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Market madness

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, January 17th, 2013 - 220 comments
Categories: capitalism, economy - Tags: , ,

There have been various demonstrations of random processes beating professional stock market analysts. Here’s the latest as reported by 3 News:

Cat beats investment professionals in portfolio challenge

A common domestic cat has outperformed two teams of humans, including a group of investment professionals, in a year-long stock market challenge. …

The professional team – comprised of Justin Urquhart Stewart of wealth managers Seven Investment Management, Paul Kavanagh of stockbrokers Killick & Co, and Schroders fund manager Andy Brough – presumably used their decades of investment experience to decide where to put their money. Initially the value of that experience seemed to be showing, with the professionals claiming the most profit by the end of September

But Orlando [the cat] was meanwhile making his stock picks by throwing his toy mouse every three months at a randomly numbered grid, where each number was allocated to a particular stock. And by the end of the year, it was Orlando’s approach that had paid off.

The cat finished the year with £5,542 (NZ$10,688). The professionals were in second place, with a total of £5,176 (NZ$9,982), while the school students had lost some of their starting capital to end the year with £4,840 (NZ$9,334).

This can be read at many levels. As a “human interest” funny with lots of bad puns (the approach taken by The Guardian). As an exposure of the empty hype of “financial experts” and the blatantly ludicrous renumeration packages that they insist that they deserve. Or perhaps most worryingly, as evidence of the madness of the markets. We are all at the mercy of a financial system that we don’t and probably can’t understand.

However the experienced investors did concede from the outset that not being a human could have some advantages. Mr Stewart told the paper Orlando would have no awareness of financial risk. “He doesn’t appreciate the need for a balanced portfolio and could end up choosing shares which really take off this year,” he said.

Shouldn’t we sack all the stockbrokers and turn the process over to random number generators? I know, better idea, why don’t we come up with an alternative to this mad, speculative system which exists to facilitate value extraction, and replace it with something that supports value creation instead?…

220 comments on “Market madness”

  1. vto 1

    Ha ha brilliant.

    But the maddest thing of all is that this government wants to give taxpayer assets over to the NZX to bolster it. Welfare for the corporate world, ha ha ha… lazy losers.

    And people like Joyce and Key and English wonder why the average manwoman in the street go nowhere near the NZX. Quite frankly this cat story backs up the wisdom of the people over the investment experts. The people and the cats win – the investment experts lose. Both in this experiment and in real life.

    lessons galore….

    • Tiresias 1.1

      “And people like Joyce and Key and English wonder why the average manwoman in the street go nowhere near the NZX.”

      The NZX returned 24.2% on capital last year. That’s unusually high but it was still recovering from a substantial drop owing to the GFC. Over the medium to long term though the NZX has shown a steady capital appreciation.

      Of course the average manwoman in the street probably doesn’t have the capital to make a 24.2% profit on – in part because they’d rather buy beer than shares in a brewery. Or a Lotto ticket.

      And in part because investing in the stock market is quite deliberately portrayed by professionals as a complicated, sophisticated, frightening thing which should only be handled, er, by those very same professionals.

      • KJT 1.1.1

        People who tout for the share market love to say the average ROI of the market went up.

        They forget to mention, it is not the same shares.

        For example. For the decade around 1987 the average ROI of shares went up, which sort of suggests that shares are a good investment. Most share investors still lost their shirts.
        I remember people telling me I was stupid not to borrow and invest in shares as the ROI was over 20%.
        Except that for any parcel of share bought in, say 10 companies, on the NZX, pre 1987 was worthless by the end of the year. You would have had to sit on the shares, of the few that survived, for over 20 years to get your money back.

        When the underlying value of the companies traded on the market remain static and their profits are flat, 24.2% profit IS A BUBBLE.

        Capital raising is considered to be another strength of the share-market.

        Well, not true, especially for the NZX., Most successful startups are either State funded, owner funded or funded by borrowing, often on the owners mortgage. When the company has passed the initial growth stage they are sold to wealthy individuals or overseas corporates, awash in “printed money” as the NZX demands too much of the business.

        Returning 24.2% on capital invested is a big ask of any company and makes the share market a very expensive source of funds. Banks in the USA will lend on a business at 5.5%.

        In New Zealand having to go to a finance company, 28% or the share market, instead of a bank, at bank rates for capital, is a big competitive disadvantage.

        Giving people something to invest savings in such as Kiwisaver is considered another reason for a share market.. Unfortunately, pension funds historically have helped push up the monetary value of shares, to the great advantage of insiders.
        And, when all the boomers sell their shares at once there will be a corresponding crash in share prices, because the share market has not increased productivity.

        Kiwi saver is another great myth. The idea of privatising power companies to pump up the NZX shows the fallacy. The next generations work will always pay pensions. Whether directly as taxes, or indirectly as higher power bills to pay Kiwi saver investors in power companies.

        The alternative is to let pensioners starve. Something even ACT is not advocating. Yet!

        I just hope I get my contributions out before the finance industry loses it, again!

        Pension schemes in the USA are already reducing, or cancelling, payments, promised to those who have saved into them for years.

    • Nick 1.2

      You want to know the best thing about this Anthony? You think this is an effective attack on capitalism, but in reality it is simply a demonstration of the efficient market hypothesis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_market_hypothesis

      “In finance, the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that financial markets are “informationally efficient”. In consequence of this, one cannot consistently achieve returns in excess of average market returns on a risk-adjusted basis, given the information available at the time the investment is made.”

      In other words, the finance traders cant make more money than a random choice 100% of the time, because otherwise that would be a gap in the market which would be filled. The fact that the brokers can’t make risk free money actually shows that the market is working.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        Cool. We should ban financial traders as fraudsters and assign stock purchases randomly via the stock exchange computer.

        • Nick 1.2.1.1

          No not at all. The question is not whether the average trader can make a profit. The fact that experts are the ones who invest drives up overall returns, this efficient allocation of resources is what drives economic growth. It’s simply that the *marginal trader* cannot make more profit than the average trader. So we would expect the cat to sometimes make more than the broker.

          Think about it this way: The cat has no idea what it’s investing in. But it cannot invest in an overvalued company. Why? Because on available information there is no such thing as an overvalued company. If the company ever became overvalued someone would sell the stock, reducing it to its appropriate value. Therefore changes in stock price are only ever driven by new events and the discovery of new information. That new information is as unpredictable to the broker as it is to the cat, therefore the cat will sometimes get lucky and beat the broker.

          But this does not imply that random number generators should run our economy. If you think it does, pick up a textbook until you understand, this is well established theory.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.1

            This is the most ridiculous load of bullshit ever. The financial markets have nothing to do with the “efficient allocation of capital”, unless you are talking about the efficient removal of capital from Main Street to Wall Street.

            Why? Because on available information there is no such thing as an overvalued company. If the company ever became overvalued someone would sell the stock, reducing it to its appropriate value.

            Would you please get with the fucking 2000’s. With HFT set ups there are some market players out there who get prices, quotes and trades far ahead of everyone else in the market. Please get your head out of the textbooks and into the real world.

            Start by reading Zero Hedge OK? And after that, would you please learn about “Dark Pool Exchanges” before you utter another load of crap about the distribution of market information.

            • Nick 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Lololol Zero Hedge. Been buying up gold there genius? http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/buy-gold-durr-hurr.html and note that Noah Smith isn’t exactly a huge defender of mainstream economics

              “Please get your head out of the textbooks and into the real world.”

              I am. I’m using theory to explain a real world event.

              “Would you please get with the fucking 2000′s.”

              My point isn’t that crashes can never happen, it’s that when they do they are inherently unpredictable, so the cat has much chance of making money as the broker. This doesn’t mean that the stock market is perfect, it simply means that it broadly fits the definition of the efficient market hypothesis

          • KJT 1.2.1.1.2

            Except that most trading, now, is done by computers programmed to pick up which stock is rising a few percentage points on a given day.

            Over thousands of trades daily, the players who make the most money are those who arbitrage commissions on buying and selling.

            They have no interest in the value of individual shares, because they gain from both buyers and sellers.

            Hence, the plethora of financial products designed simply to increase the volume of financial trades, without any increase in the underlying work/productivity, to make firms like Goldmen sack the world, rich.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.3

            okay.

            So we should just ban the bottom performing third of traders every year.

  2. end o times viper shorts 2

    I think the average man and woman on the street don’t have the disposable income/capital to go near the markets even if they so desired – or perhaps they show their innate wisdom by purchasing a cat

    debatable stats –
    New Zealanders are the world’s greatest cat owners, with a total feline population of 1.419 million
    28% of New Zealand households own one cat and a further 20% of households own two or more cats

    http://www.nzcac.org.nz/home/40?task=view

    [2005 quick google result] Latest figures show 23% of the 18+ population own shares directly (ie: not through managed funds or superannuation schemes). This is up from 21% when the survey was last conducted five years ago.

    http://www.sharechat.co.nz/article/53dc261a/share-ownership-levels-increase.html

    • Wayne 2.1

      This is all very amusing, but it is essentially an argument against Kiwi Saver, which millions of New Zealanders belong to. Their money has to be invested somewhere, even if the best adviser for the investments is a cat.

      Actually given the descripition of the experiment, a random portfolio (the cat approach to investment) would reflect the balance of companies on the exchange. Therefore the result would also be most likely to mirror the overall performance of the market.

      • KJT 2.1.1

        Which is why many of us advise investing in infrastructure, education, housing and sustainable development, in New Zealand’s future capability, directly funded by taxation and QE, not by paying for 40% ticket clipping, through the finance “industry”.

        Muldoon’s “think big” was not wrong, most of the projects are now returning good incomes for their private owners. Funding it by offshore borrowing was. Privatising was an even bigger cockup. Selling them just as we were starting to get a return.

        Just one example, the refinery, returned 300 million profit the year after it was sold for 300 million.
        Incidentally 300 million had also just been spent on an upgrade.

        If the USA had not promptly invaded a few countries to keep their pump prices down in the 70’s the advantages of projects such as the Clyde dam and the NZ refinery would have been more immediately apparent.

        Investment now, in wind and tidal energy, future proofing housing and low energy public transport, for example, will be paying off about the time we need it for the pension bubble.

  3. marsman 3

    Replace John Key with his cat and we’d have a better Government.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    high Frequency Trading algorithms

    With your compsci knowledge Anthony, you’ll appreciate how these market manipulating tools have turned the financial markets into money sucking sink holes for ordinary investors. What can you expect when the big trading houses have arranged to see, manipulate and trade on security prices for themselves, before anyone else in the market.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-14/momentum-ignition-markets-parasitic-stop-hunt-phenomenon-explained

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-01-03/houston-looks-we-have-quote-problem-out-there

    • tc 4.1

      There’s a TED session where they hollow out skyscrapers and place massive servers, fibre, infrastructure with redundancy etc so they can trade billions in milliseconds making millions on small movements in stock prices. Effectively fully automated buying and selling.

      Making millions generating no value at all, alot of it about.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    So what we need to do obviously, is not leave everything to the market. We should pick some expert to control every aspect of the economy. Who, I wonder? What’s that cat up to?

    • One Tāne Huna 5.1

      We should pick some expert to control every aspect of the economy.

      Who are you going to nominate, Goldman Sachs?

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1

        Who do you think is up to the task? If you don’t ask the 5 million who starved to death in the famine of ’32-’33, Stalin was pretty good. We need someone like him.

        • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1.1

          Disagree. I don’t think putting too much power over the economy in too few hands is a good idea at all.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1.1.1

            But we are agreed that we need someone to plan the economy, right?

            • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. We just need to avoid too much power over it concentrating in too few hands. Some would argue that this has already occurred and that a correction is required.

              • Draco T Bastard

                That is exactly what has occurred and a correction is required and that correction must be the dissemination of the accrued wealth and power from the rich to the people.

                • NoseViper (The Nose knows)

                  DTB
                  Like reducing the puffed up ACC levies that Andrew Little is asking for.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      We should pick some expert to control every aspect of the economy.

      We already have that in the collusion that we see between business and government. What I’m in favour of is democracy. Let everyone know what resources the country actually has and then let them vote on how they should be used.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.2.1

        Let everyone know what resources the country actually has and then let them vote on how they should be used.

        OK, let’s make a list. I’ll go first. I have:

        1. A 1984 Toyota Corolla (Hatchback)

        2. Y fronts (five pairs)

        3. Dr Martens (Greasy Gibson, size 10)

        4. Breadmaker

        5. Picture of a cat (drawn by daughter, value unknown).

        You?

        • vto 5.2.1.1

          Ok, I’ll cast the first vote.

          I vote to stick your corolla hatchback with you inside wearing y-fronts and doc martens in Te Papa. Back seat has picture of cat and stale white bread. Special exhibit price 50c (old coins only).

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.2

          That’s almost mildly amusing.

    • Bill 5.3

      Do you have any particular problem with the idea of a democratic economy; goods produced and distributed via democratic mechanisms? In other words an economy where ‘everyone’ is in charge as opposed to an elite or a clique or whatever?

      • Matthew Hooton 5.3.1

        Bill asks: “Do you have any particular problem with the idea of a democratic economy; goods produced and distributed via democratic mechanisms?”

        Yes, I do. I can’t imagine how democratic mechanisms will know how many pencils to produce in any given year, but the market economy manages to work this out.

        Also, I’m not aware of any successful use of democratic mechanisms (whatever they are? Voting on how many pencils to produce?) deciding on what should be produced, how and when.

        I am however aware of apparent attempts to implement truly socialist economies. Usually, it has involved many people starving to death and/of being killed by the state

        • tc 5.3.1.1

          Simplistic and then a leap into ‘people starving to death and/of being killed by the state’

          stay classy matthew

          • Matthew Hooton 5.3.1.1.1

            So simplistic you fail to address any of it. Please name the non-market economy where people haven’t starves and/or been killed by the state? (Hint, there isn’t one)

        • felixviper 5.3.1.2

          Good thing the market-based economies are all doing so well, otherwise you’d seem a bit of a tool making comments like that one.

          • Matthew Hooton 5.3.1.2.1

            Market economies at their worst provide far better societies for which people to live than any possible alternative, and I think you know it

            • McFlock 5.3.1.2.1.1

              Really? Which market economy was the worst?

            • johnm 5.3.1.2.1.2

              Hi MH
              Your comments are so stupid I can hardly bother reply to your rwnj rubbish. OK Market economy the U$. Almost 50,000,000 Americans on food stamps. A huge Prison Gulag of over 2,000,000. A society so unequal as to be banana republic status. A revolving door between The White House and Wall Street. The American Middle class destroyed by offshoring of jobs to Asia. A Nation with astronomical debt and completely bankrupt. Poverty on the up and up. Go back to Radio Live you ignorant FW. There you can spin your Right Wing spin without anyone with any brains to tell you you’re crap!

            • Frank Macskasy 5.3.1.2.1.3

              @ Matthew. I think that depends on where you are in that “market economy” society, don’t you?

              Taking the US for example. If you’re in the top 10%, you’ll love the “market economy” society.

              If you’re in the bottom 10%, I think your enthusiasm might wane very quickly.

              And here’s a question for you; would you rather get sick in the USA or here in NZ? Especially if treatment cost $100,000 and you ran out of insurance in the US…

              • Gosman

                Would you rather get sick in the US or North Korea?

                • bad12

                  What the f**k would an air head like you know about what medical treatment is available to the average person in North Korea…

                • vto

                  Hey Gosman, how the US or Cuba? Ay? Cuba has one of the best health systems in the world (not that Ive been there but that is what I have been reliably informed). You see – it is about looking after your own. A society which lets their people rot in the streets after being subjected to market forces is a rotting society.

            • Dr Terry 5.3.1.2.1.4

              For which people to live? Undoubtedly “decent blokes” like you.

        • karol 5.3.1.3

          Once the market economy has produced enough pencils for those who need them, businesses will produce pencils with egg timers on them so that those who can afford the more expensive ones can feel superior.

          And while some people in the wealthiest countries cannot afford healthy food, massive amounts are wasted.

          Very efficient this market economy business.

        • bad12 5.3.1.4

          Utter Bullshit!!! fully 40% of the foods produced by market economies never sees a buyer, keep up the idiocy tho i need someone to laugh at on Wellington’s bad weather days…

        • KJT 5.3.1.5

          I am however aware of apparent attempts to implement truly MARKET economies. Usually, it has involved many people starving to death and/of being killed by the state.

          Fixed it for you.

          How many more kids do we have in poverty since the “free market” fanatics took over?

          Indonesia, Chile, Philippines, USA and now the UK with NZ to follow.

          I can think of more than a few States that were, or are, authoritarian dictatorships that claimed to be socialist. In reality most Scandinavian countries, New Zealand and even the USA, 50’s to 70’s, were much more socialist than any of them. National socialists anyone!

          However I am fine with a market economy, on a micro level, that is democratically regulated so that cheats and thieves do not prosper and increased wealth does not automatically go to those who already have it.

          The mistake that Hooten makes, is to think that what works on a local level can be extrapolated to a national or international level..

          Failing right now, in Somalia.

          A democracy has the right to decide if producing pencils is a priority, or not!

          • Gosman 5.3.1.5.1

            “A democracy has the right to decide if producing pencils is a priority, or not!”

            So very funny.

            I suggest that one of the NZ political party’s on the left adopt this as their next election slogan.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.1.6

          Yes, I do. I can’t imagine how democratic mechanisms will know how many pencils to produce in any given year, but the market economy manages to work this out.

          Simple. Have the workers in the pencil supply chain gather information, discuss it, then vote on what they think is appropriate pencil production for the next month.

          Not that hard now was it, Matthew?

  6. felixviper 6

    Shouldn’t we sack all the stockbrokers and turn the process over to random number generators? I know, better idea, why don’t we come up with an alternative to this mad, speculative system which exists to facilitate value extraction, and replace it with something that supports value creation instead?

    No no no, just put more cats in charge ;)

  7. Kevin Welsh 7

    Why are we not surprised?

    My niece has a holiday job cleaning toilets at the Milford Sound visitor terminal to pay for her first year at university, and with the shit (NO pun intended) she has to deal with on a daily basis, I can see who makes the more valuable contribution to society.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      There was that study a couple of years ago that showed that cleaners are paid only an 11th of the value that they produce. Meanwhile, for all the millions that banksters and currency traders get paid they actually destroy seven times the value.

      • Gosman 7.1.1

        I’m sure there was such a study, however a link is always helpful ;-)

        • One Tāne Huna 7.1.1.1

          Learn to use bloody Google, Gosman.

          The study is called “A Bit Rich – Calculating the real value to society of different professions” and was published in 2009 by the New Economics Foundation.

          • TheContrarian 7.1.1.1.1

            It is tasked upon the person making the claim to provide the link

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Here ya go.

              BTW, I couldn’t remember which study but knew I had linked to it before on this site.

              • KJT

                Bankers lose 7 times more money than they earn. Which means that, like most politicians, and many other managers, it would be more economically efficient to pay them to stay home,

                so those of us who can actually do something useful can get on with it..

                • muzza

                  Bankers lose 7 times more money than they earn.

                  Remembering of course that the money is not actually lost, it is simply *redistributed* to another bank, hedge fund or similar corrupted entity, maybe sponsoring another *kinetic intervention*. Either way the same people *win*!

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yep. Over the 2007-2009 financial crisis the financial/banking industry lost more money than they ever made in their history. And bank executives did not have to return a single dollar of the bonuses that they “earnt” up to that point.

            • Frank Macskasy 7.1.1.1.1.2

              @ Contrarian; a suggestion that applies equally to Gosman, going by past record.

              Link: http://tinyurl.com/aqohgou

  8. tracey 8

    “and could end up choosing shares which really take off this year,” he said.”… Telling that he thought a cat flinging a mouse at aboard equates to a choice!? ;)

    In some ways it’s similar to how Key and English make decisions.

    • Macro 8.1

      I could tell a story about a Cabinet Economic Committee in the early 80’s I once attended in which a certain Prime Minister was …. Nah I better not.

  9. erentz 9

    Next an experiment to see if the size of the cat has a relationship to the success on the market.

  10. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10

    This is actually a problem for the people who think you can plan an economy.

    • felixviper 10.1

      Don’t confuse market with economy, they’re not synonymous.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        And from what I see of the HFT techniques and dark pool exchanges in use in the financial markets, the markets are planned.

    • Matthew Hooton 10.2

      Absolutely right Gormless. But you shouldn’t expect anyone here to believe (or have heard of) efficient market theory. Of course a cat will be competitive with “a team of experts”. That’s the whole point of markets. They always know better than “the experts”.

      • johnm 10.2.1

        Hi Matthew Hooton
        The market says: You’re deficient in the Intelligence department being a well paid idiot, time for you to fold mate!

        • Gosman 10.2.1.1

          If he is being well paid for being an idiot why is it time for him to fold?

          There seems to be some real crazy leftist logic at work there. ‘You are successful so you must stop it now’.

          • Dr Terry 10.2.1.1.1

            Take great care Gosman, there is a leftist hiding behind every corner, and they all possess dangerous crazy logic!

      • Rhinoviper 10.2.2

        Of course a cat will be competitive with “a team of experts”. That’s the whole point of markets. They always know better than “the experts”.

        The cat is effectively random, not “wise”. The market, according to Friedman et al is supposed to represent the average of people making reasonable self-interested choices based on their full knowledge not only of present circumstances but also future outcomes.

        Either Hooton is trying to make a “joke”, in which case, not even being enlightening satire, his remark is flippantly worthless or, he believes that a random “oracle” is equivalent to the “rational observer” of the ideology he subscribes to… but then there was all this talk about rational choice and so on, so which is it?

        What’s the truth (I know that word is very tricky for you and an explanation to you might be as difficult as an explanation of… well, anything to an embryo)? Is the market “rational” as a collective, or are “experts” such as yourself, no more reliable than housecats?

        More to the point, since you are one of these “experts”, should you not be replaced by Twinkle the fluffy kitten?

        What should Twinkle the kitten charge its clients versus what you charge yours? Answer, abiding by market rules, remember.

        [Aside: no, I don’t think that I’m satirising Hooton, instead, I think that since he obviously thinks that he’s such a great wit, he should be challenged to acknowledge that wit is more than just smartarsed comebacks a la John Key. Real wit displays knowledge and intelligence, but Hooton actually has none, hence his persistent inability to support his bullshit.]

        • Rhinoviper 10.2.2.1

          …and Hooton again is notable for his silence.

          “Now”, he asks himself, “if only I could invoice my clients for saying absolutely nothing… then I’d be on to a winner and I could sleep in every morning”.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.3

        But you shouldn’t expect anyone here to believe (or have heard of) efficient market theory.

        OMFG Hooten.

        Do you even know what a High Frequency Trading algorithm is? Get with the 2000’s please before you keep uttering this crap.

  11. framu 11

    i prefer headless chickens to the cat technique

  12. Gosman 12

    Who is this ‘we’ you write of when it comes to sacking stockbrokers?

    I very much doubt they are employed by you. If the people that do employ them are unhappy with their performance then they are able to get rid of them. If the investors are unhappy with them then they are entitled to remove their money and invest it somewhere else.

    This seems to be just another example of leftists thinking they should be able to dictate how the world works.

    • vto 12.1

      Not at all. It is merely exposing the fraud that is this game. These brokers claim something which doesn’t exist, namely an expertise.

      But as mentioned above, the wider public has cottoned onto this long before the cat and they have scarpered. The funny thing is that Key and Joyce and English and the NZX thinks this is due to something else and that the NZX needs government welfare to improve its performance. Ha ha ha what blindness and ignorance. The conservatives are always the last to cotton onto new realities.

      • Gosman 12.1.1

        They have an expertise. They have the ability to manage to convince people to let them invest their money for them even if they don’t end to beat random chance a lot of the time. That is quite a talent in my book.

        Encouraging investment in the Sharemarket isn’t a bad thing in my book. I cewrtainly would want more investment in that than say the property market.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1

          What you describe would normally be called fraud.

        • vto 12.1.1.2

          A talent to convince people of something that doesn’t exist is a fraud. It is a talent like a talent to burgle homes without detection is a talent – a worthless, destructive, dishonest and fraudulent one.

          • Gosman 12.1.1.2.1

            Less fraudalent and more cognitive dissonance. I’m sure the investment advisers think they are offering good advice.

            Really not much different to someone offering a good or service that the other party doesn’t like or does not get as much advantage out of it as they could have. So long as the party offers in good faith I doubt you could prove fraud.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.2.1.1

              Less fraudalent and more cognitive dissonance. I’m sure the investment advisers think they are offering good advice.

              If they truly thought they were offering good advice, it’s just evidence of professional self-delusion and incompetence/ignorance.

              • Gosman

                Quite possibly correct. Just as many people here think they are offering useful advice to others when really they just spout nonsense (myself included at times).

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.3

          They have an expertise. They have the ability to manage to convince people to let them invest their money for them even if they don’t end to beat random chance a lot of the time. That is quite a talent in my book.

          Indeed. It’s called being a Confidence Man. Or con-man for short.

          • Gosman 12.1.1.3.1

            No, a con-man is well aware of the con they are pulling. Someone who thinks they are helping when they are not is not a con-man. Delusional perhaps but not a con-man.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.3.1.1

              Get a grip mate. Investment banks have been caught multiple times deliberately dumping their shitty inventory on deadbeat millionaire clients (eg by paying ratings agencies to rate securities at AAA when they should have been rated junk), and also taking the other side of losing trades that they recommend to those same clients.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      We created the position. If we’re unhappy with that position then we can get rid of it.

      The “market” is a social construct that is defined by the laws that govern it.

      • Gosman 12.2.1

        As they thought in the Soviet Union and looked how right they were.

        What is your explanation for the black market then?

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1

          The Soviet Union always had markets and stores, you ning-nong. Plus see Russia now. They’ve given the fingers to the western free market concept and now they are doing capitalism with a Russian style.

          also, the black and grey markets are a small but crucial part of any economy.

          • Gosman 12.2.1.1.1

            You haven’t explained what a black market actually is though.

            If a market is a social construct that is defined by the laws that govern it as suggested then black markets shouldn’t exist as the laws that govern it explicitedly forbid them.

            • Bill 12.2.1.1.1.1

              If the acceptability of certain recreational drugs is a social construct then unacceptable recreational drugs shouldn’t exist as laws exist that explicitly forbid them.

              Except there’s a difference – because it’s not as though you’re liable to be completely shut out from access to sanctioned drugsand so be compelled to turn to illegal ones in the way you can so easily be shut out from the market economy and be forced to rely on the informal economy or black market.

              • Gosman

                I don’t follow your analogy. You seem to think that sanctioned and unsanctioned drugs are the same market. They may or may not be.

            • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1.1.2

              So you accept that the old USSR had markets (including black and grey ones), Gossie?

              • Gosman

                They had disfuntional markets grossly distorted by state intervention. No society that I am aware of doesn’t have markets in some form or other.

                • vto

                  Every society has markets of course.

                  And no society has free markets. Distortions created by partisan intervention is rife and the rhetoric of adherence to free markets is a con. For example, the dairy farming market is distorted by Nationals govt intervention in irrigation by stealing the consents and provision of taxpayer money to the farmers.Oh, and little old lady ratepayers of Selwyn District to pay for the wealthy farmers business. Obscene. Further example, the NZX itself, surely the bastion of free market enterprise is awaiting with drool the intervention of the government by way of provision of taxpayer electricity companies to bolster their uselessness. Further example, the investment sector has been well and truly distorted by way of the retail deposit guarantee scheme, eg south canterbury finance.

                  Free markets? pffft. Lies and more lies.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Every society has markets of course.

                    Nope. In fact, most societies throughout history haven’t had them (See 5000 Years of Debt).

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      Draco, try not to be totally insane. Markets exist whenever two individuals exchange things for mutual benefit. A society can’t exist until markets do.

                    • Gosman

                      You can redefine Markets to be as narrow as you like. It doesn’t make your opinion valid though.

                      Your argument is similar to stating the cloudless sky isn’t usually blue during the day because you redefine blue to mean a particular shade.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Markets exist whenever two individuals exchange things for mutual benefit.

                      Not all societies use ownership as a basis for their society.

                      You can redefine Markets to be as narrow as you like.

                      I didn’t define them at all.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      And Hooton’s reply, typically, is disingenuous bullshit… mind you, the evidence for him being a complete fucking moron with delusions of competence is pretty compelling and he could actually, seriously, I’m not kidding you, mean some of what he says.

                      Anyway, if “market” denotes any “exchange” then its denotation is so broad as to be meaningless. So, bullshit. In terms of semiotics, if the signifier signifies almost everything it is therefore is no signifier at all.

                      if someone tries to stretch a signifier to mean everything including what they want it to mean, then you can be assured that they are trying to shift it to mean what they want it to mean. Ie., they are corrupting language. Orwell had a lot to say about that.

                      If “market” denotes “exchange with mutual benefit”, then it does not in fact really describe the operation of the market that Hooton implies is described by the rules that by a bit of jiggery-pokery, self-delusion and assorted hallucinogens are supposed to describe the financial markets as the true exemplar of any trade in good faith between individuals with full consent blah blah blah… then again, bullshit.

                      Nor is their any justification that financial markets indicate the nature of real exchange. Indeed, economists have thrown up their hands in defeat at explaining this and use the word “externalities” to mean “Jeez, I don’t understand any of this shit, so I’ll pretend that a wizard did it”… or as the great science cartoonist Sidney Harris put it:

                      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3lnaeVhyfHk/TrFUmH3bizI/AAAAAAAAACM/mwPgMY7wOVE/s1600/Sidney-Harris-Miracle.jpg

                      It never ceases to amuse me that economists pretend that what they do, unlike astrology and phrenology, is a “science”.

                      It’s also rather amusing to see someone who pretends to be so cynical (he calls it being “realistic” and “accurate”, no doubt) being so naive and simplistic about human nature as it really works in the real world, but then as Arthur Conan Doyle once said, mediocrity imagines nothing higher than itself. Hooton, an idiot who manages to bilk other idiots imagines himself to be a comedian (dead baby jokes – hilarious!), a political scientist (the Labour party are democratic – they deserve to be “crushed”/the Labour party are democratic, Shearer is good) a gynaecologist (you don’t work when pregnant), an anthropologist and God knows what else (I await his pronouncements on string theory).

                      Of course at one level, Hooton is a joke, but on the other, considering the very unsavoury nature of his work, he’s not very funny at all.

                      However, keep going Hooton. Your pomposity adds to the (black) comedy. I like merkwürdigliebe even more than schadenfreude.

                    • Gosman

                      True, all you did was link to an article about a book which didn’t support your view about markets at all.

                  • Gosman

                    Congratulations, you have discovered the reality of our economic system.

                    The question then becomes whether you are comfortable with more or less distortions in the functioning of the various markets in the economy.

                    The process of deciding this is called politics.

                    • vto

                      That is a question that is premature and of less importance, imo, at this stage.

                      What gets me the most about this particular issue is the way politicians say one thing and then do another. They are liars and deceivers and those examples are evidence of the lies and deceit of this government. I don’t want lying pricks deciding on what the level of intervention should be. They cannot be trusted.

                      Why do people believe what politicians say?

          • Populuxe1 12.2.1.1.2

            And what, pray, is “capitalism with a Russian style” – except that the these days the oligarchs are in bed with a corrupt and authoritarian state?

            • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1.2.1

              except that the these days the oligarchs are in bed with a corrupt and authoritarian state?

              You’re referring to Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan executives, along side the US Fed and White House?

        • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.2

          The USSR was exactly the same as the system we have now – top down control of everyone else.

          What is your explanation for the black market then?

          Greed and it’s just as destructive as any other market.

          • Gosman 12.2.1.2.1

            But they shouldn’t exist according to your own definition of what a market is. How do you explain this?

            • Bill 12.2.1.2.1.1

              See above.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.2.1.2

              No, they’re still a social construct and work by rules – just not ones that set by the PTB and are often in response to the rules that the PTB set.

              • Gosman

                Explain DTB rather than just regurgitating the quasi-Marxist theory you have swallowed hook line and sinker.

      • Gosman 12.2.2

        Your idea is as wrongheaded as someone claiming a river is defined by the man made riverbanks and flood prtection devices put in place to control it and fix it’s course.

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.2.1

          Which by the way work to secure farm land and cities across the world, instead of having the uncompassionate vagaries of natural forces have their way.

      • Matthew Hooton 12.2.3

        No laws govern markets except those which are developed after the markets develop. And of course they are “social constructs” in the sense they take at least two people to create but they ate far less a “social construct” than the absence of markets. Markets develop whenever human beings meet and interact. The complete absence of markets requires a Pol Pot to start killing people, and I bet ever he didn’t eliminate markets. Markets are so universally beneficial to society that they always develop whatever communists, fascists or karol have to say.

        • vto 12.2.3.1

          ” Markets are so universally beneficial to society ”

          That is from far far away land that one.

          You describe how markets arise whenever there is a meeting and exchange, and that is certainly a correct broad definition. However, what about when a strong dominant party and a weaker less resourced party meet and an exchange is required lest the weaker is killed by the stornger?

          What happens then is that an exchange takes place (the market), because without that exchange death results from being killed, but that exchange is so terribly one-sided that the weaker is taken to a point just above death, when they should be left alone. This market exchange is clearly detrimental. And of course all exchanges sit on a spectrum with the killing example at one end with myriad others in between.

          So markets are absolutely not universally beneficial to society.

          Or, to put another way, if you were correct and every exchange is of benefit to society then of course society would be amazingly superior and wonderful and heavenly by now due to the continual upward trajectory of hundres of thousands of years of market exchange. This is clearly rubbish.

          (I am reminded of that saying ‘better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt’)

        • Pete 12.2.3.2

          Well, yes. But even Adam Smith, the champion of the free market recognised the importance of a living wage and fair treatment of working people by capitalists:

          “A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more, otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation.”

          He went on to write:

          “Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favor of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favor of the masters. ”

          So a little more support for working people and little less propping up of monied interests might not be such a bad thing (e.g. the brouhaha over the Commerce Commission’s ruling on Chorus).

        • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.3

          No laws govern markets except those which are developed after the markets develop.

          Bullshit.

          If you talk about “laws”, then me a proof from an actual scientist. A real scientist.

          Have you actually even heard of anthropology, ethnology or even psychology (which at least draws, post-Freud, on neurology?

          Stop pronouncing as pseudo-scientific facts that spring from what is really no more than a vague mush of pseudoscience as if it were as fixed and as resilient to (ha!) “externalities” as physics.

          Stop trying to pretend that you have a Grand Unified Theory (you can look that phrase up, moron) of human behaviour that is as simple and as direct as, say, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

          The fact is that you’re a fanboy as devoted to the “market” as any trekkie is devoted to their fantasy. That other idiots in suits pay you to spout it means not a whit.

          Otherwise it’s masturbation.

        • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4

          The complete absence of markets requires a Pol Pot to start killing people, and I bet ever he didn’t eliminate markets. Markets are so universally beneficial to society that they always develop whatever communists, fascists or karol have to say.

          Wow, what an amazing mish-mash of gibberish and non-sequiturs from Doctor Hooton. However did he get his professorship at the Ivy League institution he teaches at?

          First there are markets everywhere, governing everything and that anyone who receives a benefit from someone by an exchange is participating in a market… but then Pol Pot was doing things that somehow didn’t involve benefits between participating individuals – oh, so those who supported him didn’t receive some benefit for their support? So that wasn’t a market? But you said that any exchange with a mutual benefit was a market?

          Hooton, you really are a fuckwit, aren’t you?

          • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4.1

            I suppose there’s a bit of a Godwin involved there too with the Pol Pot stuff – another sign of Hoots’ intellectual weakness.

            • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4.1.1

              …waiting… waiting… but once again Hooton scuttles away under the fridge when the light is turned on – just like the cockroach he is.

          • QoT 12.2.3.4.2

            If you define “market” as “any time one person has a thing they don’t need and exchanges it with something someone else has which they also don’t need” then Matthew Hooten is absolutely correct. And I participated in a hell of a lot of unregulated shiny-sticker markets as a six-year-old.

            • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4.2.1

              The funny thing is, when talking about these markets, idiots like Hoots tend not to think so very deeply about why anyone would desire the things that they have or be willing to exchange the things that they desire less, or what would determine their own judgment of the relative value of these things. Those value judgements are all… uh… “rational”, meaning that they met exactly one criterion: economic worth (which is a a bit of a tautology, if you ask me) – and of course completely without coercion, as if that answered it.

              Still, the cockroach has scuttled away and is well and truly hidden under the fridge, so we’re unlikely to see any answer now.

              • Colonial Viper

                “Markets” are a kind of supernatural diety worshipped by these types, you can hear it in their voice….The Goddess “Market” was the forerunner of all that is good and just in human civilisation, all kneel before her magnificence and tremble!

        • MrSmith 12.2.3.5

          “No laws govern markets except those which are developed after the markets develop.”

          Every market that develops has to abide by the laws of the land it which it develops Matthew.

          • Gosman 12.2.3.5.1

            Quite wrong as evidenced by the existence of black markets.

            • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.5.1.1

              Bullshit. Black markets have their rules too. They might be called “externalities”, which are measures of peoples’ willingness to accept intimidation, the availability of guns and so forth, but the suggestion that these too are not subject to rules (explicit to implicit) is, politely put, naive.

              You just assume that because these factors can’t be quantified in terms of dollars on the open market, they aren’t rules. That’s simply idiotic.

      • @ Draco : “The “market” is a social construct that is defined by the laws that govern it.”

        Correct.

        • Gosman 12.2.4.1

          Explain the Black market then Frank using Draco’s definition.

          • TheContrarian 12.2.4.1.1

            Gosman, I am usually sympathetic to you but in this case…

            …The black market runs using the same laws as a legal market. The black market usually pertains to illegal goods being sold and bought by the same methods as legal goods. The same laws of exchange, willing buyer/willing seller generally apply.

          • Pascal's bookie 12.2.4.1.2

            “Explain the Black market then Frank using Draco’s definition.”

            A ‘black market’ is one that society has said will be not protected by the courts, and that participation in it may well be punished by the courts.

            For example, a society might say that the market for some drugs will be a ‘black market’, and that participating in it will risk jail time or fines. These aspects of the market will shape and mold it in various ways that absent society constructing it as a ‘black market’, it would not otherwise take.

            ergo, black markets, like all markets, are socially constructed outcomes of laws.

    • framu 12.3

      isnt the “we” part of a pretty generalised hypothetical statement?

      you know how it goes on to mention random number generators?

      overly precious much?

      the term “we” is used in all sorts of statements all the time to illustrate a desire, concept whatever – especially when talking of societal, or large group, level stuff.

      Do you seriously think that anytime “we” is used in this manner the person using it is claiming a definitive legal right or ownership?

      overly precious, deliberate manipulation or village idiot? – you decide gossie

      • Gosman 12.3.1

        No, the term ‘we’ here implies to me that the author thinks that they have a valid case to interefere with what someone chooses to do with his or her work life and money just because they think what they do is pointless. It is this mindset which I have a problem with.

        • framu 12.3.1.1

          i see youve chosen village idiot

          you seem to think the author thinks they have a legal claim over the employment status of someone they dont employ – when its far far more likely they are speaking in a pretty generalised way about what we should do as a society

          normally you try a bit harder than this – whats up?

          • Gosman 12.3.1.1.1

            No, the mindset that society should dictate what people should and shouldn’t do economically is what is at issue here.

            If someone chooses to use investment advisers, even though it probably doesn’t give them greater returns than pure chance, then that is there right. ‘We’ don’t have to tell them to do anything.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.3.1.1.1.1

              And we wouldn’t be. We would just be setting out new rules that bring about better use of our resources – rules that preclude the use of financial advisers, banksters and currency traders.

              • Gosman

                As far as I’m concerned you are living in a dream land DTB. Some practical examples to back your case might help though.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Go read some books with actual research rather than the delusional BS that RWNJs usually read.

                  • Gosman

                    So your ideas are all theoretical then. Good stuff. I look forward to them never coming to fruition then.

                    • McFlock

                      because markets work so well in practise?

                    • Gosman

                      Markets simply do what markets do. Whether they ‘work’ or not is a value judgement.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah. It’s not like markets have objective measure for efficiency, like whether people are spending resources for “services” that are actually less effective at fulfilling investment objectives than a cat is.

                    • Gosman

                      There is a market for Homeopathic remedies. The people who provide these remedies claim they are effective at helping people with various aliments. The evidence suggests that they don’t in fact do much, if anything. However the market still exists for them. I presume you would regard that as an example of market ‘failure’ would you?

                    • McFlock

                      Nah.

                      Regulation fail.

                    • Gosman

                      Blame the Greens then. The last time there were moves to tighten the regulation in this area they jumped up and down and tried to stop it happening.

                    • McFlock

                      I do.

                      Just as I blame nats, lab, and most of the european and north american government for not regulating against financial actors who long ago ceased being facilitators and are now just parasites sucking the teat of a corrupt and almost neo-feudal system.

                  • TheContrarian

                    Ahh Draco, you are my favourite person to read on The Standard.

                    Never change.

            • framu 12.3.1.1.1.2

              “No, the mindset that society should dictate what people should and shouldn’t do economically is what is at issue here. ”

              maybe in your conversations with others on this topic – im only talking about your assertion that the author thinks they have a legal ability to hire and fire people they dont directly employ. Which i might point out, as far as the discussion between us is concerned is based solely on your INTERPRETATION of one line in the post.

              whats your position on people who conduct economic activity that is legal currently, but damaging to society – cowboy loan operations for example?

              problem with you market purists – theres always far too many examples where the ideology doesnt fit and a decision is required from the majority (or the govt given powers to represent) to enforce change and rules

              for christs sake – theres lots of things you could do, but weve deemed them illegal, or restricted who can do them, for one reason or another

              • Gosman

                “for christs sake – theres lots of things you could do, but weve deemed them illegal, or restricted who can do them, for one reason or another”

                Such as?

                • framu

                  illegal – well “meth cook” springs to mind

                  restricted…
                  lawyers
                  doctors
                  financial advisors
                  fire arms dealers
                  drivers (public transport and HT for example)
                  nurses
                  teachers
                  builders
                  gas fitters
                  inspectors of many varieties
                  and on and on and on

                  the point being we already exercise some controls as a society over what people might choose to do in an economic sense

                  its not that hard to get – for most of us

                  • Gosman

                    Noone here is arguing for an entirely unregulated market environment. You seem to have created a strawman argument so you can show how clever you think you are.

                    • framu

                      you are – *ahem* –

                      “No, the mindset that society should dictate what people should and shouldn’t do economically is what is at issue here. ”

                      no straw man at all – you made the purist claim that that society attempting to dictate what people did in an economic sense was bad – i simply showed that we already do it for some obvious reasons. Which leads us away from your rather black and white statement to something with many shades of grey

                      and its not hard to look clever when talking to you – you do make it pretty easy afterall

                • McFlock

                  selling mung beans as cancer cures.

                  • Gosman

                    Like many proponents of CAM do then. They seem to get away with some of their claims. Should we crack down hard on them as well?

                    • McFlock

                      when they go to far in their claims, fair trading act comes in. Or, indeed, practising medicine without a license.

    • Dr Terry 12.4

      Gosman, have you ever thought to look up the word “paranoid”?

  13. tracey 13

    Gosman you may well consider it a talent… It is a pointless and empty one however.

    • Gosman 13.1

      As are many professions. Take Chiropractors for example. There is little evidence that they do any good yet there are thousands of them around the world earning good money.

      • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1

        Have to disagree there, Gosman. Ever had treatment for sciatica? Anecdotes are not data, sure.

        When you say there is “little evidence” – and Wikipedia says there is “moderate quality evidence” – and includes a citation, who should I believe?

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1

          surgeons who work on knees make a pretty good living too…but look – knee surgery may be no better than other much cheaper treatments. Are they going to stop doing knee surgeries for arthritis now?

          http://www.healio.com/orthopedics/arthritis/news/print/orthopedics-today/%7B2481EF40-E016-4426-A808-437C567F52CA%7D/Research-disputes-effectiveness-of-arthroscopic-surgery-for-knee-OA

        • Gosman 13.1.1.2

          You are a good reason why investment advisers and Chiropractors sttill have jobs and earn good money. Just as you wouldn’t want someone taking your right to visit a Chiropractor so to shouldn’t people be denied the right to use the services of investment advisers.

          • Bill 13.1.1.2.1

            Except that unlike the chiropractor, investment advisors are engaged in an activity that has the effect of (metaphorically) breaking people’s legs by promoting and condoning as ‘good’ the vast disparities in wealth and access to resources they help to bring about. And then they tout themselves as a solution to a lack of wealth and access to resources.

            • McFlock 13.1.1.2.1.1

              like retro-phrenology, to drop a Pratchett :)

            • Matthew Hooton 13.1.1.2.1.2

              Bill says “investment advisors are engaged in an activity that has the effect of (metaphorically) breaking people’s legs by promoting and condoning as ‘good’ the vast disparities in wealth and access to resources they help to bring about.”

              But that’s not true is it?

              In fact, it’s the opposite of what the initial post was all about.

              The post suggested that financial markets lead to a transfer of wealth from clients of investment advisors to cat owners.

              (Incidentally, this is what most financial market theory would predict and is evidence of why markets are so efficient.)

              • felixviper

                “The post suggested that financial markets lead to a transfer of wealth from clients of investment advisors to cat owners.”

                It’s ok Matthyawn, no-one expected you to understand the post.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  Do you have a point of should lprent refer you to the rules?

                  • TheContrarian

                    Matthew, you should know the rules don’t apply to the lackeys

                  • felixviper

                    Yes Matt, there is a point. It might take you a couple of goes though.

                    • Gosman

                      Are you going to change your moniker at any stage soon? It is just it seems a little redundant. Kind of like wearing a ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ t-shirt now. Unless you are using it in an ironical way.

                    • felixviper

                      I don’t know who Nelson Mandela is, sorry.

                  • Rhinoviper

                    …and when defeated by it being pointed out that he’s deliberately missed the point, Hooton gets all prissy about his privilege. Funny, that.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  Matthew, changing peoples handles in an amusing way is Felix’s particular shtick. It is indulged here by the moderators in much the same way as a doting parent indulges a slow child’s love of finger painting.

                  I often chuckle when I recall the day he called me “Oleoleshitbucket”. Oh, how we laughed.

                  • felixviper

                    lolz, that’s a good one but I don’t think it was me, was it? I think your name is awesome enough already.

                    edit: it WAS me! I remember now. What a day, what fun we had.

            • Gosman 13.1.1.2.1.3

              As the people who use investment advisers are generally the one with surplus capital it could be argued that they are merely redistributing wealth away from those that have it to the wealth advisers themselves. That is not the same as what you claim they are doing.

              EDIT: Mr Hooten has put this far more eloquently than I.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.2.2

            You are a good reason why investment advisers and Chiropractors and bank economists sttill have jobs

            FIFY

          • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1.2.3

            Gosman, except that I haven’t needed one since about 1998. My sciatica was associated with mis-alignment of vertebrae (clearly visible in X-rays) and therefore it is hardly surprising that direct manipulation of said vertebrae was an effective remedy.

            I don’t know what you imagine a chiropractor does though. Perhaps you think it’s some sort of faith healing.

            PS: I haven’t said boo about anyone using investment advisers. Please stay away from Mr. Strawman.

            • Gosman 13.1.1.2.3.1

              Chiropractic care is esssentially the same as faith healing. There is little evidence that they can re-align vertebrae beyond only a very small and temproarily manner.

              • McFlock

                So they provide a small and temporary benefit for their service.

                As opposed to financial speculators, who are paid to provide a less effective service than pure luck.

                A bit like if chiropractors were less effective than just randomly twisting your own back in the hope things will improve. You might have a point about them, in that case.

              • One Tāne Huna

                little evidence [citation needed]

                I repeat: “There is moderate quality evidence that spinal manipulation is effective…”

                “very small and temproarily (sic) manner.”

                The acute pain and stiffness which I was experiencing, and subsequent alleviation of said stiffness and pain after one twenty minute treatment, were anything but “small”. The loud noises the Chiro got out of my back were similarly marked by their non-smallness.

                The advice given, that I would be back unless I started doing something to strengthen my back, lends weight to your assertion of temporary relief. Which is what I wanted. The back-strengthening exercise did the rest.

      • Dr Terry 13.1.2

        If you can’t beat them, join them!

  14. McFlock 14

    Actually, and I hate to agree with Gos, I think the religious delusion of stock market speculation is evident from this experiment. Not because of the actual results, but because stock market professionals participated. And even allowed publication of their firm’s name.

    Basically, there was little benefit in it for them (“yay, you beat kids and a cat”), but a real risk that they could have been beaten by both. As it is they’ve simply advertised that hiring their firm is less effective than tossing a coin.

    But basically, they believed that they did add more value than just random picks. So they participated, and thought it would be good advertising for the company.

    But they’re still touting for a pyramid scheme.

    • Gosman 14.1

      It isn’t a pyramid scheme. They aren’t suggesting you only get a return after you get more people to join in.

      All this really proves is that the return is far more dependent on factors such as the underlying state of the market and the economy than anything complex that requires interpretation by specialists over a short term basis.

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        Actually, you only get a return on the market if people constantly put more money, resources and ultimately more energy in.

        It’s not a simple pyramid scheme, or a small one, but it has the same problem: eventually it hits a limit where it can’t fool enough people into putting more resources in, then collapses. And then everyone loses (except the 0.0x% of people who are big enough after the fact to be near the top of the next pyramid – funnily enough, most of them are similar to the people who were at the top of the previous pyramid).

        • Gosman 14.1.1.1

          You can make returns ona Share market via a number of methods beyond more people putting up more capital in the market. Ultimately it is underpinned by the real economy. Changes in that will flow through to the various values on the Share market at some level. If the economy is doing well then share prices will tend to go up and vice versa.

          • McFlock 14.1.1.1.1

            But the changes to the real economy are not as significant as people’s perceptions of what other investors perceive the sharemarket will do.

            Solidly investing long term in reliable companies where the only return expected is share dividend revenue paid out on the basis of the company’s success: what percentage is that of share market activity? As opposed to buy now because you think it will be worth more in a little while? Don’t even get me started on short-selling.

  15. erentz 15

    To be honest this is an experiment that only attempts to demonstrate that speculating on the markets is stupid. They were changing their portfolio every three months, they were only in the market for one year. They weren’t investing in the long term success or failure of a business. If you want to invest in a company because you believe it’s a good company that will be successful, grow, and you want to reap the rewards of that in dividends, and capital gains, then the idea of a stock market isn’t unreasonable. (Though truth is that by the time a company makes it to the stock market, it’s probably a dinosaur anyway and best avoided.) Problem with all of our markets these days is purely down to speculation about how the market will behave itself. It’s nothing short of gambling really, but the game is really huge.

    • tc 15.1

      Good points and also with globalisation/consolidation cashing out on an acquisition/takeover has proved pretty fruitful also.
      Moa was a good float because that’s just what Geoff Ross and co will do, a repeat of 42 below, grow the brand sell to the big players.
      However this reduces the players and the diversity/competition, the NZX will always be a cowboys club for those reasons. It’ll never ever have the scale or integrity as the horse has long gone. New game time people.

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    More market means more welfare state

    Few conservative misconceptions are more deeply rooted than the idea than the welfare state competes with the market for resources. In fact, modern business and the modern welfare state have grown up together – and both have grown at the expense of the family.

    The alternative to passing on the costs of elder care and child care, in an industrialized society in which most people are wage earners, not family farmers, is to socialize them. While the breadwinner wage system passes the costs of care on to consumers, the welfare state passes those costs of care on to taxpayers.

    Can’t say that I agree with all of it but it certainly something to think about.

    When it comes to retirement security, progressives stand for honest, efficient, low-cost socialism, while conservatives stand for dishonest, inefficient, high-cost “middleman socialism” that would further enrich mutual fund managers and other rent-extracting financiers.

    That is something I certainly agree with though.

    • kiwi_prometheus 16.1

      “further enrich mutual fund managers”

      And the NZ finance industry has about the lowest international performance rate for fund growth. I remember one of the fund managers was quoted as making the quip “We manage your money until there is none left” – referring to the fees they siphon off so they can live in Remuera and send their spoiled brats to private school.

  17. kiwi_prometheus 17

    Which brings up the issue of kiwisaver – compulsory worker savings handed over to the under regulated blood sucking NZ finance sector – described by Gareth Morgan as a nest of snakes.

  18. millsy 18

    Personally I see nothing wrong with people just putting their savings in the bank and earning interest. It worked for our parents and grandparents. It was kicked off from an early aged with school banking. We set up savings banks and trustee banks for that purpose. At least the money would be lent out to first-home buyers or businesses instead of feeding KP’s nest of snakes.

    • kiwi_prometheus 18.1

      Problem is that you need more ROI than an interest bearing bank account – think of inflation / hidden inflation + bank fees + tax on interest eroding that savings. Especially if it suppose to be your retirement fund.

      Savers are getting punished by low interest rates – “financial repression” – no sign of interest rates going up anytime soon, luckily inflation is staying low.

  19. PlanetOrphan 19

    The Cat is contributing to “Good Inflation” ?

    Financial advisors are contributing to “Bad Inflation” ?

    And the School Kids are learning how to donate to inflation ?

    • McFlock 19.1

      the school kids are learning that even if they try their best, they’ll be fucked by financial professionals and blind luck.

      A harsh lesson, but probably better for them in the end.

  20. Saarbo 20

    Remember when we had TV7 (not the shithouse TV1 plus 1 hour, but the awesome public service TV7!, I miss it), on Thursday nights at 10pm there was a programme with Michael Sandel called Justice discussing topics with a large audience, those were the good old days…anyway, I havent got around to buying his book “What money cant buy”, but this is a link
    (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/27/michael-sandel-reason-values-bodies) to a review on it and the excerpt below which for me explains one of the major fuck ups of the market economy.

    Excerpt from the review in The Guardian by D Aitkenhead.

    Sandel leads us through a dizzying array of examples, from schools paying children to read – $2 (£1.20) a book in Dallas – to commuters buying the right to drive solo in car pool lanes ($10 in many US cities), to lobbyists in Washington paying line-standers to hold their place in the queue for Congressional hearings; in effect, queue-jumping members of the public. Drug addicts in North Carolina can be paid $300 to be sterilised, immigrants can buy a green card for $500,000, best man’s speeches are for sale on the internet, and even body parts are openly traded in a financial market for kidneys, blood and surrogate wombs. Even the space on your forehead can be up for sale. Air New Zealand has paid people to shave their heads and walk around wearing temporary tattoos advertising the airline.

    According to the logic of the market, the matter of whether these transactions are right or wrong is literally meaningless. They simply represent efficient arrangements, incentivising desirable behaviour and “improving social utility by making underpriced goods available to those most willing to pay for them”. To Sandel, however, the two important questions we should be asking in every instance are: Is it fair to buy and sell this activity or product? And does doing so degrade it? Almost invariably, his answers are no, and yes…….

    ……..A fascinating question he addresses is why the financial crisis appears to have scarcely put a dent in public faith in market solutions. “One would have thought that this would be an occasion for critical reflection on the role of markets in our lives. I think the persistent hold of markets and market values – even in the face of the financial crisis – suggests that the source of that faith runs very deep; deeper than the conviction that markets deliver the goods. I don’t think that’s the most powerful allure of markets. One of the appeals of markets, as a public philosophy, is they seem to spare us the need to engage in public arguments about the meaning of goods. So markets seem to enable us to be non-judgmental about values. But I think that’s a mistake.”

    Putting a price on a flat-screen TV or a toaster is, he says, quite sensible. “But how to value pregnancy, procreation, our bodies, human dignity, the value and meaning of teaching and learning – we do need to reason about the value of goods. The markets give us no framework for having that conversation. And we’re tempted to avoid that conversation, because we know we will disagree about how to value bodies, or pregnancy, or sex, or education, or military service; we know we will disagree. So letting markets decide seems to be a non-judgmental, neutral way. And that’s the deepest part of the allure; that it seems to provide a value-neutral, non-judgmental way of determining the value of all goods. But the folly of that promise is – though it may be true enough for toasters and flat-screen televisions – it’s not true for kidneys.”

    Sandel makes the illuminating observation that what he calls the “market triumphalism” in western politics over the past 30 years has coincided with a “moral vacancy” at the heart of public discourse, which has been reduced in the media to meaningless shouting matches on cable TV – what might be called the Foxification of debate – and among elected politicians to disagreements so technocratic and timid that citizens despair of politics ever addressing the questions that matter most.

    “There is an internal connection between the two, and the internal connection has to do with this flight from judgment in public discourse, or the aspiration to value neutrality in public discourse. And it’s connected to the way economics has cast itself as a value-neutral science when, in fact, it should probably be seen – as it once was – as a branch of moral and political philosophy.”

    • Olwyn 20.1

      I used to love those Sandel lectures on TV 7 – I think you can still find the on the internet. “Market triumphalism” I think is the key to the problem. When one major feature (they used to be called estates) of a society becomes dominant, it tends to become tyrannical, whether it is commerce, bureaucracy, the military or the church. The people who shout “well socialism didn’t work did it!” are usually pointing to societies that came to be dominated by a central bureaucracy, but their own favourite, commerce, is at least as bad in an overly dominant position.

  21. Afewknowthetruth 21

    The present Ponzi scheme is dependent on:

    1.ever greater extraction of fossil fuels (particularly oil) from underground and conversion of the carbon into CO2 which is wrecking the fundamental systems that make life on Earth possible for humans

    2. an ever expanding population

    3. ever faster ‘printing’ of money’

    Anyone who thinks any of those is possible is either a madman, a banker, an economist or a politician.

    Needless to say, the Ponzi scheme is collapsing (along with the environment). However, the trickle up system is still working fine. Indeed, as conditions deteriorate rapidly for most inhabitants of this planet the members of the looters-and polluters club will ensure that the poor and powerless get driven off the cliff first.

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    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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