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UBI

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 pm, January 7th, 2014 - 359 comments
Categories: child welfare, Economy, human rights, minimum wage, monetary policy, political alternatives, poverty, socialism, superannuation, vision, welfare - Tags:

Thanks to NZ Femme who put up this link.

https://decorrespondent.nl/541/why-we-should-give-free-money-to-everyone/31639050894-e44e2c00
“‘It Can Be Done! Conquering Poverty in the US by 1976’, James Tobin, who would go on to win a Nobel Prize, wrote in 1967. At that time, almost 80% of the American population was in favor of adopting a small basic income. Here is an interesting article about this episode of American history. Nevertheless, Ronald Reagan sneered years later: ‘In the sixties we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.’
Milestones of civilization are often first considered impossible utopias. Albert Hirschman, one of the great sociologists of the previous century, wrote that utopian dreams are usually rebutted on three grounds: futility (it is impossible), danger (the risks are too big) and perversity (its realization will result in the opposite: a dystopia). Yet Hirschmann also described how, once implemented, ideas previously considered utopian are quickly accepted as normal.”

Encapsulates the empowerment of people inherent in both income security and real democracy.

“Almost 80% of the American population was in favor of adopting a small basic income”.

New Zealand was once considered one of the best places on earth to live.

It could be again …

359 comments on “UBI”

    • David H 1.1

      It was a good read and some very good idea’s. But for me, the last paragraph said it all.

      • fisiani 1.1.1

        It just missed out the obvious. It could be agin as long as National remains in office to continue the economic miracle of the South Seas.

  1. weka 2

    Nice one KJT (and NZ Femme).

    Maybe this is one area where we could work together (leaving aside the other differences for a bit)? Develop a pan-left body of work within a NZ context, all the way from the shopping list and recipe to getting the cake into the oven (conceptual to concrete strategy for those that missed the baking metaphor the other day). There’s some good stuff on ts already from what I remember.

  2. McFlock 3

    I’m still not convinced the numbers add up, but I’d support a phased implementation plan along the lines of:

    income side
    introducing a financial transaction tax
    introducing a capital gains tax
    adding andincreasing tiers to income tax to make it more proportional
    removal of tax loopholes and pursuit of evaders

    poverty elimination side
    progressive expansion of benefits (value and eligibility)
    low-income tax-free threshold gradualy expanded
    lower taxes for remaining low income fok
    increased health and education funding (free for both)
    removal of GST on fresh food, phased removal of this regressive tax

    Basically, each side progresses at the same rate so that if it doesn’t add up (or if there’s a multi-billion lag between the benefits and the total outlay), the nats can’t pull another TINA and fuck us for another 30 years.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Strictly on the grounds of fairness, I don’t really see anything unfair about expecting an individual to pay towards their higher education.

      It is both a private and a public good. It is right that the government should contribute significantly to higher education for citizens. But I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that they should completely pay out of pocket for everyone who wants to go and do any sort of degree.

      I’d much rather be in favour of policies that capped or gradually reduced tuition fees in conjunction with widening the eligibility of student allowances.

      Completely free education is something I don’t think we need, nor can afford, to provide.

      • McFlock 3.1.1

        I’ve never seen the logic of making people pay for the “private good” part of education (even if the charges reflected the proportion of “private good” the tories used to justify the massive increases in fees beyond the previously nominal amounts 30-odd years ago). That just negates the personal benefit of fulltime training, and provides an incentive to skip the country and chase the dollar.

        We used to be able to afford it – it’s what, less than a tenth of the cost of UBI? It really is something that can be achieved by tweaking the tax system to make it more progressive at the higher levels (aka “making rich folks pay for the private good of earning more than 75% of the population”).

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1

          I’ve never seen the logic of making people pay for the “private good” part of education (even if the charges reflected the proportion of “private good” the tories used to justify the massive increases in fees beyond the previously nominal amounts 30-odd years ago). That just negates the personal benefit of fulltime training, and provides an incentive to skip the country and chase the dollar.

          People pay for the private good of owning a house. Owning a car. Owning a boat. Those items all have relatively minor elements of ‘public good’, whereas an education distinctly does have a large amount of public good attached – it allows for high-paying jobs and job-growth, and high-paying jobs pay more tax back to the government.

          I’m not sure why having a large element of public good should suddenly mean the taxpayer should pay all of it, though. Should the taxpayer also pay $500k in plant and machinery for company X, if that will allow company X to make a much larger profit and therefore pay more tax to the government? I’d suspect you’d probably say no. But the government does actually offer private businesses some subsidies in some areas; my work got a subsidy from the government for a new chiller/air conditioning system because it was significantly more energy efficient than the one we had.

          We used to be able to afford it – it’s what, less than a tenth of the cost of UBI? It really is something that can be achieved by tweaking the tax system to make it more progressive at the higher levels (aka “making rich folks pay for the private good of earning more than 75% of the population”).

          I presume your “tenth of the cost of UBI” is based on the country level as a whole. Not sure on the numbers you’re really using there, but university tuition is far far more expensive than it was back in the 60s and 70s.

          I’ll use Gareth Morgan’s Big Kahuna as a basis: their UBI for a student is $8,500 a year. 1 year undergraduate study at Canterbury in Engineering costs $6,725 in fees, and that’s not including textbooks or other add-ons / resources / materials. That’s after a government subsidy – an international student would pay $37,100 for the same course.

          So 1 year of university is equal to 79% of their calculated UBI, which is a damn sight more than “one tenth”, and that’s *after* an existing government subsidy of $30,375.

          Really, those saying we get a bad deal in NZ with our tertiary education costs (interest-free student loans, 82% government subsidy on raw course costs) are living in a dream world.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Hey Lanth, that dream world was the mid ’80s. I take it you are too young to have that historical context. But really, it wasn’t that long ago. However, you’ve come up with such a cogent argument for why loading up young people with debt at the start of their lives is a good deal, you should write up a talking points paper for the right wing to use. The fact that you use an example of a government subsidising a private company with tax payers money, equating it to government ensuring the education of its citizens, is telling.

            Shall we not then also have a user-pays health system? It seems to me that the majority of the benefit of a medical procedure goes to the private good of the individual, not the public good of the country. And why should healthy people who keep themselves fit pay extra taxes for layabouts who don’t give a damn about their own well being?

            Hint: not all grads end up in a top 10% income job like you. Our society doesnt need everyone doing a vocational and career oriented degree like you (or me). In the US, having a college degree is not even predictive any more of whether a young person will be employed or not.

            • QoT 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I was going to rewrite Lanth’s comment from a healthcare perspective, too. Sure, there’s a public good in healthcare, but why should the government be out of pocket for everyone who wants to go rockclimbing?

              • Colonial Viper

                Or the ACC fund with rugby injuries, for that matter.

                • KJT

                  maybe because there is a public good in people being involved in sport, community activities and keeping themselves fit.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Well, I can hardly argue with that when you consider that I am an ACC provider ;)

                  • QoT

                    Yes, KJT, that’s what we’re *saying*. The “public good” of something is not limited to its ability to generate GDP.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                The government is out of pocket for everyone who wants to go rockclimbing? Citation needed.

                What are your criteria for this policy? If you take a risk you get no healthcare? Does the same thing apply to fire risks and eating butter, too? Or just boutique sports you don’t participate in? :twisted:

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1.1.2

              “Hey Lanth, that dream world was the mid ’80s.”

              Tuition is much more expensive now than it was in the 80s.

              “Shall we not then also have a user-pays health system? It seems to me that the majority of the benefit of a medical procedure goes to the private good of the individual, not the public good of the country. And why should healthy people who keep themselves fit pay extra taxes for layabouts who don’t give a damn about their own well being?”

              No, because everyone needs health care. Not everyone needs tertiary education, nor indeed are many people even capable of achieving a tertiary education. It is appropriate to ration tertiary education in a way that health care is not rationed.

              A number of my friends from high school when to university “because that’s what you do”, only to bum around for a couple of years, dropping out and not really achieving much with their time.

              Another person I was briefly acquainted with asked me about going “to study next year” because “then the government pays you to do it” – he was talking about the student loan scheme.

              Dropping the price barrier to entry to $0 will only encourage more people to waste their, and everyone elses, time studying something for which they won’t get any eventual pay off.

              I am very much against the private tertiary providers that advertise on TV, such as Aimes IT Academy, where they make it look like you’ll come out the end of their training with an awesome IT job, when actually the sorts of jobs they have lined up are phone tech support for an ISP. The fact that these places can qualify for student loan funding is terrible IMO. Now, universities and polytechs are nowhere near as bad as that, however the simple fact of the matter is there are a lot of people that think they’re going to get a tertiary education and go on to amazing things, but they simply won’t and don’t.

              • Colonial Viper

                There are plenty of different kinds of limits to entry which you could use; financial ones seem to me more cruel and classist than most.

                • Lanthanide

                  Ok, but that’s not what’s been on the table, CV.

                  The suggestion seemed to be: keep everything as it is now, but it costs $0 a year to go to university.

                  I’m glad that this government has brought in grade-based eligibility for student loans for 2nd+ year degrees, it’s long overdue.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The number of uni lecturers and tutors I know who complain about school leavers who cannot construct a full coherent sentence in English, let alone an intelligent argument…

                    • Lanthanide

                      Yes. So instead of making tertiary education free for everyone, let’s really pump money into primary and secondary education: much more bang for the buck.

                      I see we agree.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      ;)

              • Tracey

                what demographic are your examples from, family-wise?

                • Lanthanide

                  Middle to lower class.

                  I should clarify further that the guy who wanted to “study” literally didn’t care what it was. He just wanted “money from the government”, apparently not realising it was a loan – not that he’d have any intention of paying it back or having any interest in his long-term future and the consequence of paying back 12% of his wages in compulsory repayments.

              • No, because everyone needs health care. Not everyone needs tertiary education, nor indeed are many people even capable of achieving a tertiary education. It is appropriate to ration tertiary education in a way that health care is not rationed.

                I don’t think your analysis is correct. Publicly provided health care is very much like publicly provided education.

                You say that not everyone needs tertiary education (yet, presumably, allow that ‘everyone’ needs primary and secondary education?). But, surely, not everyone needs all types of health care. Should some intensive or specialist forms of health care, for example, only be available if the person can part fund them?

                I thought the principle underlying the provision of public health care was to ensure that all people should be able to achieve their potential in society by having free access to appropriate health care for them, personally. Similarly, I thought the principle underlying provision of public education was to ensure that all people should be able to achieve their potential in society by having free access to appropriate education for them, personally.

                I see health, education and welfare (and the law and policing, for that matter) as prerequisites, socially provided, for individuals to live the lives for which they are best suited. Since no-one can predict who or how many people might need some aspect of these publicly provided goods the principled position is to provide it all free.

                The worry about people studying ‘worthless’ degrees and other qualifications is parallel to the worry about people undergoing ‘worthless’ health procedures and tests – anxious people may well use more health resources in the form of diagnostic tests, for example.

                The solution in both cases, it seems to me, is not to ration according to wealth/cost but to make the problem negligible by providing a social environment that motivates curiosity and learning autonomy (in relation to education) and increases general health and fitness, and reduces anxiety and depression (in relation to health care).

                Also, there’s the argument that open access to both health and education – including ‘worthless’ qualifications and health care – actually has ‘unintended benefits’ for society. But that’s another argument altogether.

                • Lanthanide

                  That’s a good argument, I hadn’t thought of it from that perspective.

                  Although I will note that the public health system doesn’t necessarily cover all health costs; mental health and drugs excluded from pharmac being two obvious examples. Similarly while you will ‘eventually’ get treatment in the public health system, if you go into the private health system you’ll usually get it much much sooner.

                  • Thanks Lanthanide.

                    Your argument was a good one too. You are always careful and logical in how you lay things out. I just differ in the starting assumptions in this case.

                    No society has infinite resources to do everything – e.g., New Zealand probably can’t currently provide some educational experiences or health procedures that are available elsewhere (e.g., we don’t have a space programme and so probably can’t provide certain kinds of training associated with it).. But I think open access to what we can provide makes a statement, to ourselves and others, about what we value as a society. That’s more important than is often acknowledged.

                    The reality (of open access, for example) will never entirely live up to any principle – but principles are like navigational instruments to head you in the right direction, or in the direction we have agreed upon together.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Ultimately I have to say I don’t disagree with the sentiment that education should be free. Just as things to spend our money on, I think our society has got much bigger fish to fry.

                    • McFlock

                      teach a man to fish, and all that

                • just saying

                  Thanks PG
                  We don’t hear enough of the principles underlying our socialist beliefs and we seem to have exprerienced a collective amnesia as a community about principles in general. Which leaves us with a disturbing kind of pragmatism in which the status quo is pretty much taken for granted.

                  Btw, looking forward to part two over at your blog (enjoyed part one).

                  • Colonial Viper

                    and we seem to have exprerienced a collective amnesia as a community

                    It’s a deliberately engineered amnesia, and it is designed to make the population ignorant of their, and the nation’s roots. After all, you won’t have much self esteem or self belief as a nation if you don’t know the titanic struggles and accomplishments that it has experienced, beyond that of the latest All Blacks test.

                  • Hi just saying,

                    A good point about the collective amnesia over principles in general and the descent into pragmatism.

                    I think we’ve given way to a bare logic of individuals rather than being guided by the reality of persons. Big mistake.

                    Individuals have interests (utility and pragmatism then reign); persons have – and exist in – multidimensional relationships (reciprocal benevolence and obligation then reign).

                    We either see ourselves as an aggregation of individuals or a society of persons.

                    Take your pick. Everything else follows.

                    (I’ve almost finished reading Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments now and have ideas for a few more posts on that – that was the series of posts you meant?)

                    • just saying

                      We either see ourselves as an aggregation of individuals or a society of persons.

                      I can’t really see a way forward with this at the moment. There seems to be a vague momentum backwards, but the communities of the past were hierarchies of personhood with nobodies at the bottom and kings at the top. I don’t want to be a part of that again, but that seems to be the only template available, and with the best wills, that’s what we all learned and became.

                      We need new models, but I fear we will just devolve backwards into a new feudalism unless we work at new ways of being together. It seems too hard and confusing and complicated and there are no guarantees that any way is the right way.

                      Yes it was Smith’s Thoery of Moral Sentiment. For some reason I assumed your last post was part one. I hope there is more

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It’s got to be somehow brought back to a concrete human scale. That is on the scale of a few hundred people. An example is the old fashioned neighbourhood street party where you know almost everyone. Some people are a bit worse off or better off than others, but not ten times better off, so there is economic comparability. But there is a wide range of people, vocations and backgrounds who can share stories, perspectives and support with each other. What I think we are looking for – and many people are looking for – are modern versions of this, both online and offline. Or both…

                    • just saying

                      No, you didn’t know everyone.

                      Some were hauled off to institutions as children, where they were hosed down with fire hoses, maltreated or ignored and died young.

                      I’m not going back to a community where brutal conformity and slick hierarchy is the glue holding it all together.

                    • Hi just saying @ 11:27pm,

                      the communities of the past were hierarchies of personhood with nobodies at the bottom and kings at the top. I don’t want to be a part of that again, but that seems to be the only template available, and with the best wills, that’s what we all learned and became.

                      I apologise for confusing issues by using my terms in ways that – if I had reflected for a moment – I knew would be understood quite differently from how I was using them. I can tend to get caught up a bit in my own way of seeing things, which is a flaw.

                      I suspect that what most people think of when they say ‘individual’ is what I think of when I say ‘person’. When I say ‘individual’ it is more like what most people would mean when they say things like ‘clone’ or talk about being treated as ‘just a number’. I’ll try to explain myself better.

                      You’re right, of course, historical communities were often harsh places intolerant of differences. I wasn’t thinking of those kinds of communities. I was arguing a view of personhood that probably hasn’t been seen since hunter gatherer times – and even then was patchy.

                      For me, being seen as a person is quintessentially being seen uniquely and wholly in the context of our life history (‘biography’). That does include basic social roles, but is more multidimensional than just that.

                      In a non-hierarchical society – because no power differential exists – there’s really no option other than to accept persons as they are, with all their idiosyncrasy. I would argue that the destructive conformity you rightly fear is a product of social hierarchy rather than personhood (being seen as a person).

                      I see history as a long, slow ‘descent’ into treating people as what I’ve called ‘individuals’. There are very good aspects to this descent – equality under the law, for example. But there are some unacknowledged ‘downsides’.

                      As I said above, what I mean by ‘individual’ is not its common or garden meaning of being a ‘unique’ expression of humanity, but quite the reverse. An ‘individual’, if you think about it, is a featureless unit that is supposedly identical to other individuals, and therefore substitutable with them. Peas in a pod are individual peas but differentiated only by their position in the pod. Other than that, there is no difference between any one pea and another (there is, of course, but that is to include the ‘history’ of each particular pea which is akin to seeing them as ‘persons’ having unique ‘experiences’, if I’m not getting too silly!).

                      The bare logic of the ‘individual’, in that sense, is the bare logic that strips us of our humanity and leaves us just with our position (‘buyer’, ‘seller’, ‘consumer’, ‘producer’, ‘king’, ‘subject’, etc.). Ironically, we come to be differentiated not by any feature of our own personalhistory and character but by the social role we occupy or the label we are given (in the economy, in the family, in the organisation).

                      Our ‘individuality’, that is, is suppressed by the logic of ‘individualism’, a logic which is all about treating people solely as ‘individuals’ rather than (individual) persons. A bit of a paradox but it explains why conformity to norms of success, fame and ‘fulfillment’ is such an anxious and all-engrossing pursuit in individualistic societies. ‘Position’ is everything since it is all (or the most emphasised thing) that differentiates us in hierarchical societies. Character (the socially-relevant quality of our personhood) therefore becomes devalued.

                      As a broad-brush rule, the less hierarchical any society the more you get collective cooperation and autonomy. Along with autonomy comes ‘individuality’ in the sense of ‘uniqueness’. That individuality is what I call being a person (having personhood) and I contrast it to being seen, simply, as an ‘individual’.

                      Lastly, I think obligations are pretty unavoidable in any society of persons. Once again, though, by ‘obligation’ I don’t mean the kinds that typically get imposed, in hierarchical societies, by the more powerful on the less powerful – I think we’re seeing plenty of those kinds of ‘obligations’ being pushed in New Zealand today (e.g., on beneficiaries). Obligations that help a society to work tend to be reciprocal and based on notions of justice and fairness.

                      I don’t know if the above helps or makes things worse.

                • karol

                  pg: The solution in both cases, it seems to me, is not to ration according to wealth/cost but to make the problem negligible by providing a social environment that motivates curiosity and learning autonomy (in relation to education) and increases general health and fitness, and reduces anxiety and depression (in relation to health care).

                  Very good approach, pg.

                  I would add for both – providing facilties for health and fitness promotion.

                  Formal education and health/fitness early in life: ;earning how to learn and to promote good health. On-going opportunities for formal further education; but, alongside teacher led Workers Education Courses, Citizens Initiated Learning Groups. And facilities for this: spaces to meet; access to library services and databases, online access etc.

            • Crunchtime 3.1.1.1.1.3

              Interesting that education gets brought up as an example. Prospective students need much better guidance than they get now about potential careers, the state of the market and what their prospects are for getting a job and expected income they can get. Education institutions need to be more aware of where there are labour shortages and opportunities for students when they leave.

              I’m not talking about eliminating any “non career-oriented courses”, absolutely not. We should not be forcing students into what someone else thinks is best for them. But we should be fully and properly informing them of what lies in front of them after investing some years of their own life.

              I know for sure that students are extremely poorly informed and tend to be overwhelmed and confused by the poorly organised poor quality information they do get, and a lot more would choose something that suits them that ALSO has a real career opportunity at the end of it if they new that was so.

              Education could be more fully funded if it actually had more value in producing people with skills that are needed in the workforce.

              This is entirely another story and not entirely unrelated to UBI, but perhaps worth discussing in another thread…

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.2

            The cost of a free education is not the cost of a UBI: there are only a few hundred thousand tertiary students in the country in a particular year, as opposed to a couple of million prospective UBI recipients.

            There is little to no public good in me owning my own house as opposed to renting. There is a public good in me having a home and transport – I can receive funding for this or income-related rents, subsidised public transport (not sure about auckland ferries, but I’d be cool with it if it were part of the auckland transport system).

            There is a significant public good in me being a dentist or other skilled worker – I increase the productivity and welfare of the country. But there is not so much incentive to do this if I have the personal cost of a $X0000 loan to pay back afterwards – I might be as well off if I just worked solidly from 18 and worked my way up to being assistant branch manager at McD’s, paying in to the retirement scheme. The public good might be a touch less in that role though. And forget about postgrad study if you’re poor these days – you might not even qualify for a student loan.

            Basically, charging through the nose for education entrenches a class system and reduces social mobility. We might be better off than students in the US or the UK, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot over the long term.

            oh – 82% is a pretty good ratio for the govt subsidy, it varies quite a bit.

            • Chooky 3.1.1.1.2.1

              +100….and why must we always compare ourselves with the moribund class ridden UK and grossly inegalitarian USA?

              …..France and Germany a have a virtually free tertiary state education system, the way we used to have in NZ….We should be looking to France and Germany as models for free high quality state education as well as Finland

              • Disraeli Gladstone

                Actually, there’s genuinely a good reason to look at the tertiary system of the UK and the USA. Which is they’re better. There are issues over pay and inequality abound and it’s terrible in that regard.

                But if you look at the education itself, all of the top universities are from the US or the UK (or Japan for good measure). I suspect a lot of it comes down to the wealth (both through public funding and student fees/international students) that these universities get invested into them.

                So it’s a case of trying to remain a high funding model while trying to ensure that the government pays the bulk of it. In the UK/US, too much is placed on the student. In countries like France and Germany, not enough funding is being put into those university to internationally challenge.

                • Tracey

                  I know someone who had to get an A average at law school to get into an ivy league US uiniversity. She chieved it and went to Georgetown. She got A+ averages and said the level was more like B to A- maximum but she was getting A+

                • Chooky

                  @ DG

                  Who says the top universities are better in UK and USA?….what criterion?….what evaluations?….what perspectives and biases in these evaluations?

                  ….even some of the so called inferior second tier universities in the UK produce scientists and people in the arts that in the long term could probably blitz Oxford or Cambridge as regards achievement….(Oxford and Cambridge are the bastions of the socio- economic elite and only allowed women in the middle of last century….New Zealand a was way ahead in this regard)

                  …do the top UK and US universities produce the best international scientists, engineers , arts scholars in the long term ?…..in which case they should be dominating the international prizes eg Nobel….and be at the forefront of scientific exploration and discovery, engineering , technology , medicine…..

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Disraeli is losing the plot. “Copying the USA better.” LOL. The place is falling apart top to bottom. US system of elite high cost private universities, starved public universities, and private financial providers putting young people in tens of thousands of debt.

                    Yeah so much better.

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      Well, actually, the starved public universities highlight my point. They don’t receive enough funding. But, I guess we’ll ignore that.

                      Also, I didn’t say we should copy the USA. I said we should look at their system. Realise the importance of well funded universities (the Ivy League centres are obviously well funded) but then look at a way to improve it by shifting the cost as much as possible from student to the state. But, I guess we’ll ignore that too.

                      Come on, Colonial Viper. A little reading comprehension wouldn’t go amiss here.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Oh go away.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      I hope you don’t go away Disraeli – I enjoy different perspectives on stuff and you provide quite a few

                  • Disraeli Gladstone

                    “do the top UK and US universities produce the best international scientists, engineers , arts scholars in the long term ?…..in which case they should be dominating the international prizes eg Nobel”

                    They do.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_by_university_affiliation

                    The first nine universities by list of Nobel laureates are British or American. Of the top thirty, twenty-three are British or American.

                    And that’s not considering the fact that looking just at Nobel winners is a poor way of judging a university. UK and US universities do often produce the best in their fields because they have such a wide talent pool which goes beyond boundaries (high numbers of international students and professors).

                    Also, while I agree with you mostly about Oxford and Cambridge’s elitism. Cambridge man, here. Single mother. Council estate. No old money to speak of. Though yes, the fact that women couldn’t be given a degree (they were given a title) till 1948 is a stain in the university’s history. However, women were actually allowed to study there from 1880 onwards.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yeah that’s all ancient history mate, predicated on the peak of empire one or two decades ago, before universities had been turned into little corporate systems.

                      Now that western empire is visibly crumbling we can see the change in balance of patents issued over the last 50 years, the UK has fallen right behind and now the US is going out the door too.

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      Really, Viper? If you look at the prizewinner of 2013, most of them have studied or taught at these universities in the UK and the US. Edinburgh gets a prizewinner last year actually if I remember.

                      And those who haven’t, they still have connections to them.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So? What the fuck has OxBridge got to do with whatever? Both the UK and US are heading into financial and social disorder. So you want us to copy from their universities catering for the elite 1%???

                      Good-oh. But none of those prizes have any bearing on improving the trajectory those societies are heading in, and are relics of bygone glorious times.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      +1 CV

                      I would be highly suspicious as to how these people are getting prizes too – it may be that these Universities place them in the correct circles for getting accolades – kinda like Paul Holmes getting a knighthood here – I mean WTF? – it can be about the right connections (‘Right’ being the operative word) – rather than valuable contribution

                      I have little doubt that Britain still has a top notch education system – however I note many Europeans I have met appear a hell of a lot more switched on than any highly educated Americans in the public arena.

                      Additionally like CV’s point, all the most enlightened research I’ve come across appears to be coming out of Europe or India – not America

                      …and therefore I would suspect there is a bias in the patting-on-the-head..I mean…. award-giving…. due to social circles’ clout and connections.

                      I conclude that prize-giving is not likely to be a great thing to assess countries’ relative skillset or education on.

                    • Chooky

                      @ DG…..Ok …well maybe there is something wrong with the way Nobel prizes are handed out?….Anglo Saxon cronyism? ..as you say these prizes may not be the best way to judge a university

                      Certainly there is sexism in the mix and very likely racism…..

                      All the more reason for funding state universities very well, making them free to all, and ignoring the elitist universities, which can pay their own way privately…

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      But there’s a case of treating this like a education league table. Just because the UK or American Private System is better than other tertiary systems doesn’t mean Americans are more switched on than Europeans. There’s various socio-economic things to contemplate (America is a terrible anti-intellectual place at times, for instance). Furthermore, as we’ve already said, the American Elite Universities put too much pressure on the student to ensure they’re funded to the extent possible.

                      Secondly, universities are global. They’re intake spread out across the globe. So Indian, European, African scholars will sometimes head to these Anglo institutions. Which means you have the situation where you’re completely right that Europeans may seem more tuned in, but America may still have the best universities.

                      I feel like we’ve lost the initial thrust of my argument though. My main point was that Chooky said we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the British or American’s system but rather to Europe. I’m saying we should because they are still the best universities in the world. I never said we should copy them.

                      We should take a look at what they show: funding is incredibly important to a university’s success. But then look at what’s wrong with them. Slow to change, limited places outside of the elite, high financial burden to the student. We should then look at how we can try keep such a funding model while tackling those issues.

                      Slow to change isn’t a problem, New Zealand universities (outside of Auckland Law School) tend to be more liberal places. Also, I think New Zealand does a good job of being open to a wider range of society (though National are shamelessly cutting that back and Labour should be saying loudly and proudly that we’ll reverse those changes made in the last couple of years).

                      It’s the fees. Do we say: that’s the most the State can fund so if we want well-funded universities, students are going to have to pay. Or do we say: the State can contribute more.

                      We also need a debate about the place of universities in society. I feel like too many people go to universities. Tony Blair in the UK made the statement that he wanted 50% of students to go to university which left me somewhat bemused. We need to stop demonising those professions that don’t need a university degree, while still recognising the importance of those that do. And the principle of education for education’s sake.

                      It’s in that principle we should look to Germany too.

                      Tertiary education is more than just fees. It’s a crucial fabric of society.

                    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                      Hi Disraeli,

                      You are quite right about Universities being global and the comment I made regarding some of the people I’ve read may well have been educated in the British or American system – that was a foolish error on my side to have missed that fact(!) – there remains doubt as to which education systems the best ideas for addressing current problems are coming out of – yet you are quite correct on that point re the global nature of education.

                      Also, I like your point about how other factors may be leaving Europeans and Asians (& others) more switched on than Americans.

                      I continue to have major misgivings about this matter of American system being better because I view their country as particularly captured by big money and would include their education system in that too for want of information to the contrary. I would need more certainty than merely looking at prizes dished out by those most well connected in this system to assess the University systems of different countries.

                      I’m unsure whether the comment by Tony Blair was regarding solely university education. It has to be said, though, that promoting university education should not be immediately equated with demonising the professions not requiring a university education.

                      I think that the more people that get a good education the better – I believe we have got the quality of life that we have achieved through the development of reason and taking knowledge from the past and accumulating it, while exploring new ideas – this doesn’t come from obstructing people with the ability/propensity toward learning from doing so – it came from many people from many walks of life being able to access a solid education. Solving current problems is quite possible as long as we continue to allow this development of knowledge, reason and open investigation to occur.

                      The fees are one obstacle to learning. Another obstacle is how currently the student support we have in this country provides less living support than an unemployment benefit – it means that people without some form of financial backing are less likely to follow through with an education. I find this reprehensible and view this sorry state of affairs as only going to degenerate things further.

                • Chooky

                  .@ DG………or else these elitist UK/USA universities are plundering the best and the brightest from elsewhere around the world after they have already proved their brilliance in their own countries education systems….(rather like private schools in New Zealand or Universities in USA offering scholarships to promising athletes)…..not really a reflection on how good the university is in itself, but rather its ability to lure…… imo

                  I suspect genuine creativity and deep thinking outside the box does not come from the narrow closeted privileged nursery of an elitist environment…. this is why these elitist universities ( and in NZ private schools) must lure away the best and the brightest from non-elitist, rougher more egalitarian environments….in order to promote their own elitist reputation….in other words the elitist UK/USA universities are to some degree a false showcase

                  I am not arguing to get rid of these elitist showcase universities ( they have an important place in our cultural heritage) …. but rather I am arguing to fund ordinary state universities up to a very high standard and make them free….it is only in this environment that very able students will be able to excel

                  ( I would also like to point out that entry should not be restricted initially, because mediocre performing bored , oppressed , high school students can actually be quite brilliant in a different learning environment……and do a star turn at university or out in the ‘real ‘ world)

                  Agree with your comments below on education for education’s sake….not merely a meal ticket….this again necessitates free universities so students can have the choice to go for a genuinely higher education…..and agree… non university choices should not be looked down on ( polytechs/apprenticeships/ internships should also be free and well funded as in Germany) . Our young people must be cherished and looked after…not forced to struggle under debt at an early age and then forced overseas so they can pay it off ( this is crazy economics….some never return )

                  There is also the issue of the relatively recent problem of cheating in our tertiary institutions by foreign students….this undermines both NZ university standards and the resulting qualifications …in other words our NZ university reputations….and it shows that there is something seriously wrong with the cheating students themselves( psychologically or attitudinally)….cheating in education by scammers makes a sham of our education and is an attack on the integrity of our education….. universities have their hands tied again because of lack of state funding

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1.2.2

              “The cost of a free education is not the cost of a UBI: there are only a few hundred thousand tertiary students in the country in a particular year, as opposed to a couple of million prospective UBI recipients.”

              Correct, which is why I wasn’t sure what basis you were making that number on.

              But that’s missing the point: UBI might cost (say) $20B to implement. It is not a cogent argument to say “well we’ve already spent $20B, lets just spend $2B more for the sake of it”.

              You have to justify why spending that extra $2B is worthwhile.

              “There is a significant public good in me being a dentist or other skilled worker – I increase the productivity and welfare of the country. ”

              Sounds like a good argument to reduce the price (possibly even to free) of education for dentists and ‘skilled workers’. That’s not the same as making education free for everyone.

              “Basically, charging through the nose for education entrenches a class system and reduces social mobility. We might be better off than students in the US or the UK, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot over the long term.”

              I agree, which is why I said I’d prefer to see more subsidies + eligibility change for the student allowance, rather than free education. In bang for buck terms, I don’t think completely free education is worth the expense.

              • McFlock

                Trying to think of a discipline one can study full time for three years and not be a skilled worker by the end of it.

                Economics, maybe. Other pseudosciences. That’s about it.

                • Lanthanide

                  Depends if you end up doing ‘work’ in a field related to your degree, doesn’t it?

                  • McFlock

                    Nope.

                    That’s a pretty simplistic interpretation that assumes, for example, that writing a dissertation on Descartes only gives you skills relating to Descartes, rather than also imbuing you with research, writing, organisation, computer use, and self-discipline skills.

                    And it also assumes that using your theatre degree for unpaid voluntary work provides no benefit to society and might not be the only thing between you doing whatever menial crap you have to do to feed yourself, and a nervous breakdown.

                    This goes for almost any discipline.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “And it also assumes that using your theatre degree for unpaid voluntary work provides no benefit to society”

                      There probably isn’t much unpaid voluntary work that *requires* a theatre degree in order to do it.

                      In other words, your theatre degree hasn’t allowed you to do anything that you couldn’t have done without it.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, you could possibly bullshit your way into directing an amateur production with no degree. But if you studied theatre for three years, you’d put on a much better production than if you hadn’t. That would be some of the value to society.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Unfortuantely it’s impossible to quantify the value of a bulshitted amateur production vs a ‘much better production’. We don’t even know how ‘much better’ it would be.

                    • felix

                      It may not be easy for you to quantify Lanth, but it’s usually quite bleeding obvious to anyone working on said productions.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      or anyone watching said production.

                      But hell, I can’t tell the difference between Meatloaf and Monet so I’m probably the wrong person to ask.

                    • RedBaronCV

                      Personally I don’t see a problem with theatre degrees. I am assuming that we are talking about acting plus analysis and content of theatrical pieces etc. People who do this type of degree are going to wind up as some of our societies superior communicators. What price a piece of thought provoking satire?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      They want to defund anything which may change peoples lives and which might give people alternative frames of thinking/behaving.

              • Crunchtime

                Part of the significant public good of paying everyone a UBI is the massive benefit to the economy, to retail, to businesses, and to tax income.

                Give half a million of the poorest people in NZ an extra $50 a week and they’ll spend that straight into buying something they need, or at least want badly. They may or may not spend wisely, but I’m willing to bet the vast majority will make good choices. Soup kitchens are getting far more busy now because the poor are actually really poor, not because they are wasting money.

                Conversely, give the richest hundred thousand an extra $250 a week and far less of it will find it’s way into the economy. The bulk will get saved or invested, or spent on goods overseas – not here in NZ.

                There are sound, solid, sensible economic reasons for a UBI.

                • Akldnut

                  Give half a million of the poorest people in NZ an extra $50 a week and they’ll spend that straight into buying something they need, or at least want badly.

                  +100 The poorer people in NZ live week to week and spend every cent they have into the economy. The wealthy have the means to hold on to any money they make and use it to make more money “Save, invest or pay off debt”.

                  My example – I have a sibling who paid for few bundles of MRP shares for his children, with money saved from tax cuts received since Nact got into power. And he still has more of it in the bank.

                  All saved and not returned to the economy, until the chance of making money came up.

            • Francis 3.1.1.1.2.3

              I’d even be supportive of a scheme where, in exchange for the Government fully funding a degree, the person would be required to work where the government placed them for a certain length of time. It would be great for training up more people in the highly demanded areas (such as medical), as well as filling in local vacancies rather than having graduates go overseas for jobs which pay more.

              Of course there would still be the option to pay for your own study and have the freedom of going wherever you wanted afterwards, but this could be really good for those who don’t want to be loaded up with tonnes of debt (plus, it has the added advantage of having guaranteed work afterwards).

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                Thats a good idea

              • Anne

                They used to have a scheme like the one your proposing Francis. It was a kind of bond. When I left school I trained to be a school dental nurse and we were expected to stay with the service for five years after we graduated. It wasn’t mandatory but most graduates did observe it. I believe it was normal for all public service positions which required extensive training.

              • McFlock

                I’ve vacillated between hot and cold on bonded training schemes like that over the years. At the moment I probably swing against it on the grounds that our shortages in GPs for example are full-career speciality shortages, not just something that can be filled by freshly-qualified kids for a couple of years at a time.

                And, of course, it perpetuates the entire perception of user-pays that society needs to extract its pound of flesh in exchange for the qualification – that simply encourages the graduate to reciprocate and end up getting six figures for signing off “prior injury – do not fund” forms for ACC and the insurance companies.

                But ask me in six months time, and I might have changed my mind again :)

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Strictly on the grounds of fairness, I don’t really see anything unfair about expecting an individual to pay towards their higher education.

        This one’s not about fairness but what the country needs and the country needs people to be in close to continuous education in one form or another and the only way to ensure that is to make sure that people have free access to it.

        It is both a private and a public good.

        I think that’s BS as well especially if we’re running a UBI because a UBI will enforce a near equal income range which will mean that having that education won’t provide the massive benefits that it’s supposed to provide (it doesn’t anyway).

        Completely free education is something I don’t think we need, nor can afford, to provide.

        And that’s someone who’s bought into the RWNJ framing and the delusion of money. Start thinking in terms of available resources instead and it rapidly becomes affordable especially if we look to provide most of the education through self-learning (and that’s really why primary has to teach people how to learn rather than the three Rs).

        • Lanthanide 3.1.2.1

          This one’s not about fairness but what the country needs and the country needs people to be in close to continuous education in one form or another and the only way to ensure that is to make sure that people have free access to it.

          The country doesn’t “need” people taking up non-productive degrees subjects like history and dance because tuition for them is free.

          I know you don’t understand economics, but the point of putting prices on things is to encourage efficient use of resources – people are less likely to waste things that cost them a lot of money than things that are cheap.

          I think that’s BS as well especially if we’re running a UBI because a UBI will enforce a near equal income range which will mean that having that education won’t provide the massive benefits that it’s supposed to provide (it doesn’t anyway).

          UBI stands for Universal Basic Income, not Universal Living Income. Gareth’s Morgan’s in-depth proposal for UBI was $11,000 a year. You’re deluded if you think that people in jobs currently earning $50k+ a year, after the UBI was introduced would now be earning on the order of $10k on top of the UBI.

          And that’s someone who’s bought into the RWNJ framing and the delusion of money. Start thinking in terms of available resources instead and it rapidly becomes affordable especially if we look to provide most of the education through self-learning (and that’s really why primary has to teach people how to learn rather than the three Rs).

          Coming from someone that thinks NZ has the resources and expertise to build computer chips by ourselves. Have a watch of this video (long, but IMO very worth it) and you might get some idea about how just insane modern computer chip technology is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGFhc8R_uO4

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1.1

            “The country doesn’t “need” people taking up non-productive degrees subjects like history and dance because tuition for them is free.”

            This is absolute bullshit.

            This is the perspective of someone who thinks civilisation should be centred around the types of education which corporate shareholders would approve of eg. Tech, eng, marketing, finance, PR, commercial law.

            But anything else that a cultured humane civilisation needs…history, fine arts, literature, performance arts…is a costly unproductive optional extra. Like fuck it is. Those are the only ways in which people will be able to break out of this civilisation death spiral we have locked ourselves into.

          • McFlock 3.1.2.1.2

            The country doesn’t “need” people taking up non-productive degrees subjects like history and dance because tuition for them is free.

            Bollocks. Bollocks to the idea that history and dance are “non-productive”, and bollocks to the idea that the only degrees that we need are the ones that obviously improve the economic value of the student.

            The country needs diversity in skillsets, industries and approaches. Let me put it this way – my first degree was political science. It definitely helps me in my nice job to this day, even though I’m not an electorate secretary or MP. I have a different perspective to my industry-trained colleagues, and this makes my workplace more productive because I can cut around some corners they wouldn’t think of, and vice versa.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1.2.1.3

            CV & McFlock are right Lanth. That you can’t see the value in History or Dance says nothing whatsoever about History or Dance, but it speaks volumes about you.

            • Ennui 3.1.2.1.3.1

              +1 OAK, CV, McFlock.
              I think a broad liberal arts education is entirely what is required for a balanced society. Narrow degrees in specialist areas create a culture of specialists who know more and more about less and less to the point that all thought in circumscribed. To prove my point just look at how little economists actually get right: it would indicate that they know bugger all.

              • Draco T Bastard

                +1111

              • JK

                +1 +1 +1 me too – its a spurious argument to think economists and the like are the thinkers of this world – the thinkers (and doers) come from those with a wider education

          • QoT 3.1.2.1.4

            The country doesn’t “need” people taking up non-productive degrees subjects like history and dance because tuition for them is free.

            Here’s your “public good”: children of mothers who have higher education have better educational outcomes and social skills.

            And in a quirk of anecdata, I know a surprising number of well-paid, highly-productive people with history degrees.

          • Tracey 3.1.2.1.5

            Mr Joyce has a zoology degree, does that prove or disprove your point about “need” I wonder.

            We currently dont need teachers. 130 applying for one job at the moment, so when do we start subsidising training in this again?

            • Chooky 3.1.2.1.5.1

              Mr Joyce, trained in Zoology!….He should be in the Zoo!….on his logic …..and kept well away from running the country!….. (and Mr Key should be confined within very narrow parameters to mere trading)

              We need people trained in the humanities ….. historians, sociologists, culture and arts, political scientists, philosophers, psychologists, international business, law, linguists….etc etc running the country

          • Lanthanide 3.1.2.1.6

            To all above: I knew that statement would rankle, which is why I put it in, to see what answers I’d get.

            So, what would the country be better off with: 10,000 history majors, or 10,000 engineers?

            Perhaps even 10,000 engineers wouldn’t be useful. Perhaps we only need 5,000 engineers and then 5,000 of other things. Also the need for different skills changes over time; right now we need lots of builders and engineers in Christchurch, whereas 4 years ago that same need wasn’t there.

            It is factually true that some lines of education are much more beneficial to society than others. Now the question is how to measure this; the easiest is the number of jobs available in each field and salary paid, but other more woolley metrics aren’t too difficult to get a feeling for either, like number of lives saved by doctors etc. Arts degrees of all types of course have benefit to society, but it’s much harder to quantify and track this benefit. It is realistically impossible to rank degrees in “total benefit to society” based on all of the different metrics that would be required to make such a ranking.

            But it is also true that some areas of study are much more difficult and require more effort and innate ability than others; eg science, maths, and engineering degrees generally have a higher drop-out rate than the Arts subjects. This means we end up with more people completely Arts degrees than we do Science degrees, and likely more people with Arts degrees in society than we have any particular need or use for.

            I think people have probably overlooked the qualifying part of my statement as well, which was “because tuition for them is free”. It seems unlikely to me that the government (and therefore taxpayers) forking out $90,000 for *any random person* to do a 3 year degree in history would generally be recouped, or indeed that the government forking out $148,000 for *any random person* to do a 4 year degree in engineering would generally be recouped.

            Society doesn’t need everyone to have tertiary educations. If any particular individual wants a tertiary education, they should have to sacrifice something to get it.

            • McFlock 3.1.2.1.6.1

              Three points: firstly, you’re conflating “free” with “unrestricted entry”.
              Secondly, just because the benefits are difficult to measure doesn’t mean they don’t exist – I shudder at the thought of a nation of engineers with no historians or ethicists, for example. So did Huxley.
              Thirdly, how do you know that we don’t need all the Arts majors we produce? How do you know that the skillsets they acquire simply by doing the degree aren’t benefiting their economic performance (as if that is the only measure of worth to society)? I think you’re way off.

              • Lanthanide

                “firstly, you’re conflating “free” with “unrestricted entry”.”

                I’m purely replying to what has been stated. Here’s what you originally said:
                “increased health and education funding (free for both)”

                You didn’t say “free for education but with increased restrictions”, neither in the original post or in any of the follow ups.

                My assumption in all of my writings is that the system would be exactly the same as it currently is, but cost $0 per year to attend.

                So I’m not “conflating” anything, I’m merely argueing the points as they have been discussed so far.

                “Thirdly, how do you know that we don’t need all the Arts majors we produce? How do you know that the skillsets they acquire simply by doing the degree aren’t benefiting their economic performance (as if that is the only measure of worth to society)? I think you’re way off.”

                My point is we already have people going to university and dropping out because it’s too difficult for them, in the areas that are in demand and have high-paid jobs going for them. The existing scheme for student loans and education funding is actually pretty generous – rather than being genuinely free it is instead practically free, because there’s no up-front costs and you get a 0% interest loan that is eroded by inflation. So I don’t believe that there are many people who would want and be able to do an engineering/science degree but aren’t able to do so because of the fees. That would mean that any real increase in take-up of these degrees if fees were dropped to $0 would be people who weren’t really serious about getting degrees anyway, thus more likely to drop out.

                The same more or less goes for Arts degrees – subjects that don’t generally have defined high-paying jobs at the end of them. Again the barriers to tertiary education in NZ are sufficiently low that putting the prices down to $0 seems like it would only encourage people who weren’t serious about the degree they were getting to go to university.

                A misallocation of resources.

                Better to spend this money on improving primary and secondary education than making tertiary free for everyone.

                • McFlock

                  You didn’t say “free for education but with increased restrictions”, neither in the original post or in any of the follow ups.
                  Nor did I say “free education with all current restrictions on enrolment and academic progression removed”.

                  “Practically free”? – my student loan deductions beg to differ.

                  Not everyone who enrolls in a course necessarily knows everything about the demands of that course or the reality of what is involved in that career. Not everyone who drops out does so purely because the work was too hard – the costs can also be too great. Not everyone who acquires a student loan stays in the country to use their new skills to help NZ’s GDP (as if that were the only contribution they could make). You want to talk about a misallocation of resources, teaching students that the only worth of a qualification is the resulting income when we don’t have particularly high wage rates is a poor decision on many levels. I know a number of graduates who have left the country – student loans paid off, but all that results in is that the government paid 75% of a qualification that is now benefiting an overseas economy.

                  Better to spend the money on removing all barriers to tertiary education that are not relevant to the education itself – financial being a key barrier.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “Nor did I say “free education with all current restrictions on enrolment and academic progression removed”.”

                    Exactly. All my arguments are based on the current system, which has very little in the way of restrictions.

                    ““Practically free”? – my student loan deductions beg to differ.”

                    Would you have the same job or another job paying the same amount if you didn’t have your qualification and therefore student loan?

                    If Yes, then indeed, your qualification is costing you money and you probably would have been better off not doing it. If No, then yes, it is practically free.

                    “Not everyone who enrolls in a course necessarily knows everything about the demands of that course or the reality of what is involved in that career. Not everyone who drops out does so purely because the work was too hard – the costs can also be too great.”

                    It doesn’t really matter why someone drops out, the point is they do.

                    “Not everyone who acquires a student loan stays in the country to use their new skills to help NZ’s GDP (as if that were the only contribution they could make).”

                    Yes, and those people pay interest on their student loans. Perhaps they need to pay more, or be charged some sort of retroactive fee to recoup the government’s investment.

                    “You want to talk about a misallocation of resources, teaching students that the only worth of a qualification is the resulting income when we don’t have particularly high wage rates is a poor decision on many levels.”

                    Effectively what you’re saying here is that anyone who wants to take $68,400 of government money (Art History 3 year degree) and use it to get educated in anything they please, no matter how uneconomically useful it is, is free to go ahead. What I’m arguing is that the government already contributes $52,326 and allows the student to borrow the remainder at 0% interest. I think there are much better uses you can make of that extra $16,074, such as putting it into primary and secondary education, or subsidising some courses a bit further, or expanding the student allowance scheme further. But I don’t see the value in making tertiary education free.

                    • McFlock

                      Exactly. All my arguments are based on the current system, which has very little in the way of restrictions.
                      Except for being ineleigible for funding if satisfactory pass rates are not achieved, term limits on funding, and institutional limits imposed when they realised that turning out numpties was not the way to go.

                      If Yes, then indeed, your qualification is costing you money and you probably would have been better off not doing it if money was the only evaluation of the course benefits. If No, then it is long term cost-neutral or a beneficial investment, which is not the same as “free”
                      FIFY

                      It doesn’t really matter why someone drops out, the point is they do.
                      Actually, it does matter – if the only reason for course failure was incapable people being enrolled, then that needs to be addressed (free or not). If there’s always going to be soe churn and lifecourse changes, then that’s simply a cost of educating the population.

                      I don’t see the value in making tertiary education free.
                      That’s because you don’t see the barrier that prospective students gambling on fees and the loan system is for some people. Lucky you.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “It doesn’t really matter why someone drops out, the point is they do.
                      Actually, it does matter – if the only reason for course failure was incapable people being enrolled, then that needs to be addressed (free or not). If there’s always going to be soe churn and lifecourse changes, then that’s simply a cost of educating the population.”

                      Right, so once again, my whole argument has been: the current system, which does a poor job of screening out those who are incapable, but where you pay $0 fees to attend.

                      If you are saying make it free, AND apply much more screening as to who can attend, then I’m much more likely to agree with you.

                      But now it sounds like you’re actually restricting who can get tertiary education further than our current system does: because right now, there’s 0 up-front cost if you want to attend university, whereas the system you’re leaning to is it’s a 0 cost completely but not everyone is allowed in the door to start with.

                    • McFlock

                      my whole argument has been: the current system, which does a poor job of screening out those who are incapable, but where you pay $0 fees to attend.
                      Cite that “poor job” bit? It might just be a case of diminishing returns on cracking down on withdrawal for other reasons.

                      But anyway, not everyone is allowed in the door to all courses at the moment.

                      Maybe UCant has an “open door, fail as often as you want” admissions policy. UOtago sure as shit doesn’t. NZQA has limits on assessents. Studylink has limits on funding and allowances.

                    • Lanthanide

                      I can’t cite as it’s purely anecdotal: watching the number of people who attended lectures in the 1st week of uni vs the last week. Watching the number of people who graduated with me vs the number that started with me. Overhearing other students talk about how the very first assignment in a course was really hard and they didn’t understand it. Experience of friends who went to uni because it was “the thing to do”, not because they had any idea what to do with their life, and they would have probably been better off going to polytech.

                      Also from conversations with my BF who lectured engineering undergraduates and set assignments and marked exams for 3 or 4 different courses.

                      Really 1st year uni is pretty equivalent to 7th form, but a lot of people didn’t do 7th form and a lot of people dropped out of 1st year uni too.

                    • Pasupial

                      La

                      It’s a shame that you have only experienced university from the perspective of a UCant engineering student in this millenium. It used to be quite different; a place where young minds were encouraged to develop, rather than an assemblyline to produce marketable work units. There’s always been a fair bit of snobbery involved though.

                      You refer to your: “Experience of friends who went to uni because it was “the thing to do”, not because they had any idea what to do with their life, and they would have probably been better off going to polytech.” I agree that many school-leavers would be better served by going to polytech, and others; apprenticeships leading to fulfilling employment. However, how does one know for certain at the age of (say) 18 what one’s talents are? And what of life events such as; accident, pregnancy, or simple lack of aptitude in chosen field of study?

                      Possibly this is a failure of our secondary schooling system in career guidance. But even if guidance councilors were seen as part of the core curriculum (it was just a couple questionaires between classes at the end of the year in my day), they are not clairvoyant. Better integration between different tertiary study streams so that study at polytech could meaningfully cross-credit to university degrees (and vice versa) might help too. Other than teacher’s college, that is not generally the case.

                      A question; what, if any, extra-curricular university activities did you participate in while studying?

                    • Lanthanide

                      I did Science, not Engineering.

                      As for extra-curricular activities, none, because I’m non-social (not anti-social), introverted and quite happy doing my own thing.

                    • McFlock

                      the other issue is your apparent belief that if someone fails a paper, they get no benefit from it whatsoever, and they learn nothing from it whatsoever. This is, I believe, false. As is the assumption that people who do not turn up to the same lectures as you did not pass the paper, or change course into another paper. There is such a thing as a change of course form.

                  • Chooky

                    … “financial being a key barrier”….agreed!….children of working class parents are very cautious about going to university because they don’t want to accrue debt, despite being very smart.( this is a tragic loss and waste to the country)….But increasingly it is the middle class which is getting squeezed and crunched under Joyce and Nact’s education policy ….. because students whose parents are not poor, but don’t have much to come and go on either, are having to clock up huge debts at a very young age !

                    my daughter has a $40,000 debt….at her age I had no debt and a bursary allowance …which made university free for me …in fact because I had an easy part-time job I left university with money in the bank. I would hesitate to go to university now if I were young

            • Flip 3.1.2.1.6.2

              What the country *needs* is ‘better people’. That is usually obtained via education, skill development, time, experience and thought. A vocational education (commerce, economics, engineering etc.) does not always produce ‘better people’.
              Narrow focused or broad education. Private or public benefits. Free or paid for. Too much with the ‘or’ and not enough of the ‘and’. It is getting the balance right.
              That is what the government is getting wrong. Focus is wrong headed. A sound model that includes benefits to the least advantaged people and not just the economy is sadly lacking. A UBI goes a long way to correcting it.
              It’s the people and the economy.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1.7

            I know you don’t understand economics, but the point of putting prices on things is to encourage efficient use of resources

            I know what the theory of economics says is the reason for pricing. It kinda all falls down when that pricing is then used to prevent a society getting what it needs from using it’s own resources.

            UBI stands for Universal Basic Income, not Universal Living Income. Gareth’s Morgan’s in-depth proposal for UBI was $11,000 a year. You’re deluded if you think that people in jobs currently earning $50k+ a year, after the UBI was introduced would now be earning on the order of $10k on top of the UBI.

            And with that you prove that you fail to understand even basic financials. A UBI is massive redistribution of money through the society. The reason why a UBI will cause a flattening of income will because of taxes. Basically, with a limited amount of money (Yes, the amount available every year is limited. It may be higher or lower than previous years but it’s still a limited amount) to be distributed every year if you give even slightly more out to the many means that the few must take massive cuts and the way to do that is through taxes.

            Oh, and Morgan’s idea is all about keeping the status quo while putting in place a flat tax which is why it’s so low. The effect would be to continue to prevent the majority of people from being entrepreneurial – same as the present system does.

            Coming from someone that thinks NZ has the resources and expertise to build computer chips by ourselves.

            We do and can. Nothing in that video says any different. Yes, we’ll have to build up some infrastructure to do it but that doesn’t actually prevent us from doing it. In fact, the only things preventing us from doing so are the people saying that we can’t.

            After that I also noted that you failed to actually bring up an argument about what I said.

        • Pasupial 3.1.2.2

          DTB

          +1 with all of your comment. But you don’t address the generation saddled with student loans courtesy of Smith/ Richardson. For those under the heel of student loan repayments, the idea that they should pay even more tax to gift the present generation free education is hard to swallow (as I think La demonstrates). However the cost of writing-off that past debt may well be prohibitive for a left government.

          Its been a while since I was at uni, but I think the government still contributes 75% of tuition fees, with the remaining quarter being loaned by the student (or paid for by wealthy parents). I wouldn’t be surprised if NACT had reduced the state contribution, but don’t recall seeing anything that said they’ve done so. This is why our universities now focus so much on attracting international students; from whom they get 100% of the tuition fees without jumping through bureaucratic hoops.

          However, this means that the tertiary education system is not really administered for the benefit of Aotearoa anymore. It’s not uncommon for Kiwis to take off overseas once they’ve got their qualification, and even if they do eventually pay off the loan that’s still 75% of the tuition costs down the drain as far as public good is concerned. Of course some expats just flag the idea of ever coming back and default entirely. Cheating is becoming more prevalent as our universities devolve into diploma-mills. And even if not obtained by deception, the breadth of learning such a degree represents is diminished by the need to relentlessly focus on getting the greatest number of points from the minimum number of easiest classes.

          I fully agree that; “the country needs people to be in close to continuous education in one form or another and the only way to ensure that is to make sure that people have free access to it”. Provided we can rebuild our primary and secondary public schools from the attentions of Parata, the main hope for tertiary would seem to lie in reconstructing our politechs; which have been more neglected than corrupted.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1.2.2.1

            The cost of writing off student loans is less than the cost of keeping this destructive and perverse market failure going.

          • Ennui 3.1.2.2.2

            Yes Parsupial, Techs really need to be re-established. In an industrialised society where specific knowledge and technique is required Techs are invaluable.

            I have work in telecommunications for eons, the Post Office (pre Telecom) used to send people to tech to learn, plus ran their own training and certification. They produced genuinely skills technicians. These people got NZ Certicates of Engineering etc (Diplomas) that implied high value and related to a real task and job. Not degrees, they were too general.

            Cant get these people any more, the education system where you can get a degree in lawn mowing just does not inspire employers like me with any confidence.

            • Tracey 3.1.2.2.2.1

              An techs still do that with heavily influenced industry practicums and work placements and lower class sizes than universities. BUT universities get the majority of the money and th ebiggest bailouts when they hit financial hardtimes.

              We are, as a society, both scornful of academiics and snobbish about them at the same time.

              AUT became a university and one thing it did was pay a large number of people to be assistant Profs and profs on paper so they could use their PBRF\s (funding mechanism) to get money. A decent number of these people never did any work at the university.

              My source, is anecdote and a friend who got paid to be an adjunct professor with every intention of workiing for them, wanting to, but they never asked him to do anything. So he asked questions. As an academic for over 30 years he has quite the network, and his story was common.

              I do not support the move to connect degrees to specific jobs. Apart from anything else, the business of universities is already undermining the independence and universities are no longer society’s conscious or mouthpiece for conscience. Someone needs to be. Our society must be challenged at every turn to ensure it is sufficiently under the microscope.

              • greywarbler

                Tracey
                That is very illuminating.

              • Colonial Viper

                Apart from anything else, the business of universities is already undermining the independence and universities are no longer society’s conscious or mouthpiece for conscience. Someone needs to be. Our society must be challenged at every turn to ensure it is sufficiently under the microscope.

                Yep. The academy and the intellectuals within it have too often been de-fanged, or co-opted, by those in the power structure.

            • Tim 3.1.2.2.2.2

              They did too (as in NZPO, etc).
              And the quality of work in the basics (such as cable management techniques, and a FULL understanding of how it all hangs together) was a lot superior.
              You only have to take a jaunt around your neighbourhood to look at the shoddy workmanship, done by subcontractors whose means of survival is to clip the ticket at every opportunity. For example – as I walk a mere kilometer to a mate’s place, I see Telstra(now Voda) wires hanging off posts (some than will eventually neck someone), wires tangled and snagged around each other such that the next high wind will blow them down. In some cases they’ve been left so long that the local council has come along and tarsealed over the bloody things.
              Let’s not get started either, going back a wee bit after ‘de-regulation’ and free-for-all about the state and reliability of various databses!

              • Colonial Viper

                I have a mate who has just completed his trade training through a *major* cabling/telecoms contractor and honestly, not only did his assessments to get his learning credits sound like a joke, it was so bad that it was hard for him and his young work colleagues going through it all not to treat it as a joke. Confidence inspiring. Learning to tests, and training for pieces of paper.

                • Lanthanide

                  My uncle who has worked in telecommunications his whole life is very dismissive of anyone in his industry younger than about 45, because it’s rare one who actually understand the fundamentals or principles behind how and why everything works.

                  So you end up with basic fuckups like unsafe gauge wiring being used in non-standard jobs because they don’t have the knowledge to understand anything outside of what they routinely deal with.

      • Tracey 3.1.3

        Does that also apply to the “private good” side of businesses?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.2

      “The numbers add up…”

      That sums it up for me too. I suspect being able to do away with various “benefits” – and the bureaucracy that they entail – will be a substantial saving, but enough to cover a UBI?

      There are further benefits as outlined in the various articles – the increase in economic activity amongst the poorest recipients being one obvious one, but someone needs to run the numbers before we can say “let’s do it!”

      • phillip ure 3.2.1

        @ oan..re ‘increase in economic activity amongst the poorest recipients’

        ..that is one of the most efficient/effective/cheapest way to kicksart/stimulate/grow an economy..

        ..for the basic/easily-provable fact..

        ..that instead of salting top end of town tax cuts away..as they do..

        ..that same money directed to the poorest means virtually 100% of that money instantly stimulates the economy..

        .as it goes into retailer’ tills..to pay for the basics of life..

        ..so just on those grounds..the ubi makes more than perfect sense..

        ..a simple uncomplicated way to do away with poverty..

        ..in one fell swoop..

        ..and yes..no more need for that black hole of/for money..

        ..that groaning behemoth that is work and income..

        ..it’s all good..!

        phillip ure..

    • KJT 3.3

      I agree.

      The first task is to get enough people onside that it will not be reversed at each change of Government.

      I see this as a continuation for the campaign for a “living wage” and the campaign against child poverty. Both of which are gaining traction in New Zealand at the moment.

      We need to re-frame the “memes”.

      Away from the “Undeserving or deserving poor” to everyone has a right to inherit a proportion of the wealth our ancestors built up.
      From. “Bludging beneficiaries” to, those living on a social wage are you or me, given a bit of bad luck or ill health.
      From. “Welfare is a cost” to, a decent and inclusive society benefits all of us.
      From. Poverty will always be here, to, we have already, largely, eliminated poverty amongst the elderly with super, which is a UBI for the elderly. How about using the same method to eliminate poverty amongst the rest of us. Starting with children.
      From. “You can’t stop poverty by giving people money”, to, yes we bloody well can.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.3.1

        “…get enough people onside that it will not be reversed at each change of government”

        - that will ensure it’ll never happen. Modern Tory governments will always vandalise everything they can. The vandalism is excused away by a coalition agreement with whatever cats-paw candidate they’ve managed to sleaze in, or a TINA argument.

        Give people strong employment rights, return the value of wages. Provide decent education, healthcare, ACC, a UBI. Engage an extra 100,000 voters.

        Then let the Tories try and take them away. No compromise.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1

          hat will ensure it’ll never happen. Modern Tory governments will always vandalise everything they can. The vandalism is excused away by a coalition agreement with whatever cats-paw candidate they’ve managed to sleaze in, or a TINA argument.

          They will if they can but if you make it so that the legislation is entrenched via referendum and thus requiring a greater referendum* to remove would limit their ability to do so. ATM, it’s just too easy for government to do the wrong things against the will of the people all for their ideology.

          * i.e, If a piece of legislation was put in place via referendum it would require a referendum with a greater number of people supporting it to remove it. I’d suggest 1% more so a piece of legislation that got 50% in a referendum would require 51% to remove. 75% referendum would require 76% to remove.

          • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1.1

            And give us back the power the co-ordinate and launch a general strike. That’s what it’s going to come back down to, anyways.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1.1.1

              We always have the power to launch a general strike no matter what the legislation says.

  3. Colonial Viper 4

    Also an option available to all to boost their UBI to a government funded half time living wage by taking up 20 hrs a week public sector community employment.

    Candidates would be mentored and expected to perform to full employment standards; they would receive performance reviews and would be subject to all aspects employment and H&S law. They would receive references etc. when they wanted to move on to private sector work. In other words, it would be a real half time job for anyone who wanted to supplement their UBI via public service employment.

    Basically, each side progresses at the same rate so that if it doesn’t add up (or if there’s a multi-billion lag between the benefits and the total outlay), the nats can’t pull another TINA and fuck us for another 30 years.

    The trick is that the government can issue the money first, then tax it all back in later. The books will always balance – over time. The first 50,000 jobs could be created over the first 12 months.

    • just saying 4.1

      There isn’t enough volunteer work for those seeking it now.
      I know there is plenty that could be done. Just saying that right now with the way things stand, many seeking volunteer work are unable to be placed and competition is fierce.
      It was like this before WINZ in all their benevolent wisdom, decided to make voluntary work compulsary for many job seekers who cant find paid work (those who don’t want to starve anyway).

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Quite right JS. So perhaps it’s a good opportunity to come up with some wish lists as society is currently missing out on the value add of millions of available community work hours annually.

        Let’s see if we can’t get 15,000 state houses built a year by the Govt instead of 10,000 pa by the private sector…then there is a tonne of DoC field work and catchment water quality monitoring to be done…and in Otago/Southland they cut home care to thousands of elderly in the last few years…and I know quite a few teachers who could do with a teachers aid on hand…running night classes and delivering civics education to local communities…and of course employment would be created providing training and supervision to all these people. I’m sure you could also add many many worthwhile things to this list.

        • McFlock 4.1.1.1

          I suspect that if the education required for those jobs were free, many folk would be able to provide that work through conventional channels rather than any new part-time scheme.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            Yep – whatever works to get people to the coal face. If the education were free eg night classes, student numbers would be huge…generating it’s own employment. Nice virtuous circle stuff.

            • phillip ure 4.1.1.1.1.1

              @ cv..

              “..Nice virtuous circle stuff..”

              i think that ‘virtuous-circle’ mantra/concept is one that should be fully-developed/riffed on by the progressives amongst us..

              ..that give money to poorest/stimulate-economy/lower healthcare-costs.. is another of those..

              ..’virtuous circles’..

              ..allowing cheap-as glaucoma-operations for the over 60′s..instead of paying for decades(?) of caring for a blind elderly person..

              ..is another of those ‘virtuous-circles’..

              ..it’s a powerful idea/election-meme..

              ..job-splitting/sharing (30 hrs per wk each..)..is another unemployment-ending ‘virtuous-circle’..

              phillip ure..

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.2

          “and in Otago/Southland they cut home care to thousands of elderly in the last few years”

          I can’t help but think that this is all just wishful thinking on your part.

          People paid by the government to look after the elderly need to meet certain basic standard levels. It’s rather a big scandal when X or Y isn’t done or is done poorly, and people end up dead or sick.

          These are jobs that require certain skills, temperament and dedication that not just anybody can do.

          This just reminds me of the silly discussion that cropped up after the CHCH quakes, with several commenters on here suggesting that we should just get the unemployed to fix all the broken drains because it would be much cheaper and faster than waiting for the qualified drainlayers to do it, without realising that despite what it may seem on the surface, drainlaying is actually a very skilled job that is very expensive to fix if you fuck it up the first time and therefore not something that unemployed people can be made to do at the drop of a hat.

          I think there’s an instructive lesson in that fact that in CHCH what they got the unskilled unemployed to do was security patrols and gardening of red zone properties, not drainlaying.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2.1

            For people who aren’t so good at dealing with other people, I think that there are plenty of wilding pines and possums which need dealing with. Something for everyone?

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.2.1.1

              “For people who aren’t so good at dealing with other people,”

              The more fundamental problem is people who simply can’t be given responsibility for anything other than the very basics, because they aren’t cable of meeting basic levels of competence.

              It’s not uncommon to hear stories from business owners about new hires, particularly the yoof, who fail to turn up to work, randomly leave the work site without telling anyone, do poor jobs, don’t communicate well, etc.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep exactly. Very frustrating, those employees. This is one reason I am particularly keen that full employment policies target youth first: good work habits have to be taught then enforced, and it’s easier at 18 years of age than it is at 26 years of age after being long term unemployed.

                • Lanthanide

                  Yes, definitely there is a large amount of ingrained attitude that could be dealt with by early intervention.

                  But that doesn’t answer with what you’re going to do with these troublesome people right now, it only tells us that we should hopefully have many fewer of them in the future.

                • greywarbler

                  CV
                  Good point about starting with unemployed youth. Did you catch cricklewood’s anecdote about new young workers being harrassed by their friends to buy them beers, stay up late drinking and driving past their workplace calling out to them and being a nuisance if they weren’t prepared to support their friends spendthrift unemployed unemployable lifestyle?

                  Also there are anecdotes of low income teenagers bullying friends who are trying to achieve to their potential at school and prepare themselves for a productive life as an earner and self-supporter in the community.

                  Peer pressure. Stop it starting by getting the young to work early.

                  Lanthanide makes good points. There is a need to discipline oneself, listen, learn, have commitment to a job that one enjoys whether it is volunteer or not. There is also the consideration that people only need to be working for a fairly short time, if they are older and still be really useful..

                  The entity which employs them needs to have the right person. If I am elderly I don’t want just anyone handling And an example of the wrong person to consider rehabilitating anywhere there was ethical behaviour required. Think Bell? and the RSA that he was sent to, where he wanted to steal and was unrestrained in his behaviour so much that he killed and injured people. It is important that there is integrity from the government or agency handling people as well as the people providing employment.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep saw that from cricklewood, it was very worthwhile considering.

                    A job guarantee or full employment policy for 25s and under changes dynamics by letting all your mates also work.Out of any circle of mates a few losers will still layabout, but the friends who want to sign up together and move on, will.

                    Re: Bell example, I think work socialisation is an important aspect of what we are trying to do with young people, so for the first few months you would make sure that inexperienced workers were working as part of a team, observed, supervised and mentored. In other words, things done properly, and not young people just left stuck out on their own to fail or get involved in trouble.

                    • greywarbler

                      Yes sounds good
                      Just the system needs to be pragmatic. People who have that psychopathic streak which Bell showed and I think he was out of jail also, should be treated with the care they need.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yep, there has to be good screening, mentoring and supervision. My call however is that young people who have been released from prison, who are more often than not brown and from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, will benefit from this programme the most, and it will help break the expensive cycle of re-offending.

                      You might not have them looking after a creche first up, but clearing gorse and wilding pines from conservation land and maintaining DOC tracks, assisting on state housing building sites, etc are just a few valuable things that they could do.

                      Question: who screens the sociopaths from entering the corporate world, and entering Parliament? In the final analysis, they do far far more damage to people in our society.

                    • greywarbler

                      CV
                      You don’t have to preach to me about helping people who get a bad start in life, and even better, preventing those. But I am against tossing them into ordinary society and telling people to just deal with it, because they are victims of society and have been disadvantaged.

                      I am sure you would not wish to show little consideration for lower income people who tend to be the ones at the coalface when there is helping others required. I remember reading that the people who experience crime most are those who are on small incomes, at lower social strata, which does not reflect the media approach or public understanding.

                  • Molly

                    Bell struck me as a typical FASD person. Both his behaviours and his physical traits fit the syndrome.

                    If that is indeed the case, you are discussing permanent physical brain damage caused in utero. I have a dear friend with a child with this disability, and since getting involved with her and her attempts to find help for her child within the health and CYFS systems, have absolutely no doubt that many of these children are never treated – and end up in jail, on the streets or dead.

                    It took several years of professional appointments, until finally finding a psychologist that understood and dealt with FASD. Her estimate of the number of children in CYFS with this disorder (and accompanying life choices and behaviours) was over 50%.

                    That makes the lack of knowledge and appropriate treatment all the more appalling – and reduces the likelihood of good outcomes for child, family and communities.

              • Tracey

                In the 50′s, 60′s 70′s, 80′s, 90′s the yoof were bemoaned, for their hair, and their music, the yoof are always seen as the destruction of society. This is NOT new.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Having said that, the youth of the 60′s and 70′s are actually proving to be the destruction of society…

          • weka 4.1.1.2.2

            I agree with your point Lanth (see my comment below). But the elderly services that CV refer to were cleaning, not personal cares, and staff being paid low wages to do those jobs don’t get very well trained.

            The point I took from CV’s idea was to tie education/training into the public service jobs. I suggested starting with the easy stuff.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.2.3

            Lanthi

            There is no “tone” in what I am writing. I am partly thinking out loud, to try and nut this whole thing out. So, my queries are part of a genuine process, not an attack.

            “People paid by the government to look after the elderly need to meet certain basic standard levels. It’s rather a big scandal when X or Y isn’t done or is done poorly, and people end up dead or sick.

            These are jobs that require certain skills, temperament and dedication that not just anybody can do.”

            Agreed. And how much do they get paid for their work? Maybe if they all got degrees first? But then they have to pay some of that, so have a loan. Now they have qualifications will they now be paid more than. say, women and men from the Phillipines?

            Christchurch rebuild. It’s not all about shortages, it’s also about the perceived lack of cheap labour. The thing that would drive that thinking appears not to be supplying the finished product cheaper to the victims of earthquakes but to increase profits.

            I can’t help but think of Harvey Baines each time I drive past a new “development”. It’s not about caring for old people it’s about an opportunity to make a buck for “me and the shareholders, which includes me again”.

            We like to think of ourselves as civicilised but if Christians need any further proof that Darwin was right, look at our economic structure and the behaviour of those within it. Survival of the richest baby.

        • David H 4.1.1.3

          To say nothing of the people in my age range, near 60, that have a lifetime of skills and knowledge. We could with some help with educational supplies and classes, teach everything from Cooking, to Sewing, and the millions of other ‘life’ skills that have been lost over the years of heartache and wallet break that we have had to endure.

          • just saying 4.1.1.3.1

            I completely agree David H and hope these skills can be valued and passed on all over the place.
            There are some good ways this is happening that I’ve seen (such as through the sustainable movements) but I worry about some of the other kinds in which mature-aged middle-class people descend upon the working class, particularly beneficiaries, without any training that challenges their own privilege and often narrow and predjudiced world view. I think we’ll see more of this kind of thing with whanau-ora type initiatives.

            As long as there is no pressure for the recipients of such schemes, I guess the interactions are usually mutually beneficial, but it makes me uneasy to see the movement towards the most vulnerable having inappropriate “help” foisted on them. One of the most positive aspects of the studies above about the UBI was the fact that it turned out the poor knew what was best for them. They were free to make their own decsions and I think this was a key to the success of the “free money”. Fact is, poverty is a resource issue. Long term that brings on many other problems, but it is the poor who are in the best position to decide how to deal with them once they have the means to do so.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      “Candidates would be mentored and expected to perform to full employment standards; they would receive performance reviews and would be subject to all aspects employment and H&S law. ”

      It’ll be a massive overhead to provide this.

      I guess that in itself is a job creation scheme, though.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Indeed. The alternative we are following now is to have all this work not done, all these people young and old uncared for and not learning, and millions of potential work hours going to waste annually instead of building up societal capital.

    • weka 4.3

      “In other words, it would be a real half time job for anyone who wanted to supplement their UBI via public service employment.”

      This is good.

      One thing to solve as part of that at some point is that the capacity of NZ to run schemes like this in a good way has varied alot (by capacity I mean the intention and attitude of the people running them, as well as having the right skills). There would need to be a way of setting this up that encouraged best practice, so establishing best practice would a good place to start. Who already does this well? Who aren’t doing so well? What have we learned?

      The other is I have some gut discomfit about including something like homehelp for the elderly, at least at the start. In theory it makes sense. In practice, that whole system needs an overhaul. Yes NACT cut funding, but the provision of service is done by private agencies who are in competition with each other and sometimes drop the ball. AFAIK currently domestic assistance staff aren’t given any training in the actual job of cleaning etc (they get training in things employee health and safety). They’re usually paid really badly too. One of the things that needs to change culturally is that that we need to value caregivers much more highly, both in wages and respect. I think trying to solve the problems around all that whilst integrating into a new system would be tricky. So it might be good to prioritise the list so that the easy, straightforward things are near the top.

      (in the meantime, homehelp for the elderly should be provided via the health system like it was until recently).

      Some of that last paragraph depends on the rate of the UBI. CV, were you meaning that the 20hrs /wk are paid at the living wage rate, or that the total income works out at a living wage weekly rate?

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        One of the things that needs to change culturally is that that we need to value caregivers much more highly, both in wages and respect.

        Yes indeed, weka. Emotional labour is vastly undervalued and too often unrecognised/underpaid/unpaid today.

        Some of that last paragraph depends on the rate of the UBI. CV, were you meaning that the 20hrs /wk are paid at the living wage rate, or that the total income works out at a living wage weekly rate?

        I’m assuming a UBI set at around $250 pw in hand or thereabouts, which every NZer gets. (No doubt with some top ups for those in special circumstances).

        For people opting for the half time work option, their income would be 20 hrs x $18.40 = $368 gross pw, where a $5K or $10K income tax free threshold means that a large portion of it is tax free. (They would have some time left over to work part time in the private sector – where the private sector employer would have less leverage over them – or without that sufficient income to live week to week if that’s all they wanted).

        What I’m actually not that sure about then is how the UBI is supposed to interact with people who work in part time jobs, whether they are public service or private sector jobs. Perhaps someone who has put more thought into the UBI could explain the options here? Because I presume the bank executive earning $100K pa still receives the UBI, right? But some of it is clawed back via a higher top tax rate, is how I presume it might work.

        • greywarbler 4.3.1.1

          CV
          But watch the words ‘emotional labour’. Domestic labour may be actually a better connotation. Emotional sounds weepy, or overwrought. Like the mothers who spend a lot of their day checking on their children at school and elsewhere with spy cameras or email. I know you don’t mean that sort of emotional, but it’s a blotter of a word.

          • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1.1

            Fair enough points. However, I’m probably not going to stop using the language. Work caring for others is indeed emotional labour, whether it is by a GP or by a personal carer or by a parent cooking and cleaning at home, and it cannot be properly replaced by say automation or online services.

        • weka 4.3.1.2

          thanks CV. So that’s roughly $555/wk in the hand all up.

          Here’s Red’s figures on how the tax side of things would work.

          1. Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw… or $10,000 pa. Over the age of 65 the amount is raised to be equal to superannuation around $300 pw. This is the ‘negative tax’ component.

          2. All income is taxed at a single flat rate… say 40%. This is the ‘positive tax’ component.

          3. All first-tier individual benefits such as the dole and superannuation are eliminated.

          4. There would remain a range of smaller and targeted secondary benefits such as sickness/disability/accommodation etc that would be administered by the department most directly responsible for that social function. (eg the sickness/disability benefit is logically a function of Health)

          (For a more sophisticated analysis I’d direct readers to this country’s one it’s most stalwart proponents of UBI …Keith Rankin. )

          At $25k income total tax = (25,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 0. Total nett tax rate = 0/25 = 0%

          At $40k income total tax = (40,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 4,000. Total nett tax rate = 4/40 = 10%

          At $60k income total tax = (60,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 14,000. Total nett tax rate = 14/60 = 23%

          At $80k income total tax = (80,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 22,000. Total nett tax rate = 22/80 = 27.5%

          At $100k income total tax = (100,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 30,000. Total nett tax rate = 30/100 = 30%

          At $200k income total tax = (200,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 70,000. Total nett tax rate = 70/200 = 35%

          In other words total nett tax starts at zero for those earning $25k and asymptopically approaches the flat tax rate of 40% for those on very high incomes.

          Full article: thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-revisited/

        • Will@Welly 4.3.1.3

          C.V. + 1 regarding remarks on caregivers. Perhaps the most marginalized and grossly underpaid members of our society. At some stage, most of us will be indebted to them. We seem to have lost the word respect from our vocabulary.

  4. geoff 5

    Have there been any Labour party remits about UBI?

  5. Pasupial 6

    I read the linked Bregman article via NRT earlier this evening. The stand-out section for me was:

    “Then came that fatal discovery: the number of divorces in Seattle [one of the five 1960s USA test locations for a basic income] had gone up by more than 50%. This percentage made the other, positive results seem utterly uninteresting. It gave rise to the fear that a basic income would make women much too independent. For months, the law proposal was sent back and forth between the Senate and the White House, eventually ending in the dustbin of history.

    Later analysis would show that the researchers had made a mistake – in reality the number of divorces had not changed.”

    The facts may be on the side of the UBI, but with the last few decades of demonising beneficiaries and increasing anti-socialism; I can’t see mere evidence vanquishing bigotry. The right have too much invested in their bludger bashing memes to change now.

    As for Cunliffe’s Labour? I can’t see it happening in any short term – they may be less sold-out than previously; but still willing to compromise principles for power. The Green Party have principles aplenty, but power may elude them. Mana may be up for it, but still have dues to pay…

    It’d be great for Aotearoa/ NZ to once more spring to the forefront of social policy – the hasty power of our unicameral parliament should be as potent a force for good as for ill. But even incremental progress to a more equatable society would be better than what is happening now.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      The answer probably has to come from organised movements of people outside the parliamentary parties, pressuring the main parties (left and right) to act. I think we have one maybe two more decade of relative stability before fossil depletion and climate change really starts kicking in hard, so the short term is unfortunately what we have left to deal with.

      • Pasupial 6.1.1

        CV

        The right are not going to go anywhere near a UBI. The “elite” like things just fine how they are, and their aspirational fan-boys are just slavering for their own slice of the pie. It’ll take “organised movements of people” just to stop them gutting whatever progress is achieved during the next left government (hopefully commencing this year!).

        As much as I like the vision of Weka’s “a pan-left body”, things are going to have to get much worse before people can subsume their personal greed into community action. And by then we’ll probably have burned through that “decade of relative stability before fossil depletion and climate change really starts kicking in hard”.

        But then again; I could be mistaken. Just because you can’t win, doesn’t mean you should give in.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Well, one alternative is for all of us to bunker down and go every man/woman and their dog for themselves, as the Righties would like to force each individual to do. However giving the Right a shit load of resistance and fight is imo an act of morality.

          No one has taken a practical vision of forward looking and alternative socialism to the voters in forever. Chuck in the dangerous unmet challenges of energy depletion and climate change…I think that there will be an audience (even if not a huge one). Enough to make each political party think hard on where it stands on the issues.

        • weka 6.1.1.2

          I wasn’t meaning a pan-left body to solve all those problems (although that is a good idea). I meant here on ts, that we pool our collective experience and knowledge and produce something that moves the UBI concept along.

          For instance, a document that outlines what a UBI is, how it would work in NZ, what the benefits are etc. A document that is easy to read and understand, and can be distrubuted easily and widely. Get the idea out there in ways that people can engage with. Cover the concept and give plenty of concrete examples as well so people can see how it would work.

          Re the conservatives, I think there are two issues here. One is present it on the economics and social stability/cohesion. The other is that not all conservatives are the same, and it seems to me that there are still enough old school conservatives who have social ethics who might be persuaded to consider the idea. Some of them are people with resource, so court them (hint, calling them ‘the elite’ won’t work ;-) ).

          • Pasupial 6.1.1.2.1

            Weka

            I read; “Develop a pan-left body of work within a NZ context”, as; “Develop a pan-left body to work within a NZ context” – it must be getting late (actually early now). Both of which seem good ideas.

            Good luck with that converting tories project – I’ve had enough of their company just being politely nonconfrontational with some over the last few weeks to last me a while.

            • KJT 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Getting right wingers on board may not be as hard as you think.

              See Burt, below.

              We are not going to get them on board by couching it in terms of us against them.
              I think we have all had a lesson recently on how well that works. :-)

              Putting myself out their about child poverty recently has had positive responses from people which have surprised me. Including some I regarded as rabid RWNJ.

              It is not just left wingers who are supporting food in schools.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Waiting for the National Party to do the right thing involves more broken children. Let them explain why their policies kill people. Compromise with that? Pfft.

          • Flip 6.1.1.2.2

            ” For instance, a document that outlines what a UBI is, how it would work in NZ, what the benefits are etc. ….”

            Exactly what I was thinking Weka.

            There are a number of criticisms of a UBI that will be levelled which will need to be neutralised and such a document must do that.

        • Tracey 6.1.1.3

          Didnt the original “no tax| ACT party have a kind of UI policy?

    • weka 6.2

      “The facts may be on the side of the UBI, but with the last few decades of demonising beneficiaries and increasing anti-socialism; I can’t see mere evidence vanquishing bigotry. The right have too much invested in their bludger bashing memes to change now.”

      I noted also that the decades when various UBIs were trialed were pre-permanent unemployement. That plus the fact that the work ethic has changed along with the compassion ethic, means specific strategies are needed to promote a UBI that are different than the 60s and 70s.

      • Pasupial 6.2.1

        “…the work ethic has changed along with the compassion ethic”

        Also fear and insecurity have increased apace with structural unemployment. Which has made the scapegoating of beneficiaries so very necessary for so many.

        But then, those changes in recent decades are almost a strange cause for hope. It won’t be overnight, but future decade’s ideas of work and compassion will be as different from today’s as ours is from the 1980s. And one has to believe that they’ll be more socially inclusive, if only because we have presently swung so far in the exclusionary direction.

        • karol 6.2.1.1

          We got to this state of beeneficiary bashing, etc, after decades or propaganda from the “neoliberals”. Right here is a different, long term narrative that can go hand in hand with more immediately practical moves towards a caring, inclusive, and sustainable society: one where the income gap is greatly diminshed.

          • Tracey 6.2.1.1.2

            So glad QoT found this article and that NZ Femme posted it here and you made it into a thread.

            My brother has suggested that none of the countries referred to in the article have a welfare system…and that might distort any application here.

            London, England = welfare system

            Kenya
            Emergency cash distributions are also more cost effective than food aid. Concern Kenya Country Director Anne O’Mahony says, “In an emergency, we want to respond as quickly as possible. This technology can get the money here in minutes, as opposed to the very difficult logistics and high transportation costs of shipping in food.”

            Says O’Mahony of the new pilot launched by Concern and the Government of Kenya in Nairobi in January 2010, “Before this pilot, in Kenya’s informal settlements and slums, there was no social welfare and no safety nets of any kinds. If you didn’t have money, you didn’t eat.” Building on the learning and advocacy of Concern’s first cash transfer, the Government of Kenya has for the first time provided the equivalent of €6 million in funding to provide social welfare programs such as this one to protect the most vulnerable from further shocks and abject poverty. Concern Worldwide is proud to be part of history BY having been asked by the Kenyan Government to help implement this program.

            Uganda
            Namibia – has a ministry of labour and social welfare http://www.namibiaatwork.gov.na/index.php/partners/line-ministries/ministry-of-labour-and-social-welfaremalawi

            Brasil
            p to: navigation, search
            Minister of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation Patrus Ananias discussing the program
            President Lula giving a speech to recipients of Bolsa Família and other federal assistance programs in Diadema
            The family of Selma Ferreira was the first recipient of Bolsa Escola, a precursor to Bolsa Família enacted by governor Cristovam Buarque of the Federal District in 1995.

            Bolsa Família (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈbowsɐ faˈmiliɐ], Family Allowance) is a social welfare program of the Brazilian government, part of the Fome Zero network of federal assistance programs. Bolsa Família provides financial aid to poor Brazilian families; if they have children, families must ensure that the infants attend school and are vaccinated. The program attempts to both reduce short-term poverty by direct cash transfers and fight long-term poverty by increasing human capital among the poor through conditional cash transfers. It also works to give free education to children who cannot afford to go to school to show the importance of education.[1]

            The Economist described Bolsa Família as an “anti-poverty scheme invented in Latin America” (which) “is winning converts worldwide.”[2]

            Mexico
            MEXICO CITY (AP) — In an unexpected turn, President Enrique Pena Nieto is proposing sweeping new social programs for Mexico, including the first nationwide pensions and unemployment insurance. It would be financed in part by cutting tax loopholes given to big business over the years.

            The surprise came Sunday when Pena Nieto gave a speech that had been billed as his announcement of a tax system overhaul. He went much further, unveiling a variety of programs to improve Mexico’s social welfare.

            In addition to the programs for pensions and job-loss payments, he proposed the country’s first carbon tax on fossil fuels used by industry, a levy often touted as a way to combat climate change. He also called for a tax on soft drinks, which he said is needed to combat Mexico’s high rate of obesity. September 2013

            South Africa
            JOHANNESBURG, 2 February 2011 (IRIN) – With nearly one in three South Africans expected to receive state assistance in the form of welfare benefits during the 2011/12 financial year, commentators are wondering how the country can afford to keep providing an ever expanding social safety net.

            According to the latest South Africa Survey, released on 1 February by independent think-tank the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), the number of social grant beneficiaries has increased by more than 300 percent in the past nine years, while the number of registered individual taxpayers has grown at a much slower rate.

            Only about 12 percent of South Africans (5.9 million individuals) paid personal income tax in 2009/10, while 14 million claimed child-support, old-age, disability or other types of social grants.

            Canada = welfare

            USA = welfare

          • Tracey 6.2.1.1.3

            Here is sample of replies from my right voting family to the article. First off I can say all three read it.

            family member number 1 – male aged 77

            When the global recession hit about 7 years ago the Australian Government paid every man, woman and child $1000 each. The result? Australia never went into recession. However the recipients used that grant it stimulated the economy and the Government’s tax take went up, not down. It is only now, some 7 years later, that it looks like the wheels are getting wobbly on the lucky country’s economic train caused, not by internal demand or spending dropping off butr because a fall of in demand for minerals by China. So the proposal to just hand out money with no strings can work even on a total country’s population.

            80,000 jobs last last year in the mining sector. What now? Another cash handout? It worked before/

            Family member number 2 – Male 53

            Definitely interesting. Of course all these countries did not have an existing welfare system so it would be interesting to see if it would work here.

            Family member number 3 male 49

            first email reply
            Seriously interesting.

            Could be Act Party policy! They used to say that it was an arrogance to believe poor people cannot budget, make wise decisions and do what is best for their family and children. Once. Not sure what they stand for now.

            Second email

            Oh it’s all so jolly nice and efficient in theory isn’t it? Targeted hand outs like the article suggests perhaps but not to all.

            If you ask the Auckland police how ‘homeless’ the 12 or so beggars are that panhandle on Queen Street are they will tell you about half of them are just there to take drug orders and to dish out the drugs for their gang affiliated bosses. About six are genuinely homeless. I know this through a good source. Very reliable. Indeed….

            my emphasis

            Note how quickly the lst one superimposed his “source’s” viewpoint over the research?

  6. RedLogix 7

    Thanks KJT. And thanks to weka for digging up the older UBI posts, two of which are mine. I’d even forgotten about one of them.

    About 15 years ago I had the conceit to imagine that I had invented the idea. Of course it has a very old and respectable history – something though I was completely unaware of until I googled it. But I’d like to tell the story of how I stumbled on it for myself.

    At the time I was dating a woman who was supporting herself and children on the DPB. Like the majority people on the DPB she was working hard training for a new profession and as I recall, once the youngest was about 12 she made it back into full-time work. Her determination to get off it was palpable.

    I guess it was the first time in my sheltered life I’d actually seen how diminished and demeaning life was for beneficiaries. Two things that stood out:

    1. The poverty trap. As much as my friend was keen and capable of working, the effective marginal tax-rate on any secondary earnings was so absurdly high that it made little sense to do so. When you took into account the direct and indirect costs of working – she was actually worse off.

    2. The dignity trap. My friend was single through absolutely no possible fault or action of her own, yet the process of applying and complying for the benefit (and things were a fair bit more benign in those days) was wholly corrosive. The DPB was an essential necessity of her life, her right as a citizen – yet the administration of that right, reduced her to the status of a supplicant.

    This double-whammy of economic helplessness and social humiliation is a toxic stew, which conservatives rightly point out accumulates harm the longer it goes on. Yet patently the false binary choice which they propose of no benefit is far worse. I like to think people who imagine this are generally too young to understand what happened to women before the DPB.

    Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that these two pernicious effects of our benefit system were the inevitable result of the way it was targeted. The rest followed from there. Get rid of benefit targeting, make a basic income a basic, inalienable human right – and it hit me right there how powerful this idea is.

    It’s a small story, but its the reason why this idea is so important to me.

    • LynWiper 7.1

      +100. Couldn’t agree more RL.

      • greywarbler 7.1.1

        RL
        Puts it succinictly – it sucks for beneficiaries. This double-whammy of economic helplessness and social humiliation is a toxic stew.
        That’s why I couldn’t overlook David Shearer’s one abt a bene up on his/her roof. WTF. From a supposedly people person with a mind and heart.

        • phillip ure 7.1.1.1

          @ greywarbler..re shearer..

          +1..

          ..didn’t pagani write that for him..?

          ..tho’ he did say/argue it..so pagani penning it is of no account..

          ..’cept to mark paganis’ card..

          phillip ure..

          • Tim 7.1.1.1.1

            Their ilk (Shearer and Paganini) annoy me – because they look at it all from that “We don’t know how lucky we are” perspective.
            What they really mean is You don’t know HOW lucky YOU are – by comparison with the scenes of devastation they’ve witnessed elsewhere – THOUGH not actually ever LIVED it.
            YOU should be thankful for small mercies!
            WE know best, and believe us when we tell you …. WE’RE fighting YOUR cause
            WE’VE paid our dues – if only because as hacks, we’ve been around a while now.

            …. sickening.
            I’ll hum it Dave & Josie – You guys strum it!

            Neither of those fuckwits could do without their impedimenta, except they’re perfectly comfortable for everyone else around them to HAVE to do so.

            actually now I think about it – that’s probably what marks them most s being ‘faux-left’ in my mind.
            I wonder if David Shearer actually ever followed up on some of the people he met on his travels … one or two of them made it to NZ

        • greywarbler 7.1.1.2

          phllip ure
          I’m a bit confused exactly who said and who wrote. I have read that Shearer was supposed to have said it. If I am wrong it shows how careful you have to not allow wrong ideas to get into public consciousness. Easy to spatter mud, hard to remove it.

          • phillip ure 7.1.1.2.1

            shearer said it..my understanding..(without definitive-proof) is that the male pagani wrote it for him..

            ..but it doesn’t matter really..

            ..’cos shearer said it/argued for/defended it..

            ..his nadir..probably..

            ..phillip ure..

    • karol 7.2

      It’s a small story, RL. But your friend’s experience is one that many others have experienced (or something very similar), and it’s one that is not heard often enough.

  7. burt 8

    It’s too simple to be popular with the politicians. Labour would be unelectable without promising to punish rich pricks.

    • Tracey 8.1

      and you have given a perfect example of simple. Thanks for your service.

    • karol 8.2

      It’s too simple to be popular with the politicians. NAct would be unelectable without promising to punish beneficiaries.

      FIFY.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.3

      …punish rich pricks with higher per capita GDP so they make even more money. No, wait…

    • KJT 8.4

      Hey. Burt has said a couple of things I can agree with lately. The effects of blind partisanship and the harm of major frequent flip flops between policies.

      Maybe we should listen.

      • felix 8.4.1

        I think you need to listen more closely. burt has simply repackaged his left-bashing antics.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.4.2

        Guess what, if the left proposes compromise policies the right will shift its demands further to the right and will trash multi-party agreements when in office.

        The flip flops are between good governance and profit-driven vandalism with a side order of stupidity. I for one see no room for compromise.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.4.2.1

          Guess what, if the left proposes compromise policies the right will shift its demands further to the right and will trash multi-party agreements when in office.

          QFT

          And that is, of course, how the centre has become radical right-wing after 30+ years of neo-liberalism.

          • Colonial Viper 8.4.2.1.1

            And we have well less than 30 years of runway left if we want to do anything effective re: getting ready for the future.

    • KJT 8.5

      Burt. I am a “rich prick”. Much less rich now, materially, than I was, but immeasurably richer in other ways.

      • greywarbler 8.5.1

        kjt
        Now, now, don’t talk to that rude man. it just encourages him. Look haughty and walk away.
        But that would probably just encourage Burt – he must be a masochist coming here.

  8. Flip 9

    Here is a potential criticism.

    What is to stop increases in costs being immediately applied as a result of a UBI?

    People have more money so up goes rent, costs and food prices etc forcing further increases in UBI.

    End result is inflation which I understand is a bit of a swear word.

    There would have to some link to prevent the increase in prices simultaneously.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The answer is simple, and a capitalist one: competition. The government acts to ensure that all crucial markets are competitive, or otherwise highly regulated if they are like a monopoly. Further, there is plenty of spare productive capacity in the economy right now; demand driven inflation is a good ways off given the amount of slack available in most sectors.

      • weka 9.1.1

        What do you mean by competition there CV? Because I think Chch is a good example of competition in the rental market, and it’s not working out well for the tennants/people needing housing. Or do you mean state intervention (eg Housing NZ) to make it work better?

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          You read my mind – the Government can set the bar that the private sector meets re: cost, quality and security of rentals. Thereby increasing competition on the supply side.

          The Christchurch rental market, afaik, is actually one of demand side competition, just like the rental market anywhere within 5km of the Auckland CBD. In those markets renters have to compete with each other to meet sometimes exorbitant prices and conditions set by landlords – for a public good that’s definitely the wrong kind of competition.

      • Flip 9.1.2

        The government acts to ensure that all crucial markets are competitive, or otherwise highly regulated if they are like a monopoly.”

        That would require the government to govern. Not happening at the moment.

    • KJT 9.2

      Any moves towards a UBI, or even increasing the social wage, as a step in the right direction, will require more progressive taxation.

      • greywarbler 9.2.1

        Moves to UBI will increase unemployment, in the short term, as the Work and Income wasp nests are emptied out. Any useful work for wasps in other areas of the economy? They could go into apple seasonal work, sorting the bad apples out of the barrel. Hahahaha.

    • felix 9.3

      That’s one of the many problems of allowing your economy to be directed according to what’s best for the short-term gain of private individuals and companies.

    • kenny 9.4

      So how come rents, prices in general, house prices etc are still going up right now, when there is not enough money for a lot of people to buy ‘stuff’ without the use of their credit cards? Any money available is usually debt money.

      There is a shortage of money for many, yet prices still rise. Inflation is caused by a shortage of ‘product’ or businesses trying to re-coup their outlays – they may have held off on price increases but have reached the point were they can no longer afford to do so.

      • Flip 9.4.1

        @Kenny
        “Any money available is usually debt money.”

        You’ve kinda answered your own question.

        In addition price rises are being driven by foreign “investment” and increases in housing expectations (bigger, newer, fewer people per house), reducing supply.

        • kenny 9.4.1.1

          @Flip

          “Any money available is usually debt money” “you’ve kinda answered your own question”

          How have I answered my own question? It’s not as if this is something new; banks have been issuing debt money for years (Fractional Reserve Banking). It’s not the amount of money but the shortage of product which matters. Hence the shortage of houses in Auckland and Christchurch is driving up house prices/rents in these cities, not the amount of money.

          Is there a shortage of new cars for sale in NZ? No, the prices are coming down. If there was a shortage the prices would go up. Nothing to do with the amount of money available.

  9. captain hook 10

    As JK Galbraith pointed out you can only be a winner if there are losers.
    Wonder what the poor people did for Christmas this year?

    • Flip 10.1

      “As JK Galbraith pointed out you can only be a winner if there are losers.”
      + the number of people in NZ

      Competition is only good when all parties are of comparable capability and it is a game. It is no fun for any team to be thrashed.

      Economics is not a game. It affects peoples’ lives. This is the obscenity of competition in the economy.

      The “teams” in the global economy are not evenly matched.

    • @ hook..

      ..not a lot..

      phillip ure..

  10. burt 11

    One anonymous knucklehead

    The flip flops are between good governance and profit-driven vandalism with a side order of stupidity. I for one see no room for compromise.

    And the problem is the other side of your partisan nut job unthinking verbal diarrhoea is;

    The flip flops are between good governance and welfare-driven vandalism with a side order of stupidity. I for one see no room for compromise.

    But it’s awesome you’re just proving my point by seeing no other way than you’re own narrow slogan driven word view, good luck fighting the same shitty battle with blinkers on for the rest of your life.

    • Flip 11.1

      Explain what you mean by ‘welfare driven vandalism’ and how that works. I do not get much from the meaningless slogan.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.1.1

        +1

        Come on Burt – what is “welfare-driven vandalism”? I note that the lowest unemployment in NZ history was in 2007. I further note that it is now at a near-record high.

        Edit: I further note that a UBI renders your prejudices irrelevant. Is that why you don’t like it?

        Oops – you’ve failed the reality check yet again!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.2

      “unthinking verbal diarrhoea”

      On the contrary, “profit-driven vandalism” is no slogan. It’s shorthand for the Employment Contracts Act, asset sales, charter schools, National’s (all-time-low) Standards, Pike River Mine, Sky City money laundering, sleazy back-room deal making, for record government debt, record unemployment, etc. etc. etc.

      Now, this discussion is about a UBI (not “welfare”, whatever you think that is). I think Tories will oppose the idea because it will help people they don’t know, and reduce the social gradient and they might see strangers in the supermarket. I further think that to attempt compromise with such idiocy is a mistake.

  11. burt 12

    You guys are great soldiers for a party …. Well done. If lowest unemployment in 2007 was actually because of sustainable policies rather than government intervention we wouldn’t have been in recession before the GFC. By the time Labour were thrown out of office in 2008 ( just one year after you claim the country was in best shape ever ) we .. NZ … Were facing a decade of deficits and raising unemployment… That rising unemployment that will only be solved by business and government returning to profit/surplus.

    But hey … Keep that little dream that it’s National’s fault the economy went completely tits up on Labour’s watch after 8 years if Labour policy … It’s people like you who never hold your party accountable that keep it going so it can get another chance at implementing its ideology which has never ever worked in a sustainable way.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 12.1

      According to Bill English and John Key the fifth Labour government left the economy in good shape to weather global economic conditions. Not sure where you’re getting your information from.

      “I want to stress that New Zealand starts from a reasonable position in dealing with the uncertainty of our economic outlook.” “In New Zealand we have room to respond. This is the rainy day that Government has been saving up for,”

      Bill English, Dec 18th 2008.

      PS: another reality-check fail. Dear me.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      the debt based money supplied ponzi global economy is NOT sustainable, and it has not been for decades.

      Please catch up.

    • KJT 12.3

      Um, Burt. We didn’t go into recession until well after most of the rest of the OECD.

  12. Ennui 13

    Looks like most people think a UBI is a good thing, me too. Now the hard part, paying for it.

    Getting really basic, my accounts work like this:
    Income (transactions where we bill) MINUS cost of income (what we have to buy) EQUALS profit before fixed costs.
    Profit before fixed costs (the transactional balance) MINUS fixed costs (salaries, rents power etc) EQUALs profit / loss.

    Experience tells me that if we can make as much as the bank interest rate we are doing well….so if we sell $10,000,000 and make $800K we have done OK. Most businesses in most sectors I work in would struggle to do that today but, whatever…..the issue then becomes tax.

    So hypothetically for a $10 million company of 35 staff the tax take is:
    *33% on $800k profit = $266K (minus whatever can be avoided etc)
    * est.25% on PAYE of $2000K = $500K
    * GST est (remember you charge and claim) $450K
    Total tax during a “good” year…..est $1200K

    So far so good, theres over a million dollars from 35 people to go elsewhere…but remember the size of the state sector payroll today, paid by taxes. Then there are the beneficiaries. Plus other corporate welfare etc for want of a better description. Somebody else can help me here with relative numbers but how many people do the 35 person $10m company have to support on a per capita basis?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1

      You can’t know that unless you have some very good idea of the extra economic activity the UBI would generate. Reading the article(s) linked in the OP suggests that will be a significant contribution in itself.

    • Flip 13.2

      Yep. The economics of it is critical to getting public acceptance. Without a decent cost/benefit model the opposition will blow it out of the water without any difficulty.
      This is why we have civil servants and academics who have the tools, models and expertise to do this. At least we bloody well should have. If they need help I’m sure people here can give it.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.2.1

        Much of the work having already been done

        • McFlock 13.2.1.1

          flat income tax and gst? no thanks.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.2.1.1.1

            It’s a pretty good starting framework to agree/disagree with though.

            • McFlock 13.2.1.1.1.1

              I really don’t think that this is a plan that can be discussed off the back of an envelope.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Neither do I, but it’s a long way past the calculation stage, cf: Mincome.

                If the only objections are to flat tax and gst, at least the existing calcs tell you how big a gap your alternative has to fill.

          • Lanthanide 13.2.1.1.2

            Er, the entire point of a flat income tax, along with a UBI, is that it doesn’t introduce any distortions around abatement rates. Every dollar you earn is taxed at the same rate, and the UBI ensures that for most people your tax rate is negative.

            • McFlock 13.2.1.1.2.1

              So you’re arguing that people should pay for the private benefit of their education, but not the disproportionate private benefits they receive if the economy and vagaries of inheritance laws give them massively high incomes?

              • Lanthanide

                The point of the flat tax is that it is simple and unavoidable. Trusts have the same tax rate. Companies have the same tax rate. There is much less need for fancy accountancy and legal tricks to minimize the tax burden. This means less dead-weight loss to the economy in trying to get around the rules.

                This means you catch all the tax you should catch, unlike the current situation where a lot of people don’t pay the top tax rates anyway. Better to charge someone 23% on $1,000,000 than charge the same person 30% on $70,000 and nothing on the remaining $930,000. There was an article on stuff recently about the ‘increase’ in the number of people earning over a $1M, although it noted that it was likely due to tax restructuring rather than an actual increase in incomes.

                • McFlock

                  Again, nice in theory, but I’m not sure it adds up after a certain point.

                  • Lanthanide

                    One large contributor to Gareth Morgan’s calculations is that the IRD is greatly reduced in size because the tax system is so much more streamlined. Adding tax brackets back in makes it a lot more complicated. PAYE is estimated on your pay period earnings – much easier to do if it’s simply a flat 23c out of every dollar regardless of what you earn in the tax year.

                • RedBaronCV

                  Setting the trust and company rates = to the top personal rate along with not allowing low tax rates on unearned income for minors also ;largely fixes the tax problem.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Pity National didn’t actually do that, after making such a song and dance about dropping the top tax rate to 33% and how that would cut down on avoidance.

            • KJT 13.2.1.1.2.2

              I see the lack of abatement rates as a big plus for business as well as those on welfare.

              Often I would need extra staff.

              I knew people who would like to do it, but the abatement rate, and or stand-down periods, would stop them.

              They alternative was to use labour rental outfits, who charged like wounded bulls, but could not supply good staff because the working conditions, and pay, they offered made for rather disinterested employees. I would rather have paid all that money directly to an employee.

              There are a lot of people around who cannot work full time due to childcare, illness, capability or other commitments.

              Of course we could do something about abatement rates without a UBI.

              • Lanthanide

                The only real genuine solution to abatement rates is a flat rate. The only fair/progressive way to do that is a fixed minimum income that in effect produces a negative taxation rate (UBI).

                But yes, we could do things to improve abatement rates, but the UBI is the real solution to them, not just window dressing or tweaks.

              • McFlock

                that was an issue that hit a flatmate of mine years ago – she needed to work 3 hours at one job to break even after an allowance got cut by virtue of her working.

                But that has nowt to do with tax rates.

              • @ kjt..

                ..a rightwing friend was stunned into silence when i pointed out to him that the highest-taxed individuals in nz..are the poorest trying to make things better for themselves..

                ..his eye visibly widened when i told him benificaries are taxed at a rate of 85 cents in the dollar..

                ..this is the other spikey-bit in the poverty-trap..

                ..a poverty-trap built and sustained by both national and labour..

                ..clark did nothing to alter this..

                ..in nine long fucken years..

                ..and we haven’t heard a peep from current labour..about this..

                ..so a change of govt will see nothing happen..

                ..i/we have been here before..eh..?

                ..and then we sat and waited for nine long fucken years for clark to do what she had promised..

                ..instead she showed her true colours as an uncaring/gimlet-eyed neo-lib..

                ..and this is why i loathe those neo-libs shits who sat in her cabinet..

                ..and still stare out at us..from the labour benches..

                ..and we are expected to believe that they fucken ‘care’..?

                ..all they fucken care about is getting their arses back into those ministerial-limos..

                ..going back to self-drive was such a bore..

                ..they must have hides like rhinocerous..

                ..not to be aware how much they are loathed by those 800,000 people they betrayed/sold-out..

                ..clark preaching about ‘deserving-families’..eh..?

                ..mallard..and all the rest of them..just taking over where national left off..

                ..putting the boot into the poorest/weakest..

                ..they all just need to..go away..

                ..and not come back..

                ..go on..!..go and luxuriate in yr kings/queens-ransom super-schemes..

                ..line up for yr post-parly-perk-jobs..eh..?

                ..we all know how it works..

                ..do you really think you are the people for these times..?

                ..really..?

                ..phillip ure..

    • Lanthanide 13.3

      Gareth Morgan already did all the heavy lifting: http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/

      • Tracey 13.3.1

        Thanks for this

        Interesting quote here

        ” This is what the New Zealand Royal Commission on Social Policy had to say in 1988 about universal and targeted transfers:

        “Universalism recognises that we are all members of society… being New Zealanders entitles and engages all of us, whatever our ages or circumstances, and support measures should be rights based. And those eligible for income support should not be subject to unnecessary and stigmatising procedures to establish what is theirs as a basic right.

        A system designed only to assist the poor helps perpetuate existing social and economic inequality in the longer run by reinforcing distinctions between the poor and the rest of society, and at the same time it may lock the poor into a cycle of poverty by its system of benefit abatement. A further implication is that a highly targeted system will ultimately face considerable resistance from taxpayers unwilling to support a system perceived as rewarding the improvident and providing themselves with no return for their contributions. The longer run consequences could thus be an even more targeted system that provides continually falling benefit levels.””

      • Ennui 13.3.2

        OAK / Lanth, lets get real and do the numbers on this calculator. I worked the UBI to be at what I think is a minimum hourly wage of $20 or $40,000 per annum……that’s a thin social wage. I would bankrupt the country quick smart. If I used the original numbers on the calculator, well a lot of people starve.

        So I tried all sorts of other calcs…it got worse. So back to my original question: how much do those people in work in the private sector (and profit making parts of the public sector) need to earn to support the tax base to pay a UBI for themselves and the rest of the community?

        • Lanthanide 13.3.2.1

          Did you actually go to Morgan’s site? Because a lot of it paid for by a comprehensive wealth tax, as well as disbanding the IRD.

          Note that his UBI is only $11,000 for most people, a far cry from the $40,000 you’re suggesting.

          This is a touch higher than the “Jobseeker support” (UB) currently is.

          • Lanthanide 13.3.2.1.1

            For the record, even though the UBI is only $11,000 per year and I earn in the top 10% of incomes, I put in my details on the calculator and I’d be better off by $6,000 per year under this scheme.

          • Ennui 13.3.2.1.2

            Yes Lanth, I did use the calculator. I would love to see the assumptions on it because if you fire in random numbers you get some weird results. You question me using $40,000…I started at $10,000 and went in increments of $5000 until I got to $40000 just to see the results, which as I said were all over the place.

            My issue with the $11000 figure is purely try living on it…….its poverty level.

            • Lanthanide 13.3.2.1.2.1

              $11,000 is more than the current unemployment benefit.

              UBI stands for Universal Basic Income, not Universal Living Income.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                No its not Lanthanide, I think you’ll find that most people will be receiving landlord subsidies (commonly referred to as accommodation supplement) which makes it more like $12000 a year – and that is not including any other supplements or emergency help for food etc (which, no doubt are becoming more common to apply for)

              • Draco T Bastard

                $11,000 is more than the current unemployment benefit.

                Current UB is ~$12,000 before tax. After tax it’s $10,722. Throw in the rentiers subsidy and it goes up.

                UBI stands for Universal Basic Income, not Universal Living Income.

                And that basic income should be considerably higher than the UB. IMO, it should be higher than the present pension.

                • Colonial Viper

                  That’s what the jobs guarantee is for.

                  • McFlock

                    If everyone could work and had a job, nobody would need a UBI – just a living wage.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The reason why the UBI should be higher is so that the people without a job can be entrepreneurial as well as being able to participate in society.

                • Will@Welly

                  Really hate to piss you off Draco, while I think the UBI is a fantastic idea, the idea of an accommodation allowance/supplement/benefit being part of it horrifies me. I remember when that was first introduced – around $10 – $20.00 a week. Landlords immediately hiked up their rentals straight away. Now they see it as an entitlement. I don’t blame the leasee/renter. Landlords have become used to it, it is part of their budgeting. One landlord I know prefers tenants on benefits as that way they are virtually guaranteed the rent by WINZ – bastards.
                  If we could find a way to leverage landlords off their dependence on the accommodation supplement, I for one would be celebrating. It is just a further tool of the state handing over taxpayers funds to a privileged few. Bring back real state housing.

                  • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                    @ Will@Welly

                    I don’t think DTB was saying that – we were just discussing how much the unemployment is and Lanthanide was quoting a very low amount – possibly the ‘base’ benefit – yet DTB & myself were pointing out in reality it is more than that due to the rentiers handout [amongst other things].

                    I concur with your point though – rentiers do know exactly what WINZ accommodation supplements are worth and add that to their calculations and it ends up being extra profit for them – double standards really show up when there is no ‘bene bashing’ toward people doing that.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    If we could find a way to leverage landlords off their dependence on the accommodation supplement, I for one would be celebrating. It is just a further tool of the state handing over taxpayers funds to a privileged few. Bring back real state housing.

                    State housing is the answer to the rentiers subsidy and it’s relatively simple – just need to ensure a 1% to 2% oversupply of residences that anybody can use.

    • KJT 13.4

      We could just do what National does. Ask Goldmen Sacks to make up some numbers.

      The modern day equivalent of chicken entrails.

      I don’t think it is possible to do anything near an accurate cost benefit analysis,.
      There is too many unknowns. Same as there is for the TPP.

      It bugs me that the left are asked for accurate costings, when Key gets away with, “I think it is a good idea”.

      Which is why the idea of a broadcaster is so important, to get back a voice.

      I look back at many of the comments about setting up the original “Welfare State” in New Zealand.
      On the face of it, it was unaffordable then, also.

      Or we could make steps in the right direction. Like re-introducing a meaningful level of family benefit, UBI for children, and measuring the results.

      • McFlock 13.4.1

        lol too true

      • phillip ure 13.4.2

        @ kjt..

        ..or you could ask treasury to make up some sunny forecasts for you..

        ..they are good at that..

        ..and they did such a good selling job for key..

        ..when prior to the election..they announce dthat keys’ pre-election promises were fine and dandy..

        ..because the great financial collapse that became the great recession..

        ..’would be all over in early 2009′…

        ..that was a real ‘curly’ one..eh..?

        ..but it does show..that they are for sale..

        ..’cos really..experts such s them could hardly have failed to notice that all around them..

        ..the global-economy turning to custard..

        ..eh..?

        ..i mean..if they did..

        ..wouldn’t that be a new benchmark in eye-watering-incompetence..?

        ..how could it not be..?

        ..so..on this one..treasury are caught between a big lie on one side..

        ..and/or blinding incompetence on the other..

        ..and/or an (ideology) price-tag around their necks..

        ..one of those drove them to peddle those absolute fucken lies..

        ..their ‘pick’..eh..?

        (and of course the access/corporate media hacks all had their roles to play in peddling/parroting this pile of horseshit/lies/spin..

        ..i guess they also didn’t notice that global-economy spinning off its’ axis..eh..?

        ..how could they have missed all those foreign headlines..eh..?…)

        ..phillip ure..

    • Draco T Bastard 13.5

      Now the hard part, paying for it.

      Nope and for one reason – the government doesn’t income before it spends money. It does need to destroy the money that it created to spend into the economy but that is done through taxes after the fact. How those taxes are made up is a major question but at least all sides can agree that the government books need to be balanced at which point it no longer becomes necessary to increase the size of the economy to pay for the borrowings that are endemic to the present system as the economy will naturally gravitate to the size of government spending. Any deficit will show excess profits and thus where the taxes need to be adjusted.

      The concept that the economy starts with the private sector is a complete myth.

      • Colonial Viper 13.5.1

        +1

        people need to ask themselves: how did MJ Savage manage to pay for all those state houses and work programmes in the midst of a Great Depression affecting the whole of the western world. NZ had all the raw materials needed, it had all the surplus labour which could be put to work, and creating money to make it happen was the easiest part.

        • Ennui 13.5.1.1

          Dont agree with you CV (or Draco) simply for one reason. The 20th Century was one in which the issue of supply was easy, there was an ongoing expansion of energy, resources etc. Consequently you could pay tomorrow (i.e create credit today) on the basis of GROWTH. We today sit on a mountain of debt that will never be paid off because we have overshot the planets ability to pay (i.e. produce oil, coal etc, upon which all productive economies are based).

          Growth per se is now terminally ill, decline does not allow credit creation in the way Savages government, and Keynesian economics demanded.

          • Draco T Bastard 13.5.1.1.1

            We today sit on a mountain of debt that will never be paid off because we have overshot the planets ability to pay (i.e. produce oil, coal etc, upon which all productive economies are based).

            The solution to that is to admit that it can’t be paid off and thus we need to default.

            Growth per se is now terminally ill, decline does not allow credit creation in the way Savages government, and Keynesian economics demanded.

            Neither CV nor I are talking credit creation. We’re talking money creation which does not bear interest. I’m then saying that taxes and direct charges must equal the amount of money created the result of which will be a stable state economy.

            • Flip 13.5.1.1.1.1

              I get that the government can create money and inject it into the economy and then get it out again via tax. Are you saying that once the tax arrives back in government hands it is written off, burnt or something? Where does it go?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Are you saying that once the tax arrives back in government hands it is written off, burnt or something?

                Yes.

                Where does it go?

                Government spends +$10,000
                Government taxes -$10,000
                Balance: $0

                The government is both the source and the drain of money in the economy. Remember, it’s only digital. IMO, cash should be removed.

              • Colonial Viper

                It’s important to think of it as electronic ledger or spreadsheet entries. Only about 2% of the NZD in existence is in notes and coins, if even that much. And yes, worn out used recovered by the Reserve Bank are either shredded or burnt, and eventually replaced with new notes.

                That’s every interesting isn’t it? If you received a stack of somewhat worn or torn $100 notes, I’m guessing that you wouldn’t be burning or shredding it…

                Also note in DTBs example above he hasn’t yet mentioned the role of private banks in extending debt based interest bearing money-like liquidity into the economy (credit).

                Credit is NOT the same as money or cash, but currently we usually treat all of those things as if they are the same thing. They’re not.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Also note in DTBs example above he hasn’t yet mentioned the role of private banks in extending debt based interest bearing money-like liquidity into the economy (credit).

                  That’s because I believe that that practice needs to be banned. It is, after all, the source of all that unpayable debt that Ennui mentioned.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep. For the casual observer they do need to know that in our current ‘money’ system, private banks provide almost all the money in use in the economy, not the government. This gives the global banking system a massive amount of power over sovereign states.

                    One final result of this is that politicians end up being more responsive to banksters and the financial sector, than to their own citizens or even their own political principles.

                • Flip

                  OK. Thanks for the answer CV and DTB. :-)

  13. burt 14

    According to Bill English … Blah blah blah …

    Is that Bill English the credible finance minister or Bill English who’s full of shit?

    I ask simply to see what tact you’ll be taking on National forecasting a fabulous 2014. I’m picking since you seem to believe ( and are prepared to quote ) Bill English you’ll be doing that. But I also suspect the party lines about the failure of National’s policies and the need for greater taxation to … to… ummm err – stymie the economy and lead us back to a 2007 going gang busters 2008 heavily tits up style thing in 2019/2020 timeframe.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 14.1

      Really, and this spittle-flecked froth in the shape of a straw-man is related to a UBI how exactly?

    • Tracey 14.2

      you mean tack.

    • Tim 14.3

      I note your identity @ burt uses the pledge card.
      Can you tell me SPECIFICALLY which one of those pledges she didn’t either deliver on OR make an attempt at doing so. IF so, HOW so
      Don’t get me wrong Burt – I think Labour (especially in their third term when they chose to have a lay down and minds were more on UN appointments and various ‘retirement plans’) – just curious to know about your tiny mind and its capabilities

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 14.4

      @ Burt

      This is specious what you write – I would guess that One Anonymous Knucklehead (OAK) would have been quoting Bill English because it would appear English is someone you find credible – and in doing so quoting English is not a reflection on who OAK finds credible (or not) in anyway (as is the case when others’ have done the same elsewhere) – and the quote given to you directly contradicts the nonsense you are speaking re how Labour managed the books – yet you have no response to that sad (for you) little fact.

      Of course OAK could have found some left wing politician like Cullen or Cunliffe to quote – yet it is clear that you wouldn’t accept their word for it.

      Could you please at least attempt to conduct a rational discussion?

  14. burt 15

    It’s related because you’re making this a partisan issue. I said UBI is too simple politicians won’t like it. As much as Labour would be unelectable without promising to punish rich pricks National would be unelectable without promising to crack down on wasted tax payers money being scammed by beneficiaries.

    IMHO UBI is compromised politically because it vastly reduces the political parties ( ergo politicians ) from polarising the voters for popularity. It removes the ‘more welfare – less welfare’, ‘more free …. – less free ….’ From the campaign.

    Personally I think the idea is a massive foundation stone for a well structured economy. Where I will most likely fall foul with supporting it in the blog is that I’ll probably argue for less progressive taxation and smaller government.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 15.1

      Still arguing for smaller Pike River style government, eh. Have you ever met a market failure you wouldn’t implement at the earliest opportunity?

      Where you’ll fall foul in this blog is the part where there’s a reality check.

    • Tracey 15.2

      “Personally I think the idea is a massive foundation stone for a well structured economy.”

      But which party will you vote for as a result? Labour or National who will never do what is best for the reasons you state? or a party that has this policy? Cos that is the only way we will change this thing.

  15. burt 16

    Tracey

    Indeed. It’s my opinion though that until party activists stop campaigning for two ticks ( National/Labour ) that bugger all will change. MMP encourages a healthy dwarf with a tyrannical giant giving it just enough to survive. A full proportional system would entrench workable coalitions rather than noisy poodles. But I can’t see the major parties wanting to give up control of ordering there list and cherry picking the electorates any time soon.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 16.1

      Shorter Burt wants a government small enough to drown in the bath tub, along with all the dead children he’d make.

    • Tracey 16.2

      So who will you vote for Burt? Or who won’t you vote for to bring about the massive foundation stone for a well structured economy.

  16. burt 17

    … Ordering their list ….

  17. burt 18

    blue

    What possibly could make you assume I find Bill English credible….. I do happen to find him more credible than Michael Cullen was. English at least seems to understand fiscal drag and that government spending can certainly drive inflation. However why on earth would anyone take the opening speeches in parliament for a new government as anything other than puffery and convention. Thank the tea ladies, the ball boys and the line judges and get in a plug for the sponsors… No more no less.

    Within a few weeks of taking office English actually spoke as finance minister not incoming government. The last thing he did then was praise Labour policy.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1

      Next in our series of lectures from Randian superheroes, Burt explains economics and politics to a rapt audience. Suspension of reality commencing in five, four, three, two….

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 18.2

      @ Burt

      “What possibly could make you assume I find Bill English credible….. ?”

      Because you were spouting a very right wing party line – the type of thing one would expect to hear from English.

      Here:

      “If lowest unemployment in 2007 was actually because of sustainable policies rather than government intervention we wouldn’t have been in recession before the GFC. By the time Labour were thrown out of office in 2008 ( just one year after you claim the country was in best shape ever ) we .. NZ … Were facing a decade of deficits and raising unemployment… That rising unemployment that will only be solved by business and government returning to profit/surplus.”

      Labour made the biggest hit to lowering unemployment that any government has made since Rogernomics took over – which bumped up the unemployment rate to incredible numbers. Imagine the unemployment rates that would have occurred in response to the GFC if they hadn’t made such inroads?

      I don’t know what the decade of deficits prediction was based on. Whether that had to do with being based on knowing National was going to be voted into power, the GFC (which I believe started the last year of Labours run) or poor policies from both sides of the house – one thing for sure is that Labour managed the books a hell of a lot better than National has.

  18. burt 19

    Tracey

    I’m not sure who I’ll vote for. Probably not any party that campaign ’2 ticks me’.

    • Tracey 19.1

      So who does that rule out Burt? National, Act? Labour? It was a pretty simple question

  19. burt 20

    Tim

    The pledge card, can you list the actual pledges? I went looking for an image to go through them but can’t find one.

    One I can tell you she broke, and lied about not breaking was her promise that nobody earning under $60,000 will pay a cent more income tax. Before the 2002 election Labour had already implenented the minor beneficiaries in trusts tax legislation amendment that taxed minor beneficiaries at 33% rather than their own nominal tax rate. I’m sure it tipped out more a tax threshold a users than children genuinely funded via trusts, however the point is certain that an entire targeted tax payer segment had a substantive tax hike.

    If you list me the promises I’m happy to discuss them and the timing for when they were discarded and credibility claimed for keeping them.

    • Tracey 20.1

      Anyway, back to UBI aye Burt?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 20.2

      What a surprise. Burt’s online identity mooches on the Labour Party’s pledge card without permission and yet he doesn’t even know what the original said :lol:

      Can anyone say “reality check” :lol:

  20. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 21

    This is a very positive thread and it appears that UBI has a lot of support and enthusiasm behind it from those commenting here.

    I don’t quite ‘get’ how the ‘Universalness’ part of the ideas on this thread fixes the very real problem of wealth disparity – or how it aligns with what the article appeared to be talking of as in ‘Just give money to the poor‘.

    I am aware that Flip at comment 9 asked the same question.

    The initial part of the article was noting the benefits of giving people money who are in poor circumstances (not to everyone) – I can’t work out if the Dauphin example was a similar case -i.e. that Dauphin may have been a particularly poor spot in Canada.

    I very much understand the reasoning behind making a benefit Universal - however I do not see how this addresses the negative effects of some having a whole lot more money than many others. All I can see is that quickly things would become unaffordable to a section of the community and others would be making more profit than they had been. i.e. the same inequality exists – simply more money is being spent to ‘achieve’ it.

    :(

    • Tracey 21.1

      My understanding is the article traversed a few different scenarios. One was give money to the poor, in this case defined as resource sucking homeless focus, resource sucking offenders if you like.

      Another was the idea of a low income threshold for all from a tax free basis or similar.

      because of the political unpalatability of the concept I think many have been trying to find ways to tweak it, consciously or subconsciously to make it “better”.

      the funny thing is that it seems some, such as one of my brothers, a BIG moaner about how HIS money goes to wasters, seems happier having a problem to moan about than a solution to the problem..

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 21.1.1

        Thanks Tracey,

        From my opinion this idea will turn out to be a distraction from very real problems we need to face if the inequality aspect is not addressed. I am hoping someone can clarify how this problem is addressed by a UBI – or what problems are addressed by it.

        Re your comment about moaning – I have started turning that type of observation you make into a joke: – If someone is moaning about something and saying how terrible such and such is – I respond by saying ‘its great – it gives people something to complain about’ and the response I get has always been surprisingly positive!

        …er…of course I haven’t attempted this technique on something someone is strongly involved with …wouldn’t say the positive response would be so forthcoming in that case….erhem…however when it is a mindless type of complaining…yep…/this might be a good one to try on your bro (sounds like you might have anyway!)

        • KJT 21.1.1.1

          Simply put, a UBI is a big redistribution of income from the wealthy to the poor.
          It has to be. That is the only way to pay for it.

          The reverse of Nationals tax cuts and the increases in GST.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 21.1.1.1.1

            Ah! I think I see what you are saying – huge taxes so that everyone gets paid (not solely those that are struggling) – the huge taxes come more from the very wealthy (presumably) yet gets distributed evenly – therefore there is some sort of closing of the gap between those of the lowest income to the highest.

            And the universal nature of the benefits makes those very wealthy people agree to extra high tax hikes (over lower tax hikes and simply distributing that benefit to half or quarter of the population that actually need the boost.)? Hmm perhaps they would. Bit frustrating – yet I kind of see the psychological effect of having it universal.

            I have heard of a theory of separating the whole idea of working for money paradigm (i.e. people work to get things done and be part of society – and where money to pay for things is a completely separate payment ). Bit hard to get one’s mind around(!), yet I guess a Universal Benefit as being discussed here is a good start to that end (no links, sorry it was from a conversation!).

        • weka 21.1.1.2

          bl, as I understand it the UBI isn’t supposed to stop people from being rich, it’s mean to stop people from being poor. You say this will fail because

          “All I can see is that quickly things would become unaffordable to a section of the community and others would be making more profit than they had been. i.e. the same inequality exists – simply more money is being spent to ‘achieve’ it.”

          Can you please explain how you see that happening?

          • McFlock 21.1.1.2.1

            Actually, to stop people being poor the UBI would have to exceed the measures of the poverty line – something like >50% of median income. A little over $14kp.a.

            Anything less than that would do nothing about poverty.

            • KJT 21.1.1.2.1.1

              Yes.

            • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.2.1.2

              On a household basis however it could easily push whole households above the poverty line. In addition, for the bottom 10% of income earners (whom I presume are on less than $10K pa), even an extra say $30 pw, $1500 pa will make a big difference.

              • Lanthanide

                However a *universal* income will materially raise the median income, thus many people would still be counted as in poverty when poverty is determined by the median income.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  @ Lanthanide

                  …I actually think this is what I was trying to say …managed in much less words!

                  That poverty line calculation is quite apt – because with prices calibrated toward higher income levels – it means affordability is an issue for people under that calculated amount of income.

                • KJT

                  Not if higher incomes drop.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Not true. The median is the mid-point. Similarly the point of the UBI is to tax high earners – they’ll still earn the nominal amount, they’ll just have less after-tax income.

                    Midpoint of 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 is 3. 6 numbers are below the median.

                    Midpoint of 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 is 5. There are still 6 numbers below the median.

                    • wtl

                      But the poverty level is not defined as having of less than the median income (otherwise 50% of people would always be in poverty). Instead, it is defined as incomes below a certain percentage of the median (e.g. incomes 50% less than the median). In your example, the increase in all numbers by 2 means that the lowest number is now 60% of the median, whereas before it was 33%.

                    • McFlock

                      bingo, wtl

                    • Lanthanide

                      Oh yes, how bloody obvious! Thankts for that wtl, don’t know why I didn’t spot that.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 21.1.1.2.2

            @Weka,

            “as I understand it the UBI isn’t supposed to stop people from being rich, it’s meant to stop people from being poor.”

            My issue is a concern about having the same disparity in wealth as we have now not ‘stopping people being rich’ This is important to be very clear on – I believe and accept there will always be those who are wealthier – even if everyone has the same income – I accept this as a given due to differences in character amongst us.

            (Although “stopping people being too rich” e.g. EXCEEDINGLY more rich than those around them as we have now – including corporations being legal persons [snarl] – yep I probably would agree with!)

            Can you please explain how you see that happening?

            i.e. It is the ratio between the earners that makes things affordable for some and not for others – not the amount of income. I believe this is due to prices settling on what the top half of our society can afford – greater and easier profits that way – the lower half are simply left to struggle.

            The argument is fairly well similar to the one that gets used against bumping up wages (by right-wingers) – that business owners will simply put the prices up to cover the loss in profits and therefore despite the wage raise things start becoming unaffordable for some/many people and we are left with the same problem – Except in this case business owners would put up the prices ‘because they can’ because half the population just got a bonus that simply becomes all extra disposable income (because they are already covering their costs) – whereas some people in the society have got the ‘bonus’ which will only go to cover costs as they are now – prior to everything going up again.

            Oh dear – not sure whether I have explained this very clearly!

            KJT actually went a long way in explaining how this gap in rich and poor would be lessened by UBI in his short comment in response to me (above comment 21.1.1.1)

            .

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 21.2.1

        @ Tracey

        Ah! Cheers :)

        • Colonial Viper 21.2.1.1

          The UBI deals with income; you are correct in that for true inequality to be addressed capital and wealth ownership, as well as the income levels of those within the top 1%, will have to be dealt with.

          That’ll generate a BIG push back from the capitalist class.

          • KJT 21.2.1.1.1

            See above. http://thestandard.org.nz/ubi/#comment-754923

            i would advocate also for a meaningful UBI. Say about the same level as current super, with a lesser amount for children under 18, and a more progressive taxation.

            Say 45% top rate of 250k per year on today’s figures.

            • Colonial Viper 21.2.1.1.1.1

              Heck, with an 89% rate on incomes over $1M pa to efffectively hard cap what our society will accept as a maximum income: 25x the median working wage.

              • KJT

                shh..sh. Better keep that part quiet for now.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  psst whispering: [...if a government could manage to have that level of tax agreed upon- would their be any need to even have a UBI?]

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I’m guessing that even with a wide definition of “income” there’s unlikely to be more than about a thousand people caught up at that level. If that. Some money will be raised, but in the tens of millions probably. It will send a strong message to corporates and private wealth however on the social values of our economy.

                    Most income tax is paid by those earning less than $100K pa, and those who own wealth instead of earn it in wages…they get taxed fuck all.

  21. burt 22

    Tracey

    Your fascination with my voting choice is getting creepy. How is that relevant to UBI ? You can’t have it both way, either stop calling me into track or stop hounding me for my voter preference.

    • Tracey 22.1

      Funny how it’s hounding burt. I asked once, you answered every other part of my post except that so I asked again, same thing you answered everything except my question.

      It was simple given you accept ubi as a foundation for the economy who would you vote for…. Fine if you dont know, even fine if you said who you know you wont.

      SO, it is relevant to UBI because of comments YOU made in relation to UBI.

      As opposed to the pledge card.

  22. burt 23

    Knuckledragger

    If I get called for using the pledge card image without permission I’ll say the ref changed the rules and tell them to move on.

    I haven’t been warned not to use it in that way yet, like Labour were over their funding before the election. That is before they claimed the ref changed the rules when they were called to account. so if I’m warned by the holder of that image copyright ( bananas republic and all ) then I’ll flip them the bird and retrospectively validate myself making me your hero ever after.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 23.1

      I think the part where you don’t even know what the epitome of evil said is funnier, don’t you? I mean, what sort of idiot hangs his opposition on a manifesto he can’t even remember?

      Please don’t change, you’re perfect as you are.

  23. burt 24

    Tracey

    I’ve advocated on the standard for many years about universal benefits and flatter taxation. Run this google search and see for yourself.
    “burt universal benefits flat taxation site:thestandard.org.nz”

    • Tracey 24.1

      but you will vote for those who dont advocate it while criticising them for not doing it.

      can you point to any article or research about how much the flat tax rate would need to be? I have looked at treasury’s numbers but wonder if you are using a different source?

  24. burt 25

    Tracey

    I’m failing to see how there is a correlation between my position that UBI is a very good thing and should be fundamental to our economy and my personal vote choice.

    If there is a party with a credible position on UBI with a shit show if having a say in a coalition with a dinosaur major party then I’ll vote for it…. If at that time that issue is not trumped by some other issue I see as more important.

    I don’t vote in flag colour and accept any BS spouted by ‘that flag’ as gospel so I simply can’t answer your ‘who’ question.

  25. burt 26

    Tracey

    Perhaps a better way for me to phase it is. If a party had a manifesto policy position on UBI that I thought would be followed through on – that would probably cause me to vote in a referendum like manner on that issue alone.

    Otherwise … Washy washy lip service isn’t making me party loyal to a bunch of otherwise self serving public trough snorting hypocrites.

  26. McFlock 27

    right, off to pub for a bit of universal beverage ingestion. Back later :)

  27. Tracey 28

    Thanks for clarifying for me burt. Genuinely appreciate your response.

    What kinds of things would make you think a party intended to implement a policy? Being the major party by some distance for example?

    Major parties moved to green positions only because the greens got electoral foothold.

    Ergo if any mi or party has a particular policy you like it can be worth shifting your vote AND telling them and your usual party wby.

  28. (not)BM 29

    we need an underclass who will do the scum jobs ,the living wage is stupid it cant be done the country cant afford it the underclass might get fancy ideas above there station

  29. (not)BM 30

    There are those of us who are born to rule who understand the finer things in life opera the theatre high tea you just cant let common people loose it would be the end of civilisation. what do common people do with there money they eat it god how wasteful.

  30. KJT 31

    Thanks everyone.

    I will try and compile a digest of the points made, and throw out some more UBI ideas to discuss, as soon as I can.

    Need to think more on pro’s and con’s, and costs/benefits!
    And gaining cross party/ grassroots support.

    Back at work so apologise if I cannot always reply immediately.

  31. Will@Welly 32

    Really good discussion. Thanks KJT, NZ Femme, joe 90, and weka, for starting this. Originally posted this early in the piece, but it got lost. Been truly fascinating reading all the posts. Yes we will still have rich people amongst us, but most of those will be through the fruits of their own endeavours, not wild speculators as is the case at present.
    The poli’s will hate it. They lose control.

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