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Bill Gates on Piketty and inequality

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, December 26th, 2014 - 64 comments
Categories: blogs, books, capitalism, class war, discrimination, tax - Tags: ,

Bill Gates is one of the richest people the planet has ever seen and for many years has been ranked as the wealthiest American.  He with a few friends founded Microsoft in the early days of the personal computer and through a series of events arguably well planned, arguably accidental but probably a combination of both managed to take Microsoft from being a small upstart to the dominant company involved in computing for the past few decades.  Forbes estimates his current worth at $82 billion US.

He is obviously someone with compassion.  Since 2000 through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he has given away $30 billion to causes including the eradication of polio, malaria and ebola in the third world and he has also set up scholarships for education of poor American citizens through the United Negro College Fund.

His wealth would suggest that he would not be in agreement with Thomas Piketty, a respected economist who has argued that the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few is an inevitable feature of the capitalist system.  Pitketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century argues that when the rate of return on capital is greater than the rate of economic growth in the long term then inequality and attendant problems such as social and economic instability increase.

The book has been well received, it was the top selling hardback non fiction book on the New York Times bestselling list shortly after its release.  As Ben Clark has described the book has caused consternation amongst the right who in that particular right approach to things want to undermine Piketty’s theory because of their fear that trickledown will once and for all be shown to be a fallacy.

Piketty argues that the consequence of capitalism is decreasing social mobility and potential democratic upheaval.  The only answer is State intervention.  From Wikipedia:

Piketty bases his argument on a formula that relates the rate of return on capital (r) to the rate of economic growth (g), where r includes profitsdividendsinterestrents and other income from capital; and g is measured in income or output. He argues that when the rate of growth is low then wealth tends to accumulate more quickly from r than from labor, and tends to accumulate more among the top decile and centile, increasing inequality. Thus the fundamental force for divergence and greater wealth inequality can be summed up in the inequality r > g.

Gates in a reasoned personal blog post agrees in part with Piketty’s analysis.  He encourages others to read the book.  He had the ability to ring Piketty and discuss his conclusions with him.  He agrees generally with Piketty’s theory concerning inequality:

I very much agree with Piketty that:

  • High levels of inequality are a problem—messing up economic incentives, tilting democracies in favor of powerful interests, and undercutting the ideal that all people are created equal.
  • Capitalism does not self-correct toward greater equality—that is, excess wealth concentration can have a snowball effect if left unchecked.
  • Governments can play a constructive role in offsetting the snowballing tendencies if and when they choose to do so.

He questions Piketty’s r > g equation and notes the academic debate about the data.  He also says that the use the wealthy put to their capital is important, and a benefactor and business creator can be beneficial whereas an idle rich consumer is not.  While this is undoubtedly true it does not address the problem of inequality which capitalism inevitably creates.  The best intentions of the wealthy may not assuage the problems caused by inequality.

He also questions the concept of wealth being inherited and points out that in the United States wealth was often “created” by luck and hard work as opposed to England where it tended to be inherited.  He also points out that consumption data as opposed to income may give a better indication of the wealth of a person.  He advocates for a consumption tax a la GST and he is also a large believer in an inheritance tax.

Gates’ post is an interesting contribution to the debate on inequality and given his position and status his concessions that capitalism is currently causing inequality and that the state has a constructive role to play in lessening the effects are noteworthy.

To visually back up Piketty’s theory the following is a graphic printed in the New York Times a few years ago.

Marsh inequality graphic

64 comments on “Bill Gates on Piketty and inequality ”

  1. Chooky 1

    This is good! …my partner wanted this formidable looking book for Xmas …and got it !…but the hard back aint cheap…so I left the price sticker on the back as reminder ( I wont be reading it…i will just listen to the pontifications from the sofa )

    however I note Bill Gates and Miranda support Charter Schools …so they do need some education here

    http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2003/06/Investing-in-HighQuality-Charter-Schools

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/got-dough-how-billionaires-rule-our-schools

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Gates is very keen on the self made man angle. Forbes says he is 8 out of 10 in terms of an arbitrary scale where 1 is he had a gold plated silver spoon and 10 is he began life in abject poverty. I am not surprised that it affects his thinking.

      • karol 1.1.1

        Gates isn’t that far from people like Andrew Carnegie.

        And Carnegie provided support for those on the bottom tier of society, who would help themselves – the ideal of the “self made man” was rife back in the early decades of the 20th century, too.

        The Carnegie foundation also funded various cultural incentives developed under NZ’s first Labour government: eg with public libraries in NZ.

        Such ideals have been beneficial in the short term, but ultimately only enable capitalism and its wealth inequalities to be maintained long term.

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.1

          Yep that tension between respect for wealthy individuals who in their own way try to contribute and using this as a justification for continuing with a system that is neither fair nor rational given its outcomes.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1

            My instinctive response to hearing someone gives generously to charity is “tax evader”. Closely followed by “John Gotti.”

            The question is, will Gates’ enthusiasm for Picketty extend to funding some lobbyists and polticians so that some actual change happens? What’s his plan?

            To call for more debate.

            • Tracey 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The Internet Party in USA

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.1.2

              It is the extremes of wealth and poverty which is the ethical issue; but it is a mistake to think that this somehow justifies or glamorises poverty.

            • TheContrarian 1.1.1.1.1.3

              Giving to charity as a tax evasion is a retarded idea.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Probably a consequence of right wing brain syndrome I expect.

                • TheContrarian

                  I think you misunderstand – the idea that someone would use charity as a tax evasion is a retarded idea.

                    • TheContrarian

                      In NZ you can only claim back 1/3 of the tax on charitable donations. It makes no sense to use charity as a tax avoidence measure. for every $100 spent you get $33 back.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, I appreciate that’s how you think it all plays out. Did you read the link?

                    • TheContrarian

                      Yes I read the link, I was specificially referring to donating to a charity as a tax avoidence measure as retarded.

                      Setting up a fake charity as a front for tax avoidence is another kettle of fish monkeys.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Were you?

                      I was explicitly referring to my instinctive response to hearing someone “gives generously to charity”.

                      There are registered charities that sell charity receipts to tax-return preparers for a commission. Taxpayers and tax-return preparers might counterfeit charity receipts of real charities.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Yes, I was.

                      We done now? Because I need to get some beers from the fridge downstairs.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Been there, done that 🙂

                    • Two things about why we shouldn’t support unlimited charitable offsets, over and above any potential for abuse in illegitimate tax offsets:

                      1) It depends on how charitable said “charity” actually is. A lot of investment in creating a friendly political environment for business can be deemed “charity” in some or all western countries. If we’re going to allow charitable donations to offset tax, then we should be VERY careful about what we define as charity, and exclude anything that is primarily about political party advocacy, or advocacy for actual or perceived economic growth.

                      2) In principle even when we define charities carefully it creates a large political inequality to provide differing tax incentives to the very wealthy as compared to people on lower or average incomes, as large donations, even donations to genuinely charitable causes, is an exercise of political power by the elite. In principle whether or not charity is used for tax evasion, I think allowing an uncapped offset to tax for charity is a bad idea, as it creates a financial incentive to use charities to achieve political or social advocacy goals. I’d much prefer to see the first $1,000 or $2,000 offset in full against your tax.

              • Mike S

                In reply to another post of yours. Companies can claim the full amount as a tax deduction so charitable donations certainly have benefits for corporates. Perfectly legal though.

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.2

            Yes the reason that Gates and Carnegie stand out in the social distribution and interaction arena is because there are so few of such people out of the many who sit back complacently or scrabble away addictively getting more money, more power, more deals. Just playing the money game it becomes rather than enjoying setting up and running a business suceessfully. It’s doing what you have to to make a profit and add to your putea.

            Grandpa McDuck probably personifies most of the type. –
            Scottish Scrooge McDuck with modern cynicism to music!!

            (Do you catch the allusion to Howard Hughes and toilets.)


            Nice work from Swedish Art School.

            This is how politicians like us to believe about economics while they feel free to do the opposite, or bend the system to 45 degrees.

        • Tracey 1.1.1.2

          Tindall also leans his project funding to those already helping themselves.

          We still need charity funding for those not even able to afford the first step to help themselves but have great ideas/projects.

  2. Steve Alfreds 2

    Picketty’s work shows the importance of economic history.

    The following blog by Brian Easton regarding comments by the head of Treasury is interesting.

    http://pundit.co.nz/content/are-new-zealand-economists-going-in-the-right-direction

    Unfortunately I think a lot of our universities have been focusing on teaching the neo-liberal approach and not economic history.

  3. The Murphey 3

    Q. Citing Bill Gates commentary on inequality created by unchecked capitalism should be read as ironic ?

  4. Molly 4

    Another good graphic animation along the lines of Wealth Inequality in America, showing the buying power of the Congress backed minimum wage changes since 1938 in the US.

    In terms of 2014$ value minimum wages peaked in 1968 at $10.75.

  5. Chooky 5

    the mega wealthy thinking Americans will be concerned about greater economic inequality and social upheaval eg Ron Paul ( they will be remembering lessons from history French and Russian revolutions ),…and they will be trying to explain socio economic inequality away

    http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2014/10/28/innocent-bystanders-monetary-policy-and-inequality-in-the-u-s/

    however it is what the mega wealthy decide to do about this widening inequality that counts:

    eg will they be trying to take over all State functions eg education , health , social welfare, police , military ? …in order to keep a lid on social discontent and upheaval ….as well as a tight grip on their money

    …or will they be funding socialist parties (like Mana…does the US have any Left parties?) and Left media which represent the most disadvantaged in society?

    …will they advocate tax reform?…. and greater government funding and State control of essential services eg schooling , health, social welfare , housing ?

    ….i am not holding my breath

    • Chooky 5.1

      actually i dont actually agree with the politics of the economics writer of the link above ie Yurly Goroduichenko… but the point he is making about Ron Paul and the concern over economic inequality in the USA is valid

      here is another link on Ron Paul…’Dont Blame the Rich for the Income Gap’

      http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/10/28/8523896-ron-paul-dont-blame-the-rich-for-income-gap

      • tricledrown 5.1.1

        Ron paul extremist economic solution get rid of govt.
        Giving apple as an example shows what his agenda is really all about.
        Defending the modern day robber barrons like Apple who exploit slave labour where their are no labour laws so a few shareholders can maximize their profits.
        He is no more than a propagandist for the uber rich.
        If their were no bailouts the worlds economies would of tanked!
        Ron Paul is a rednecks dream feed them a few half truths and they will believe any bullshit!

        • Chooky 5.1.1.1

          @ trickledown …agreed…although I havent studied Ron Paul’s theory…but it seems like a concerned US mega rich man’s ‘solution’ is to get rid of government

          imo Scandinavian countries which have a lot of govt intervention and a heavily funded social welfare state …and dont have a great gap between rich and poor ….and which heavily tax the very wealthy…and have a well funded free State education… is the way to go

          the opposite of USA

          • tricledrown 5.1.1.1.1

            Chooky the myth is that the US taxes are lower than those in mixed economies like the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand.
            By the time you Combine State,Fedearal,Stamp Duties,Capital Gains,Land Taxes,Health insurance,High Student loans.
            The US taxpayer synopsis pays far more for all of their services around 66% of the average wage compared to 45% for New Zealand and Scadinavian countries.
            Health Insurance and College fees don’t show up in their income taxe statistics!

            • Paul Campbell 5.1.1.1.1.1

              yes – most people for get this – when I lived in the California I paid 33% Fed tax, 10% state tax, 6% social security and ~8% sales tax

              People in NZ often forget state taxes in the US and Australia that pay for things like police and schools when they try and compare NZ taxes with elsewhere – I’m on the high NZ marginal rate and I pay at least 10% less than I paid in the US – and I get free medical/etc – then again I don’t get to pay for wars

              People don’t know how lucky they are ….

  6. Philip Ferguson 6

    Some light holiday reading on how capitalism works (and doesn’t work) contra Picketty:

    What is exploitation? https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/what-is-exploitation/

    How capitalism works – and why it doesn’t: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/how-capitalism-works-%E2%80%93-and-doesn%E2%80%99t-work/

    Understanding GST and tax policy: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/understanding-gst-and-tax-policy/

    Capitalist crisis, Keynesian delusions: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/capitalist-crisis-keynesian-delusions/

    Thomas Picketty’s ideas reach New Zealand: http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/thomas-pickettys-ideas-reach-new-zealand/

    Phil

    • BLiP 6.1

      TL/DR . . . synopsis, plox.

      Picketty is wrong; discuss – 50 words or less.

      • dave brown 6.1.1

        Piketty is wrong because he fails to understand that capitalist inequality lies in the exploitation of wage labour by capital, of which the accumulation of wealth by an elite is a but a symptom. Therefore a wealth tax fails to correct capitalist inequality. Only a socialist revolution can do that.

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1

          Also: easily accessible energy and resources in ever-increasing volumes has powered our civilisation’s economic growth.

          That’s over now. And the ignorant 0.1% has the furthest to fall. By far.

          • greywarshark 6.1.1.1.1

            But the tall tree, crashing takes a lot with it, whether it makes a sound in Indonesia, Brazil, or any place that there are tall trees.

            They will take our system of exchange with them these crashing uber-wealthies, and we need to have our grassroots emergency systems ready that operate on tight local currencies until agreement can be reached officially with other currencies to find points of trade and barter that are mutually useful.
            Credit will not be available then, except person to person.

        • BLiP 6.1.1.2

          That makes sense, thank you. Not sure a socialist revolution is the only option.

    • Murray Rawshark 6.2

      Can you elaborate on why you think neoliberalism was exhausted in Aotearoa by the mid 90s?

  7. Macro 7

    There is far more to the problem of galloping inequality within the Capitalist economy than that posited by Piketty. The error lies much deeper than the problem of rates of return on Capital as opposed to productive investment. The fundamental and ethical flaw in the Capitalist theory lies in the concept developed by John Locke in his “Second Treatise on Government” published in 1690 which is the primary document upon which Capitalism, as we know it today, is based.
    Locke made some fundamental and ethical errors in his work – which have never been challenged by succeeding economists. For instance, on the one hand he maintains that;there is a limit to the possession of private property – in that there is “good and enough left over for others” and “Since every man has a property in his own person.. the labour of his body and the work of his hands are properly his.” But after a rather tortured dissertation on money, into which I have neither the time nor space to critique here he concludes..”But since gold and silver, being little use to the life of man in proportion to food, raiment, and carriage, has its value only on the consent of men – it is plain that men have agreed to disproportionate and unequal possession of the earth, that having, by a tacit and voluntary consent, found out a way how a man may fairly possess more than he himself can use the product of“. In other words – Locke contradicts his earlier requirement that there is “good and enough left over for others”.
    This is just one example of the fundament flaws that lie in the very foundations of economic theory currently espoused within our universities and have never been addressed since 1690.
    It is little wonder that our global economies, based as they are upon such flimsy foundations, are now collapsing.

  8. OncewasTim 8

    Am I just being a cnut – or naturally cynical? Probably both, but wealth and richness earned over time without taking account of those you’ve crushed on the way up that bullshit ladder – to the position where ‘philanthropy’, good wholesome values and worshipping media telling the world how fucking wonderful one is – just seems to me to be a bit crass.
    Maybe that crassness has uses tho’ – (like the Clinton/Gates get in behind doing summit about African HIV). [Better they di than they didn’t]

    I’m afraid I’m just a bit cynical about a salesman – prepared to bury other backyard ‘entra – pren -oooores’ (in terms of ripping off smarter folk in the early days of MS development over memory management routines – STILL kinda shite)

    There seem to be technical glitches in here that don’t allow me to reference the previous.
    To cut a long story short though – if we going to embrace the Gates (and darling wife) – good – go for it. Just don’t forget the context and the background. The guys’s a frog that has plenty to atone for – which may be the very reason (i.e a guilty conscience) for his philanthropic endeavour.
    And since he has – isn’t about time a Moikil Fay, or a Rich White, or that old beer baron from ‘old money (whose name eludes me – not particularly buzzniss stute – but with a very guilty conscience and busy now questioning his mortality) keep making headlines

    • Tracey 8.1

      doug myer??

    • greywarshark 8.2

      Questioning his mortality or morality? Or both. He hasn’t bothered to do too much philosophical thinking up to now if it’s who I’m thinking of. Perhaps the money game has palled, and now he has acquired piles he is appalled at what he hasn’t done with his life and wants to redeem himself.

      Plenty to do in NZ if he wished, encouraging the ordinary who aren’t entrepreneurs or aware of having ideas lying nascent but just wanting to have a job that allows them to live and have some time for being their own person and enjoy a circle of friends, family, interest, and still have a bit of money left over.

  9. BLiP 9

    . . . I very much agree with Piketty that:

    – High levels of inequality are a problem—messing up economic incentives, tilting democracies in favor of powerful interests, and undercutting the ideal that all people are created equal.

    – Capitalism does not self-correct toward greater equality—that is, excess wealth concentration can have a snowball effect if left unchecked.

    – Governments can play a constructive role in offsetting the snowballing tendencies if and when they choose to do so . . .

    ^^^QFT

    And we tolerate living in a country where our political masters tell us there is no such thing as “inequality” yet we see it every day.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      Warren Buffett comes out with some pithy uneasy comments in the USA.
      Buffett pointed out that the wealth of the 400 richest Americans has increased more than fivefold over the past 20 years.
      As Buffett put it, “My gang has been leaving the middle class in the dust.”

      And …Branko Milanovic, a World Bank economist, published “The Haves and the Have-Nots,” a study of global income inequality last year, one of his most striking observations was the extent to which the subject was taboo in the United States.

      As Milanovic explained, “I was once told by the head of a prestigious think tank in Washington, D.C., that the think tank’s board was very unlikely to fund any work that had ‘income’ or ‘wealth inequality’ in its title. Yes, they would finance anything to do with poverty alleviation, but inequality was an altogether different matter.”

      Read the item for further details.
      http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2012/11/30/income-inequality-government-warren-buffett-and-growth/

  10. These graphs are excellent, mainly because they point to the fact that inequality has increased as the result of labour’s declining share of rising productivity.
    That shows that there can be no solution to the problem of inequality without the working class, whose productivity is the basis of capital accumulation, taking control of production.
    Piketty type tax and spread solutions are like Marmite without the bread.
    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2014/12/nz-piketty-vs-marx.html

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    He is obviously someone with compassion. Since 2000 through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he has given away $30 billion to causes including the eradication of polio, malaria and ebola in the third world and he has also set up scholarships for education of poor American citizens through the United Negro College Fund.

    Of course, if we didn’t have rich people we wouldn’t have needed the Gates to actually do this as it would have already been in progress as the resources would have been available to do it.

  12. Ad 12

    Excellent graphs Mickey.

    I suspect NZs Great Divergence was later (1984) and harder.

    This year I’d like to see posts here that are tales about our own personal stories to reverse inequality in this world and in NZ. Otherwise it’s fucking depressing.

    • greywarshark 12.1

      I’d like to see ideas and tales for changing inequality in New Zealand and making the country more resilient ready for the next crash which will come as the economic waves continue to combine to crash on our shore and everybody else’s.

      The rest of the world seems more needy, but also there is more of it which would swallow up all our contributions. We must be considerate to people elsewhere but most of our energy needs to go into preventing our own slide further towards the uber under-privileged. We are just above that level now.

  13. Ad 13

    Gordon Campbell at Scoop comments on the massively negative review of MBIE dumped before Christmas.

    MBIE are the uber-ministry charged with making us all wealthy. Campbell describes it as a large ship looking for an iceberg. Would love to see a Green or Labour version of GIF. Sigh. What a waste.

    • greywarshark 13.1

      I prefer the acronym put this way MoBIE, they don’t, no doubt because of the similarity to Moby Dick and the hunt that was a great cautionary tale.

      If Campbell said this about them, he perhaps also thinks of the ‘at sea’ aspect!
      MBIE are the uber-ministry charged with making us all wealthy. Campbell describes it as a large ship looking for an iceberg

  14. aerobubble 14

    Bill Gates did not invent the microchip. Just because the mass soap maker, who creates the first soap, that grates your skin, doth not make them more worthy.
    Investors bring capital, they are essentialy whores, you can go the money markets amd select any number of whores who will quite happily lend you their money (time) and pass on any number of diseases (interest) that will persist depending on how desperate your fetish.
    Capital, when over paid, paid more than workers, will inevitably lead to inequality.
    Karl Marx knew it, anyone in a job knows they are paid les than their value they provide. Even Buffett afmitted he coul never have actually create the worth he now has in money.
    Capitalism is a solution to a flawed problem, and does not solve the problem, just attempts to. Neoliberalism just decides to give up on the flaws let them run amok.

    • Chooky 14.1

      +100…agreed aerobubble…just because you have money to invest does not necessarily make for wise investments for the public good..In the following case it is undermining State funded public education in the USA and Bill Gates is party to this.

      ‘Public Schools for Sale’

      Bill Moyers continues his conversation with education historian Diane Ravitch about the privatization of public education. In this extra video, they talk about the problem with charter schools being run by billionaires, celebrities and individuals with no experience in education; the fact that taxpayers are increasingly funding religious schools and why hedge-fund managers see education as an emerging market.

      “Bill Gates, Paul Tudor Jones, Eli Broad the Walton family, these are all people, they don’t need any more money … But they have misguided ideas because they believe that by destroying public education, they’re helping children. They’re hurting our democracy and hurting children,” Ravitch tells Moyers.

      http://billmoyers.com/segment/web-extra-public-schools-for-sale/

      http://billmoyers.com/episode/public-schools-for-sale/

      • aerobubble 14.1.1

        BG reply to Pickett is the private market can act to better society. Yet we evolved democracy to do this already, having worked out the back fighting, etc. Knowing already that charity comes with hooks, i.e christianity, big corp, ‘the other’, etc. Government requires progressive taxation to keep a few super wealthy from sitting arpund a committee table and cut and pasting their needs onto the rest of us.

        • aerobubble 14.1.1.1

          Welcome to the era of the private central committee, the media has become their PR vehicle, our govt must stay out of their way, our banks bailed with tax payer money. Good night democracy.

          • aerobubble 14.1.1.1.1

            WE invented lawyers to keep rich people paying through the nose, in legal quandy whenthey get biger heads than the average joe.

      • Sable 14.1.2

        When is this site going to stop regurgitating MSM bullshit and do its own research. Agree with you Chooky.

  15. Sable 15

    Yeah I’d think twice about trusting anything Gates has to say…..he is in my opinion a capitalist through and through. Search Bill Gates, GM crops, for example….

  16. gnomic 16

    William Henry Gates III came from a rather privileged background. We are talking silver spoon. Daddy was a dentist if I’m not mistaken (and that’s in itself a whole new can of worms in the NZ context in terms of unequal access, and no doubt worldwide). Go on Bill, free dentistry worldwide. Nah, didn’t think so.

    Besides that he had pretty well unique access to computers enabled by family leverage if I’m not wrong at a time when this was impossible for the masses.

    Is this the Bill well known for his charitable offerings which offer up Microsoft technology (TM) to libraries, schools, etc? Maybe that was yesterday since MS Technology is largely discounted in the market presently.

    Bill critiques Picketty? Yah, whatever. Likely to be the work of an intern working for nothing? Or maybe a ‘thinktank’ paid for by Bill and his ilk.

    .

  17. Robert M 17

    It has been obvious since the 1970s that inequality was growing in Britain and the US. In France and Europe that was masked by greater state support and entitlement for people and industry. The reasons have a great deal to do with increased competion from first Japan, then south asia and now China. There arent the margins to pay good wages and people depend more on state top ups. Also better tech and bio tech makes items cheaper, and therefore less money to distribute.
    It part I think the effects that Piketty highlights are just the intelligent in Asia getting there share and the average westerner being less valuable and useful getting less.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      For me, the take-home message in your comment is that you don’t appear to have read Capital In The Twenty-First Century.

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    2 days ago
  • Call for urgent action on Pacific conservation
    A declaration on the urgency of the global biodiversity crisis and the need for immediate, transformative action in the Pacific was agreed at a pan-Pacific conference today. The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is taking place this week across the Pacific.  Minister of Conservation Kiritapu ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech from the throne
    E aku hoa i te ara o te whai, Kia kotahi tā tātou takahi i te kō, ko tōku whiwhi kei tō koutou tautoko mai. Ko tāku ki a koutou, hei whakapiki manawa mōku. He horomata rangatira te mahi, e rite ai te whiwhinga a te ringatuku, me te ringakape ...
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    2 days ago
  • Keynote address to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand conference
    Speech to the CAANZ conference - November 19, 2020 Thank you, Greg, (Greg Haddon, MC) for the welcome. I’d like to acknowledge John Cuthbertson from CAANZ, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson, former fellow MP and former Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, other guest speakers and CAANZ members. I ...
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    3 days ago
  • Expert independent advisory group appointed to strengthen the future of Māori broadcasting
    A panel of seven experts are adding their support to help shape the future of Māori broadcasting, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has announced today. “Today I will meet with some of the most experienced Māori broadcasters, commentators and practitioners in the field. They have practical insights on the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
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    4 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
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    4 days ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
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    4 days ago
  • Speech to Wakatū Nelson regional hui on trade
    First, I want to express my thanks to Te Taumata for this hui and for all the fantastic work you are doing for Māori in the trade space. In the short time that you’ve been operating you’ve already contributed an enormous amount to the conversation, and developed impressive networks.  I ...
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    4 days ago
  • Speech to Primary Industries Summit
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the significant contribution the food and fibres sector makes to New Zealand and how this Government is supporting that effort. I’d like to start by acknowledging our co-Chairs, Terry Copeland and Mavis Mullins, my colleague, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Fast track referrals will speed up recovery and boost jobs and home building
    The Government is taking action to increase jobs, speed up the economic recovery and build houses by putting three more projects through its fast track approval process. “It’s great to see that the fast-track consenting process is working. Today we have referred a mix of potential projects that, if approved, ...
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    5 days ago
  • Papakāinga provides critically needed homes in Hastings
    A papakāinga opened today by the Minister for Māori Development the Hon Willie Jackson will provide whānau with much needed affordable rental homes in Hastings. The four home papakāinga in Waiōhiki is the first project to be completed under the ‘Hastings Place Based’ initiative. This initiative is a Government, Hastings ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand ready to host APEC virtually
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While this isn’t an in-person meeting, it will be one ...
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    1 week ago
  • Revival of Māori Horticulturists
    The rapid revival of Māori horticulture was unmistakeable at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, with 2020 marking the first time this iconic Māori farming event was dedicated to horticulture enterprises. Congratulating finalists at the Awards, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said growing large-scale māra kai is part of Māori DNA. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Emergency benefit to help temporary visa holders
    From 1 December, people on temporary work, student or visitor visas who can’t return home and or support themselves may get an Emergency Benefit from the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. Previously, temporary visa holders in hardship because of COVID-19 have had ...
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    1 week ago
  • School sustainability projects to help boost regional economies
    Forty one schools from the Far North to Southland will receive funding for projects that will reduce schools’ emissions and save them money, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This is the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund, and work will begin immediately. The first round announced in April ...
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    1 week ago
  • Farmer-led projects to improve water health in Canterbury and Otago
    More than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago, as well as improving long-term land management practices, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Four farmer-led catchment group Jobs for Nature projects have between allocated between $176,000 and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tupu Aotearoa continues expansion to Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman & Northl...
    Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and Northland will benefit from the expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme announced today by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. The programme provides sustainable employment and education pathways and will be delivered in partnership with three providers in Northland and two ...
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    1 week ago
  • New primary school and classrooms for 1,200 students in South Island
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins unveiled major school building projects across the South Island during a visit to Waimea College in Nelson today. It’s part of the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “Investments like this gives the construction industry certainty ...
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    1 week ago
  • Minister of Māori Development pays tribute to Rudy Taylor
      Today the Minister of Māori Development, alongside other Government Ministers and MP’s said their final farewells to Nga Puhi Leader Rudy Taylor.  “Rudy dedicated his life to the betterment of Māori, and his strong approach was always from the ground up, grassroots, sincere and unfaltering”  “Over the past few ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to attend APEC Leaders’ Summit
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events virtually today and tomorrow. “In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, continuing close collaboration with our regional partners is key to accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said. “There is wide ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to Infrastructure NZ Symposium
    Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is a critical time for New Zealand as we respond to the damage wreaked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that investment in our economic recovery is well thought through, and makes ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service
    Tēnei te mihi ki a tātau katoa e huihui nei i tēnei rā Ki a koutou ngā whānau o te hunga kua riro i kōnei – he mihi aroha ki a koutou Ki te hapori whānui – tēnā koutou Ki ngā tāngata whenua – tēnā koutou Ki ngā mate, e ...
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    1 week ago
  • Huge investment in new and upgraded classrooms to boost construction jobs
    Around 7,500 students are set to benefit from the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “The election delivered a clear mandate to accelerate our economic recovery and build back better. That’s why we are prioritising construction projects in schools so more ...
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    1 week ago
  • Keeping Pike River Mine promises 10 years on
    Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike ...
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    1 week ago
  • Additional testing to strengthen border and increase safety of workers
    New testing measures are being put in place to increase the safety of border workers and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against COVID-19, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve ...
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    1 week ago
  • More public housing delivered in Auckland
    The Government’s investment in public housing is delivering more warm, dry homes with today’s official opening of 82 new apartments in New Lynn by the Housing Minister Megan Woods. The Thom Street development replaces 16 houses built in the 1940s, with brand new fit-for-purpose public housing that is in high ...
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    1 week ago
  • Agreement advanced to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines
    The Government has confirmed an in-principle agreement to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 5 million people – from Janssen Pharmaceutica, subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. “This agreement ...
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    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will leave a conservation legacy for Waikanae awa
    Ninety-two jobs will be created to help environmental restoration in the Waikanae River catchment through $8.5 million of Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The new funding will give a four-year boost to the restoration of the Waikanae awa, and is specifically focussed on restoration through ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Dunedin Hospital project progresses to next stage
    As the new Dunedin Hospital project progresses, the Government is changing the oversight group to provide more technical input, ensure continued local representation, and to make sure lessons learnt from Dunedin benefit other health infrastructure projects around the country. Concept design approval and the release of a tender for early ...
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    1 week ago
  • Jump in apprentice and trainee numbers
    The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50 percent, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled. This comes as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced ...
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    1 week ago
  • ReBuilding Nations Symposium 2020 (Infrastructure NZ Conference opening session)
    Tena koutou katoa and thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Can I acknowledge Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua, and Mayor Phil Goff for the welcome. Before I start with my substantive comments, I do want to acknowledge the hard work it has taken by everyone to ensure ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand's biosecurity champions honoured
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has paid tribute to the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. “These are the people and organisations who go above and beyond to protect Aotearoa from pests and disease to ensure our unique way of life is sustained for future generations,” Damien O’Connor says. ...
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    2 weeks ago