web analytics
The Standard

Radicals are a pain

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, March 12th, 2010 - 27 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Economy - Tags: ,

Looking at the leaders for the Fabians seminar on Sunday, it looks to me like it is going to be quite interesting because it is likely to focus more on incremental rather than radical methods. One of the major issues to me with the existing ‘debate’ on economic matters has been the level at which it is ideologically driven rather than based on the actual economy.

The lack of pragmatism about how to move the economy has been particularly apparent recently with some of the hysterical mutterings of the disappointed dry right, not only in the media and blogs, but also amongst politicians. There were and are similar ideologically restricted people on the left. In both cases they seem to wish for radical restructuring of the economy rather than incremental. That is a course that causes major dislocation in the short and medium term and should be reserved for actual emergencies.

The fiasco over the restructuring of Auckland demonstrates yet again the failure of the radical approach. This is our biggest city, and a economic hub. Any benefits to ratepayers from the restructure are likely to be decades away, and all indications are that it will increase costs in the short-term to medium-term.  There don’t appear to be any significant benefits to the business exporters based in Auckland that help drive the non-farming income for the country.

The overall costs of doing a radical restructure are likely to be far higher than the more incremental version that the Royal Commission recommended. It will also cause a decade of political turmoil in Auckland as local politicians have to wrest control back from the Wellington egos that have forced this change on Auckland.

What we don’t see in the overall debate in this country is where we should be moving towards, and the incremental steps that we need to do to get there. Hopefully seminar series like the one that the Fabians will provide a forum for getting ideas about direction that aren’t driven by noisy impatient radicals with their half-arsed plans.

The seminar leaders are listed below.

: March 14th, 2010 12:30 PM through   4:30 PM
:
6 Harrison Rd
New Zealand College of Chiropractic
Mt Wellington
Auckland, AUK
New Zealand

Bold Choices for a Better Future is the provocative first seminar in the Resilient Economy Series, entailing a pragmatic 360Ëš view of the economy, its problems and their possible solutions.

GANESH NANA

Ganesh is well known for his media commentary on New Zealand’s economic options, based on the in-depth research provided by BERL Forecasts. Ganesh will profile our economic reality in simple everyday language, point to poor policy decisions from the past and contrast them with potentially better policy options that have been adopted elsewhere.

ROD ORAM

As a business journalist, Rod helps companies, not-for-profits, government agencies and other organisations capitalise on seismic shifts in global economic, environmental and social trends. He was named the Landcorp 2009 Agricultural Communicator of the Year and he is a finalist in the 2010 Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards.

JOHN WALLEY

John as a seasoned director and founder of several New Zealand companies (and the CEO of the Manufacturers and Exporters Association) will explain the board room needs and concerns of our fragile tradable economy, why this sector is so critical to New Zealand and what policy settings will lead to increased investment in this sector.

SELWYN PELLETT

Selwyn, from his perspective as a company builder and recent inductee into New Zealand’s prestigious High Tech Hall of Fame, will talk about New Zealand’s past economic investments, their impact and how it could have been. He will put these issues in the context of how they have and continue to affect, the real economy.

27 comments on “Radicals are a pain”

  1. randal 1

    at the risk of regurgitating a lamburger the problem in New Zealand is that we are basically thicko’s trying to do something smart. The sine qua non of life in enzed isa rice bomb or a hardly davison. Peter Jackson managed to get lift off but he never wrote an oroginal screenplay. hmmmmm. we need more stuff like that but more ambitious in scope and the scale will come later. The principle is complimentarity so our towns can host high tech enterprise and develop cultural artefacts without the culture vultures and the screamers and boosters getting into the act beofre the pudding is cooked. dig?

  2. Bored 2

    I think you have a point with the need to avoid radicals of left or right but I have some doubts that would get me labelled a radical. Should I attend this interesting panels debates I would really like to hear them talk about:
    1. How we respond as a nation / economy / personally to a low energy future (I dont and wont buy any technology will save us etc guff: we are going to have to go low energy as oil production slopes away and demand goes up).
    2. How they see ecological sustainability as part of our future, and how an economy restrains itself from exploitation.
    3. How we can transition to an economy that realises that long term growth of any nature is not sustainable, so what models do we have available to get be as close to sustainable as possible (i.e manage the growth imperative in line with resource sustainability).

    • lprent 2.1

      I suspect that those are all issues that will come up.

      The era of cheap oil is rapidly dissipating. But I suspect that it isn’t just a question of only a low energy economy. It is probably feasible to have a high energy future using renewable and non-carbon based fuels. The changes in energy density of solar over the last few decades and the slow shift to more common materials to make them means you could have a high energy economy based just on solar (if you can store power).

      Sustainability has to be part of the future simply because we’re currently mining the soil fertility and oceans at a rate higher than it can sustain.

      Basically there are several issues about growth. But until the population growth slows and starts to drop, then you either have to have economic growth or drops in living standards. Even amongst the existing populations, there is an inevitable desire to raise living standards in low living standard societies. There isn’t a magic switch to turn either of those ‘demands’ off (unless you use the 4 horsemen). Attempts to move to a sustainable economy has to start with those two issues first, otherwise it is just speculation….

      • Bill 2.1.1

        “…there is an inevitable desire to raise living standards in low living standard societies.”

        Why is that a problem?

        Given the abysmal conditions that billions of us live under or in, I’d have thought that a bit of basic material well being wouldn’t be begrudged. Isn’t the problem more the material opulence that we take for granted and that we are unwilling to see diminished?

        Economic growth does necessarily not have to track population growth if our ways of living change in ways that encourage more communality and less individuality. Prosaically 1 washing machine or car or TV, fitted kitchen or whatever can easily accommodate the needs of far more than one person or family. It’s all down to changeable habits, desires and expectations.

        Or how about sustainable and manageable integrated farming techniques as opposed to highly inefficient mono cultural industrial farming practices?

      • Bored 2.1.2

        I had a fond hope of the high energy solar concept being possible until recently, without being a “kill joy’ pointing people at the latest to columns in the Archdruid report might be the kindest way to dispel this hope. He talks about exergy, worth a read. This is why I asked the question.
        The other fond hope people have is retaining their lifestyle and the rest of humanity raising theirs to an equivalent. I tend to the pessimistic view that the said 4 Horsemen are already loosed by the end of oil and global warming. That’s why I am interested in how sustainable flat line economics apply to us, getting into it before it is forced upon us (incrementally whilst we have the chance to do so).
        What I would hope to hear from the learned panel is some acceptance of this, and some positive thinking about how we make the best of a bad scenario. Or just as importantly how we can take positive advantage from the changed scenario.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        (unless you use the 4 horsemen).

        Considering Peak Oil and Anthropogenic Climate Change… that option has already been chosen. It is the natural consequence of exponential growth (required in a capitalist socio-economic system to make the books “balance”) in a finite resource base.

    • Peter 2.2

      I think the answer is to stop with the endless search for further “efficiency” and to start to recognise all the inherent assumptions in that model. The supply of cheap energy is probably the most fundamental of all of those assumptions – without that our economic models are essentially bunk.

      Hence why the Fabians are focusing on the idea of economic resilience – of assuming that the future is going to be much more turbulent than the present and then designing our economic policies on that basis.

      A bit sad though to realise that prior to the late 1970s such thinking was commonplace here :)

      • Bill 2.2.1

        Designing economic policies on the basis that the future will be turbulent would seem reasonable at first glance. But having glanced through their ‘Three Possible Economic Models’, it’s pretty obvious the resilience they intend to introduce to economic policy is the type that seeks to offer resilience to something very much like we have right now.

        ie business as usual in altered circumstances.

        That’s a losers game.

        Incrementalism, if it is not part of a bigger or wider picture, of a broader moving in a given direction, is a nothing…is a tinkering around the edges in the hope that the status quo or something close to it can be preserved.

        Maybe that is what Lombear was alluding to in the Fabian Lectures thread when she/he referred to Fabians as “Dirty incrementalist red herrings”; that they do not represent any meaningful or useful expression of incrementalism… as paving stones on a pathto, or series of changes designed to… usher in something new, or bold, or revolutionary.

        I agree that radicals are a pain.

        But since I honestly cannot think of anything more radical and destructive than present day capitalism, and the Fabians want first and foremost to preserve a version of it, the Fabians get a fairly high position on the list of radical pains.

  3. Jimmy 3

    “It will also cause a decade of political turmoil in Auckland as local politicians have to wrest control back from the Wellington egos that have forced this change on Auckland.”

    How about you stop with the same lame rhetoric the Right like to use about some mythical conspiratorial beast called Wellington?

    After all, aren’t Messers Hide & Key Aucklanders?

    • lprent 3.1

      Yes they are. However you cannot tell because they never seem to ask or listen to any Aucklanders. Ask the angry national supporters that flood every meeting on the super-city.

      So your sole point is what? That I should have said “fuckwits in central government” (something like that was my original phrasing) instead of the seat of central government?. Now that is lame….

      Face it, you’re just being a idiotic pedant who rather than deal with the actual issue, would prefer to nitpick on things that don’t matter.

      • Jimmy 3.1.1

        Actually, i’m just saddened at the slow descent of The Standard to the low standards of the blogs you love to lambast.

        I agree with most of the points that are made here, but its not the rational, sensible and sane read it once was.

        [lprent: yeah right… It is like you have been a frequent commentator and visitor (not according to the logs)…. I think that you’re just another idiot ACToid troll spinning one of the usual stupid lines – like so many similar comments running back to the start of the site. When are you dickheads going to stop reading from the idiots playbook and use your brains when commenting? ]

        • Jimmy 3.1.1.1

          Well actually, i’m certainly not an ACToid troll at all, though who I may or may not support politically is irrelevant to my criticism of your post. And yes, i haven’t made many comments, though I was reading The Standard fairly diligently thanks to your RSS feed.

          I’m not sure why you’re so angry at me, and why you’ve decided to resort to calling your readers dickhead and idiot.

          • lprent 3.1.1.1.1

            If you read the site, then you’re aware that I’m one of the moderators. That means I scan almost all comments looking for behaviour patterns. After you’ve seen as many people as I have spinning the similar lines repetitively, you get irritated with them.

            Do throw-away lines that are meaningless and without supporting evidence and I’ll treat you as a probable troll. The reference to ACT is because I can recognise all of the standard techniques that their indoctrinated minions game with when they arrive here to try and disrupt the site. Over many decades I’ve seen those techniques develop across the net and I have bugger all toleration for anyone who is fool enough to use them around me.

            Incidentally, that has been my attitude since the site began, because the main technique of a moderator is to be highly immoderate when someone starts disrupting the comments. Anyone who reads the site is aware of that. So I tend to view your statements about how comments have operated here over time with a high degree of scepticism. Feels like someone playing games.

            Say something sensible and I’ll treat you as being sensible and worth debating with. Act like an idiot and I’ll treat you like an idiot.

  4. Bill 4

    Reading the links closer. Are these people being fucking serious or have they just never grown up beyond some sort of Boys Own/ Flash Gordon phase? It’s vacuous crap!

    It’s ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ speculative nonsense with absolutely no critical analysis of the here and now in light of what they propose. Nor is there any explanation of how any necessary incremental changes could be introduced now… or under what circumstances they could be introduced before we could take ourselves closer to either of their proposed three possible economies.

    No attempt to understand or explain why some of the more fundamental aspects of their ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ futures have not materialised under present day capitalism. No recognition or sign posting of existing dynamics that would act to stop dead in their tracks fundamental aspects of their imagined futures.

    But I guess if participation in a pointless headwankfest that otherwise might have been fun if it had been honest enough to advertise itself as some sci-fi convention punting improbable futures is your thing, then hey.

    Just a little tip. Iain Banks is cheaper, better thought out, lasts longer and is honest about the need to suspend disbelief.

    • Puddleglum 4.1

      I’m with Bill on the ‘incrementalism’ question. As I’ve previously argued, almost none of the significant and, now, taken for granted improvements in modern society (and in the modern economy) did not arise from careful incremental adjustments to the status quo (e.g., suffrage, labour laws, human rights, public health, etc.). The ‘incremental’ movements in these directions that occurred were pushed by the ‘threat’ that came from radical and popular movements.

      If you think about it, it’s obvious. The bulk of people tend not to have their interests incorporated into elite decisions (in government or in the economy). By definition, their interests come to be labelled as ‘radical’ by elite opinion (which is not to say that there aren’t also other more idiosyncratic ‘interests’ that also get labelled as ‘radical’ – but that involves a quite different sense of the word ‘radical’). Too often, ‘incrementalism’ amounts to a justification for the continuation of injustice and oppression rather than some reasoned, evidence-based utilitarian calculation that ‘radical’ change would be too disruptive and so everyone would experience costs from the change.

  5. Puddleglum 5

    Oooops! Of course I meant “almost none of the significant and, now, taken for granted improvements in moderns society (and in the modern economy) arose from careful incremental…”

  6. Billy 6

    Aka moaning that the supercity structure will oust all of the carefully constructed Labour power structures across Auckland. But let’s talk about incremental change aka keeping the status quo and never getting anything done in Auckland.

    • lprent 6.1

      Idiot. Most of the cities political structure is dominated by C&R – national in disguise. I suspect they’re the ones who have the problem.

      • gitmo 6.1.1

        Eh Mike Lee, Len Brown, Brown Eye Bob and the drunk on the Northshore are on the C&R ticket ??.. news to me.

  7. lprent 7

    Mayors are just another councillor. They don’t weild significiant powers. Look at the makeup of the councils.

    Really g, looking at ‘headline’ figureheads and expecting them to exert much power is like getting key to do anything substantive

    • Billy 7.1

      Idiot yourself, did I say it was only labor? No but you were a little too quick with your invective huh, dickwad. Why don’t ya grow up.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        You didn’t specify what you meant. Perhaps if you got past acting like a troll and actually provided some information about what you think, then you would get an opinion related to that.

        In the meantime, in the absence of any written thought on your part, I’m sure that you’re still an idiot. I can only have an opinion on what you write…

        • billy 7.1.1.1

          Gee Lynn, you should to stop acting like a complete sociopath. Try yoga or something dude.

          [lprent: Yoga has this horrible tendency to make me suddenly realise that despised household chores are far more important than feeling my centre. However I could make an effort and behave far more like a sociopath just for you if you really want me to. I could do with the practice. ]

    • gitmo 7.2

      If that’s the case why is everyone so wound up about ensuring their man gets to be mayor ?

      Can’t say I give one whoever gets in as mayor and councillors they still trough like champions while putting the rates up year on year on year….. and resurfacing the same piece of road just before the end of the financial year.

  8. Rich 8

    The problem with incremental changes is that they can easily be reversed by a National government, as is happening now.

    Radical changes (as made by the Lange government in NZ, and Attlee and Thatcher in the UK) tend to persist because they take so long to unravel and become entrenched in society.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 8

  • Minister needs to do his homework
    Nathan Guy needs to do his homework, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Answering questions in Parliament today on the dairy sector, the Primary Industries Minister denied John Key wants to float Fonterra. ...
    1 hour ago
  • Minister needs to put the kibosh on dirty diesel
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay has to get a grip on the KiwiRail board and put the kibosh on its crazy plan for dirty diesel on the main trunk line, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. It has been revealed… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Louise Nicholas Day: Work still to do
    This is a summary of a speech I gave in honour of Louise Nicholas Day on March 31 The IPCA report showed us basic mistakes are still able to be made within a specialist unit. The Police Commissioner said there… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 hours ago
  • The meanness and pettiness of Nats in power
    Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care. Many of these children… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 hours ago
  • Defence Force’s Hotshots given cold shoulder
    The latest victim of the Government’s cost-cutting drive looks set to be an organisation that has provided vital services and support to defence force staff and their families for 67 years, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “Labour understands Gerry… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Dairy price drop a blow to neglected regions
    The biggest drop in global milk prices for four years is yet another blow to the dairy industry and the many neglected regions that rely on it, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “This 13 per cent drop in… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Plenty left to do on human rights
    Labour is backing calls to have a Parliamentary Select Committee take responsibility for overseeing and monitoring human rights issues. “A just released three-year study into New Zealand’s track record on human rights, funded by the Law Society, makes uneasy reading,”… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Many regions need by-election levels of support
    Northland is not the only region struggling under the National Government, but unfortunately places like Gisborne, Whanganui and Tasman do not have by-elections on the horizon, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “A desperate National Party has thrown money… ...
    1 day ago
  • Real changes must come from CYF review
    A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour has been pushing for a review for some time. It was part of our policy at the election. ...
    1 day ago
  • Latest Air NZ plan carries on regional snub
    Christchurch Labour Members of Parliament have secured a meeting with Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon following the airline’s decision to cut its Christchurch to Tokyo summer flights.  They are also calling on the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to… ...
    2 days ago
  • Carmel Sepuloni back in Social Development role
    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    2 days ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    2 days ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    6 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere