved through open, transparent and competitive global markets.
  5. Good governance is needed to make business a part of the solution. Supportive frameworks and regulations are needed for business to contribute fully to sustainable development.
  6. Business has to earn its licence to operate, innovate and grow. The way business acts and is perceived is crucial to its success. Accountability, ethics, transparency, social and environmental responsibility and trust are basic prerequisites for successful business and sustainable development.
  7. Innovation and technology development are crucial to sustainable development. They provide key solutions to many of the problems that threaten sustainable development. Business has always been, and will continue to be, the main contributor to technological development.
  8. Eco-efficiency – doing more with less - is at the core of the business case for sustainable development. Combining environmental and economic operational excellence to deliver goods and services with lower external impacts and higher quality-of-life benefits is a key sustainable development strategy for business.
  9. Ecosystems in balance – a prerequisite for business. Business cannot function if ecosystems and the services they deliver, such as water, biodiversity, food, fiber and climate, are degraded.
  10. Cooperation beats confrontation. Sustainable development challenges are huge and require contributions from all parties — governments, business, civil societies and international bodies. Confrontation puts the solutions at risk. Cooperation and creative partnerships foster sustainable development.[10]

The Question


The question.
What would a economic paradigm shift to a sustainable steady state economy look like and is it workable?

The next one is how to get vested interests to change when it is not in their short term interest to do so? History has shown it usually requires a violent revolution. South Africa and India being notable exceptions.

Gorilla psychologists: Weird stuff in plain sight - opinion - 28 June 2010 - New Scientist

Gorilla psychologists: Weird stuff in plain sight - opinion - 28 June 2010 - New Scientist


Should be compulsory viewing for police officers and jury members.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blog - Destined to Fail – Magical Thinking at the G20 - Jun. 27, 2010 - Blogs at Chris Martenson - Blog, Chris Martenson's Blog, G20, geithner, limits, Obama, Summers, The Three Es, toronto

Blog - Destined to Fail – Magical Thinking at the G20 - Jun. 27, 2010 - Blogs at Chris Martenson - Blog, Chris Martenson's Blog, G20, geithner, limits, Obama, Summers, The Three Es, toronto


"Debt-based money requires growth. If we had a stable population engaged in stable and sustainable activities using non debt-based money as their freely circulating medium of exchange, then there would be no “need” for economic growth. Zero percent economic growth would work just fine".

Governments are still talking about economic growth as their main goal. It is our Governments only goal. Constrained only by the amount of wealth distribution towards big business they can get away with and still be elected.
The fact is in NZ we have the resources for all of us top live well without growth. The need for growth is a function of how debt funded capitalism works.
It is time we all thought about a paradigm change in our economic system as continual growth is not possible without taking from future generations,
Growth is not sustainable!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

G20: Battles within and outside - Focus - Al Jazeera English

G20: Battles within and outside - Focus - Al Jazeera English


Transaction taxes gain traction in the real world.

As they are automated it is very hard for dealers in the money go around to avoid.

Friday, June 25, 2010

National Standards


We are currently, in our schools, in the process of putting into practice a new curriculum which was the result of years of careful research (into worldwide proven best practice), consultation and planning. NACT now proposes to make changes based on ideology which have already been proven failures in the US and UK. Not only are their proposals not based on evidence, but they refuse to trial them and wish to introduce them at the same time as major curriculum changes, masking any useful assessment of effects.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Income levels. Copy of comment on Greens website



The median individual income from all sources is $27000 odd.
Average wage and salary income is about $44000.
Average income is $34000.
These are individual not family incomes.
Individual incomes 0ver $60 000 are approximately 20%,  $70 000 are 12% of the population and over 100 000 3%.
The rich are the less than 1% who have a family income greatly over $300 000.
This shows how unequal wealth distribution is in NZ when less than 1% have 94% of the wealth.
Almost all working families have an income of $60 000 plus.
The real losers are beneficiary families which are mostly on or below the $27 000 individual median as family income.
Note the sums vary a bit from different sources and from month to month.
The point is at one time a family could live comfortably on the median individual  income. You could feed and house your kids on a benefit. Those who had done higher education, reached the top of their profession or trade  could do very well, as they should. Most families now need two income earners to be simply OK.
Now only those who were in the higher bracket are merely comfortable without two income earners in the family. There has been a drop in real incomes for all of us relative to GDP except for those in the very high bracket who have increased their income out of all proportion. Benefits are now way below the family cost of living.
Wages and salaries share have now shrunk to 44% of GDP and will go lower with more years of monetarist meanness.
I would like to see some of the tax burdon shifted from the median 80% of wage and salary earners to those who speculate in currency and those who make large capital gains, in the principal all sources of income should be equally treated for tax.
A guaranteed minimum income for children on the same basis as super, $10 000 exempt family income, financial transaction taxes and capital gains tax, a higher bracket over $200 000 and adjusting for bracket creep would make for more equity and allow some more spending on the lowest benefit earners. The abatement rate when you work part time on a benefit also needs to be addressed.