Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, June 15th, 2014 - 253 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, business, capitalism, corruption, democracy under attack, election 2014, equality, poverty - Tags:
My weekend viewing highlighted the differences in power and resources available to the top percentage of wealthy international banksters, and the powerless people struggling to support young families in NZ.
On Al Jazzerra, a special report on “Goldman Sachs: The Bank that Rules the World” – 47 minute video on Al Jazzera’s website.
It probably doesn’t contain a lot of new information to many, but it does bring together a lot of information about the diminishing ethics of the bank that’s seen as THE one to imitate in the ruthless, profiteering world of finance and speculative capital.
Ever since the stock market crashed, on the night of September 15 2008, the name Goldman Sachs, or GS, has been appearing everywhere: in the collapse of the financial system, the Greek crisis, the plunge of the euro, and the campaign to prevent regulation of financial markets.
The investment bank created in New York in 1868 has carved out its reputation and success by working silently behind the scenes.
But today GS stands accused of myriad charges: playing a key role in the subprime loan fiasco, pushing several of its competitors into bankruptcy, helping countries like Greece hide their deficits before speculating on their downfall, precipitating the fall of the euro, and influencing the consumer price index. And yet GS has come out of this latest crisis richer and more powerful than ever.
The programme outlines some of the ethically dubious activities of the bank, and the connections between key GS men and global financial and economic institutions. It explains how such banks enable and support a global oligarchy. These are ruthless people who don’t give a shit about the lives they damage, or the impact of their actions on widening income and wealth inequalities.
Meanwhile, this weekend TV 3’s The Nation interviewed a couple of people about child poverty in NZ. The main message was that there needs to be a groundswell of public opinion, for politicians to make significant changes to improve the lives of families of those on the lowest incomes.
TV 3 covered some of this in their report on 3 News last night. Dr Russell Willis and Professor Jonathan Boston explain how we need a universal child benefit, and to provide for the country’s young people as much as we do for the elderly.
With the first three to four years of a child’s life said to make or break their future, campaigners want politicians to agree on an adequate standard of living for children, and then help provide it.
With the election looming, Dr Russell Wills says New Zealanders need to make their voices heard.
“Public support is growing for these kinds of ideas. The more it grows, the more public support, the more political support we will see for these kinds of policies.”
Polices include a universal benefit for young children.
“Universal benefits work because you don’t have to apply for them; they apply to everybody. That’s why we have such low poverty among our older people.”
New Zealand is behind 21 of 34 OECD countries that already have universal child benefits.
Professor Jonathan Boston, the co-author of a new book on child poverty, says children need the same consideration as older people.
“What we need is a societal consensus that children matter, they are our future. We need to invest in them, we need to care for them and we need a good future for all our children.”
And it’s a view that’s gaining in support. The Children’s Commissioner says left-wing voters place child poverty third on their list of priorities for this election.
It’s a couple of places lower for right-wingers, but still important.
Dr Wills says a rethink on other benefits would also help the poorest.
The video and transcript of the interviews with Professor Boston and Russell Willis are here.