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Back to basics

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, September 22nd, 2008 - 55 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:

I’ve had some interesting conversations with people recently that have me thinking we need to get back to some political basics to build up to the practical policy questions of today, otherwise many of us are talking past each other. Here are three founding principles, which I hope to build from in an occasional series of posts. Hopefully, we can get consensus that these are correct:

People vary. Some people are shorter than others, some are luckier than most, some are smarter, some dumber. With most qualities, there are a few people at the extremes and most distributed around a norm. That goes for propensity to violence, honesty, initiative, just about anything. That fact that people vary means they will also act in varying ways in the same situation.

All humans have a right to live a life worth living. There may be exceptional circumstances when that is over-ridden by a greater good (eg during war) but, generally, that right applies regardless of wealth, class, gender, sexuality, ethnic group, or other characteristic. It is an acknowledgment of a universal humanity. To reject this to to argue that the powerful ought to do what they will with others; that, strength and will should triumph.

Capitalism is an economic system in which most capital is controlled by a small portion of individuals and most people sell their labour to live. Capital owners own the means to produce goods and services and those goods and services once produced. As all people need to consume good and services to live but most do not own capital in a capitalist system, most people must sell their labour to capitalists in return for a right to a share of goods and services (represented by money).

55 comments on “Back to basics ”

  1. Santi 1

    Regardless of its shortcomings capitalism is the best economic system.

    It’s also a clear winner over those two dreaded and failed systems of the past: socialism and communism.

  2. Carol 2

    ermmm…. hasn’t capitalism just failed in the US, and been bailed out using some socialist strategies?

  3. r0b 3

    Regardless of its shortcomings capitalism is the best economic system.

    There’s no such thing as a pure capitalist economy Santi. All economies these days are mixed, with aspects of capitalist and of socialist ideas.

  4. Rakaia George 4

    Your right to “a life worth living” is directly proportional to the effort you are prepared to expend to achieve that end. If you sit on your arse and expect someone else to provide it for you, you have no right to expect anything.

    Capitalism and everything that goes with it (individual property rights etc. etc.) has been the driving force behind all human advancement. Without an individual’s ability to personally profit from their own effort (see above) we’d still be living in a feudal society where power was vested in those handy with a sword.

  5. Vanilla Eis 5

    Santi: And your thoughts on the US Federal Government having to nationalise Freddie Mac and Fannie May? That would, technically, make them the owners of almost $5 Trillion in state housing.

    Just curious 😉

  6. BeShakey 6

    Santi – I think the point of the post was to have these kinds of debates in a context of some basic shared understandings. Refusing to comment on what capitalism is, and instead jumping to the conclusion that capitalism is the best economic system simply undermines the idea behind the post.

  7. higherstandard 7

    So the government as the largest employer of workers in NZ are capitalists ?

  8. r0b 8

    Capitalism and everything that goes with it (individual property rights etc. etc.) has been the driving force behind all human advancement.

    Only someone with a very short term and very eurocentric view of human history could make such a silly claim.

  9. Rakaia George 9

    Short term? Well I’d argue that capitalist principles were at play in Britain post Black Death when labour suddenly became a scarce resource.

    I’ll take the “Eurocentric” on the chin though.

  10. Santi. I’m not arguing the rights or wrongs of capitalism, I’m just giving a definition. Do you agree with it?

    HS. no, that’s why I wrote ‘individuals’, the State is us collectively.

    Rakaia George. Your view is those with the will and power should triumph… triumph of the will.. um. Also, capitalism hasn’t been around forever, but human advancement has been.

  11. Rakaia George. Don’t confuse the market with capitalism. The market is the trade of rights to goods and services according to supply and demand. Capitalism is the ownership of the means of production and the production itself by individuals.

    Capitalism didn’t exist during the Black Death but the market did.

  12. Billy 12

    hasn’t capitalism just failed in the US

    No.

  13. Janet 13

    Political basics: diversity, inclusion, equal rights and opportunity, social democracy. Belief in an essential humanity.

  14. Rakaia George 14

    SP
    My view is that endeavour should be rewarded – without that we have no progress because there is no incentive. Point to any major step-change in human progress, and I’ll bet you can find that principle at the bottom of it.
    I would define capitalism as society fundamentally based on trading principles.

  15. Of course all the Capitalists at the top of the tower tell us how great capitalism is, after all its propelled them to the top.

    If you’re born into money life is great, you can afford to eat, get an education, you’re set for life. But get born into poverty then you’re pretty much fucked, its a struggle just to survive.

    Is it right that in this system if you cant afford to live you die?

  16. Rakaia George 16

    After SP’s 4.23

    I’m not a political scientist (I’m a real one 😉 )but I don’t see how you can separate “the market” and “capitalism”.

    Just what do you define a post Black Death farmer able able to own his own land and profit from it, if not a capitalist? After all, he’s an individual who owns the means of production…

    [interesting point, I will change the wording of my definition because we wouldn’t consider a subsistance farmer a capitalist but that would fit with what I have – I’ll change ‘some individuals’ to ‘a small portion of individuals…, employ others labour to work their capital,… SP]

  17. Billy 17

    But get born into poverty then you’re pretty much fucked, its a struggle just to survive.

    What shit. You mean “pretty much fucked” people “born into poverty” like Sir Robert Jones of Naenae, Graeme Hart of Mt Roskill and John Key of Burnside.

  18. Phil 18

    After all, he’s an individual who owns the means of production…

    … and so was the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.
    All of whom would have purchased materials, transformed then in some way, and sold a product to a (relatively) open market.

    Capitalists, all of them, and clearly part of the pre-industrial revolution ruling elite!

  19. ropata 19

    The US system is capitalism for the middle class, but $$ trillions for grotesque corporate welfare on Wall St.

    Yesterday, $85 billion was given to AIG. In the past year, between bailouts and “injecting liquidity’ into the banks, the Fed has spent nearly a trillion of the public’s money. But unlike the citizens of Arlington, the public did not get to vote on this. The public treasury is raided, the public accounts driven further into the red. But no act of congress authorized this. The theft of public funds was performed mostly by the Federal Reserve Bank. Who are these gentlemen at the Federal Reserve Bank, and where do they get such power? And where do they get such money? A bridge to nowhere is beginning to look like a bargain, and if money is needed for schools or roads, the Congress bewails the growth of government. But money for wars and money for the rich always seems to be available, and debating the subject is regarded as unpatriotic.

  20. Billy. You’ve hit on the point of the ‘people vary’ point.. just because some people get ou of poverty doesn’t mean all can.

  21. Phil 21

    If you’re born into money life is great, you can afford to eat, get an education, you’re set for life. But get born into poverty then you’re pretty much fucked, its a struggle just to survive

    Sorry, I wasn’t aware that we still lived in 18th century England.

    Apparently all of this meritorious EEO that we’ve had for the last few decades is just an illusion to keep the lower classes at bay…

  22. r0b 22

    “You mean “pretty much fucked’ people “born into poverty’ like Sir Robert Jones of Naenae, Graeme Hart of Mt Roskill and John Key of Burnside.

    “Pretty much” allows for exceptions, and there are some. But not many. I’ve spent a bit of time in poor countries (one in particular). People born into poverty really are pretty much fcuked.

  23. IrishBill 23

    Billy, firstly all of the people you are talking about were born into a society in which they ad access to decent housing, free education and a more egalitarian society. They were from lower middle class families. Not poverty.

    Putting aside that fact and pretending they were really from the bottom of the heap as some successful people are. The next point is are they exceptions and does their astounding success come at the expense of the other 99.99% of people? The answer to both of these questions is yes. In which case can they really be held up as examples of a fair and equitable system?

  24. r0b 24

    PS – since I don’t have edit, in NZ you can be born into relative poverty, but not (hardly anyone) born into absolute poverty, certainly not the three examples Billy cites.

  25. Billy,

    That would be a yes. A country with thousands of it’s middle class citizens foreclosed on and living in tents and the banksters creaming of what’s left is capitalism in its rawest and most dehumanising vorm. No jobs left because the scheisters outsourced everything because they could make more money with total disregard for the Americans they left jobless. Capitalism again in it’s rawest, ugliest form.

    In the simplest “market” version were people bring their produce to a market it’s about giving and taking and not the strongest takes all.

    I personally enjoyed Michael Parenti’s excellent lectures on the subject of Capitalism and the myth of underdevelopment I suggest you have a look too.

  26. IrishBill 26

    I’d also point out that Stalin came from a peasant family as did Saddam Hussein. Clearly following your logic Billy these examples of success endorse Stalinism and Baathism respectively.

  27. Phil. we’ll get to how social intervention in the market via the State can help re-balance inequalities inherent in capitalism in a later post. But for now, I’m interested whether you disagree with the three foundation points I’ve laid out.

  28. r0b 28

    SP: I will change the wording of my definition because

    It might be interesting to leave the original wording in place, and add new definitions in new text. How the definitions evolve might be an interesting aspect of the thread.

  29. Irish.. but they didn’t grow up in the systems they would later come to rule. Maybe Stalin is an endorsement of late feudalism and Saddam of tettering post-colonial monarchy.

  30. Billy 30

    IB,

    I do not regard Stalin as a success. I’m a little surprised you do. I thought the fashion was to pretend that Social Democrats aren’t communists.

  31. insider 31

    “Capitalism is an economic system in which most capital is controlled by a small portion of individuals…”

    Not sure if this is definionally true, or even true in practice particularly in a globalising world with pension funds and insurance schemes. It may once have been. I believe the divide between rich and others is decreasing overall – that’s why fewer of us have nannies and household staff – which implies to me that the rich have less relative power as the wealth of the wider populace increases.

    This of course presupposes that Eve is incorrect…

  32. Billy 32

    Why am I in moderation? Has that humourless facsist Bryan Spondre conivinced everyone I am D4J?

  33. insider. if you look at stats on how many share holders there are or the distrubtion of wealth, it’s clear that a small portion own most of the capital.

    I agree that the long-term trend is downward a less stratfied society, with more capital being owned by more people – but the definition of capitalism still stands

  34. randal 34

    the great arch capitualist Karl Popper did have one use. By his philosophy and logic any system that is justified by itself is circular and invalid. this includes both scientific communism and laizze faire capitalism. Even Marx asks in the communist manifesto “who brought these people forth from the soil” and the answer is industrial production under the laizze faire system. so we must recognise that humanity is bigger than these abstract systems and we must construct our own salvation else by using up all the earths resources we will die or at the least be decimated by our own hands. there is no doubt that capitalism gives its proponents a feeling of unbridled power but it is only the harnessed power of harnessed adventitious energy and false consciousness and for the socialists to claim that only communism can lead us out of the woods by the same method we got here is of equal folly. But myself I prefer a combination of both with the emphasis on that system that tries to guarantee as much for all rather than winner take all and to hell with the rest.

  35. higherstandard 35

    SP

    I think you realise I was taking the p…

    It would be worthwhile everyone reading and reflecting on r0b’s comment about three into the thread before slagging off capitalism/socialism etc and looking to come up with examples to prove or disprove what works and doesn’t work.

    What is it about people that we’re all so quick to want to put people and countries into groups under nice little headings must be the something deeply embedded in our genes perhaps.

  36. randal 36

    Billy one only goes into moderation if and only if one is immoderate. Blaming others is the first step on the slippery slope towards clinical paranoia so watch out. eeeek!

  37. higherstandard 37

    Well put Randal.

  38. higherstandard 38

    In relation to the 5.23 comment more so than the 5.26 but both are an enlightened position to take.

  39. r0b 39

    I do not regard Stalin as a success.

    Why not? He was a disgusting human being of course, but by some criteria of “success” he was successful wasn’t he?

    I thought the fashion was to pretend that Social Democrats aren’t communists.

    Ahhh – we aren’t. Just like all Liberals aren’t Libertarians, and all Conservatives aren’t Fundamentalists.

  40. billy. dunno must have been a trigger word but i’m not sure what.. you know how these things are.

  41. r0b 41

    Don’t worry Billy – I’m in moderation too (5:30pm), so the moderation trap is spreading the love…

  42. i didn’t include a definition of capitalism to make an argument for communism but because we live in a capitalist society (with moderation by state intervention,, which we’ll get to later)

  43. it must be social democrats or communists .. I wonder why, maybe that democrats for social credit guy who kept on threadjacking

  44. Billy 44

    by some criteria of “success’ he was successful wasn’t he?

    Really? Successful at murdering millions, I s’pose.

  45. Carol 45

    I’d like to alter or qualify my earlier statement. I think it is unfettered free market capitalism that has failed recently in the US. I agree with others who have said there’s more than one form of capitalism and more than one form of socialism, and that often countries have a mixture of both. It was one party “communist” states that failed at the end of the 20th century, not socialism itself.

    Generally, I’m reasonably happy with a mixed system: one that does the other things Steve mentioned initially (recognises diversity and the humanity in everyone), and doesn’t allow the growth of inequalities.

    Also there are forms of capitalism (as in some of the late 20thC Asian Tiger economies, that were capitalist, but not democratic and didn’t support notions of individualism. Some did have more of an idea of support for community over individualism. IMO, humans & their societies have a mix of collaborative and competitive individualistic tendencies. Western capitalism, especially the US variety, favours individualistic capitalism. IMO it’s more the mix of collaboration and competition that has stimulated human inventions and ingenuity, rather than capitalism.

  46. Billy. He was powerful and had a much higher standard of living during his later lfie than he was orn into. Certainly successful on a peronal level. He also died by fallin off a chair. Did his power and wealth come from doing good for others? No, quite the opposite, but is that a criterion applied (sorry, I know this is trite) to how a wealthy capitalist like Key got his wealth?

  47. Billy 47

    Did you just compare Key to Stalin?

    I must start using “Helengrad” a little more.

  48. Billy 48

    Moderation again. This splace is getting like policynet. Please do not post my IP address.

  49. sorry Billy, I don’t know what’s going on. but don’t worry, someone will usually get yo out pretty quickly.

    No, I didn’t compare Key to Stalin. If I were to Key would come off much better. The point is just that in terms of ‘success’ as we are often asked to measure people Stalin was a success.

    All of which is besdie the point of the post.

  50. Billy 50

    “If I were to Key would come off much better.”

    That’s quite a concession from you, SP.

  51. Draco T Bastard 51

    Billy:

    You mean “pretty much fucked’ people “born into poverty’ like Sir Robert Jones of Naenae, Graeme Hart of Mt Roskill and John Key of Burnside.

    All of whom grew up in a very socialist country with free education and credible support for the less well off allowing them access to better opportunities.

    I do not regard Stalin as a success.

    Interesting – why not?

  52. Draco T Bastard 52

    Eeep, in moderation.

  53. SP, I think that your definition is wrong. You are stating a corollary and it is a most unhelpful starting point.

    Here’s a better one, from _Babylon and Beyond_, page 9;

    Capitalism is, essentially, a system where profits are made within a market-based context and reinvested in new capital equipment, that is, machines and IT used to produce more goods and services.

    I don’t believe the problem is at this level, instead I think that the problem is that the markets become skewed such that the “invisible hand” of the market is tied. ie, the preconditions that are required for laissez-fare (sp?) capitalism to work are what should be attacked, not the actual mechanism of how wealth is accounted.

    ie, Capitalism is morally justified on the supposition of the presence of intense competition of many companies, rather than a handful of enormous firms, a cartel, or a monopoly. Or if you allow those constructs, there will be another argument that justifies why the same effects are still present.

    So, how about starting with a definition that’s less of an observation, agreeable, and then we can show how those preconditions are false.

  54. randal 54

    capitalism: definition…dominate for pleasure and extort for profit. if ya want any more than that then send me contract for the book!

  55. Phil 55

    From OP;

    With most qualities, there are a few people at the extremes and most distributed around a norm… …The fact that people vary means they will also act in varying ways in the same situation.

    These two statements run counter to each other, I think. Assuming that we have a ‘bell-shapped’ distribution of individuals attributes, it would be more accurate to qualify the second statement as: People vary. However, we can comfortably predict how most people will act, most of the time, given societal and attributable (is that a real word?) norms.

    This is the core foundation of micro-economics.

    All humans have a right to live a life worth living.
    I don’t think you would find many people disagreeing with that. Those that do probably own laboratories and harvest human organs from induced-coma clones.

    This sounds like the ‘safety net’ social welfare principle. But the devil is in the detail – what exactly is an acceptable minimum standard? Where does the line between safety-net and simple hand-out blur or end?

    Capitalism is an economic system in which most capital is controlled by a small portion of individuals and most people sell their labour to live.

    Broaden ‘capital’ in this statement to ‘wealth’ and you end up with an observational definition of every economic or political system that has ever existed in the ‘modern’ world.

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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • LIVE: Jacinda Ardern vs. Judith Collins, First Debate
    Tonight, The Civilian will be live-blogging the first of too many debates between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins, and also the last fifteen minutes of the news. Be sure to tune in from 6:45pm for regular updates, which can be accessed by refreshing this page ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Hundreds of Aucklanders arrested after illegal mass gathering on Harbour Bridge
    An enormous drive-in party, shown here, was held this morning on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, where police were forced to intervene. Hundreds of Aucklanders were arrested this morning on public health grounds, after an apparent illegal mass gathering on the city’s Harbour Bridge. Police say hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in their ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • The Looming Fight.
    Social Distancing Be Damned - It's Jacinda! Shortly after ascending to Labour’s leadership, Jacinda described herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. It was an inspired oxymoron – packing into just two words the essence of the social-democrat’s dilemma. It was good to know that she knew what lay ahead of her. ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
    Back in 2017, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Its a basic climate change measure, aimed at reducing emissions by shifting the vehicle fleet to cleaner technologies. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, they're planning to bring it forward ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
    For the past decade, Australia has had a racist, anti-refugee policy. Those claiming refugee status are imprisoned without trial and left to rot in the hope they would "voluntarily" return to be tortured and murdered. When the courts have granted them visas, the government has immediately revoked them on racial ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
    Yesterday afternoon I had to call on my car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For reasons best known to its driver, a car pulled out of a side road right in front of me while I was driving home after work, and I needed to stop in a hurry. I rather ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    5 days ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
    There are a fair few misconceptions about conditions within New Zealand’s Quarantine Hotels. Madeline Grant’s misplaced accusations being one prominent example, though she is not alone. Today, I thought I’d share the inside word, so to speak. A friend of mine has recently returned to New Zealand from overseas, and ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: ASA: Let’s not talk about this
    Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes its name from a controversial American anti-cannabis group and includes ...
    5 days ago
  • This is not kind
    New Zealand has a serious homelessness problem, due to skyrocketing rents and a lack of state houses. One of the ways we stick a band-aid on it is to put people up in motels. Previously, they were charged full commercial rates, saddled with odious debt due to the government's failure ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
    by Ani O’Brien In the absence of a better word with which to refer to the rabid activists who claim progressivism while demanding adherence to an increasingly prescriptive set of political beliefs, I call them “woke”. With its roots in Black American slang, the term originally denoted a person or ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules
    Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported a case of Covid-19 in Auckland that is not related to the current Auckland cluster. Before we start to panic, here’s how I think the case happened and how we can strengthen our current border controls. The new Covid-19 case is someone ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis
    Becky Casale Elon Musk reckons his Neuralink brain implant is much more than a medical device–that one day it will drive a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. “Good morning! I’m Dr Benedict Egg and I’ll be supervising your Neuralink insertion today. Do you have any questions?” “Yes, Doc. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Liam Hehir: Our obsession with American politics
    Many New Zealanders take a strong interest in US politics, with the death of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg being the latest example. Liam Hehir wonders if it very wise for New Zealanders to get so worked about it.   Many politically engaged New Zealanders are now furiously ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • COVID: Back to Level 1
    After stamping the Coronavirus out via strict lockdown between March and May, New Zealand went through a good three months without any community cases. Then a local outbreak in Auckland rather buggered things up last month. Auckland’s been in level 3 and level 2.5 for the past six weeks. ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Climate injustice
    Who's causing our skyrocketing emissions? As with most of our other problems, It's the rich: The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Good riddance
    The border closure and resulting lack of foreign slave-workers is driving the fishing industry out of business: One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The tipping points at the heart of the climate crisis Many parts of the Earth’s climate system have been destabilised by ...
    6 days ago
  • Anyone for Collins?
    In the absence of national public opinion polls, we have had to make do in recent weeks with other guides to voter intentions. Those guides, such as the Auckland Central poll, the incidence of google enquiries and the responses to Vote Compass questions, have suggested, not unexpectedly, that Labour is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
    Crusher Collins - National Party leaderWe all know that the National Party is desperate to gain some traction during this election campaign and have been throwing pretty much everything at the Labour Party in order to try and undermine Jacinda Ardern and what the Coalition Government has achieved. But unfortunately ...
    6 days ago
  • Much of the commentariat’s reporting of the most recent GDP figure was misleading and unhelpful. The prize for the stupidest remark about the GDP figure for second quarter 2020 (2020Q2) released on Thursday (17 Sept) goes to Judith Collins, whose response to Grant Robertson’s comments indicated she did not ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Love and Hate as Complementary Revolutionary Acts
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh goloing@gmail.com (19/09/2020) Che Guevara said that a true revolutionary is motivated by love i.e. love of the oppressed, the poor, the children dying from preventable illnesses. This phrase of his is true but has been used by reformists and their more hippy wing have taken advantage ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 13, 2020 through Sat, Sep 19, 2020 Editor's Choice Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done A report by a ...
    1 week ago
  • Tax cuts for all!!! (except you, you, and you)
    With the National Party this week announcing a new policy of tax cuts to spice up the election campagin. MyThinks went along to the launch and afterwards we spoke to the party’s finance spokesperson Paul “Golden Touch” Goldsmith. MT: Thanks for speaking to us Mr Goldsmith. PG: No. Thank you. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 week ago
  • Great Waves Washing Over New Zealand
    Always to islanders danger Is what comes over the seas ‘Landfall in Unknown Seas’ (Allen Curnow)Six economic issues external to New Zealand, which will greatly impact upon us. 1.         The Diminishing Global Dominance of the US. Since 1941 America has dominated the world economically and politically. Probably it could ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand has role to play in resolving crisis on ‘geopolitical fault line’, Helen Clark says
    By Geoffrey Miller New Zealand should continue to champion human rights in Belarus amidst an ongoing crackdown on protests by the country’s regime, former Prime Minister Helen Clark says. Protests in the country often referred to as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ erupted after the country’s disputed presidential elections on August 9 ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions
    Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why we need cameras on boats
    In case anyone needed further convincing, there's another example today of why we need cameras on fishing boats: reported seabird bycatch doubled during a camera trial: Commercial fishers operating off Auckland's coast around vulnerable seabirds are twice as likely to report accidentally capturing them when cameras are on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Graham Adams: The religious right’s campaign to spike the euthanasia referendum
    In the leadup to the euthanasia referendum, an array of conservative Christian political organisations is running an expensive campaign to sow doubt about the safety of assisted dying. Graham Adams argues that these religious forces know that Christian arguments aren’t convincing the public, but that it is in the public ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Opportunistic looting
    The National Party has spent the last six months acting horrified at the cost of supporting people through the pandemic and banging on about how the debt must be repaid. So what was their economic policy released today? Massive tax-cuts for the rich, of course! National has walked back ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Uncomfortable Choices.
    Dangerous Times: This will be the choice confronting those coming of age in the 2020s. Embrace Neoliberalism’s belief in racial and sexual equality; adopt its secular and scientific world view; and cultivate the technocratic, multicultural, global outlook required of those who keep the machinery of hyper-capitalism humming. Or, throw your ...
    1 week ago
  • Tony Burton: Covid and benefit payments
    It would be a great time to reform the benefit system, according to former Deputy Chief Economic Advisor at the Treasury, Tony Burton. He argues the complexity of benefit system means that it’s failing to achieve its difficult three core objectives, which form an “iron triangle”.   New Zealand’s benefit ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Talking tax: How to win support for taxing wealth
    Tax Justice UK, September 2020 Serious tax reform is on the political agenda for the first time in decades due to the coronavirus crisis. As this debate hots up it is important to understand what people think about public spending, wealth and tax. Tax Justice UK, along with Survation and ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Getting Tough.
    Not Mucking Around: With upwards of 800 dead from the virus’s resurgence in the Australian state of Victoria, leniency is not on Premier Daniel Andrews’ agenda. The Victorian Police are cracking down hard on the protesters the Australian press has labelled "Covidiots".IMAGES OF POLICE, some in riot gear, others on ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: Nuclear strategy, then and now.
    Although I had the fortune of being a graduate student of some of the foremost US nuclear strategists of the day (1970s) and later rubbed shoulders with Air Force and Naval officers who were entrusted with parts of the US nuclear arsenal, I seldom get to write or speak about ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Chinese List.
    News that Zhenhua Data, an arm of China Zhenhua Electronics Group, a subsidiary of the military-connected China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), maintains a list of 800 New Zealanders on a “Overseas Key Information Database” that contains personal information on more than 2.4 million foreign individuals, has caused some consternation ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Things that grow fast, and things that surprise us
    Marie Becdelievre January 2020. The number of news article mentioning coronavirus exploded and anxious voices whispered about a global pandemic. Whisper? To me, it was only a whisper. I tend to learn about the world through non-fiction books, conferences, and academic research rather than news and social media, so ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2020
    2,082,476,000,000,000 Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean  (not open access, unfortunately) walks us through the numbers on a particular means of CO2 removal, addition of volcanic tephra to the ocean. The mechanism is straight chemistry and the cost is fully an order of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbados to become a republic
    Barbados is planning to remove the queen as head of state and become a republic in time for the 55th anniversary of its independence in 2021: Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November 2021. [...] Reading ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
    At the 2017 election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a Fees Free Policy for tertiary students. Basically, it would make the first year of university education free in 2018, with a second year in 2021, and a third in 2024. It also promised to restore Post-Graduate access to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz What is the impact of temperature increases in the tropics? ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons It felt like 100 degrees in my in-laws’ Grass Valley, California, kitchen, but at least the lights were on and for the moment we were safely “distanced” from the Jones Fire. We’d just finished dessert, after pizza and a movie ...
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is...
    Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration
    Seddon House in Hokitika, once a hub for government on the West Coast, has been earmarked for government use once again. “Today we’re announcing a $22 million investment from the Government’s $3 billion infrastructure fund for shovel ready projects for the purchase and restoration of Seddon House in the heart of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes two diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced two new diplomatic appointments: •         Michael Appleton as New Zealand’s first resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. •        Tredene Dobson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Viet Nam.  Sri Lanka “New Zealand is opening a post in Colombo in 2021 because we are ready ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ’s most prestigious conservation award – Loder Cup presented to Graeme Atkins
    The Minister of Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, today presented Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award, the Loder Cup, to the 2020 winner Graeme Atkins while in Gisborne/Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa. “Graeme Atkins of Ngāti Porou is a Department of Conservation ranger whose contribution to conservation goes well above and beyond his employment,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Parliament to install solar and cut carbon
    Parliament is leading by example by taking action to cut its carbon footprint by installing solar and improving energy efficiency, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today. The Minister confirmed that Parliamentary Services will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to install solar PV and LED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tuvalu Language Week theme promotes community resilience in the face of COVID-19
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the 2020 Tuvalu Language Week theme of “Fakatili Te Kiloga Fou” which means “Navigating the changing environment” is a call on all Pacific peoples to be strong and resilient in the face of COVID-19. “This theme is a reminder to us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • International sport back up and running in New Zealand
    The Government is welcoming today’s announcement that the West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams will tour New Zealand this summer.  “A lot of hard work has been undertaken by sports officials including New Zealand Cricket, Netball New Zealand and government officials to ensure that international sport can return safely to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 1BT funds for Northland forest taonga
    Northland’s indigenous tree canopy is set to grow for the benefit of mana whenua and the wider community thanks to nearly $2 million in One Billion Trees funding, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better health care for West Coasters as Te Nikau Hospital officially opened
    The Government has delivered a new hospital for Greymouth and is starting work on a much needed new health centre in Westport, ensuring local communities will benefit from better access to high quality integrated health services. Today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare officially open Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government backing local with PGF loan
    A West Coast distillery will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment that will enable it to expand its operations and create jobs in the town of Reefton, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Primary sector exports and jobs up again
    Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery. Stats NZ today reported New Zealand’s merchandise exports in August were up 8.6% on a year ago, driven by an increase in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clean energy future for more schools
    Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The Minister has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New pest lures to protect nature
    The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures that would be game-changers for trapping and surveillance towards a predator-free Aotearoa, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, announced in Christchurch today. The proposal is to develop long-life lures attractive to a range of predators—rats, mustelids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Building business strength with digital tools
    New training and tools for digital commerce will give small businesses, especially in the tourism sector, the support they need to adapt and innovate in a COVID world. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
    Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.  “There is already an incredible amount of innovative and creative work going on in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago