Can someone explain to me this ‘deepening the stockmarket’ line that the Right uses for privatisation? I consider myself reasonably well informed on these issues but I just can’t see the value to the country of the government selling public assets to a handful of stockmarket participants. Why is ‘deepening’ the stockmarket by giving up our public assets a good thing? And good for whom?
If the stockmarket does need deepening, why can’t the private sector do it for itself? We keep hearing that these rich captains of private sector industry were the wealth and job creators, why can’t they make successful companies themselves without a government handout?
The sad fact is that the largest companies in New Zealand are nearly all public assets, failed privatisations that have received or need bailouts (Air NZ, Telecom), or the beneficiaries of past privatisations, were set up with special legislation (Fonterra), or the foreign banks.
Is ‘deepening the stockmarket’ just another line like ‘mum and dad investors’ or ‘tough on crime’ or ‘balancing our economic opportunities with our environmental responsibilities’ or ‘taking the sharpest edges of the recession’ that sounds good and kind of clever but is actually just a fig leaf to hide what is really going on, in this case an attempt by the capitalist class to grab public wealth.