Saturday, November 10, 2012

Livable income.


A liveable income should be a human right.

We accept that someone can inherit unearned millions, but we do not accept that someone else should inherit enough, from our society, to live on, as of right.

Who actually has the culture of unearned entitlement?
The Koch’s, Romney’s, Bennets, Shipley and Keys getting thousands a day for contributing very little.
Not a teenager who has been struggling unsuccessfully to find work for two years and is expected to live on $130 a week.

The days of constant growth and full employment are gone.

We can produce enough for everyone to live in comfort in NZ with fraction of our present activity/employment.

I do not have the figures for New Zealand, but, rather than a more equal distribution of income making everyone poorer, if the USA’s current production was shared equally, every family in the States would have an income of around 180k annually.

The right wing idea that a more equal distribution of income means equality in misery, is an obvious fallacy.

A surgeon, teacher or entrepreneur should earn more than an unqualified cleaner, but by cutting extreme wealth there is plenty of room to eradicate poverty in New Zealand. Or the US.

No one except for some rare exceptional entrepreneurs, “earns” millions.

Note that in both the USA and New Zealand when they were at their most prosperous the top progressive tax rate was much higher and inequalities in wealth much lower than they are now.
Trickle down does not work.

The "Culture of Entitlement".


Welfare recipients “Culture of Entitlement”.

Unintentional irony from individuals who are sitting on 100 thousand dollar pay rises, while their company tanks in the recession, salt their income away offshore to avoid taxes, prefer to spend on bidding up prices with unproductive speculation, expect taxpayer bailouts when their gambling fails, and ask for tax cuts while the deficit increases.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why do "they" want our schools?


Ever wondered why we have the push for charter schools when the evidence is so solidly in favour of State run unionised schools. The worlds top school systems are all State run and most are unionised.

Ever wondered why we are repeatedly told our State schools are failing, when they have been proven to be amongst the worlds best. PISA rankings at High school level.

Ever wondered why we are being pushed towards Charter/privatised schools when all the evidence shows they do not do as well as State schools.  Stanford University Study. Despite all the extra funding charter schools have obtained, and the often extra effort and pupil selection poured in to make them work, all but a few demonstration schools, have done worse in the USA than State schools.

Sweden and UK's schools are also falling in standards since charter schools were introduced.

Ever wondered why State schools are being starved of funding while extra money is put into private schools.

Ever wondered why we are funding tests to tell us what we already know.  Poor ,and hungry, kids do not do as well in school.

So they can claim the tests show State schools are failing.

Ever wondered why we are trying to imitate the USA, number 29 in school results, where poor kids are simply excluded from secondary education, and not Finland or even Korea, which are 1 and 2 respectively.

As always. Follow the money!

The finance industry has proven to be almost totally ineffectual in supporting entrepreneurial and productive business.
What they are good at is obtaining tax payer funding to add to their profits.
When tax payers are not bailing out their failures.

Education provides a certain source of tax and publicly funded wealth that, until recently, has been largely unavailable to the corporate pirates.

Education Profiteering Wall Streets Next Big Thing?page=0%2C0
 "Education privatization would not, per se, create a net new stimulus for the economy. But by diverting large existing flows of money from the public to the private sector it would create new profit-making ventures that could be capitalized and transformed into stocks, derivatives and leveraged securities."

"The Chief Finance Officer of JP Morgan reports that some 75% of the net increase in corporate profits between 2000 and 2007 -- before the financial crash -- was a result of cuts in workers' wages and benefits. Given that unions are the only serious vehicles for resistance to the corporate low-wage strategy, ................"

A challenge 

The attacks on State schools and their Teachers is entirely so that corporates can make money from the taxes we pay for education.

As usual the private sector are so poor at doing the thing they claim is their strength, starting viable businesses, that they want to steal "the socialists" successes. Ours!

Added. 17th. 
New Zealand's Charter schools are to be exempted from the official information Act, so the public will not even be able to assess how they are performing. Charter, sorry, "partnership" schools exempted from OIA.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Poor don't ask for much, but apparently it is too much!.


"I hate the sense of entitlement some people have - thinking they should have food, shelter, clothing etc. How dare they."

The poor do not ask for much.

The rich think they are entitled to millions, usually just because their parents had it, or they succeeded in gaming the system (stealing) it.

Like these, Corporate Thieves or these, Stealing the commons. or these, Bankers pay them selves highly while they destroy real wealth. or these. How Wall Street made Money by starving millions.

Is it too much to ask that everyone is entitled to a share in the prosperous societies, and plenty built on their ancestors and their own efforts. Not just the rich!

A living income.

"Printing Money". Banking. Part Two.


The Greens talk about Necessary Changes to Monetary Policy.
"Time to stop fighting Yesterday's war."

Gareth Morgan.

And why I do not agree with him this time.

Borrowing money, "printed money" from foreign banks, and paying 14 billion extra a year for the privilege, is sensible?
Do I detect a bit of self interest here?

In fact "printing money" worked very effectively for NZ in the 30's. So well it was copied by other countries.
All the howls about Zimbabwe and the Weimer
republic forget that their productive sectors were first destroyed,
before they started printing money, When there was nothing to buy with

Not a lot different from Nationals present efforts!

A lot different from lending to ourselves to invest in paying our
under-utilised and capable construction industry to rebuild
Vital infrastructure which will return the investment many times in future.

Also we did exactly the same thing from 1935 until the 60?s. Called the
Development finance corporation for a long time.
Worked well for us. Got us out of the depression before the US and UK for a start.
We are still using a lot of those assets. Apart from the ones our idiot
Governments sold, so someone else could profit from them.

National still seems to want to follow the USA, UK, Ireland and Greece down the tubes.

National's race to the Third World.



National has re-introduced youth rates.
At a level it is not possible for a youth to live on.

Pretending  that it will help unemployment.
In reality it is just another ploy in their attempt to satisfy their large corporate donors, by driving wages down to third world levels.

Young people being expected to subsidise their employers, even more than they are already, with the inadequate minimum wage, is not going to make for more employment.

There is a justification for a lower wage when the employer is contributing towards apprenticeship training for a valuable career. Not for, no future, McJobs.

National shuffling the deck chairs again while the ship heads for the icebergs.

 "The Government hasn't a clue about what to do about the job market, we can at least agree on that. The best they can do is play up to the most blinkered members of their congregation. They pulled the same stunt a while back with their 89-day sacking law, at the time spouting how much it would help youth into jobs. Result? Well, the youth unemployment rate is still a horror show and unprecedented numbers of youngsters are migrating to Aussie".

Wages are already too low. Enabling multinational employers to remove too much money from NZ.

Or Maybe Richard Boock has it right.
 "Slashing the minimum wage for teenage workers will create jobs? What nonsense, it's simply a case of the most vulnerable being sold off so the Government can keep its fat cats purring. It isn't a helping hand for the youth market, it's just a cheap and nasty sop to employers".

This will bite NZ business on the butt. Employees, especially young ones, are also paying customers.

NZ employers have already managed to shuffle off most of their training costs onto employees and tax payers. What more do they need.


Oh! I forgot. Slaves actually cost more, as you have to pay enough to feed and house them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012



 The banking system has no cost of production. Adding Zero's to an account for a loan is effectively "free". Banks are then paid well for this 'service". The myth that banking is simply on-lending savings was exploded long ago.

Banks naturally favour "safe" investments for lending such as land and existing companies, tilting the playing field against new sustainable investment and artificially driving up the prices of "safe" investments against others.
The incentive is naturally to lend as much as possible, while using their financial clout to skew the economy and regulation to favour banks, getting an ever greater share of economic wealth.

Interest requires infinite economic growth. Not possible in a finite world.
The answer is public banking and the removal of interest.
Public Banking.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welfare/Social Insurance, Myths Busted.


Welfare Myth Busting.
 And a right wing job busting Government was elected.

More on welfare myths here. Ten Myths About Welfare/

Far from being bludgers, most social welfare recipients are receiving the social insurance they paid taxes for during the remainder of their working lives.

The few that are not are almost all people who have physical or mental disabilities, which prevent them from working. A decent society should be looking after them anyway.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beneficiary Bashing. New Zealand.


Social welfare recipients are commonly demonized by right wing Governments.

Usually for the same reasons the Nazis used Jews.
To distract from the failure of Neo-liberal Government.

Most of the memes they use are demonstrably false.

Ten myths about welfare
"Looking across all forms of benefits, 61.4 % of recipients are benefit dependent for four years or less. Only 14.3 % are on benefits for more than ten years – and since those figures include people with chronic physical and mental disabilities, the ratio of those staying on benefits because it is a “lifetime, lifestyle choice’ is lower again."

Note that over 35 years ago in New Zealand when social welfare payments were proportionately a lot higher than they are now, but there was near full employment, there were so few unemployed the Prime Minister, famously, stated he knew them all by name.

The Canadian mincome, minimum income experiment. 
Mincome "She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. In addition, Forget finds that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent, with fewer incidences of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse."

"We cannot afford social welfare"

Well. It seems we cannot afford social welfare for the rich and corporates.

Welfare fraud 0.1% of welfare payments. About 16 million.
Tax fraud 7 billion.
Tax avoidance by the rich. Half of the wealthiest people in NZ do not pay tax!
7 billion plus.
Profits and interest paid overseas 14 billion plus.

It is not social insurance that we cannot afford.

It is Neo-Liberal right wing Governments.

Sunday, August 19, 2012



A Challenge.


A challenge
“And, out of interest, does anyone know of any research into privatization that shows it to be generally effective at improving a service, increasing efficiency and leaving its lowest level workers with a living wage? All I read currently is that the investors get richer, the management can pay itself what it likes, the customers pay more and more for worse service and the lowest level workers are told they need to find a second job just to survive because they are a valueless kind of replaceable resource.”

I have not found a single case where this can be answered in favour of privatisation. Can You?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On Education.


 Anthony Robins in The Standard.
“Claiming that poverty is no excuse for student failure trivializes the damage caused by years of actions and inactions that have widened the gaps between rich and poor communities. Good schools aren’t molded through harsh sanctions, private takeovers, or even soaring rhetoric. They emerge from healthy, stable communities. That is, they emerge from a commitment to justice.”

Teachers can only do so much. A society that does not value and encourage all their children will fail

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The "Wealth Creator" myth. Stealing the commons. Part two.


One of the memes the wealthy and their sycophants prefer to repeat is that, "the wealthy create wealth".

Lies the Rich Perpetuate.

That is demonstrably wrong.

"The wealthy got their wealth by entrepreneurship and starting new business" ?.
Well! no. Most are wealthy because they are born with it. The majority of the rest because they gamed our system to make money from existing assets and public utilities. Morally, no different from robbing someones house.

How Allan Gibb's made a Mint out of a Former Public Utility.
""Gibbs spotted his opportunity early in 1990 when he did his hallmark one-page analysis of what Telecom might be worth. "It was a lovely, fat company, with huge margins and a lazy balance sheet. It was obvious if you could keep the margins it would be a fantastic business." Like an alpha predator, he went for the throat"".

"The wealthy  became wealthy through start-ups and entrepreneurship. Selling people products they want".?

Less than 1% of the wealth held by wealthy households in the USA is invested as so called "angel capital". In reality the wealthy avoid risky start-ups, like the plague. They prefer privatizations of State utilities and financial products where there return is assured by tax payer funding. Those that are too big or too essential for the State to allow them to fail.
Affluent Survey.

In New Zealand many people bought into the myth that "if they wealthy were allowed to keep more of their wealth they would invest more in the productive economy and we would all be better off".
New Zealand went so far and fast with this Neo-liberal piece of B-s that, like Ireland, we were held out as a poster child for other countries.

The infamous "trickle down effect".

After 35 years of tax cuts for the wealthy, asset sales, anti-union legislation, deregulation of banking/finance and wage and welfare cuts.

We have;
 Huge capital losses to offshore bankers and profit takers.
Growth well behind the OECD average.
Increasing child poverty.
Steeply rising prices. Especially for privatised utilities.
Median wages are dropping while the wealthy get 17% annual increases.
Billion dollar bailouts for financiers.
Millions of dollars to reinstate previously privatised essential infrastructure.

Anyone who still believes that giving the already wealthy more of our wealth is the answer is either seriously deluded, or venal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Charter Schools. Or More Privatisation of the Commons.


New Zealand's National Government has legislated yesterday to follow the USA with the failed Charter School experiment.

Charter schools are simply a means to break the last vestige of trade union rights and to give the private sector  access to  tax dollars spent on education.

The private sector that is so good at education that most private schools had to be bailed out by tax payers.

Note; that despite all the tax payer dollars and effort  poured into charter schools in the USA,  83% do not do any better than State schools. The majority do worse. Given the poor performance of State schooling in the USA generally that is not a recommendation. (Stanford University Study)

Why follow the disaster that is schooling and health in the USA.

We will see a few initial Potemkin charter schools do well, then the poor results of others will be buried.

They will not have any better results than resourcing State schools properly, to use already proven programs to reduce the tail. Successful programs such as remedial reading and Teacher aids in every classroom are being starved of funds so the Government can fund ideological nightmares such as charter schools.

If NACT was serious about bringing up educational achievement they would be working on reducing child poverty and funding extra help at early primary level for those falling behind, instead of gifting the private sector  money out of  education funding.

If the private sector are so good at education why don't they start their own schools. Wait! they did. We are paying to bail them out right now!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Agenda for today.


NZ has a whole generation of managers, cannot call them leaders, who have no vision apart from cutting staff, costs and services.

It was an accountant who told me once, "do not put an accountant in charge, they know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing".

Then they act surprised when their skilled staff head for Australia, their customers head elsewhere and their business tanks.

The same logic has now been applied to the whole country.

Monday, June 18, 2012

On New Zealand's Retirement Income. Pension.


The finance industry have been creaming their pants, for a return to the halcyon days, before the tax rebates were removed from superannuation savings. When they got to play with our money for free, and the negative returns and high charges were ignored, because of tax payer subsidies.

Egged on by the neo-liberals who prefer the elderly, the unemployed and the sick to starve in the streets, as an incentive to scare working people into accepting starvation wages, while they continue to get 17% increases in wealth, the finance industry is dreaming of getting more of their sticky hands on our wealth,  with private super funds.

Since the 70's they have been constant in the meme that we cannot afford super. A meme that has been driven entirely by the self interest of those, who are too wealthy to need super and too mean to pay taxes, and a greedy finance industry.

Unfortunately, it is true, that if you repeat bullshit often enough, even those who should know better come to believe it.

We cannot afford super is code for, "we should leave our elderly to beg on the streets". So that wealthy people can pay less tax and the finance industry can again lose our savings for us.

In fact the idea that State super is unaffordable is crap from the same people that cry TINA and reckon that all social insurance is unaffordable.

If they win with super, they will just start on other social wages.

In reality it is much more affordable than the finance company bailouts, which would be necessary with private super.
"So, in 2050, we're projected to be paying only 1% of GDP more in superannuation than we were paying in 1990. Quelle horreur! This is not a difference to be terrified of, and it is easily manageable with a modest increase in taxation, either now or in the future (though that perhaps is exactly what those pushing for change are frightened of: higher taxes)".

Intergenerational theft is another piece of oft repeated stupidity.

"Do we really want to return to the days when most elderly people were totally impoverished when their working lives ended".

Super has always been paid for by current production. However you finingle it financially, whether through current taxation or savings, it still comes from the production of the current generation.

If we want to keep super affordable we should tax the current generation to invest in a sustainable future. Invest in energy, housing, education  and other  infrastructure so that we can keep all our people. Not in financial ponzi schemes which will fall over in the next GFC.

""Because our kids can’t afford to buy houses, we bought houses for them to live in using the equity from our house, and now all our money is tied up in mortgages. At the same time, we’re supporting our parents in their old age.
That’s how life is and always has been, for most of us. Our parents worked to give us a decent start in life, and we worked hard so our kids could have a fair go. We’re looking after our parents in their old age. We hope we’ll be looked after in our old age.

What about this is “intergenerational theft”?""

But. We can avoid the whole concept of retirement, intergenerational fairness and all the other sticking points by accepting that everyone in our society is entitled to a liveable share  in the society they and their ancestors have built up.

Whether you call it a Universal income,  Guaranteed minimum income (GMI) or a personal shareholder payment it is the same thing.

Replace all welfare, social insurance and pensions with a GMI.

We also get to solve many other problems such as child poverty, the unfairness of a present welfare system, and making our society more sustainable,   at the same time.

""Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.
It turns out they did.
Only two segments of Dauphin's labour force worked less as a result of Mincome - new mothers and teenagers. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies. And teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families.
The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did"".  The best way to deal with any problem is to eliminate it at root. The best way to deal with ‘retirement’ as a problem is to eliminate the entire concept. No I’m not being extreme.
The simple answer is a Universal Income""

""In fact super has been so effective in removing poverty amongst the elderly it should be extended to everyone in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. There is no excuse for having people with inadequate food and housing in a country which is capable of supplying an excess of both internally"".

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

National 's Neo-Liberal trashing of New Zealand.


I am mindful of the quote.
“Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte

Generally I have a somewhat optimistic view of humanity. I gave New Zealand's National Government the benefit of doubt, by ascribing their sheer lunacy to incompetence.

However, even politicians cannot be that incompetent.

Trashing a top class education system, trashing WINZ, trashing ACC. Not to mention trashing NZ as an egalitarian society and causing a recession to deepen with idiot policy like public service layoffs and tax cuts for Hawaii holidays.

It is malice.
“wage theft nets employers at least $100 billion a year and possibly twice that. As for the profits extracted by the lending industry, Gary Rivlin, who wrote Broke USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. — How the Working Poor Became Big Business, says the poor pay an effective surcharge of about $30 billion a year for the financial products they consume and more than twice that if you include subprime credit cards, subprime auto loans, and subprime mortgages.”

“They want to dismantle public education altogether and run schools as businesses, judged as “successes” or “failures” based on abstract data taken from high-stakes standardized test scores.”

“The right are so envious of the poor, they want to take what little the poor have left”.

Our neo-liberals see how much wealth has been stolen by their counterparts in the USA and they want to repeat the process here.

They see tax payer dollars going into schools, Social insurance and infrastructure.

Even though they do not pay taxes themselves, their money is in trusts, untaxed capital gains or offshore shelters, they are trying to find a way of increasing their cut, of taxes WE PAY.

We forget, at our peril, why neo-liberalism is so popular among the wealth stealers.

Because it works for them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Money and Debt. Explained by a 12 year old.


A 12 year old Girl explains what economists will not.

Funny how a 12 year old can have a much better and clearer idea than all those university educated economists.

Or maybe they do, but know they will not be paid for questioning the current paradigm.

Note; New Zealand's Government, in the 30's, extracted New Zealand from the great depression, well before most others, by issuing Government money for public works and stimulus.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Poverty in New Zealand.


One of the biggest indictments of our current economic dogma is the number of people, in the worlds richest nations, living in poverty.

What comes first is POVERTY.

Poverty is what makes “breeding” for a living seem like a good option.
Poverty is what causes all the poor outcomes to the children of teenage mums.
Poverty is what causes people to be caught in a trap of continuing poverty.

We are never going to solve problems caused by poverty by making people poorer.

Social security and minimum wages that are so low, there is almost no chance of climbing out of the poverty trap, causes  the problems.

Abatement rates for those earning a bit of money while on social security are higher than those for millionaires.
A two tier education system is going to make escape from poverty even harder.

Low wages are not even good capitalism. “Businesses that cannot meet the costs of the resources they use should be allowed to fail, so others can make better use of the resources/labour”.
Every business paying low wages means there is little demand. Hurting all business.
“You should pay your workers fairly because they are the source of your wealth” Adam Smith.

Three decades of Neo-Liberal meanness is coming back to bite us. And the right want to make the victims lives harder.

A guaranteed minimum income, national super, has succeeded in practically eliminating poverty in the over 65′s. Less than 3% live in poverty, and that most likely is self inflicted.

If we are serious in eliminating poverty amongst children, 20% living in poverty, we would extend the GMI idea, that has been so successful with the elderly, to young people.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Police Assault Protesters in New Zealand.

Kia Ora

Recent protests, against Government policy, by Students in Auckland were greeted by an overwhelming and aggressive police presence.

New Zealand Police have just made it clear they consider there is no right to protest, if it “inconveniences” anyone.
In fact the students were going about their lawful business. PROTESTING IS STILL LEGAL IN NZ.
The police obstructed members of the public and assaulted them. WHILE THEY WERE GOING ABOUT LAWFUL BUSINESS.

Just like police in the UK.

Of course knowing you are likely to be violently assaulted by police, if you protest, has rather a dampening effect on free speech.

No doubt that is what is intended by the police overreaction.

Practicing for when the population finally realises, like the Greeks,  how much they have been lied to and exploited.

How long before we see the other repressive actions of an authoritarian dictatorship, to legitimate dissent,  here. Like the "kettling" in the UK.

Friday, June 1, 2012

On Austerity


NZ, and much of the rest of the world,  has a whole generation of managers, cannot call them leaders, who have no vision apart from cutting staff, costs and services.

It was an accountant who told me once, "do not put an accountant in charge, they know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing".

Then they act surprised when their skilled staff head for Australia, their customers head elsewhere and their business tanks.

The same logic has now been applied to the whole country.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

House Price Inflation


House price Inflation

It is a conventional economics axiom that increasing the money supply without a concomitant increase in production causes inflation.

In the last thirtyfive years we have had low inflation in  wages. 
Essentials, including  land , and thence housing and farm prices, have gone up many times the rate of wage rises. 

Land inflation is driven by private Banking's incentive to print money.  The more money they supply the more interest they can make.
Unfortunately, there is also a strong natural incentive  to lend only on solid security, such as land and buildings.
Banks know better than anyone the inherent insecurity and instability of financial instruments, including shares.
Mortgage law in most Western countries  favours lending on land. Unlike other investments, or lending, if the value of the security, land,  goes down, the borrower is still liable for the full amount of the loan and interest. The bank is indemnified against loss.
For example, in New Zealand, the bank has priority over all other creditors, including contractors.

Lending on business and other assets does not offer the same security. The bank has to wait in line with other creditors and, normally,  cannot continue claims in excess of their proportion of the sale.

Banks, while  reluctant to risk their own money, are happy to risk small savers investments.  Our pension funds, bank deposits and savings.
These schemes, whether shares, derivatives, hedge funds or other financial instruments are designed so that banks can gamble with our money. Win or lose they always get a cut.
De-regulation of banking has removed almost all constraints on lending and the amount of wealth banks can take.

Loses come out of our pensions and other savings.  Or, if they really stuff it up, taxpayers are expected to borrow more from them to pay for it. "The bailout".
The total monetary value of financial instruments and debt is now so great that a crash, or super inflation, is inevitable if it is ever fully spent on real production.

Does anyone really think that infinitely compounding interest is possible in a world with finite resources.

While we lose our savings, houses and farms, bankers still get richer.

Given the difficulty in obtaining bank finance without land as security, favourable tax treatments (in Western countries   for banks,  homeowners, landowners and farmers ), incentives for banks to avoid  risks inherent in other investment  (The inevitable crash of Banker's ponzi schemes and the likely devaluation of currency denominated investments) it is not surprising that  investors prefer land.
The Chinese Government buying up land worldwide with US dollars, before they become worthless, is only a minor example.

Hence land prices rising much faster than wages.

Our economy, along with most other Western economies has been skewed, towards speculation in existing assets, by banks following their own self interest. The "invisible hand" has failed

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What is Neo-Liberalism?


What is Neo-Liberalism.

Neo-Liberalism is a moral and intellectual justification for greed.
A way for those few who accumulate wealth, by impoverishing many, to justify themselves, and keep those they are stealing from docile and compliant.

This purpose for centuries has been fulfilled by religion.

We still see echo's of the religious  attitudes. The idea that the poor are poor because of personal defects,  American exceptionalism, the banker who reckons, "God wanted me to be rich",  Ayn Rands "wealth creators".

Neo-liberals outwardly believe in small Government, minimal regulation, taxation and social security,  individual freedom and responsibility and the primacy of the market in fostering economic efficiency.
In fact their leaders and intellectuals believe in anything which enables them to accumulate wealth at the expense of the rest of us.

Neo-Liberalism would be more appropriately called Neo-conservatism. It is an attempt to return to pre-enlightenment times when the idea of "each is born into their proper place" was undisputed.
Neo-Liberalism has become common usage, unfortunately we are stuck with it.

Neo-Liberalism itself has all the characteristics of blind belief and faith inherent in religion.

Despite its only success being in making a very few people wealthier, millions of people, including most politicians, blindly adhere to the faith. 
'It doesn't seem to matter that they NEVER get it right. It doesn't seem to matter they are promoting economic theories that are junk. But unlike Ring's quackery, the quackery of neoliberalism is treated with reverence, it is ascribed legitimacy'. 

 "The first of these shifts was the Great Depression or, more precisely, the feckless response of both American mainstream political parties to the economic collapse that followed the 1929 stock market crash. In the crucial first years after the crash, Democrats and Republicans alike embraced exactly the same policies they are embracing in today’s economic troubles, with exactly the same lack of success, and showed exactly the same unwillingness to abandon failed policies in the face of economic disaster. Then as now, the federal government launched a program to bail out big banks and corporations—it was called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in those days—and pumped dizzying amounts of money into the upper end of the economy in the belief, real or feigned, that the money would work its way down the pyramid, which of course it didn’t do. Then as now, politicians used the shibboleth of a balanced budget to demand austerity for everybody but the rich, and cut exactly those programs which could have helped families caught by hard times. Then as now, things got worse while the media insisted that they were getting better, and the mounting evidence that policies weren’t working was treated as proof that the same policies had to be pursued even more forcefully." (John Micheal Greer).

Their Apostles are Adam Smith,  Ayn Rand, Von Mises,  the Austrian, and Freidman, the Chicago,  schools of economics.

Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is often quoted. Adam Smith's "you should pay your workers fairly because they are the source of your wealth" and "tax capital and land instead of workers and entrepreneurs" is, of course, ignored.

Von Mises and Freidman advocate a totally unregulated market and a Government as one adherent famously said, "that you could drown in a bathtub". Except for police and military to protect their wealth, of course!

Ayn Rand considered the owners of capital "wealth creators" although she had to live off the real wealth creators, the rest of us, towards the end of her life.

"So before we consider having another trickle-downer in the White House, let’s talk about the failure of this idea and why if you want to see a real job creator, you should look in the mirror".

In fact they support their own freedom to make money regardless of social, environmental or economic effects. At the same time restricting individual freedom to protest, or co-operate to challenge their primacy.
Supporters do not seem to see the conflict between saying they support  individual freedom  while at the same time restricting the majorities individual freedom to withdraw their labour or protest. These freedoms are restricted, often violently.

"Let’s recap. You’re rich, and you want to stay that way. So, to protect your ticket; to safeguard your $50 million prize; you need to find a way to eliminate, or at least minimise, the threats posed by taxes, unions, and democracy. What’s your strategy?
Essentially, there’s only one winning strategy. It requires you to convince all those who are not wealthy that whatever status and security they do enjoy is the result of your own superior imagination, risk-taking and skill. You have to paint yourself and your fellow millionaires and billionaires as a “wealth creators” and, more importantly, “job creators”. You have to convince your fellow citizens that any attempt to restrict or redistribute your wealth will not only put their jobs at risk, but that society as a whole will become poorer.
If you can convince people of these things, then they will, perfectly democratically, eliminate wealth taxes, truncate workers’ rights, and reconfigure their entire political system to favour the tiny minority fortunate enough to hold the multi-million-dollar winning tickets"

Neo-Liberalism. Like all religions, is a way for the already wealthy to delude everyone else from rebelling, so they can keep their "winning ticket".

While many followers of religions have the best of intentions, their leaders have no such illusions. The intent is to keep wealth and/or power.

The overall effect of Neo-Liberal economics is to "privatise profits while socialising the losses".

Hugely increasing inequality and economic and social dysfunction.

Country after country adopts Neo-Liberal economics and rapidly goes downhill even by Neo-Liberalism's own measures such as GDP. And we still believe it is the solution!

Compare Argentina and the BRIC countries to the Anglo Saxon countries that are slavishly following the Neo-Liberal religion.

Truly voodoo economics.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ports of Auckland and Union Busting.


For non-New Zealand readers.
 Ports of Auckland have just engaged in an episode of managerial self indulgence to try and remove Union members from the port and replace them with casual contracted labour. FYI. The port manager is paid more than 750k. Board members are paid 100 to 200k for one days work a week.
 There has been a big push from the usual suspects to take the port out of public ownership. Most of the prospective buyers are anti Union.
Unions and workers are being attacked on all sides, and public assets given away to the private sector as fast as possible, as our current right wing Government is unlikely to get another term.
On Incompetent Management.

Once upon a time, decades ago now, ports were run by a person called the Harbourmaster.

He used to be a highly qualified and experienced Master Mariner, who had extensive knowledge of shipping and decades of experience, at sea and within the port.
All this competence and experience came at a wage  at most five times the average wage. 

Then, along came the cult of management, and the Neo-liberals. The idea that a jumped up accountant could run anything. 

"The corporations with the largest income gap between Directors/Managers  and employees have proven to be the least  functional.
The star managers paid in millions have proven to be much less effective than, lesser paid,  experienced promotions from within the organisation.
"companies that exclusively promote CEOs from within outperform companies that recruit CEOs from outside the company."


We have a board and managers who have lost the port's public owners 21 million dollars and counting, lost more customers in a few months than have been lost to Tauranga in years, cost the ports customers millions, and demoralised and lost the co-operation of their trained labour force, all to make savings that have been shown to be available anyway by talking to the Union.
(There was  a 25 to 30% increase in the box rate last year in the brief period when the Wharfies thought management were not going to continue the adversarial politicking of the past).

An honourable management and board would all be tendering their resignations after a debacle like this.

The amount of spin and outright lies about the workforce from POAL management shows they are incapable of working co-operatively with their labour force.
For example Labour utilisation rates, costs of Labour and pay rates are not out of line with similar jobs.
Still looking for the wharfie who gets 91k a year.  (A foremen doing double shifts all year maybe).

The relationship is broken. It is much easier and less costly to replace the managers with ones capable of working with people than retrain a whole ports labour.

It has become apparent that the whole exercise was an ideological attempt to break one of the last vestiges of Union power, most likely with the covert backing of the NACT Government. The  huge costs for the ports public owners and customers does not matter to an ideologically driven board put in place for that purpose by ACT hacks..

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Disaster Capitalism


Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein on Disaster capitalism is an interesting book to re-read, especially in light of recent events in Europe.

One cannot help thinking that National, in New Zealand, (NZ's GOP) and their supporters have taken it to heart. They certainly seem to be keen on precipitating an economic disaster.  The only possible reasons are either they have bought into their own propaganda, 

OR they expect to gain by it.

It has been obvious for a long time that political parties that support Neo-Liberal economics cannot survive on funding from individual party members. They just do not have enough public support for this to occur. Almost all their funding comes from corporates and a very few wealthy individuals.
Only by bearing this in mind does their determination to socioeconomically wreck whole countries become understandable.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bowalley Road: The Auckland Ports Dispute: An Injury To All

Bowalley Road: The Auckland Ports Dispute: An Injury To All

"Auckland Regional Holdings was clearer in 2009 stating: “The sector is engaging in destructive interregional competition that is detrimental to New Zealand’s long-term productivity and competitiveness, and could be considered an instance of “market failure”. For the good of the country, it is clear that the port sector needs to change and focus on the real threat – not from each other – but from outside.” 2

The current move to slash employment costs by making staff on-call, round the clock casual workers without compensation for lifestyle or job insecurity is another step toward creating a third world nation"".