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Highlighting the income gap

Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, March 31st, 2014 - 84 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, class war, democratic participation, poverty, unemployment, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

There’s significant information available about the destructive impact of high levels of income inequalities, on people’s lives and democratic processes.  Many Kiwis feel its impact.  How can the public be better informed about the causes of, and remedies for income inequalities and related differences in access to power.

child poverty a national disgrace

Auckland Action Against Poverty are planning a well targeted and creative bit of action next Saturday. Meanwhile a Herald Digipoll tells us what too many Kiwis already know:

Nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders believe the gap between rich and poor has increased under six years of National Government and almost two-thirds feel they are no better off or have gone backwards, a Herald-DigiPoll survey suggests.

Forty four per cent of the 750 New Zealanders surveyed this month said the gap between the rich and poor had got a lot bigger over the past six years.

Bill English hilariously tries a glass-half-full response to the poll:

Through a spokesman, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said the fact the poll showed most New Zealanders felt better off or the same about their situation “is encouraging given they have been through a large recession and the global financial crisis in the past six years”.

Auckland Action Against Poverty has a piece of action planned for next Saturday evening outside the Young Nats’ Ball in Auckland:

John Key & Paula Bennett are preparing to have a ball with their Young Nats. We’re hosting an alternative party for those left out in the cold by Nationals war on the poor.
[…]
Beneficiaries, low paid workers and young New Zealanders see little reason to celebrate after 6 years under National.

Let’s remind the Nats their champagne celebrations will not go unchallenged while so many of us are pushed further into poverty as a result of their policies.

6.30pm Saturday 5th April outside Rendezvous Hotel, 71 Mayoral Drive, Auckland

Key young nats ball

It is good that there is some coverage in the mainstream media of the issue of the inequality gap.  However, far more needs to be done politically and in policy development and public discourse.  This is needed in order to identify specific problems and causal factors, and to develop effective policies to improve the situation.

Statistics NZ provides useful data

Statistics NZ provides some useful background on the last few decades of income inequality in NZ, and how NZ compares internationally.  Basically, inequality in NZ rose markedly in the late 1980s, started to decrease under the last Labour led government, then began to increase again under the current National led government.  It is still well above the early to mid 1980s level.

The NZ Income surveys show things are not that great for young people, with a relative drop in income for those aged between 15 and 24 years.

 

Sociological research & public knowledge & understanding

For those interested in gaining a more in depth grasp of the issues of income inequalities and social class differences, a special issue of The Journal the Sociological Association of New Zealand, 2013 (v28:3) is worth a look.  The editorial outlines the various ways of understanding the linkages between class and income inequality.  It argues that these linkages are overdue an up-dating for the current NZ context.  Factors that need to be considered are the impact on people’s lives of the interaction between income inequality and social and cultural capital.  These also interact with other inequalities like those of gender and ethnicity

The editorial by Charles Crothers mentions that a more Marxist approach takes into account issues of power and domination (an important factor not to be overlooked).  There is reference to Erik Olin Wright’s (2009) discussion of this and other approaches.  Crothers then provides a general outline of the US context (but relevant to NZ) arising from various sociological approaches:

- At the top, an extremely rich capitalist class and corporate managerial class,[…]

– An historically large and relatively stable middle class, […]

– A working class which once was characterised by a relatively large unionized segment […]

– A poor and precarious segment of the working class, […]

– A marginalised, impoverished part of the population, […]

Brian Easton analyses Bryan Perry and Max Rashbrooke’s books on income inequalities, which he finds useful, but limited in scope, and with some flawed elements. He ends by concluding that policies require a considered mix of redistribution and predistribution.

Peter Skilling argues that argues that many of the claims in books by Rashbrooke and Stiglitz are not very new (e.g. “that a meaningful policy response to inequality might not be compatible with the continuation of free markets”).

Economic power & the media

More importantly Skilling concludes that neither book provides strategies to counter the wider understandings and values that currently dominate the public sphere – and particularly that there is a need to look more in depth at the ways that economic power, and the MSM dominate general discourse.

In this more practical vein, both Stiglitz and (in the Rashbrooke volume) Wade call for greater control over the financing of politicians and political parties. But it is worth recalling that the last attempt in New Zealand to regulate political party electoral financing resulted in a media outcry, led by the New Zealand Herald’s ‘Democracy under Attack’ campaign (New Zealand Herald, 2007).

Skilling notes that there has been no similar campaign in the MSM against the way inequalities undermine democracy.  He ends by saying that there needs to be more consideration of the ways the mass media and social media networks can contribute towards “developing a public consensus to address inequality. ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

84 comments on “Highlighting the income gap”

  1. Tracey 1

    And the national crosby tdexter sideshow is revved up to tell us the second most important issue to nzers is law and order… its not, but thats what they are spouting starting with key on tv this morning…

    below is a short extract but gives a taster into how poverty in the usa and loss of welfare led to credit which got the poor caught up in the market forces
    http://m.sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/11/25/sf.sot122.extract

  2. Tracey 2

    below is a short extract but gives a taster into how poverty in the usa and loss of income to fund welfare led to credit which got the govt caught up in trying to fund so eventually the finance sector convinced goct to loosen therules… which they did
    http://m.sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/11/25/sf.sot122.extract

  3. Tom Gould 3

    Anyone who watched the well researched TV mini-series on Packer and Murdoch will have finally had confirmation that what they were told for years by the media was a ‘lefty conspiracy theory’ was actually true. Crony capitalism as the standard operating procedure, with media complicity an essential foundation, kept the right in charge for decades in Aussie. And over here too.

    • aerobubble 3.1

      An efficient economy requires a larger pool of capable people able to take up societies jobs, for many reasons, but simplest is that not having enough people capable means they can ask whatever they like. Now we do have enough bankers, yet their asking wages kept rising despite this The only explanation for this was ideological, that the power think they are irreplaceable and so gave each other high remunerations. The danger though was what happen, first it was just enough that capable individuals were also deeply imbued with the ideology of individual supremacy, but over time there was no need to hire capable (i.e. law abiding, or those with integrity. Or worse those who pushed the ideology further into society morphing the economy out of any efficiency. Welcome to 2014, building roads as petrol peaks, impressively backwards.

      However we have turned, or are turning. Moro points out how the rich aren’t letting their kids inherit their fortunes. Not the royal though. But its impressively bad news for those societies that do this, since the young and capable few who also inherit great wealth and are capable (there are some) are eradicated from society, leaving their skills to be picked up by Arabs and other societies that don’t excise their inferior children from inheritance. You see an efficient economy isn’t necessary a uniform one, that’s the mistake of the communists and now the neoliberals, as both have a commonality, their own supremacy of intellect and righteousness.

      Yes we need to fix the macro linkages that is propelling the wealthy few to great massive wealth, but no we don’t need to do it by making us less diverse and unequal. We need to shift the trends, not organize the people better. The threat is from those in wealth, too stupid to admit the error of Thatcherism, and too stupid to admit their own vanity, and even stupid enough to impose their beliefs on their offspring.

      At its core I believe every generation up to the boomers believed children were the future, but with the boomers they were told they were the future, cultural time stopped, all aspect of society is given over to boomers, and even in retirement boomers will rule tax policy. We stopped living for our children.

  4. Tom Gould 4

    Also, anyone tried to ‘vote’ or ‘view results’ on the National Herald on-line poll today? They ask ‘what do you think of National’s handling of income inequality’ and neither ‘button’ seems to work, despite boasting 4650 votes?

    • karol 4.1

      The Poll worked for me. 48% say National’s handling of it has been bad.

      • Belladonna 4.1.1

        Poll still says the same percentage which is a little strange. Hasn’t moved since the middle of the day seemingly.

  5. Ad 5

    Motivation enough for me to go once more into a campaign.
    No more needed.

  6. whatever next? 6

    but will we be pummeled with this poll, as we are by all “who’s winning” polls released ad nauseum?
    I doubt it
    (that picture says it all)

  7. McFlock 7

    I reckon the dialogue around inequality and particularly children facing deprivation has changed over the last 5 or 10 years. That didn’t happen by accident – while there isn’t so much in the coordination as such, academics have been working harder to communicate their research to advocates and activists on the ground, while activists and advocates have worked hard to match the research to real stories of individuals.

    IMO, that’s one of the more significant factors in stories about child maltreatment being viewed as more of a systemic, community problem, rather than the only voice being along the lines of Lhaws saying things like ‘lock up the ferals’.

    Not won, by any means, but I reckon that that’s a fairly solid model for expanding the different issues facing the non-luxury classes

    • karol 7.1

      That’s interesting, McFlock, because that was a major impetus for the Skilliing article that I referred to. I mentioned the academic-non-academia interaction in an earlier draft of my post, but the post got too long. So that was one of the bits I edited out.

      Skilling said at the start of his article:

      One thing that might be noted about the strictly academic literature in this area is that it has been strikingly unsuccessful (thus far, at least) in effecting policy change, or even attitudinal change. In this context it is understandable and – in my view – admirable that many of the academics listed above have sought to engage a broader audience. My interest here is on this specific sub-genre of the recent inequality literature: books on the issue written by academics but written for an audience beyond academia.

      Skilling also mentions “The Spirit Level” as the most well known example, near the beginning of his article. He chose to focus mostly on the Rashbrooke & Stiglitz books to make his article manageable.

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        It strikes me as also being one common factor that some of the successful campaigns on what one or two Waitakere Men like to call “boutique identity politics” share.

        And also something that “the left” was once adept at: activists acting as an enthusiastic bridge of communication between the populace and the researcher (generally Marx), if you will.

      • Populuxe1 7.1.2

        The Spirit Level is hardly an academic tretise – it’s journalistic pop soc sci that privileges economic inequality over all other kinds of inequality and fudges the distiction between whether less economic inequality means all society does better or just better on average. Nor does health and income offer a robust enough correlation for a thesis and the book is riddled with western-centric cultural perspectives and assumptions. It’s certainly not enough to build policy around.

        • felix 7.1.2.1

          Have you seen this recent comment from karol where she refers to Skilling describing The Spirit Level?

        • karol 7.1.2.2

          Did you read the articles in the journal cited in my post, pop? They include an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of such books. They also point to where more research is needed. Too much to cover in detail in a post.

    • Ergo Robertina 7.2

      Yes, our social ills are now a rich source of academic funding and kudos for our cash strapped universities.
      I suppose it’s good if you earn your living from it.
      But most of this boils down to the mundane stuff of every day life; reducing alcohol intake, eating healthy food, living in a warm insulated house, accessing healthcare, and having a reasonable distribution of income.
      We don’t need screeds of ‘evidence’ or a fancy academic title to know how to live well, or that poverty is a bad thing.
      And this Chris Trotter column suggests a more sinister agenda at play.

      • Ergo Robertina 7.2.1

        The link to the Chris Trotter piece is here

      • McFlock 7.2.2

        And maybe someone once said to Hillary that climbing Everest boiled down to the mundane stuff of avoiding hypothermia, taking oxygen and putting one foot in front of another /sarc

        Oh, and for some reason it’s not quite that rich a source of funding. But then you already know everything, no evidence required – unfortunately the rest of us need to choose between A)quoting the latest research to demonstrate systemic problems; or B)saying that tories are wrong because, well, um, a youtube link with cool sound track said so…

        • Ergo Robertina 7.2.2.1

          Well, I accept it’s still not that rich; which is why academia is so vulnerable to the political preoccupations of the day.
          And that is dangerous, because we need universities to be the conscience of society, without fear or favour.
          Sometimes the political agenda includes delaying action, which academia serves well because there is always more evidence to be garnered, results are seldom conclusive.
          Read Donna Chisholm’s latest piece in North and South for some indication of how things are going wrong, as the agendas of big business and government are actually imperilling the economic aims they hope to drive with research. Academic Rod Jackson – I don’t have the article here to cite with me unfortunately, was quoted saying he was frequently invited to speak at academic conferences about his research indicating alcohol consumption reduced heart disease risk. And then his subsequent findings suggested the reverse, and the invitations stopped, which made him question the influence of vested interests.
          Although you probably believe such an article is meaningless trivia, because it is full of unscientific anecdotes like the one cited above.
          As stated above, universities should be the conscience of society, but I do not believe that is enhanced by being harnessed to produce social policy on everyday matters, and being tied too closely with commercial research.

          • McFlock 7.2.2.1.1

            Everything you said about the issue of academic freedom and research in that comment was pretty much reasonable and true.

            But it’s still a key ingredient to implementing policies that reduce inequality. Because to win the fight capitalists we need something more than some youtube propaganda clips and a belief in the divinity of our own intuition.

            • Ergo Robertina 7.2.2.1.1.1

              ‘… a belief in the divinity of our own intuition.’

              Did the first Labour Government draw upon the divinity of its intuition, or reams of academic research, to marshal the political will to build state houses, set up the welfare system, the health system?
              No, it simply put in place systems and facilities to cater for people’s physical needs because it was the right thing to do.
              As Bill said, the academic model endlessly diagnoses and mulls over the minutiae of the malaise rather than curing it. There is a vital role for reflection, study, and challenge to the status quo, but academia itself does not propel political action.

              • karol

                You underestimate how widely read and knowledgable the early twentieth cnetury socialist/labour movement people were.

                Look at Michael J Savage’s bio on Te Ara:

                In his early years he was into Henry George (a political economist) and Edward Bellamy.

                The Te Ara bio also says this:

                During this time Savage became involved with the WEA and was particularly influenced by the monetary reform views of Irving Fisher, professor of political economy at Yale University. The writings of Fisher reinforced Savage’s belief, derived from his earlier reading of Henry George, Edward Bellamy and Karl Marx, that gross under-consumption, economic deprivation and social misery existed in the midst of plenty because the means of distribution and exchange were unsatisfactory. The state alone should have the right to issue money and regulate its value and to control credit through a government-directed banking system.

                • Ergo Robertina

                  Of course reading was seminal to these mostly autodidact politicians, like John A Lee for whom encountering Jack London was a turning point. The social realism of the likes of London, Sinclair Upton, George Orwell, the syndicalist writers, Marx, and so on, formed their intellectual, social, and political bedrock.
                  It awakened and fed an anger too; these writings aren’t characterised by dry and dispassionate academic jargon, and quantitative findings.

                  • karol

                    these writings aren’t characterised by dry and dispassionate academic jargon, and quantitative findings.

                    Ah, but academics research doesn’t need to always be written that way.

                    And that is precisely what Peter Skilling was on about in the article I referred to in my post – making academic writing that is more accessible and useful to the general public.

                    I’ve been reading bit of The Making the English Working Class lately – inspiring stuff.

                    Sometimes quantitative data is useful in showing the bigger picture.

                    And that sort of information is important in showing how things like income inequality have changed over time. And scientific data is essential to provide evidence of things like climate change.

                    Without being backed with such evidence, how do you expect to convince the general population that change is needed, or that they have nothing to lose but their chains?

                    BTW, Bryan Bruce’s documentary on poverty used academic material well in a way that was associated with images and explanations that could be communicated well pretty widely. Part of the reason I think that the inequality gap, and poverty have become an election issues.

          • karol 7.2.2.1.2

            Do you know think that books like The Spirit Level, and The Rashbrrooke book re inequality in NZ, have helped raise the profile of income inequality publicly? these are books by academics, for general public consumption.

            Indeed, we do need universities to have academic freedom. Too much has been whittled away during neoliberal times.

            I’m more concerned about universities being appropriated by business (think Owen Glenn) and less concerned about the work done on social policy (Sue Bradford is now a lecturer at UNITEC on social practice/ community development, and the work done by many people in sociology.

            • Ergo Robertina 7.2.2.1.2.1

              It’s an interesting question regarding the impact of The Spirit Level and its New Zealand offshoot.
              I would say the impact is positive – but limited.
              Outside the more engaged end of the chattering class, how many have read the books?
              Inequality is on the radar politically, but that’s to a large extent a symptom of the problem, rather than the books per se. That’s not to say they are not a useful resource.
              In Britain, there was certainly an impact. The TSL had an exciting moment, especially given the timing of its release soon after the financial crisis.
              Britain has an intellectual and serious media infrastructure that New Zealand does not have, and the author academics had a bit of charisma, and are quite strident. Whereas here, at a talk I attended, Rashbrooke declined to prescribe specific remedies to reduce inequality, and it all seemed a bit mealy mouthed.
              Anyway, I don’t need 30 years of evidence about the worsening of the gini coefficient to know trickle-down doesn’t work. And neither did two of the ignored and derided politicians of the 1980s, Tony Benn and Jim Anderton.
              In one of your links, Brian Easton said there was a surprising amount of NZ research on inequality. Do you think this substantial body of research has lessoned the problem?
              Good post by the way.

              • karol

                It doesn’t need for everyone to read the books for the ideas in them to become widely circulated. Some read them, some provide quotes and explanations, the ideas get discussed, etc.

                Peter Skilling, in his article that I cited in my post, said exactly that about the research on inequality – he said there needs to be more academic work on the topic that has an impact on staretgies, and that is done in such a way as to be communicated to, and understood by the general public.

                Bryan Bruce puts some of this academic ideas into an award winning and very watchable documentary. It includes reference to The Spirit Level.

                Tony Benn was excellent at being able to communicate socialist ideas in a very easily understandable way. But where did he get those ideas from?

                He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford Uni

                • Ergo Robertina

                  I’m not denying a role for academia, I am though sceptical of whether it can effect the desired change politically and socially.
                  Of course, academia also gave us the Chicago boys and the Washington consensus, providing the intellectual underpinning to deregulate the financial sector, and helped enable shocking political violence and thuggery in South America.
                  It’s not an either-or dichotomy in the black and white terms favoured by McFlock, around intuition versus evidence.
                  I agree with you that academic writing can be a powerful force for good, and need not be written in inaccessible language, although much of it is.
                  As an aside, I believe Benn did not consider himself an intellectual, and was influenced by the family tradition of nonconformist religion, which is dealt with in this article:
                  http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/22/tony-benn-peter-wilby-reads-diaries

                  • McFlock

                    It’s not an either-or dichotomy in the black and white terms favoured by McFlock, around intuition versus evidence.

                    cf my previous comment (emphasis added):

                    But it’s still a key ingredient to implementing policies that reduce inequality. Because to win the fight capitalists we need something more than some youtube propaganda clips and a belief in the divinity of our own intuition

                    “autodidactic” you ain’t.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      I’m sorry if you feel I oversimplified your point.
                      However, the strawman of ‘a belief in the divinity of our own intuition’ is hyperbolic and derogatory. It places intuition in the realm of faith, the supernatural, and the irrational, by using the words ‘belief’ and ‘divinity’ for description.

                    • McFlock

                      I don’t feel you oversimplified it. I know that portraying something as a black&white dichotomy is not the same as saying that one thing is necessary and the other thing is insufficient. Even if you confuse the two, your non-apology was completely unnecessary.

                      I’ve looked at the divinity line again, and can’t decide if it’s hyperbole or not:
                      If “intuition” isn’t perfect, surely it’s a profound arrogance to want to change society (through either revolution or election) according only to one’s personal intuition?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Well, it’s clearly not hyperbole to you, because in this context you view intuition in regards to politics as ‘profound arrogance’.
                      I said elsewhere on this thread that some of us didn’t need 30 years of gini coefficient data to have known at the outset that trickledown economics was rubbish. Perhaps that is an example of ‘profound arrogance’. If so, I don’t care.

                    • McFlock

                      I said elsewhere on this thread that some of us didn’t need 30 years of gini coefficient data to have known at the outset that trickledown economics was rubbish.

                      Really? Wow, that’s amazing. What about everyone else, how were they supposed to know? And: how did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      When a Government flogs off assets overseas, removes import barriers, and creates a trade imbalance, the result is a tiny elite and huge social problems and poverty domestically. A widening gap between the rich and the poor is inevitable.
                      You don’t need a university degree to grasp it, just a basic understanding of history and human nature.
                      And the Keynesian economists in our universities were swept away by this tide; they had no ability to shape the agenda.

                    • McFlock

                      The questions were:
                      how were people without your “intuition” supposed to know?
                      How did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?

                      that keynesian etc academics failed to stop it is not the issue. Maybe they were wrong. How do you know that the tories aren’t correct, that everyone except the people you personally encountered aren’t better off?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      ‘how were people without your “intuition” supposed to know?’

                      Wow, that’s some intellectually dishonest use of inverted commas there. You introduced the notion of ‘intuition’ to this thread. I agreed it had a place, but elaborated on the historical, social, political, economic factors (mostly just cause and effect) that militate against free markets delivering equal distribution of income. I can see you’re not interested in the actual topic.

                      ‘How did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?’
                      ‘that keynesian etc academics failed to stop it is not the issue.’
                      ‘ Maybe they were wrong. How do you know that the tories aren’t correct, that everyone except the people you personally encountered aren’t better off?

                      Your questions are predicated on the odd notion that we need a quantitative data set about every human endeavour in order to make decisions, predictions, or assertions. Which is obviously quite bizarre.

                    • McFlock

                      Your questions are predicated on the odd notion that we need a quantitative data set about every human endeavour in order to make decisions, predictions, or assertions. Which is obviously quite bizarre.

                      nope. They’re pretty simple.
                      You made a specific claim about how your predictive powers made academic research redundant.

                      how were people without [your predictive powers] supposed to know?
                      How did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?

                      Because the objective is to stop those bastards (neolibs) being re-elected, preferably over the long term. It would be awesome if the majority of the populace could, like, just know somehow that the neolibs are full of shit.

                      Apparently research demonstrating increasing inequality and hardship for our poorest is a waste of resources. So how is everyone else supposed to come to your conclusion, and how are we supposed to know that conclusion is correct?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      False premise. Why would academic research be ‘redundant’? Had we followed a different social and economic path, there would simply be a different set of data to analyse.

                    • McFlock

                      Why would academic research be ‘redundant’?

                      cf:

                      some of us didn’t need 30 years of gini coefficient data to have known at the outset that trickledown economics was rubbish

                      Seems you think at least one bit of academic research has a function that was already fulfilled by your predictive powers.

                      Had we followed a different social and economic path, there would simply be a different set of data to analyse.

                      Yes. But the weight of the evidence would have pointed in the same direction. Neolibs = high inequality, high unemployment, and falling living standards relative to less-neolib societies.

                      how were people without [your predictive powers] supposed to know?
                      How did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      What is your view of trickle-down economics?
                      At what point in time was the evidence sufficient (if indeed it is) for you to hold a view?
                      If research and data analysis is framed in a way that seems biased or slanted (like the focus on child poverty, rather than poverty) does that affect how you see the findings?
                      What if research parameters are defined by politicians and NGOs? Does it matter?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      how were people without [your predictive powers] supposed to know?

                      I’m not the only person who thought Rogernomics wasn’t a good idea. Perhaps you missed the mass redundancies, the virtual closure of some small towns, and the electorate’s decision to change the voting system in response.

                      How did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?

                      I have already answered that in cause and effect economic terms. Market economies are nothing new, have been in vogue many times before, and caused huge health and social ills.

                    • McFlock

                      “hold a view” or “know”? Because the two are very different things.

                      But obviously I like data. And I have a bit of an advantage because I was still in school in the 80s, so my opinion was formed equally by personal experience, learning about economics and political history, and of course seeing the broad data. The assurances neolibs give of improvement aren’t matched by the reality of most people. I think their portrayals of markets and human interactions are simplistic, and I think there’s more than enough data now to say that it quacks like a duck.

                      Of course biased data or narrow samples affect how I regard finndings, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. As long as the bias is known, that’s cool, it has value. If we suspect it’s biased, but not how it’s biased, it approaches worthlessness. Like a herald or reid poll.

                      That’s how I reached my conclusion, and why I think it’s correct.
                      You?

                    • McFlock

                      I’m not the only person who thought Rogernomics wasn’t a good idea.

                      Thought? You said you knew.

                      Perhaps you missed the mass redundancies, the virtual closure of some small towns, and the electorate’s decision to change the voting system in response.

                      I also saw many new businesses start up, conspicuous consumption, building booms in other towns, and a media targeted squarely at the comfortable middle classes.

                      Macroeconomic data certainly helped demonstrate whether there was more “boom” than “bust”. Bust has been winning for three decades, but the only reason I can be sure of that is data, research, and formal education.

                      How did you know your predictions 30 years ago were correct?

                      I have already answered that in cause and effect economic terms. Market economies are nothing new, have been in vogue many times before, and caused huge health and social ills.

                      Where did you pick that up from? I’m sure they haven’t been in vogue “many times before” in your lifetime.

                    • whatever next?

                      But how to force the moment to a crisis? it took a war to raise “the spirit of 45″, and people finally realising there was another way, and if they could beat Hitler, and run an empire, why not have a decent life aswell?
                      what will it take now? how do we get the 1,000,000 who didn’t vote in the last election to vote in September? hopefully not a war.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      ‘I also saw many new businesses start up, conspicuous consumption, building booms in other towns, and a media targeted squarely at the comfortable middle classes.’

                      Creative destruction eh?
                      You’ve given quite an insight into why you’re sanguine about us wasting 30 years in order to study your beloved ‘data’. Now, I don’t expect you to be able to incorporate this in your dismal and banal mindset, but the ‘data’ you put on some kind of pedestal is human lives, humans thrown on the scrapheap of history.
                      You did not seem to understand the point about opportunity cost, that if we didn’t have this data set, we would have another set of figures, telling a different story.
                      Locked in a reactive knee-jerk ‘evidence based’ paradigm, you appear to think it’s fine if as a society we do stupid, destructive things, as long as it’s measured afterwards.

                    • McFlock

                      aaaaaaand we talk past each other once again.

                      My point was that you somehow knew that the new jobs and wealth would not come close to outweighing the damage of destroyed towns and industries, when lots of other people apparently didn’t.

                      And you still haven’t explained how you know for a fact that you were right 30 years ago. I assume it didn’t involve formal education and actual data.

                      It’s all very well that you can pull this shit out of your arse, but how do you prove it to people who don’t have your perceptive gifts?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      ‘And you still haven’t explained how you know for a fact that you were right 30 years ago. I assume it didn’t involve formal education and actual data.’

                      This implies only academics or researchers in the pertinent subject area can hold opinions on politics and economics. You do appear to hold some rather eccentric views.
                      I was at primary school at the time, but was opposed to Roger Douglas et al, and distressed at the upheaval in our community. It’s not particularly relevant, although children certainly have an innate sense of fairness, and more sensitivity to the suffering of others than most adults.
                      My point was more around the value of the data, in terms of convincing or persuading people. Either you want to see the injustice, or do not, and facts and figures won’t change that.
                      In general terms if you introduce monetarism and austerity etc the result is widening gaps between rich and poor. I’m surprised you find that a contentious statement.
                      If you believe in the power of data to convince, then why hasn’t more progress been made? Can you quantify how many more yearly data sets we need to engender change?
                      And you say you’re fine with bias, because you can see and account for it, but what about people without your perceptive gifts?
                      The focus on child poverty tilts attention away from structural issues and the health and wellbeing of older people. Do you believe everyone is equipped to account for the bias?

                    • McFlock

                      ‘And you still haven’t explained how you know for a fact that you were right 30 years ago. I assume it didn’t involve formal education and actual data.’

                      This implies only academics or researchers in the pertinent subject area can hold opinions on politics and economics.

                      It does no such thing. You just made the inference because we seem to have a failure to communicate.

                      I was at primary school at the time, but was opposed to Roger Douglas et al, and distressed at the upheaval in our community.

                      What about my community? How much upheaval was there? Or the community of random person X?

                      What you don’t get is that businesses are always going under or making people redundant. The problem in lab4 was that many more were made redundant than were employed again. You had a true belief that lab4 was bad. But for all you knew, it wasn’t lab4, it was simply the fact that the main employer in your community was archaic and simply replaced by other employers, in other communities, employing more people to make more stuff than was lost when your employers shut down.

                      My point was more around the value of the data, in terms of convincing or persuading people. Either you want to see the injustice, or do not, and facts and figures won’t change that.

                      I have never been to northland. I would have no way of knowing what is happening there without long-term data like unemployments rates, GINI, and healthcare issues. Even a roadtrip around the country wouldn’t really expose all the issues that only one or two data sources might.

                      In general terms if you introduce monetarism and austerity etc the result is widening gaps between rich and poor. I’m surprised you find that a contentious statement.

                      :roll: I don’t.
                      I just think that demonstrating it based on … whatever … is contentious.

                      If you believe in the power of data to convince, then why hasn’t more progress been made? Can you quantify how many more yearly data sets we need to engender change?

                      Personally, I think that progress has been made, but only since real effort has been made by various academics and advocacy groups to get together and coordinate their approaches in the last ten years or so. I think previous efforts were fragmented and siloed.

                      contrast with SUDI/SIDS: down by >90% in 30-odd years. Based on data and primary research leading into public health communication and direct contact with new parents, feeding back into primary research to tailor interventions.

                      And you say you’re fine with bias, because you can see and account for it, but what about people without your perceptive gifts?

                      ahahahaha, I see what you did there. But I have no special powers. I did have a formal education, though. Taught me to do high falutin’ things like “reading the methodology”.

                      The focus on child poverty tilts attention away from structural issues and the health and wellbeing of older people. Do you believe everyone is equipped to account for the bias?

                      Investment in child poverty means many future older people won’t have as many issues. But it’s also the “low hanging fruit” in the wider argument, because even some tories might accept that public money should be spent on preventing pertussis or rheumatic fever, or extra services to keep kids in school or clothed. Adults aren’t so cuddly. Same reason WWF has a panda on its logo, not an endangered dung beetle.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      ‘I was at primary school at the time, but was opposed to Roger Douglas et al, and distressed at the upheaval in our community.’
                      McFlock: What about my community? How much upheaval was there? Or the community of random person X?’

                      I am filtering my early experience through a wider macro view, with the benefit of hindsight. I wouldn’t be talking about it here otherwise.

                      ‘What you don’t get is that businesses are always going under or making people redundant.’

                      This line is straight out of the Paula Bennett playbook that chaos and uncertainty in the economy is normal (‘the employment market is bouncy, like me!’ etc)

                      ‘The problem in lab4 was that many more were made redundant than were employed again. You had a true belief that lab4 was bad. But for all you knew, it wasn’t lab4, it was simply the fact that the main employer in your community was archaic and simply replaced by other employers, in other communities, employing more people to make more
                      stuff than was lost when your employers shut down.’

                      Right, so you believe Rogernomics was in essence OK, perhaps even inevitable (TINA) but maybe it could have been managed better.
                      Those with a dissenting view are irrational (true belief) and must be discounted. This mirrors the residual denial in Labour to accept the cruelty inflicted on people, as well as the tendency to patronise the victims.

                      ‘I have never been to northland. I would have no way of knowing what is happening there without long-term data like unemployments rates, GINI, and healthcare issues. Even a roadtrip around the country wouldn’t really expose all the issues that only one or two data sources might.’

                      It isn’t hard to work out that a programme like Rogernomics will be disproportionately cruel in a place like Northland, with low levels of education and so on. It is cold and psychopathic to claim this has to be studied to figure it out.

                      ‘I just think that demonstrating [widening gaps between rich and poor] it based on … whatever … is contentious.’

                      I didn’t say ‘whatever’, I pointed to macroeconomic and historical factors that you either don’t understand or are determined to ignore.

                      ‘Personally, I think that progress has been made, but only since real effort has been made by various academics and advocacy groups to get together and coordinate their approaches in the last ten years or so. I think previous efforts were fragmented and siloed.’

                      Considering you don’t really accept there’s a problem in the first place, your assurance that progress is being made is not credible.

                      ‘ahahahaha, I see what you did there. But I have no special powers. I did have a formal education, though. Taught me to do high falutin’ things like “reading the methodology”.

                      You didn’t address the issue of how people who have no such education fare.

                      ‘Investment in child poverty means many future older people won’t have as many issues. But it’s also the “low hanging fruit” in the wider argument, because even some tories might accept that public money should be spent on preventing pertussis or rheumatic fever, or extra services to keep kids in school or clothed. Adults aren’t so cuddly. Same reason WWF has a panda on its logo, not an endangered dung beetle.’

                      So you’re happy for us to just treat the symptoms, making no structural adjustments.

                    • McFlock
                      ‘The problem in lab4 was that many more were made redundant than were employed again. You had a true belief that lab4 was bad. But for all you knew, it wasn’t lab4, it was simply the fact that the main employer in your community was archaic and simply replaced by other employers, in other communities, employing more people to make more
                      stuff than was lost when your employers shut down.’

                      Right, so you believe Rogernomics was in essence OK, perhaps even inevitable (TINA) but maybe it could have been managed better.
                      Those with a dissenting view are irrational (true belief) and must be discounted. This mirrors the residual denial in Labour to accept the cruelty inflicted on people, as well as the tendency to patronise the victims.

                      You got all that from the above quote?
                      None of it was there.

                      In fact, from:

                      You had a true belief that lab4 was bad.’

                      (emphasis added for the person who doesn’t bother reading before commenting), you got:

                      Right, so you believe Rogernomics was in essence OK, perhaps even inevitable (TINA) but maybe it could have been managed better.

                      How about you try reading and responding to my previous comment again, otherwise I can’t be bothered feeding your massive confirmation bias.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      A pathetic attempt to deflect through petulance.
                      How about using the whole quote?

                      ‘The problem in lab4 was that many more were made redundant than were employed again. You had a true belief that lab4 was bad. But for all you knew, it wasn’t lab4, it was simply the fact that the main employer in your community was archaic and simply replaced by other employers, in other communities, employing more people to make more
                      stuff than was lost when your employers shut down.’

                      ‘But for you knew it wasn’t lab4. . . ‘
                      This discounts what you term a ‘belief’, which was prefaced with the facetious intensifier ‘true’.

                      ‘How about you try reading and responding to my previous comment again, otherwise I can’t be bothered feeding your massive confirmation bias.’

                      And I can’t be bothered feeding your intellectual dishonesty, so don’t bother responding unless it is with something constructive.

                    • McFlock

                      I didn’t bother with the rest of the quote, because it quite obviously and clearly and explicitly dealt with what you could have known about how lab4 affected the country as a whole versus your direct experience in your community. Because you said you don’t need the things like GINI to “know” that stuff.

                      In smaller words, the rest of that quote has nothing to do with what I believe about lab4, could not conceivably have anything to do with what I believe about lab4, and completely breaks the english language to suggest that it does.

                      The only reason I even included the first bit was because when I described your belief (that lab4 was bad – that is your belief, yes?) as “true”, that is obviously a value judgement on my part that your belief is true and that lab4 was, indeed, bad.

                      Learn to read.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Learn to write.
                      The term ‘true belief’ suggests a belief fervently held, perhaps in a hostile environment. It does not indicate that that belief is justified.
                      Given the context of this discussion regarding experience/knowledge versus data, your construction is sloppy at best.

                    • McFlock

                      The term ‘true belief’ suggests a belief fervently held, perhaps in a hostile environment. It does not indicate that that belief is justified.
                      Given the context of this discussion regarding experience/knowledge versus data, your construction is sloppy at best.

                      To you. In the context of the discussion about whether you had any basis for believing what you had claimed to know, no it doesn’t.
                      You claimed to “know” rogernomics was/is bad. I agreed that it was/is bad (“true”), but my entire theme in this has been that your belief was not justified. Because you rely on, at best, a subjective interpretation of your immediate experience, plus whatever else you happen to already agree with.

                      This is the upteenth time you’ve accused me of suggesting or implying something that I never did. The inference is completely inside your head. At least this time it doesn’t completely break the english language to make that inference. But fuck it, I’ve had enough.

                      You wanted to know how those without formal education fare? If you’re anything to go by, many of them would have a greater likelihood of holding beliefs about the real world that are completely unjustified, even down to what they believe other people wrote in teeny tiny words. They are also apparently more likely to have a confirmation bias that completely filters out any information that is not exactly what they expect. Their beliefs might or might not be coincidentally true, and they are perfectly entitled to hold them.

                      Without any capability of demonstrating that their beliefs are anything other than marsh gas, however, I also am perfectly entitled to think that they’re idiots.

                      This does require further research, however, as it is based on a sample size of 1.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Amid your histrionics in that response, you’ve confirmed the use of the term ‘true belief’ did imply irrational belief on my part.
                      You are entitled to hold that view, of course, but you denied my correct interpretation of it initially, and attacked my ability to read on that basis.

                    • McFlock

                      Amid your histrionics in that response, you’ve confirmed the use of the term ‘true belief’ did imply irrational belief on my part

                      No, I didn’t. Learn the difference between “imply” and “infer”. And also think amount that the role context has in communication.

                      And your interpretation makes it even worse, because it means that your response has nothing to do with my comment. As previously discussed, the second part clearly dealt with your grounds for believing whatever it is you believe, and according to you the first part simply caricatures your level of belief. And from that you drew a conclusion (“Right, so[…]”) that I support rogernomics and think “dissenting” views must be “discounted”.

                      ‘The problem in lab4 was that many more were made redundant than were employed again. You had a true belief that lab4 was bad. But for all you knew, it wasn’t lab4, it was simply the fact that the main employer in your community was archaic and simply replaced by other employers, in other communities, employing more people to make more stuff than was lost when your employers shut down.’

                      Right, so you believe Rogernomics was in essence OK, perhaps even inevitable (TINA) but maybe it could have been managed better.
                      Those with a dissenting view are irrational (true belief) and must be discounted. This mirrors the residual denial in Labour to accept the cruelty inflicted on people, as well as the tendency to patronise the victims.

                      For the record, I discount idiot views, not dissenting views. And rogernomics was bad, m’kay?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Semantics aside, I don’t accept we need an evidence base to prove the desirability of equality of income and opportunity, decent homes and food, a progressive taxation system. It just depends on society’s desired outcomes, and I think you apply the wrong lens.
                      In medicine itself, even the BMJ is acknowledging flaws in the evidence-based paradigm, which has after all only been around a couple of decades.
                      This from Bill Hicks (since youtube is more my metier) encapsulates it for me.

                    • McFlock

                      Fair enough.

                      I think that most of those things are uncontroversial objectives even for tories. The question is how we get there, and how do we persuade people that rogernomics is completely counterproductive to those objectives.

                      Maybe some people don’t need an evidence base to reach that conclusion. However, although the people who reached the opposite conclusion without an evidence base will probably not be persuaded by evidence, I think a lot of people do actually look at real-world evidence when they come to their conclusions.

                      Because like it or not, some people haven’t been persuaded by the non-evidence approaches that have been taken over the last 30 years. And as the BMJ editorial said: “evidence based medicine may be the worst system for clinical decision making, except for all those other systems that have been tried from time to time.”

                  • Tracey

                    ” to deregulate the financial sector,”

                    research did not cause the deregulation of the financial sector it was used to justify it. The policy decision was made before the research was acknowledged per se.

                    It was to do with difficulties get money in the 1970’s, so the financial institutions lobbied to make it easier for themselves… no doubt research played a part but self interest and greed of the financial sector itself (certain human beings) “underpinned” it.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Tracey, that’s not what I meant. The big driver of deregulation was the low return on capital in the post war period, because the social contract with workers meant higher wages and so on.
                      Milton Friedman et al provided intellectual impetus and legitimacy. Young economists from South America (and NZ) went to the USA to study, and were in many cases radicalised. My point is not that academia is ‘bad’. Of course not. But it is not necessarily an unalloyed force for good. It is vulnerable to the political agendas and policy directions of the time.
                      The film ‘Inside Job’ about the financial scandal culminating in 2008 provides insight into this problem, with interviews with the likes of Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard, about his advocacy of deregulation, and potential conflict of interest.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Hubbard_(economist)#Inside_Job_interview_and_aftermath

                    • karol

                      ER @ 8.34am

                      That is part of how the “neoliberals/neocons” gained so much dominance internationally. There’s was a multi-pronged campaign to restore the power to the tory elites, after the left had made a lot of in-roads.

                      This multi-pronged campaign was led in various areas of endeavour: academically, rightwing think tanks, culturally (from music videos to designer clothes, etc), in the media, in schools, in the financial sector, in politics, etc.

                      The acadmic/research aspect provided a rationale and (alleged) credibility.

                      That is why the left also needs to be multi-faceted in its struggle for a more equal and socially and economically just world: but based more in the collective apporaches of the left. Grass roots actions, cutural expressions (in music, videos, fiction, etc), in online and localised media,citizen journalism, investigative journalism, politics, unions, anti-poverty campaign groups, and also in harnessing scholarly relevant scholarly research intiatives.

        • Bill 7.2.2.2

          Nah McFlock. False comparison. To get to the top of Everest involves understanding and accounting for hypothermia, oxygen levels etc as well as developing a whole raft of skills. Master all that, and a desired goal can be achieved. Capitalism, on the other hand, can offer no ‘better’ future achievement or pinnacle. It is exactly what it is and has always been and is going precisely nowhere.

          • McFlock 7.2.2.2.1

            And Marx knew that to demonstrate the shortcomings of Capitalism, he needed primary research into the nature of money and, for example, the lives of factory workers in Britain.

            I don’t agree with his alternative, but by gum he proved capitalism was a system that inhibited human progression.

            • Bill 7.2.2.2.1.1

              Well okay, Marx offered some analytical insight into facets of Capitalism. Some would argue he mapped out economic exploitation. But did the factory or mill workers need his or any other persons analyses before they could understand that they were being ‘done over’ or before they could offer up resistance? Well…no. They didn’t.

              • karol

                Actually, Bill – yes I think they did.

                The working classes only gradually became aware of themselves as an exploited class. And a mix of writings (academic and popular), popular culture, activism, and specific circumstances led to that awareness.

                From infoplease encyclopedia:

                The first impact of Marxism was felt in continental Europe. By the late 19th cent., through the influence of the Internationals, it had permeated the European trade union movement, and the major socialist parties (see Socialist parties, in European history) were committed to it in theory if not in practice.

                Workers still need to be able to articulate their sense of individually being done over to others, in order to develop any solidairty. Marxism and other expressions of political practice and theory, provide people with the language, and the confidence to act on it.

                • Bill

                  Workers still need to be able to articulate their sense of individually being done over to others, in order to develop any solidairty. Marxism and other expressions of political practice and theory, provide people with the language, and the confidence to act on it

                  It’s very easy to articulate a sense of being fucked over and develop solidarity and act on it. It runs along the lines of “Fuck this for a game of soldiers. Who the fck does that wanker think he is? Fuck him”

                  And expressing that natural sense of injustice got countered by jailings and beatings and guns.

                  But true, to articulate that in terms of political theory requires…um, a theory. Then again, the downside of that (if the history of marxism is anything to go by) is that those who claim to understand the theory better become the new wanker masters.

                  • karol

                    Yes. But in order to develop the solidarity needed for effective action, the concepts need to be in currency – it doesn’t need to be expressed in fancy middleclass language. Otherwise the responses can be fragmented.

                    • Bill

                      What’s so ineffective about leaving a would be boss labourless and powerless? Or monkey-wrenching his production? In the 1800s, people simply did not want to be herded into factories. That’s not hard to understand and needs no theory whatsoever. That’s the beauty about being guided by a moral compass.

                      Anyway.

                      After the nascent working class had been better contained or cowed by the violence of the state, and enclosure more or less completed, the question (for Marx and others) became more about controlling the new industrial means of production than about denying it’s ascendency.

                      Point is, there was effective resistance during and after the period of enclosure, but yes, the states and industrialists etc behind enclosure won out in the end – though resistance to the whole concept of the ‘work ethic’ continued. Then somewhere in there, along comes Marx and others, make their analytical contribution and people build a vision on the basis of it and…capitalism and the market still triumph.

                      And now, today, most people have sunk so low as to have lost their moral compass and are happy to adopt the notion that having this work ethic and being a wage slave bestows dignity etc. It’s not too surprising that articulate political theory was unable to save us from that. It arguably shifted the goal posts and lost us our way.

                    • karol

                      I really think you’re being a bit free with your history, Bill.

                      I’ve been reading a bit around 18th and 19th century British history and other 18th-19th century writers like Robert Burns.

                      There were a lot of ideas circulating through various kinds of communications – art, literature, folk song, popular culture, festivals, etc., as well as from the more “learned” writings – Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Robert Owen and many others. And many drew on the Bible, etc.

                      I’m not talking about relying only on “scholarly” texts. Or that everyone needs to read them. But they are one of the ways ideas and plans for action, are developed and put into general circulation.

                    • Bill

                      I really think you’re being a bit free with your history, Bill.

                      Well, yeah – maybe. But I still think the basic outline holds. As you say, a lot of writers or communicators relied on a sense of moral right and wrong rather than on analysis and were active in one way or another. That analysis can lead to a more defined or nuanced understanding is a given. That the understandings can then be relayed to others in a straightforward manner is…well, if it’s going to be relayed, it’s absolutely necessary it’s done simply but intelligently as far as I’m concerned. Anyway. I do lament the apparently widespread loss in peoples’ ability to act from a simple moral cognisance of what is right and what is wrong.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It’s critical not to underestimate the role of concrete ideas, writings and other communications in politicising individuals and sustaining political movements.

                      Whether you are looking at the role of American pamphleteers like Thomas Payne during the Revolution, the speech Martin Luther King gave at the Lincoln Memorial or the writings of Kate Sheppard during the NZ suffrage movement, the ability to conceptualise then communicate what about the current situation was unsatisfactory, and then move people to do something concrete about it, relies on something which often includes but must also finally be much more than “fuck the bosses.”

              • McFlock

                There I disagree.
                I suspect that some of them felt themselves lucky to have a job.
                Or that maybe the problem was just their boss or their colleagues, not the system.
                Or that maybe they were in the minority (even more so today – look at the lifestyles depicted as “normal” on TV).
                Or that maybe there was no way out (look at the comparative suicide rate between most and least deprived in NZ).
                Or that maybe they, individually, will probably not be better off from any change to the system.

                I suspect that all of those factors needed to be overcome before the barricades went up. And the way Marx did that was through exhaustive research – although he also took note of the need to widely communicate that research, hence The Capital, accompanied by the Communist Manifesto, and of course his articles and simpler, more persuasive works. The principle distilled later on into Mao’s little red book.

                • Bill

                  McFlock – resistance did not begin with Marx and was not absent in the time before Marx. I agree that he and others provided articulate political expression for some involved in resistance. My main problem with your approach is that it seem to assume a certain degree of a particular type of knowledge is necessary in order to recognise and resist that which is can be obviously identified as being morally wrong.

                  • McFlock

                    My main problem with your approach is that it seem to assume a certain degree of a particular type of knowledge is necessary in order to recognise and resist that which is can be obviously identified as being morally wrong.

                    I think it serves two functions:
                    the first is to increase the number of people who recognise what the situation is and that it is wrong, and provide impetus to push into action those who already knew it was wrong (what is obviously wrong to you or me might be invisible or acceptable to others. How many workers do you know have shrugged when soething shitty was done to them by a boss, just thinking that that’s the way the world works? More than a few, I guess – though you’d have put them straight :) ).

                    The second is to provide ammunition against the tories who wish to deny, minimise, and excuse the situation (essentially to defeat those tories who work the first function, but from the tory side).

                    Research isn’t sufficient to act as a catalyst for change by itself, but it is a powerful tool to help bring change about.

              • Tracey

                What about the manipulation of messages and propaganda. Do you think this had and has no impact? People flocked tot he cities for the awful jobs cos they believed they were less awful than the non job they were leaving in their villages and areas.

                WHY did they think they were better? Desperation? Nothing left to lose or the “make your fortune in the city meme.”

                John Key earlier this week and last week said what is important to NZers is

                the economy
                law and order

                He and his party will repeat that mantra. The day after he said it, out came a report stating crime was at an all time low. That is not accidentally. It is well organised and based on hot buttons.

                I think you under-estimate how brown beaten and manipulated by message and information people are, they actually believe this is the best system and this is the best it can be for them. It doesn’t matter that they are struggling… it’s the best it can be… until they can catch a break or work harder.

                People who are drowning under bills and work that doesn’t pay enough have little time to put their head above the parapet and scream “HELP ME!”

                Capitalists know this and its why they keep them down there and scared to raise their head above the parapet. They might do it in nicer suits than the 17 and 1800’s, but it’s the same underpinning.

      • Bill 7.2.3

        I’m basically, and not a little angrily, with you on this Ergo.

        The bottom line is that Capitalism sucks and you’re* fcked. We’ve* known this since some time in the 1800s.

        The ‘oh so intellectually edifying’ and ultimately useless unravelling of the minutiae of all that constitutes the obvious truth stated above is, well…. a waste of time, energy and resources in the big picture and merely a career for too many in the smaller picture.

        note – the * are for those academics and their fellow travelers, for who the penny hasn’t dropped, and who believe naively, or cynically insist by dint of self interest, that Capitalism contains some salvageable flaws that are best identified ( and magically fixed) via the application of research results. And when that fails, as it inevitably will, then the failure, of course, will be followed up by some more ‘in depth’ research.

      • karol 7.2.4

        The Skilling article particularly, is not just about academic research for academia. It’s about producing research that can have an impact on political strategies, and policies, and on the dominant values in the public sphere – including values that are peddled through the MSM.

        If it were that simple, the values you express would be the ones most foregrounded in te MSM, left wing parties would be foregrounding truly left wing policies, and be the most popular parties int he country.

  8. rob 8

    These perceptions are very interesting
    Because if people do not feel better off or that income equality is worsening then why are they supporting Key of off key during the rock star economy!
    Labour need to focus on the economy and hoe Joe blogs is not getting a fair go
    They need to make that their main point and avoid too many sideshows

  9. BrucetheMoose 9

    You have to give it to Bill for trying, even though he doesn’t have the balls to say it directly.
    John Key and the National Nasty Party – telling it like it is.
    Black is white
    Lies are true
    Shit has the perfume of roses.

  10. G.Hawke 10

    National are National. They run on a concept that market will provide to most, not to all, to most. They greet recessions with cuts for the poor and stability for those most able to take the struggle of a depressed market. They like the idea of a hounded poor as in their minds the poor are just people who don’t understand the national party ideals and are therefore handicapped in their ultimate participation in A national lead N.Z.

    We need a socialist voice with one mandate, 100% employment, we can’t run a poor account, it’s
    immoral on every level of what defines a free nation; and when the economy dips the poor need to be helped not ostracised. That is a moral politic that defines the difference between the N.Z conservative and 50% of the others. It’s morality, can you live with a clobbered poor or does it make you feel ashamed of this country.

    Also the filling up of Aucklands isthmus for immediate economic stimulation will only end in slums. Auckland is choked. Northland and the Waikato need to take populations.

  11. Philj 11

    Xox
    I used to be a proud Kiwi. I now feel sullied and abused by an immoral, inequitable, pseudo government. ( Big business in drag)

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    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gerry Brownlee’s revolving airport door story
    A new report shows Gerry Brownlee is the latest Cabinet Minister to have contracted the infectious tell-porkies-until-you-are-caught disease, Labour’s Chief Whip Chris Hipkins says. “A Civil Aviation Report out today shows that despite being an extremely recognisable figure, Gerry Brownlee… ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki… ...
    1 week ago
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It… ...
    1 week ago
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry. ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems… ...
    GreensBy James Shaw MP
    2 weeks ago
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago

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