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Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, October 7th, 2011 - 48 comments
Categories: capitalism, economy, national - Tags: , ,

Looks like the RWC might not be quite the economic salvation that we hoped. Some have profited, but others have not, see: Restaurants starve amid Rugby World Cup joy, and Smarting retailers hope for late surge during Rugby World Cup. Overall the news is not great:

RWC economic fillip ‘just tiny’

A leading economist has labelled the Rugby World Cup’s effect on economic growth a “red herring”, dismissing expectations that there will be a widespread boost as “hopium”.

Shamubeel Eaqub, principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, said that while tourists would increase spending, business was being displaced from the main centres, and that he believed New Zealanders were spending less overall.

The effect would be “minuscule”, he said . “From a GDP point of view it should be marginally positive, but we’re talking 0.1 per cent – margin-of-error stuff.”

No magic bullet then.  Unfortunately that long shot was all we had. We’re stuck in the doldrums, and the government isn’t going to get us out.

In April I wrote a post about expansionary austerity, the daft economic “theory” that the right response to recession is cutbacks to government spending, which supposedly stimulates economic growth.  The problem with this theory is that it is bollocks.  It hasn’t worked historically. It isn’t working in England (with their massive cuts in public spending):

UK economic growth cut to 0.1% for April to June

The UK economy barely grew in the second quarter as consumers cut spending, compounding more downbeat news from the eurozone and fuelling fears that Britain could soon slip back into recession.

Official data also showed the 2008-09 recession was deeper than originally thought and the worst downturn since the second world war. Revising previous numbers, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) halved its GDP estimate for April to June this year to just 0.1%, suggesting the economy had already ground to a halt before the European debt crisis escalated in the summer.

It isn’t working here (our cuts are more modest but are accumulating over time):

Economy stagnates, dollar dives

New Zealand’s economic growth slowed more than expected in the second quarter and the dollar dropped straight after the low number came out.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.1% in the three months ended June 30, according to Statistics New Zealand, hurt by a slowdown in the construction and mining sectors.

Same right wing governments in both countries. Same austerity programs in both countries. Same non-existent 0.1% (margin of error) “growth” in both countries. It’s almost as if the facts were trying to whisper us a message. Listen very carefully – can you hear it? “Keynes was right. Governments should spend counter-cyclically. You can’t cut your way to prosperity…”.

Stupid facts, who cares about them, right? Hit me again bartender, double downgrade on the rocks.

48 comments on “Doldrums”

  1. Anyone could of told you, that the RWC wouldnt bring in millions and millions of dollars, but that didnt stop our media for telling us so.

  2. Are you suggesting we should borrow even more?

    Is there a threshold we haven’t gotten to yet? How much more stimulus do you think will trigger a financial fix?

    • Eddie 2.1

      there’s plenty of money without more borrowing. Just reverse the tax cuts for the rich. tht’s $2.5 billion right there. Use the money on job creation and you can slash the additional $1.5 billion of benefit spending under National, freeing up more money for job creation.

      Job creation is actually largely fiscally neutral for the government. 1 person on the dole costs the government $18,000 a year in benefits and lost tax compared to if they were earning the average wage.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        Eddie, redistribution of money and creating government “jobs” at the possible expense of private jobs does sound like it will stimulate the communist idealists.

        • Eddie

          not a redistribution – a de-redistribution. back to the situation we had quite happily during nine years of record economic expansion under labour.

          show me what jobs have been created by the top end tax cuts. You know what has increased? Luxury travel pverseas and prices for high-end houses. That’s where the tax cuts for the rich have gone.

          job creation doesn’t mean government jobs.

          • queenstfarmer

            record economic expansion under labour.

            The false economy of a housing and finance company bubble – how’d that work out again? And during that time, the record expansion was in the size of Government.

            • mik e

              So we are hiring National party hacks to make Treasury losses
              The rate of borrowing grew at exactly the same rate under the National govt of the nineties but they only managed 8.7% growth in their nine years as opposed to 28%by Labour the difference being that Labour also saved $20 billion and cut unemployment to half the National rate .Company profits were also at record levels under the previous Labour party the trouble with National it calls it self the business friendly Govt but company profits are always lower when national is in power.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Commun1sm has a chance to work. Capitalism has no chance. That’s the one lesson from history, all 10000 years of it, that we keep failing to learn.

          Jobs aren’t the goal of the economy – ensuring that everyone has a good living standard, can participate in their society and that the society lives within the environments physical limits is.

        • mickysavage

          Feck Pete
          Did you read the post?  Austerity does not work.  The invisible hand of the market is not a benign spirit that acts for the benefit of the population at large or the environment it is a weapon designed to impoverish the 99% of us to the benefit of the 1%.
          Why should not the top earners pay some more tax?  As an example this will reverse the need to sell shares in our power companies, secure funding for the Government and stop the overseas mass exit of profits every three months thereby making our balance of payments worse.

          • Enough is Enough

            And how is Labour planning to:

            “stop the overseas mass exit of profits every three months thereby making our balance of payments worse”

            Vote Green or Mana

            • mickysavage

              Labour will not sell the power company shares for starters.  And the Cullen fund has allowed us to buy back local investments and retain profits in NZ control.

              • Enough is Enough

                So Labour’s policy is to maintain the status quo. Not selling assetts is hardly revolutionary is it? It is what most Kiwi’s want.

                I may be wrong so can you point me to the Labour policy that will:

                “stop the overseas mass exit of profits every three months”.

                As I see it the current Labour team is a slightly less shade of capitalist brainlessness than the Nats.

                Where is there big bang policy that will will keep profit earned in this country, In New Zealand hands.

                They don’t have the policy and any left leaning voter should be hammering them for that.

        • travellerev

          ROFL! the final argument of the greedy. “COMMUNISM”. Oh scary! Here’s a George Carlin rant well worth listening too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

          By the way, the Banksters are the biggest “SOCIALSISTS”of all time. They pocketed the money when they made profits becasue they were “CAPITALISTS” but when their Ponsi scheme went belly up they pocketed $ 15.1 trillion in bailouts from the suckers who had filled their pockets in the first place.

          I tell you I’m much more scared of that kind of Socialist rip of then getting the tax cuts reversed!

          • travellerev

            Help, Purgatory?
            [lprent: We fetch them out of auto-moderation when we get around to having a look at it. In this case a bit under 20 minutes. ]

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    What nonsense. You blame austerity, yet the US has just undergone it’s biggest stimulus in history, and it has failed dismally. And incurred trillions of dollars of debt in the process. The Keynesian experiment has failed big time in the US, which is why people like Paul Krugman are lashing out in increasingly erractic ways – their theories have failed.

    Unless you’re China etc, economic growth around the world is generally pretty stagnant.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      That’s because it was billions/trillions of dollars given to the rich who just don’t spend it. They already had far too much which was the most likely cause of the recession and the US Administration went and gave them more.

      • queenstfarmer 3.1.1

        Again, not so. There were all manner of consumer / direct stimulus programmes – “cash for clunkers”, money for unions, direct investments, “shovel ready” programmes, etc etc etc. It simply hasn’t produced sustainable growth, has left a legacy of crippling debt, and yet ideologues like Krugman still demand the US should redouble its failed measures.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Yes, there were a couple of billion thrown elsewhere but 99% of the hundreds of billions went to the banks who then hoarded it resulting in, effectively, zero stimulation.

    • Galeandra 3.2

      QSF Pay attention, you’ve been outed on this canard before: ‘What nonsense. You blame austerity, yet the US has just undergone it’s biggest stimulus in history, and it has failed dismally’ Krugman can give chapter and verse on the size of hole the meltdown caused in US consumer spending versus the much smaller amount of bailout to support the banks(and not necessarily consumption).The outcome is plain to see with them teetering on the cusp of double-dip recession, while righties like you blame it all on ‘regulation’ and ‘red tape’ and ‘taxation’. If you want to argue, do so honestly. You seem more and more like a deliberate time waster.

      • queenstfarmer 3.2.1

        I agree the outcome is plain. The outcome isn’t in question. And it’s not just “the right” who say high taxes are harmful in a recession. Guess who said this:

        The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole

        If you guessed one Barack Obama, you would be correct.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Obama is an agent of the banksters so I’m not surprised by his repeating their lines. Pretty much insures that he’s wrong.

        • Galeandra

          Again, QSF, only half of a decent answer. The grumbles about tax of course come from the sector that wears it. Obama wants to end the top tier tax-breaks which are due to expire soon, the sort of breaks that we borrowed to provide for the needy rich here, too. Increasing top-tier taxation does little to reduce consumption, in fact, redistributed it to those who need to spend their all on daily needs, it will undoubtedly increase it, and that creates employment. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Just didn’t feel like it was a line to be run on your side of the debate.

        • Lanthanide

          Put into the NZ political context, Obama is on the “the right”.

          • queenstfarmer

            I think that definitely US politics is a bit more aligned to the Right than here, in no small part because of the Constitution. However I still wouldn’t say Obama is on the Right in the NZ context (he is about the most left wing president they’ve had), I’d put him on the right of Labour, e.g. Phil Goff.

            I should also note that I find the terms Left and Right increasingly unhelpful, even though I use them (like everyone does). Increasingly there is a “pick-n-mix” approach of what were traditionally left or right policies (and with a big dose of pragmatism, preferably).

  4. Draco T Bastard 5

    Upon Further Review: An Examination of Sporting Event Economic Impact Studies

    As in the case of sports facilities, independent work on the economic impact of mega–sporting events has routinely found the effect of these events on host communities to be either insignificant or an order of magnitude less than the figures espoused by the sports promoters. In a study of six Super Bowls dating back to 1979, Porter (1999) found no increase in taxable sales in the host community compared to previous years without the game.

    Anybody who thought the Rubber Wool Cup was going to bring sunshine and happiness to the economy, especially during a depression, was fooling themselves.

    “Keynes was right. Governments should spend counter-cyclically. You can’t cut your way to prosperity…”

    Actually, Keynes was right and wrong. Yes, the government needs to spend but they shouldn’t be borrowing to do so. Taxes, especially on the rich, need to be adjusted so that the money which has accumulated in static piles can be re-introduced into the economy and the fractional reserve banking system banned.

    • Ianupnorth 5.1

      I actually think things like fuel prices have been kept artificially high to exploit the mass of camper vans and rental cars

  5. higherstandard 6

    What the RWC won’t be a financial success, but surely after the brilliant financial successes of the Beijing and Athens olympics it was a sure fire winner.

    And Anthony if “Keynes was right. Governments should spend counter-cyclically” ,surely that is an inditement on 2000-08 ?

    Personally I think it’s all simplistic mumbo jumbo and each country/situation demands it’s own set of responses, locally income taxes need to go up and a proper CGT needs to be implemented and government spending needs to come down.

    • Ben Clark 6.1

      How is that an indictment on 2000-8? We had a boom and paid off debt. Got into net credit (6% of GDP) for the first time since Vogel borrowed for the trains in 1870.
      Left this government with the books in fantastic shape, so they had the money to cope with a recession… as acknowledged by Bill English.

      What they’ve done with the books since then, well…

      • higherstandard 6.1.1

        Ben have a look at Gareth Morgan’s comments on governmental spending during the last decade.

  6. Paul Bailey 7

    Perhaps it is not an issue of stimulus package or no stimulus package. Perhaps, like communism, capitalism has past it’s used by date.

    • higherstandard 7.1

      Yes I expect onansim to be the next big thing.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        I expect total collapse of the present paradigm to be the next Big Thing and hope that we’ll learn not to implement capitalism again.

        • Colonial Viper

          Labour (workers, not the party) needs an alternative organisational model to be ready, up and running ASAP.

  7. Herodotus 8

    Remember headlines like this “Hotel charges $1500 a night for RWC final”
    The same coys that are benefiting are also not contributing. Alex Sweeney and the Waterfront who are doing well. How is the cloud helping local businesses. Danny Watson made a gereat comment – why did not the likes of Auck Council bar traffic and allow areas like Ponsonby Rd become a RWC hub. Why send them to a shed on some remote wharlf that does not assist the businesses that pay rates. These same businesses will be here (I hope) well after RWC has gone.
    Just like the tourist numbers being overstated. But we are given the impression that there will be an additional 85k tourists on top of the base level of 75k.

  8. clandestino 9

    I would’ve thought this was obvious given they can’t even sell out the quarters. The tickets that have been sold are all just demand brought forward.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 10


    A lot of people seem to have forgotten since yesterday that:

    1. GDP is a false measure of ecnomic activity and most definitely does not measure progress at all.

    2. In the post peak oil world we live in economic growth is not possible.

    3. Nothing within mainstream paradigms will fix the predicament we are in, and most strategies within the framework of orthodox economics and government make everything worse.

    However, I’m sure the Rothschilds will be very happy that extra oil has been converted into CO2 and H2O and that communities have increased their debt levels as a consequence of RWC.

  10. Rob 11

    What a load of rubish: Rugby World Cup our only chance to get out of economic woes.

    Have you forgotten?

    The Government is going to find gold.

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    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has today classified the drought conditions in Northland as an adverse event for the primary sector, unlocking $80,000 in Government support. “This is recognition that the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on our farmers and growers and additional support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago