Briefing Papers: Refugees and inequality

Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, October 13th, 2015 - 9 comments
Categories: articles, equality, im/migration, poverty - Tags: , , , , ,

A while back I linked to AUT’s Briefing Papers. They have been busy lately – check out:

Wealth Inequality: Who Owns How Much? by Max Rashbrooke
Perceptions Of Inequality by Peter Skilling
An Egalitarian Society? by Brian Easton

The Global Refugee Crisis by Love Chile
Refugee Policy Holds A Mirror Up To Ourselves by Tracey Barnett
Advancing Refugee Protection In The Asia-Pacific Region – A Role For New Zealand? by Carsten Bockemuehl

Just to give a flavour here’s an extract from Wealth Inequality: Who Owns How Much?:

What the 2004 Sofie data showed is that the wealthiest one per cent of individuals – just 34,000 people at the time of the survey – had 16 per cent of all the country’s assets. The wealthiest tenth of individuals (including that wealthiest one per cent) had 52 per cent of all assets. In contrast, the poorest half of the country had just five per cent of all wealth. Some 190,000 people had negative net worth (more debts than assets), owing $4.7 billion between them. These wealth inequality figures have been most strikingly represented in the ‘Wealth-Gap Tower’ by cartoonist Toby Morris, which visualises them using a ten-storey building as a metaphor. Looking at international comparisons, the New Zealand data is roughly the same as for other developed countries – in most places the wealthiest ten percent has half or more of all assets.

How long can wealth keep sucking up (opposite of trickle down) before a society breaks down completely?

9 comments on “Briefing Papers: Refugees and inequality”

  1. Thanks Rob – thank inequality tower is a great graphic.

    How long can this go on? I suppose we are going to have to get out on the streets after one outrage too many – we can do it, we have before…

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    How long can wealth keep sucking up (opposite of trickle down) before a society breaks down completely?

    Or perhaps we should be asking: How long before the people of this country demand a change in monetary system?

    We won’t be able to make NZ a prosperous, egalitarian country without doing so.

    A flaw in our monetary system

    • Murray Simmonds 2.1

      Great link, thank you Draco T.


      “We won’t be able to make NZ a prosperous, egalitarian country without doing so.”

      Unfortunately its a change in the WORLD economic system that is needed; not just a change in the NZ economic system (though I agree, that would be a good start).

      To base an economic system on the principles of continual growth/consumption and interest/debt is simply ludicrous. But that is what most of the world has done, and that is what we will all end up “paying for” sooner or later. (And i suspect it will be sooner rather than later.)

      My guess is that after the next great crash there will be a return to agrarian-based economics – growing enough food (self-sufficiently) to feed oneself and one’s neighbours. Maybe that explains why some nations are out there buying up good agricultural land all over the world, including Africa, and where possible, NZ.

      This is not a stupid move!

  3. Macro 3

    How long before we are back to debtors jails and the workhouse of 19th C – we are almost there?
    Actor Randy Quaid and wife thrown into detention in Vermont with a $500,000 bond for an alleged $5000 trespass offence in California in 2010.
    Australian gulags fro NZ’s who have paid the penalty for a criminal offence – but are incarcerated before deportation!
    Just as long as muddle NZ earn more on their house than they do in salary.
    What a wonderful world this neo liberal hell hole is.

    • maui 3.1

      I don’t like the way this is going either. Anything goes in our neighbour’s refugee camps, anything goes in our prisons, and it’s all legal for it to continue. Then there’s the treatment of the poor which keeps getting more and more sub-human as time goes by. These policies coming from two wealthy “developed” nations and one with the rockstar economy that supposedly missed the 2008 crisis. So what happens if economic conditions get really shaken up, and things really start to pinch. Does that allow for these kind of treatments to be spread nationwide and for people to just accept them as they do to now, just like they accept Serco. Scary.

  4. coffee connoisseur 4

    Screw inequality. Start thinking about the world you do want to live in.

    • Macro 4.1

      I want to live in a world where all people have a fair go – where there are no more “have nots” and a few who have it all. I want to live in a world where a young person can have a future – no matter who their parents are. And I want to live in a world at peace, where politicians spend money on butter not guns, so that all may have enough.
      I think that implies in most part an end to inequality – that will never happen whilst our two major parties continue to be wedded to outmoded economic theory.

  5. savenz 5

    Under TPP inequality – Forever!

    TPP is corporate welfare on steroids!

    If you don’t get a profit – litigate – it is someone else’s fault! Choice is gone.

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