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A world gone crazy

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, December 3rd, 2009 - 29 comments
Categories: humour - Tags:

It started with me agreeing wholeheartedly with Fran about youth unemployment. Now I can add Garth George and Bruce Sheppard to this strange confluence of opinions.

For a start Garth George has provided one of the few decent media critiques of Brash’s batshit crazy proposal:

The description of the report by Finance Minister Bill English as “too radical” is the final absurdity. The report is not just too radical; it is economic and social bullshit, a serious waste of taxpayers’ money, and every copy should be recycled into toilet paper.

And now Bruce Sheppard is calling for something very closely resembling class war:

The only way to deal with people who comply with the law but cause others loss while they themselves are enriched, is to cut them out of our society. Make the environment hostile for them, abuse them in the street. If you own a business make them unwelcome on your premises. Make it real hard for them to continue living in our society other than as a leper.

I’ve always considered myself to be a rational social democrat (with an emphasis toward the socialist end of that spectrum) so finding myself in agreement with these rightwing loonies is, as you can imagine, extremely concerning.

It’s like a world gone crazy.

29 comments on “A world gone crazy ”

  1. lprent 1

    Yeah that is what I felt like. Maybe it is from supporting the opposition? These people may never leave it.

  2. Funny that – was just reading Shepherd’s comments before I came here.

    However, I wouldn’t call it “class war” in the context of what this would normally mean here. What Shepherd actually says is:

    It would seem that the self respecting, responsible middle class who want a better society have got the message.

    Conversely, I think many here would see class war as aimed at the middle class 🙂

    Call it capitalism with a conscience.

    Either way, have to agree that Shepherd is on to something.

  3. felix 3

    And it gets wierder still.

  4. rainman 4

    I wouldn’t call Bruce Shepard a rightwing loonie…

  5. gobsmacked 5

    So Bruce Sheppard says:

    “The only way to deal with people who comply with the law [as John Key did] but cause others loss [as John Key did] while they themselves are enriched [as John Key was], is to cut them out of our society. Make the environment hostile for them, abuse them in the street.”

    How “hostile” are you planning to be, Bruce? Be careful – those DPS guys don’t take any crap.

  6. Bill 6

    When Capital’s lackeys…the coordinators or so-called middle class….get down off the fence….

    When their erstwhile comfortable and ‘natural’ privileges as bestowed upon them by current orthodoxies, are eroded and disappeared by such events as financial turmoil and collapse……

    When the illusion of ‘Capitalism with a human face’ cannot be sustained in the face of stark realities coming ever closer to your front door….

    Then perhaps we can all get together and construct something classless and democratic in spite of the protestations and resistance of today’s elites….end class war in other words.

  7. Far from being a “decent media critique” Garth George’s column made erroneous claims about flat tax and abolishing or cutting subsidies without qualification. The Herald should print a retraction.

    George is just another apologist for NZ’s second rate economy.

    The Taskforce 2025 report is “full of absurdities” he says,
    especially the idea NZ could or should catch up to Australia.

    Comparisons are apparently odious. He wrote; “Australia, for instance,
    has five times our population and 32 times our land area, an almost
    entirely different climate and is immensely richer in mineral resources.”

    So how is it NZ ranked higher than Australia in per capita incomes in
    the past?

    According to economist Brian Easton, “New Zealand’s GDP per capita was
    just ahead of Australia through the 1950/1 to 1966/7 by around 5
    percent. ”

    NZ joined the OECD in 1973. In 1974 NZ ranked 6th out of 26; Australia,
    7th. The respective incomes were $6054 and $6020. But by 1984 Australia
    had pulled ahead by 8 percent;1994, 23 percent and 2004, 34 percent.

    As for the idea that a bigger population and land mass confers greater
    wealth per capita, tell that to the Chinese and Indians. As ideas go,
    that truly is an absurdity.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      Thankfully I can never see myself agreeing with you , Lindsay.

    • So how is it NZ ranked higher than Australia in per capita incomes in
      the past?

      This was the case before the trade union movement was assaulted and before the new right agenda was foisted on us.

      Just remind me. Does Australia have a flat tax system? How about Sweeden?

      According to your logic Sweeden should be a cot case.

    • BLiP 7.3

      So how is it NZ ranked higher than Australia in per capita incomes in
      the past?

      There are lots of reasons, not the least of them being that Australia didn’t suffer the social costs – which are still filtering through the health, education, justice, and employment systems – and economic stagnation kick started by the very policies Donald and Co are seeking to foist on the community.

      What erroneous claims did George make about the flat tax rate?

      – I can’t believe I’m defending a Garth George piece!!!

    • prism 7.4

      Lindsay what are you waffling on about? You have gone and picked all the cherries out of the statistical cake and left the crumby ones alone. The reason why we were doing so well post WW2 is not a secret, and that we were having difficulties in mid 1970’s and then dropped into recession after the cupboard cleaning of the right-wingers in late 1980’s which Oz didn’t carry out with the puritanical approach of NZ under the thumb of sterile economic devotees.

    • RedLogix 7.5

      This reminds me of an old Steve Pierson post Lucky Aussies, they kept their work rights.

      An often neglected, but very revealing index is “Total Employee Compensation/GDP”. If nothing else this index is a strong a measure of the relative market power between employers and employees. Between us Pierson and I noted that for decades Australia and NZ more or less tracked each other within about 5% or so. (I’ve spent the last hour trying to find older data series, but many of the links have changed. I have no hard evidence but I suspect going back into the earlier decades of the 1900’s we probably matched or exceeded Aus at times.)

      Then with the 90’s, especially after the ECA, we plummeted to open up a 10-15% gap (which is a 20-30% gap in absolute wage/salary terms) and there it has remained.

  8. prism 8

    Thinking of Bruce Sheppard’s strong comments about dealing to rorters etc I just turned up a 2006 piece on someone named Manning who had sold properties for $215 million and closed the owning company with no outstanding liabilities. He had been the biggest dealer in the building not weathertight homes. But was found not liable for those problems. He certainly should be in the list of dodginess and deceit.

  9. ak 9

    Crazy like the O’Fox……while George’s bombast is as randomly self-promoting as ever, Franny et al are abetting the “Grinny Dolittle” theme for one reason only: to pressure their sensitive poll-puppet into action. Brash has dutifully provided the extreme option – now watch Bill provide the “moderate” solution. To approving nods from our sensible, non-partisan commentariat, natch.

  10. Lindsay 10

    The report does not recommend a flat tax. Did you read it?

    NZ’s performance declined before the “new right agenda” began. The new right agenda was a reaction to the decline.

    By the way Sweden has school vouchers (recommended in the report) and has moved to partially-privatised individualised social security accounts which pay out incrementally higher pensions according to the age of the retiree. They haven’t got their heads in the sand over the need to keep reforming pensions to suit the times.

    • lprent 10.1

      Yes it was a reaction – mind you any change was better than Muldoon. However the neo-lib agenda also considerably increased the rate of decline for the country.

      To date the benefits for some individuals have been clear to see. However the effect of the neo-lib agenda for the country seems to me to have increased the rate of relative performance drop.

      Aussie never pursued those neo-lib reforms to anything like the extent that NZ did. It also didn’t suffer the rate of relative rate of performance decline. You’d have to conclude that those neolib reforms got in the way of the reforms that we should have been making. The ones that move us to a higher skilled workforce and infrastructure.

  11. Lindsay 11

    (My most recent comment seemed to vanish. Apologies if it comes up twice.)

    The report does not recommend a flat tax. Did you read it?

    NZ’s performance declined before the “new right agenda” began. The new right agenda was a reaction to the decline.

    By the way Sweden has school vouchers (recommended in the report) and has moved to partially privatised individualised social security accounts which pay out incrementally higher pensions according to the age of the retiree. They haven’t got their heads in the sand over the need to keep reforming pensions to suit the times, also recommended in the report.

    [lprent: Disappeared into the maws of akismet as spam for some reason. So did this one. Can’t see why offhand.
    If a comment does ‘disappear’ it will usually be because of that or an auto-moderated phrase. Just wait a while and a moderator will come and release it.
    But the site has been doing some odd things today. I actually rebooted it before because parts of it thought it was tommorrow. ]

    • BLiP 11.1

      Garth George’s column made erroneous claims about flat tax

      Which erroneous claims were these? You’re the one that brought it up, remember?

  12. But the site has been doing some odd things today. I actually rebooted it before because parts of it thought it was tommorrow

    Not just the site. The whole reality thingy has been really strange today.

  13. Rex Widerstrom 13

    If I might be so bold as to try to assuage your disconnect IB, the commonality between you and Garth George (and me, for that matter, though I find plenty to disagree with in the writings of you both) is being heartily sick to death of one small group or another conspiring to foist an agenda on the majority through attempted (and sometimes successful) perversion of the democratic process.

    I reached the same point as Bruce Sheppard some time ago, but I suspect the targets of my hostility would be far wider then his, given that there are many ways of “enriching” oneself.

    Ranging from a job in the media where you’re paid to proselytise on the supposed failings of others to a nice sinecure in some national or international quango. The rewards may be more in ego and status than in cash (though decent-sized wads of money tend to be paid for such positions) but the recipients are equally odious.

    • IrishBill 13.1

      Or it could be just that all four of us are bad-tempered old codgers.

      edit: speaking of codgers, I’ve just realised that I haven’t read a Ralston rant for ages, has he been kicked from the HoS and Stuff?

      • lprent 13.1.1

        Yes, thats me as well… But I excuse it on the basis that I have to moderate the comments section.

        Makes me wonder what GG’s reason is…

        • prism 13.1.1.1

          guessing – Iprent that all input has to be personally passed by someone, is that mainly you with the task being shared for life breaks?

          • lprent 13.1.1.1.1

            Nope. There are a group of us that keep an eye on the comments either on our own posts of others.

            There are also some programs for killing spam, and some auto-moderation on some keywords which trap the unwary trolls. Plus of course targeting of people who are banned but don’t like it there. Plus a few people who are generally ok, but have a habit of going off the edge periodically who have their comments put into moderation automatically.

            However apart from those rather few captures each day, the rest of the comments go in live. We scan them after they’re put in.

            But it does mean that we skim hundreds of comments per day whenever there is time between whatever we’re working on (in my case computer program design and implementation).

            Gets you a bit grumpy after a while to see the same stuff that was covered 4 days ago being brought up as ‘new’ – especially when it is copy-n-paste crap.

            It may seem like we’re there all of the time. But that is mostly an illusion. What we do tend towards is being pretty damn draconian when people go over the bounds. It helps people with their self-moderation. It also keeps us amused

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