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Guest post: The end of Neoliberalism – What went wrong?

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, August 7th, 2018 - 172 comments
Categories: australian politics, capitalism, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Economy, Europe, Globalisation, Left, political alternatives, Politics, social democracy, us politics - Tags:

The Left predicted the death of neoliberalism after the global financial crisis of 2008.

The world financial system nearly collapsed.  Working people watched their savings evaporate, home equities plummet and wages stagnate.

An equity bubble inflated by easy credit and risky derivatives burst all over our TV screens.  The balloon was reflated by massive money-printing. Bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, again.

Meanwhile inequality has grown again – especially in the share of wealth held by the top 0.1%.  Fuelled by tech disruption and globalisation, the Precariat has become ‘the many, not the few’.

Surely after all this people would see through the false gospel of pure free markets and its political counterpart, Neoliberalism?  Surely they would demand re-regulation, re-distribution and a return to social democracy? But they haven’t.

Sure, renewed Centre-Left parties govern in New Zealand and Canada.  France has a charismatic Centre-Right leader. Older Centre-Right governments hang on in Germany, Australia, and the UK.

But that’s not the big news. The tectonic shift in world politics is the rise of the Alt Right: calling a spade a spade, neo-Fascism.

In Trump’s America, in Poland, Hungary, Turkey and in the rise of far Right parties in France, Germany, Scandinavia and the UK: it is fuelled by economic disillusion and migration-driven racism, subsidised or supported by Putin’s Russia.

As an Italian taxi driver said recently – across Europe traditional family and constitutional values have been trashed by “the Crisis” of 2008: for too many people, it’s now “everyone for themselves”.

The traditional left-right political divide has been overridden by a new polarity of new right nationalism competing with liberal globalism.  On recent evidence, social liberalism is losing.

Are we are one more crash away from a Alt Right tidal wave?  Is this a rerun of 1928?  Given a new credit bubble, massive inequality and stagnating returns, another crash may not be far off.

What is New Zealand’s best course in these stormy seas?  Are we to be a beacon for tolerance and respect, decency and human rights? Or just a bolt hole to which the lucky few can still escape?

What does this all mean for the Left? How can progressive politics reinvent itself to address the new challenge and provide new solutions for a new generation?

This is the first of some occasional postings that will focus on the intersection of progressive thought, economic policy and international affairs.

The series takes as its starting challenge the one set out by Morgan Godfery et al in the BWB book “The Interregnum”: if neoliberalism is bankrupt, it is time to define and shape what comes next.

These postings seek conversation and feedback – because especially in uncertain times, wisdom is found in the collective.

Beacon Hill

172 comments on “Guest post: The end of Neoliberalism – What went wrong?”

  1. Gosman 1

    The left have been prematurely calling the death of Capitalism/No-liberalism/Whatever free marketism you dislike since the time of Marx.

    If you really want to effect significant change just do it. Don’t wait till you can change systems go ahead and set up alternatives within the current framework. Set up collectivised approaches to economic development. Set up social support networks outside government which is more responsive and effective to human needs. Show the World that a viable alternative is not just possible but also practical and better than the current approach.

    I suspect people will come up with all sorts of excuses why this is not doable though. Excusing leftist failure is the one thing many on the the left have actually mastered.

    • Tricledrown 1.1

      So Goebels boy the rise of Fascism is proof of failure of center right politics.
      Shifting the blame lame.
      High unemployment Austerity imposed on Mainstreet by those who’s Ponzi scheme’s and corruption lead to the GFC.
      Those such as the many Goldman Sachs senior management ended up with even bigger bonuses.
      Then the Ponzi schemer’s were appointed to the EU/US/UK central banks.
      Where they were bailed out to the tune of 20 trillion.
      While the peasants endure Austerity
      Fascism’s rise after WW1 was a direct result of Austerity and Nationalistic protectionism tax cuts for the wealthy
      Right Wing policy in the major trading blocks.

    • Stuart Munro 1.2

      There’s a difference between neoliberalism and ordinary capitalism, Gozzymandias, as you know perfectly well.

      We’ve had capitalism in NZ since settlement (and possibly some before), but neoliberalism, since its arrival, has infected and compromised our state institutions, stealing public property and derogating service delivery. It is a danger to democracy, prioritizing the interests of the radical right 1%ers who are your masters.

      There’s no difficulty in understanding your motivation for attempting to slip neo-liberalism in as some part of business as usual, but any government serious about democracy would be at pains to root this dysfunctional nonsense out of civil services.

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        Noone has stolen public property. What nonsense. I personally think you don’t understand what it is you mean by neo-liberalism.

        • Stuart Munro 1.2.1.1

          Your personal beliefs are so far out of the ball park you devote most of your spare time to lying to a group of people who despise you.

          The current owners of formerly public NZ electricity assets and telecom assets are thieves pure and simple. The rationale they used to sell the alienation of these assets to governments were untrue. So, they were simple fraudsters, persons making money by deceit.

          • Gosman 1.2.1.1.1

            My personal beliefs are closer to what mainstream economic policies are than yours. Try and remember that because your views are very much fringe.

            • Stuart Munro 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Only because Treasury recruited your fellow travelers.

              I wouldn’t mind but their predictions are consistently wrong, and they consistently fail to produce the prosperity neoliberals promised.

              Given that level of incompetence it’s not terribly important whether they are ideologues or merely screaming incompetents – it amounts to the same thing.

              Yes, we know you typify that kind – it is the failure of your paradigm that has politicised many of us.

              • Gosman

                Except you are essentially powerless without any mainstream representation for your views. Not even The Greens support your World view (at least openly). This must make you very frustrated I imagine.

                • Stuart Munro

                  You don’t have much of a grasp on my worldview Gosman, though of course I would prefer a country run by competent and honest people.

                  Neither the Greens nor Labour make economics a central plank of the policies, which is of course a mistake – they need the expertise to put plausible scoundrels like yourself or Douglas in the dustbin of history where you both belong.

                  One does not support the Greens on the whole for their economic positions, though they are necessarily better educated on these issues than the Gnats. Where the Greens are falling down is by continuing failed Gnat policies like OIO sales, mass 1080 poisoning and so on, which as a brown you are probably not sensitive to.

            • Tricledrown 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Gosman you have to be kidding your in the ACT camp <.5% support makes you the Fringe looney.
              The many lies false info you have been caught out on makes a Fringe looney?

              • Gosman

                Pretty much ALL political parties support my basic principles. They just differ in degrees of the role of the State. Noone I suspect in Parliament supports your wacky views.

                • Tricledrown

                  Bewildered selling state assets at fire sale prices after years of taxpayer investing was wrong for the benefit of a few.
                  Dismantling farm subsidies over night when every other trading block still subsidizes was dumb also cost many experienced farmers their lives other efficient farmers who expanded bankrupted.
                  Very little planning and thought went into it.
                  Now the same Party who promoted the policy has dropped off the radar and we have left and right pragmatism.
                  If we had a proper transition our country would not have had 20 years of less than 1% growth.
                  Ironically lower on average than the state knows best socialism.

                • Tricledrown

                  Gossip boy so what are my whacky views once again you are wrong.
                  Can you point out my scold whacky views my views are very moderate compared to your twerking and jerking hologram.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2

        There’s a difference between neoliberalism and ordinary capitalism

        No there isn’t. That’s why all the Classical economists from Adam Smith on were concerned about the rise of rentiers but none of them could figure out how to stop it. It was only with the rise of neo-liberalism after the failure of Keynesianism that the economists decided that the rise of the rentiers wasn’t a problem.

        Well, now we got the rise of the rentiers and it’s trashing the economy just like the Classical economists said it would.

        Just like it has throughout history. Just like it always will do.

        We have no choice – we need to replace capitalism rather than making excuses for it.

        • NZJester 1.2.2.1

          Capitalists say they believe in a free market, but at every opportunity, they cheat the free market system. They have bribed politicians with legal bribes to change the law in their favor so the can tilt the market heavily in their favor. Strong unions made sure the market paid fair wages so the capitalists got the politicians they paid for to break up the unions and stop workers from having reasonable protections against unfair employers. They let companies police there own safety measures where they could weigh the risk to a workers life over a small loss in profit due to helping to keep them safe. These days, while the share of the profits by those at the top has been increasing the share of the average worker of those profits, has been going down. If a company gets too many valuable assets compared to their share price then you also have the problem of the corporate raiders coming in and breaking up the company, firing everyone and selling off the assets for a profit putting people out of work. What capitalists try to claim is a free market has not been a free and fair market for a long time now.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Don’t wait till you can change systems go ahead and set up alternatives within the current framework.

      You do understand that the present system has been set up so that can’t be done right?

      • Gosman 1.3.1

        More excuses Draco.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1

          No.

          We have to change the system for a better system to arise. It simply cannot be done in the present system. This has been the problem since the 1930s as every Left-wing government has tried to keep the same system in place while making only a few changes and it failed to bring about the necessary changes. It’s failed to get rid of capitalism.

          • Gosman 1.3.1.1.1

            Revolutions are easily subverted and corrupted. Hence why that approach has not worked up till now. It is quite endearing that you still believe it will work at some point. I am reminded of one of the definitions of insanity though…

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.1.1

              The 1980s revolutions seemed to have got through but then they were capitalist revolutions within an already capitalist system. But that is now failing as the wealth accumulates to the few and brings poverty and destruction upon everyone else.

              Getting rid of capitalism won’t be too hard as people are truly starting to see the problems with it. Just need to make sure that the rich don’t get control which is why they need to be legislated out of existence.

            • Tricledrown 1.3.1.1.1.2

              The Neo Liberal revolution has been corrupted GOSSIPBOY.
              TRUMP/MAY.
              Protectionism subsidies are back Racism etc all back on Right Wing govts agenda Gossy eh???

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.3.1.1.2

            at least those countries are still standing, and flourishing, despite the inadequacies of every left wing leader ever inflicted on any country.

            The ones where left wing leaders actually did change the system on the other hand…..

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1.2.1

              That’s just it though – those countries aren’t standing and flourishing. They’re failing quite badly as poverty increases and the few own ever more.

              The only time that capitalism almost worked was when we had Left leaders that did a bit of Left policy. With massively high taxes on high incomes. When we had unions to speak for the workers.

              Almost worked but then the rich managed to get the politicians on their side and they made it all Capitalist Nirvana and it all fell down again. All as predicted by those on the Left.

              And it’s still getting worse as the same policies still apply.

            • KJT 1.3.1.1.2.2

              The USA did rather well when they had the “New Deal” and up too 80% tax on wealth. Socialism!

              Now doing not so well. And very badly, if you look at the levels of poverty and decaying infrastructure.

              Even now the Blue, “more socialist” States taxes are propping up the Red Republican, States.

    • mauī 1.4

      It sounds like you speak from experience so when was the last time you successfully started a co-op, an alternative currency, or a not for profit?

    • Hongi Ika 1.5

      The Banks have merely inflated Asset Prices by fueling property & equity markets meanwhile the average man on the street is struggling to put a roof over his head and put food on the table ?

  2. Bill 2

    Surely they would demand re-regulation, re-distribution and a return to social democracy? But they haven’t.

    So, ignore the social democratic shift as evinced by UK Labour and the on-going challenge within the Democratic Party in the US?

    Instead, buy into nonsense about an “alt-right” (alternative to what other right?) and “Russia!” while throwing up examples of conservative liberals (Ardern and Trudeau) as somehow being “left” and worthwhile alternatives to liberalism?

    The tectonic shift in world politics is the rise of the Alt Right: calling a spade a spade, neo-Fascism. […] subsidised or supported by Putin’s Russia

    No civil nationalism on Catalonia, Scotland and elsewhere (also social democratic in nature) then?

    And that’s putting aside all extra-parliamentary evidence of “left” politics…

    The framing used in the post is a veritable tourniquet that, by ignoring the left while calling for evidence of the left, suggests our only prospects are the liberal status quo or a shift to a more fundamental liberalism (the so-called “alt right”).

    And that’s really quite pernicious to my mind – merely a reflection of the hopelessness preached by liberal media keen to discount and quash any left or social democratic stirrings in the broader body politic.

    • Gosman 2.1

      Your whole approach seems to be a back to the future one. There was a reason traditional left wing policies were extensively rolled back around the World. Until you address THAT the chances of getting those sorts of policies back in vogue will be continuously opposed and resisted. Corbyn won’t have a chance of implementing anything unless he can explain why this time around the ideas he espouses will lead to different outcomes than the last time it was tried.

      • Tricledrown 2.1.1

        Gossipboy Brexit is anti free trade racist.
        Brexit is damaging the UK its everything you stand for Goosebumps.

        • Gosman 2.1.1.1

          What has Brexit got to do with anything related to the OP?

        • Tricledrown 2.1.1.2

          Gossipboy Your claims the right wing are in ascendency because their policies are better and liked by more people.
          The right are so desperate to hold on to power at any cost so have sold out their principals to Putins black ops.
          Peak Putin has past.
          The Backlash of this treasonous corruption will benefit the Moderate left. Midterms will be a disaster for Trump as will Brexit will be for May.
          Turnbull is teetering so your claim the right are in ascending is just Gossip.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.2.1

            “Your claims the right wing are in ascendency because their policies are better and liked by more people.”

            Where did I make those claims?

      • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.2

        The reasons welfare state, social democrat and/or New Deal systems were rolled back are open to debate.

        One of the main reasons was that the wealthy elites resented ordinary working people having a decent shot at life, rising standards of living, etc, while the wealth of the elites were curtailed. And these elites still weilded a lot of power.

        Just a quick look at some articles on the post WWI developments in different countries shows the impact differed across the world.

        <a href="https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ushistory/chapter/conclusion-the-legacy-of-the-new-deal/"A couple of interesting points from this article on the US New Deal:

        Historians continue to debate the significance and legacy of the New Deal. Their assessment of the New Deal usually aligns with their political stand.

        In the process of establishing the New Deal legislation, the balance of power between the president and Congress shifted with the president gaining significant power.

        The New Deal also changed and strengthened the Democratic Party and served as the foundation of an ideology known as New Deal Liberalism, which has remained an important and controversial influence in American politics.

        So, one glaring thing that stands out as being in need of changing in the US – the restructuring of the various arms of government – a need to limit the president’s power, and shift it back to Congress.

        This article on the positive and negative attitudes to the welfare state/social democracy in Britain and Europe:

        countries where people say social benefits help prevent poverty are also those where they say that they stop people helping one another). Likewise at the individual level, people who see more negative consequences of the welfare state are not necessarily those who see fewer positive consequences.

        Secondly, it’s striking how much of an outlier the UK is. In general, we see social benefits as having more negative net consequences than any countries bar Hungary and Slovakia – and we see the highest level of negative moral consequences out of any of the ESS countries.

        And that’s just for a start. So there’s plenty to discuss, using past evidence, on the way forward for socialism, social democracy, a green New Deal, and/or welfare states.

      • Bill 2.1.3

        There was a reason traditional left wing policies were extensively rolled back around the World.

        Correct. Capital, though still powerful, was nowhere near as powerful under social democratic settings as it had been under liberal settings. And when Capital thought to address that “problem” it essentially went on strike and crushed economies under the resultant twin weights of unemployment and inflation.

        Out of that we got TINA – a return to liberalism that was dubbed neo-liberalism (as though “neo” might be taken as meaning “new” or somehow “different” – ie, not the liberalism of old).

        Funny thing about liberalism. Historically it can be shown to be the handmaid to what people tend to refer to as fascism, and to have happily promoted and/or accommodated it. (Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Nicaragua, Korea, Iran …the list goes on)

        And at some point, the question has to be asked – is it that fascism comes in different forms, or is it that are all those forms merely expressions of liberalism?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.4

        There was a reason traditional left wing policies were extensively rolled back around the World.

        Yes. The rich were upset that they weren’t stealing as much as they thought they should be from everyone else. This combined with their purchase of politicians and the corruption of economists brought about the rise of neo-liberalism with the same results as the original liberalism in the 19th century – lots of poverty and a few living better than kings although the kings were still doing quite well.

        Until you address THAT the chances of getting those sorts of policies back in vogue will be continuously opposed and resisted.

        Yes. The rich have to be legislated out of existence. This is going to have to be done by ensuring that no one can own more than a few thousand dollars of assets and can’t own business at all.

        • Gosman 2.1.4.1

          Good luck with getting that through any time soon. BTW I thought they tried something similar in the Soviet Union and China and the rich seemed to manage to get around those restrictions quite easily.

    • Siobhan 2.2

      +1
      And in fact I could copy and paste this as a response to so many articles in the Liberal MSM + Blogs these days.

  3. Tricledrown 3

    Gossipboy The right wing are being lead by Putin/Trump fascist tyrants.
    1929 policies all over again
    Putin has Trump on a string.
    Putin paid for the Brexit campaign
    The Backlash will start with Midterms
    and a second Brexit vote May is teetering and will face an early election.
    Turnbull is barely holding on in Aus.
    Yeah the right are self destructing.
    And even in NZ Bridges offering a Labour policy smaller class sizes is a complete 180 from Paratas larger class sizes

  4. marty mars 4

    The alt right have a simple strong agenda. Their messages are simple and play to fear.

    The left will struggle to counter this imo. Sadly the days of sitting on the fence hoping it all goes away by itself are over.

    In the past when fascism rises it takes strong men and women to oppose it. This is happening now and will continue to increase. Only the brave need apply and, believe it or not, there are many brave people today as in the past.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not “Human Nature”

      These candidates, whether or not they identify as democratic socialist, are rejecting the neoliberal centrism of the establishment Democratic Party, with its tepid “market-based solutions” to the ecological crisis, as well as Donald Trump’s all-out war on nature. And they are also presenting a concrete alternative to the undemocratic extractivist socialists of both the past and present. Perhaps most importantly, this new generation of leaders isn’t interested in scapegoating “humanity” for the greed and corruption of a tiny elite. It seeks instead to help humanity — particularly its most systematically unheard and uncounted members — to find their collective voice and power so they can stand up to that elite.

      It’s what we need to do here to stop the rich from continually fucking us over. We need to get rid of the rich and ensure that we have a democracy of the people, by the people.

    • Tricledrown 4.2

      Marty Mars you are so right Hitler Rose to power with only 13% of the vote.
      Pinochet,Franco.
      Stalin Mao etc just as bad.
      In times of hardship these fundamentalists garner support.
      We need to speak up in unison against extremism.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    The obvious time for the left to reinvent itself was in response to Thatcherism & Reaganomics, early eighties. Instead, the left embraced the right.

    The intellectual tool-kit for the reinvention has been assembling since the early seventies when the steady-state economy emerged amongst alternative thinkers as the rationale for a Green economy, and alongside it Mondragon became known as an alternative model for business that delivered equity.

    The psychological reasons why the left refused to go along with the radicals still remain unexplored. Sheep-like behaviour in order to demonstrate solidarity with mainstream voters? That would only be part of it. Continual repetition of the mistakes of the past. Taking refuge in deceit instead of providing a positive alternative.

    People throughout the western world await the intellectual co-creation of a new paradigm for politics. One that will work to guide us toward a sustainable society. The Greens have synthesised all the basic components into policy, but the mix remains sufficiently radical that Green parliamentarians are reluctant to promote it. You can see why: democracy, as a system, would make them unelectable if they did. Thus gradualism when we need speed, diffidence when we need them to be bold & resolute.

    • Pat 5.1

      only obvious with 20/20 hindsight however

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        Well, to some maybe. I was keenly aware of it when it started. Kept waiting for the left to do the obvious. Puzzling as the years went by why they weren’t. I felt considerable angst about that during the eighties.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.2

      To say the left just weakly capitulated does a great disservice to left activists of the time. Wealthy right wing think tanks had been working for decades on ways to turn away from welfare state social democracies in the US and UK.

      In England, plenty of us on the left opposed Thatcherism. We demonstrated, participated in industrial action, voted for Labour (as the only alternative), produced a massive amount of literature on it, campaigned and organised.

      But Thatcher kept getting into power (often on less than 50% of the vote), and there was a multi-pronged attack on the welfare state and left wing organisations.

      Powerful left-leaning metropolitan councils were dismantled and fractured; Thatcher sympathisers were shifted into powerful CEO/editorial positions in the mainstream media; people in the City of London actively worked to weaken Labour governments and support Tory ones; the legions of the homeless spilled out onto the streets, people were disenfranchised (deliberately by the poll tax which was strongly resisted), unions were attacked and dis-empowered by legislation, …etc..etc.

      And, meanwhile, the rise of video culture and then the digital economy with its masses of shiny new toys seduced a large number of younger people away from the possibility of political activism, towards consumer society.

      This became a massive onslaught with the left short of powerful tools to oppose it.

      Now we have neoliberalism fracturing and exposing its neo-fashist underbelly. This provides a new opportunity for the left. And fortunately many young people, seeing opportunities for a decent life evaporating, are turning again to socialism and social democracy.

      • Dennis Frank 5.2.1

        Yes, some on the left did protest. I’m referring to the left as a social organism. Holistic view. Protests do not produce alternative political programs that parties can endorse and take to voters. Formulating such programs requires intellectual endeavour. Work. Can’t do that work when you’re out on the street complaining about what others are doing.

        Speaking of which, you know how Sue Bradford established a think-tank to provide an alternative to neoliberalism? Years have passed. The output? Zilch. Typical.

        • Carolyn_Nth 5.2.1.1

          Did you not read all of what I wrote? There wasn’t just protests – there were meetings, discussions, research, writings in various publications – in short a great deal of intellectual endeavour.

          The left was up against a massive multi-pronged powerful onslaught.

          Bradford and others set up ESRA – that’s your think tank.

          https://esra.nz/

          • Dennis Frank 5.2.1.1.1

            My point was that all that stuff did not gell into a coherent, cohesive political movement that has endured and become successful. Nor has the think-tank produced any apparent contribution to that.

            • Carolyn_Nth 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Think tanks take time to gain traction (as it did for the neoliberal right wing ones).

              There’s been a lot of intellectual endeavour focused on a new left way forward since the GFC. The left is far from dead.

      • Bill 5.2.2

        Agreeing with all you’ve written, but…

        …many on the institutional left harboured a remarkable ideological loyalty to the myth of the USSR, and that played a far greater role in the resurgence of liberalism than many choose to acknowledge.

        It was quite remarkable, the legions of “comrades” who, upon finally realising the bankruptcy of the USSR with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and what not, discovered they were really quite happy little capitalists after all.

        And that was used as a huge stick to bash anyone or anything seen as being left.

        Playing off the myth, the “fake news” of the day was that communism had failed. And the ideological disarray and defeat of those who had formerly believed in the myth (ie – the Leninists etc who had quite successfully ‘captured’ institutions of the left, come to represent the left and in many ways retarded the left over many decades) meant that opposition to a resurgent liberalism was much less than what it could have been.

        Here’s hoping the young people of today who are turning to socialism and social democracy don’t make the same mistake as their counterparts made in the 20s. I don’t think they will.

        • Gosman 5.2.2.1

          I’m pretty sure they will.

        • Carolyn_Nth 5.2.2.2

          In my experience in London, at work and in left wing circles, there wasn’t a lot of concern with the USSR when the Wall came down. People were totally skeptical about the ultra consumerist changes happening, and continued to strongly support social democracy and the welfare state.

          Over time, though, many in the middle classes did capitulate, but not all, and especially not those in the precariat, people of colour, struggling working class, etc.

          However, many of those I knew who seemed to capitulate are now well behind Corbyn. Probably they needed a strong-ish movement to get behind.

          Those who I knew who had been part of the Socialist Workers’ Party, or other small Leninist factions, moved on in the 80s, and saw them as no longer helpful.

          • Bill 5.2.2.2.1

            We’re basically in agreement at the reaction of ordinary people, but may differ on our perception on the impact the authoritarian left continued to have at the institutional level – for example within unionism – and the impact that then had on confronting the liberal onslaught effectively.

            Like you say, many people disavowed whatever Leninist or Trot or whatever faction they may have been members of in previous years, but due to institutional inertia, as well as other factors, the residue of those authoritarian and bureaucratic ideologies still infected organisational “habits” of major infrastructures positioned on the left.

            Meanwhile, there was a lot of novel and effective stuff happening away from those traditional structures, and sometimes, or so it seemed, in spite of them.

    • Gosman 5.3

      Political parties have succeeded in gaining political power under democracies by advocating a radical approach. Just look at Syriza in Greece or the Chavista movement in Venezuela. They just fail to deliver when in power. That is the real question you need to answer not how to get elected on such a platform.

      • Dennis Frank 5.3.1

        Indeed a good question. My guess is that their electoral programs are designed to capture popular discontent – not to serve as long-term plans for the transition to a sustainable society. Reactive radicals, not proactive radicals. They succeed as reps in the short term due to seeming a positive alternative. They fail in the medium term as their shortcomings become evident to voters.

        • Gosman 5.3.1.1

          Both Chavista’s and Syriza claimed to represent a path to a different form of not just governance but of economics and society. Both have failed to be any different to what went before (Hard left in the case of the Chavista regime and the Neo-liberal order in the case of Syriza).

          • Dennis Frank 5.3.1.1.1

            False claims are used by leftist radicals as much as by neoliberal orthodoxy. That’s because they work. Authenticity is the essential element in the composition of any positive alternative designed to catalyse transition to the sustainable society.

            • Gosman 5.3.1.1.1.1

              Taking Syriza as an example. This was a movement that was meant to synthesize the anti-austerity/neo-liberal opposition into an effective alternative. It was meant to be a genuine grassroots inspired movement for a sustainable alternative to the status quo. It all came to nought though.

              Why? Why did a movement that was meant to represent almost all that you say should be happening fail to deliver ANY meaningful change to the system it was meant to start replacing?

              • Dennis Frank

                I think only someone involved would be able to provide an insightful explanation about how Syriza has fared. Just guessing, I suspect leftists involved got into the habit of arguing with each other instead of working together in common cause. My operational experience of working with both centrists & leftists together is that consensus can indeed be produced – provided participants retain focus on the task at hand.

                Leftist syndromes make them inclined towards a talk-fest instead of results. In politics this is the kiss of death. Observers want to be impressed by a team that works together for mutual benefit. Leftists not only don’t play to that gallery of centrists, they consider them irrelevant. Thus the inevitable slide into polarising disputes.

          • Stuart Munro 5.3.1.1.2

            It doesn’t take a lot of foreign funded destabilization to wreck a country. Look what Douglas achieved without any suggestion of a public mandate whatsoever.

            Extreme rightwing arseholes are very dangerous people, in the absence of vigorous countermeasures.

      • Tricledrown 5.3.2

        When the big boys have all the power the totalitarian economic Cartels that rule the financial world don’t want govts that share wealth.
        Yet they are happy to welcome fascist dictators who fill tax havens with $Trillions of ill gotten gains from Drugs and stealing money from economic aid.

      • Tricledrown 5.3.3

        Gossipboy Chile Peru Venezuela Argentina most of South America has had nasty Fascist dictators installed by the Socold home of freedom and free market the US which has lead to left wing dictatorship’s.
        Greece ie Sryriza turned to a moderate pragmatic govt.
        Considering it had 25years of corrupt govt left and right lenders having bribed politician’s and the world’s most trusted ratings agencies to lie about Greece’s ability to pay these mega loan sharks.
        None of the perpetrators have been prosecuted but the whistle blowers lost their jobs.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      The psychological reasons why the left refused to go along with the radicals still remain unexplored.

      IMO, it’s because the people at the top liked being rich and having unearned income as well as being scared of ‘capital’ going on strike.

      The latter can be addressed by the government taking the power to create money from the banks and thus becoming the sole creator of money in the country. This removes the power of the rich.

      Needs to be the sole buyer of extracted resources or, even better, switch mining licenses to a hire contract. This will make all the countries resources available to the government to do what needs to be done for the country. Excess can either be sold on the international market or stockpiled. Also means that we could go to a sustainable model which we don’t have ATM.

      Change business to a cooperative model with the business being self-owned and controlled by the workers thus removing that source of unearned income.

      Produce enough state housing so that there’s always somewhere for people to live. Make the rules on state housing good enough so that living in a state house is better than owning a house. The end result should be both the elimination of private ownership of housing and private rentals removing that source of unearned income.

      Implement a minimum and maximum income. The minimum income would be a UBI and the maximum would be a multiple of that with any income above that taxed at 100%.

      Finally, a state bank which provides 0% interest loans we can eliminate that form of unearned income. Having lots of money in the bank will do nothing for you.

      • Gosman 5.4.1

        And it will be lots of money that people need as hyper-inflation hits big time.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.4.1.1

          Printing money doesn’t need to bring about hyper-inflation. If it did then we’d see it all the time as the private banks create billions every year just in NZ. What we see from that is hyper-inflation in housing where banks create most of the money. We also see it in stocks as well but to a lesser degree as the private banks don’t create that much for productive purposes.

        • Tricledrown 5.4.1.2

          Gossipboy lying again Hyper inflation comes from countries who economies don’t have much of an economy left or right.
          Totalitarian Mugabe wasn’t a communist.
          Kim illung is but no inflation.
          Germany after WW1 a democratic country

      • Dennis Frank 5.4.2

        “IMO, it’s because the people at the top liked being rich and having unearned income as well as being scared of ‘capital’ going on strike.” If by people at the top you mean the top of the left, I agree.

        “government taking the power to create money from the banks and thus becoming the sole creator of money in the country. This removes the power of the rich.” That’s why I voted Social Credit in ’81 (not impressed by Beetham, quite the contrary). So do you mean give that sole authority to the Reserve Bank?

        “Change business to a cooperative model with the business being self-owned and controlled by the workers”. I agree in principle. In practice, this could only be done by a staged transition, in which the new model operates concurrent with the old.

        “Implement a minimum and maximum income. The minimum income would be a UBI and the maximum would be a multiple of that with any income above that taxed at 100%.” Yes. Multiple to be generated via consensus. I vote for 7x.

        “a state bank which provides 0% interest loans” – Reserve Bank? I oppose compound interest because it destroys nature, but being a shrewd bugger I’d run this one past Bernard Hickey, Michael Reddell, Brian Easton & any other non-ideological economist to get a sense of operational problems that may ensue…

        • Draco T Bastard 5.4.2.1

          If by people at the top you mean the top of the left, I agree.

          Yes.

          So do you mean give that sole authority to the Reserve Bank?

          In a way. The government details it’s spending and the the RBNZ creates enough money to ensure that spending is covered. Then there’s would be the retail arm of the RBNZ that makes the 0% interest loans available to businesses.

          I agree in principle. In practice, this could only be done by a staged transition, in which the new model operates concurrent with the old.

          It would have to be done carefully and over time. The workers are going to have to learn how to manage a business and the present owners are going to have to be bought out.

          I oppose compound interest because it destroys nature, but being a shrewd bugger I’d run this one past Bernard Hickey, Michael Reddell, Brian Easton & any other non-ideological economist to get a sense of operational problems that may ensue…

          My reading of that lot tell me that they still see interest as the ‘cost’ of money. They don’t seem to realise that money should have no cost as it encumbers an economy:

          Abstract: Consider models of international trade in which capital goods are produced, not given as an unproduced endowment. A positive interest rate, in such a model, acts as a price distortion. Consequently, the gains of trade for a single country, when comparing stationary states with and without trade, can be negative. Previous authors have drawn this result in models with production depicted as a circular process, even though their point does not depend on this modeling choice. The principle contributions of this paper are to provide a demonstration of the possibility of such a loss from trade in a simplified model with “a one-way avenue … lead[ing] from ‘Factors of production’ to ‘Consumption goods’” and to illustrate the model with a concrete numerical example.
          The theory of comparative advantage is not sufficient to justify the advocacy of free trade in consumer goods, even under textbook assumptions.

          My bold.

          • Dennis Frank 5.4.2.1.1

            Well, interest is indeed a cost to whoever borrows money from a capitalist organisation. I presume you are implying a macroeconomic view from the perspective of a trading country (Aotearoa), where the government has abandoned the option of borrowing from overseas to fund budgeted policy.

            If you aren’t, perhaps you could explain further? I do agree that a resilient economic policy ought to prioritise national self-reliance – as per the advocacy of Jeanette Fitzsimons in the early nineties (in response to neoliberalism).

            • Draco T Bastard 5.4.2.1.1.1

              Who would go to a capitalist organisation to borrow money with interest when they can go to the government and borrow it without?

              The most important thing that needs to happen is the removal of unearned income in all of its forms and interest is unearned income.

              • Dennis Frank

                Okay, then I wonder if you mean the government has pockets with no bottom (like quantitative easing), or will bureaucrats be required to decide whether any borrower has a good enough reason?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The government does have bottomless pockets. It comes with having the ability to create the nations money. Of course, such privilege would be taken away from the private financial institutions.

                  A business loan will, of course, have to have a good business plan. Same as now in fact. Did you forget that bit of bureaucracy?

                  And although there won’t be any reason for people to borrow to buy a house I think rules around being able to afford to afford should suffice. I generally go for a set time (I think 10 years should be the maximum) with the weekly amount being either 25% of weekly income or the amount agreed at the time the loan was taken out – whichever is the lesser.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Jeez, much more of that & I’ll end up thinking you’d be a better minister of finance than the incumbent. Actually that just reminded me of the drover’s dog quip from way back. Might have to change your name though!! 🙂

                    • Gosman

                      Do you seriously think Draco’s economics makes sense?

                    • Tricledrown

                      Well Gossipboy it worked just fine in the GFC printing $Trillions with out any inflation.
                      In fact we had deflation until Congress printed a further $600 billion after the federal reserve would not print any more this was Bush / Paulson Republican conservatives.
                      Gossipboy.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      “Do you seriously think Draco’s economics makes sense?” Enough to be worth a try. Lateral thinking is what we need.

    • KJT 5.5

      The “left” in Parliament and in the establishment are just as invested in keeping their positions as the right.

      For equal opportunity, the well off have to sacrifice some of their advantages. Which is why we see no real appetite for letting the “great unwashed” have any democratic power, from either side.

      We see that in the snide denigration of Corbyn, for example, in faux left establishment papers, like the Guardian. And in New Zealand if there is any move to bring back true worker democratic power.

    • KJT 5.6

      The “left” in Parliament, and in the establishment, are just as invested in keeping their positions as the right. “Chardonnay Socialism” is a reality.

      For equal opportunity, the well off have to sacrifice some of their advantages. Which is why we see no real appetite for letting the “great unwashed” have any democratic power, from either side.

      We see that in the snide denigration of Corbyn, for example, in faux left establishment papers, like the Guardian. And in New Zealand if there is any move to bring back true worker democratic power.

  6. Good post, Beacon Hill, and I look forward to future efforts. For mine, I don’t think we need to ‘reinvent’ ourselves. It’s more a case of going back to our knitting.

    For a start, read Marx. There’s little that he wrote that has been disproved, though capital has shown itself to be more resilient than he hoped. Certainly, Marx’s emphasis on the contradictions of capitalism remain valid and the concentration of power and control in an ever smaller circle of players he wrote about is self evident.

    Marx wrote that capitalism would have a socialised period, where more and more workers would be needed to both produce and consume products. We are now entering a period where there is less socialisation of work (ie less of Blake’s ‘dark, satanic mills’, and more atomisation of industry).

    So we still have wage slaves, however it’s becoming less common for workforces to share a common smoko room let alone a common class understanding. This is the organising challenge facing the left; it’s no longer a matter of leaving revolutionary pamphlets in the changing rooms and waiting for workers to vote to overthrow their masters.

    Modern capital tells us that we are individuals, possessed of self will and capable of self actualisation. That’s rubbish. Nowadays we are all working class, it’s just that we don’t know it.

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      Wrong frame. Your last sentence explains why. We don’t know we’re all working class because we don’t identify with that class. Identity politics is the paramount frame nowadays.

      Marxist analysis has had diminishing applicability for over a century. I’m not saying he didn’t explain defects of capitalism well, just that the explanation became increasingly marginal in relation to the outlook and motivations of the masses. No leftist intellectual has been able to re-interpret that analysis in contemporary terms, so as to demonstrate ongoing relevance. Most seem not to have even tried.

      Having had an entire life as wage-slave, I’ve often pondered the general lack of solidarity that was obvious in my career situations – the self-interest/common-interest dichotomy. My personal view is that we hire ourselves out on a skills basis and serve time doing what the organisation requires out of pure pragmatism. To survive and prosper, when in Rome do as the Romans do.

      • Good points, Dennis! I’ve been contemplating a post along the lines of ‘class vs identity’ for ages now. Not that they are necessarily incompatible, it’s just that one fits the neo-lib model better than the other.

        If there is a modern writer having a red hot go, it’s probably Thomas Piketty. However, nobody has time to read about economics; they’re too busy trying to pay the bills 😉

        • Carolyn_Nth 6.1.1.1

          It’s not “class vs identity”.

          Class IS and identity. As DF wrote:

          We don’t know we’re all working class because we don’t identify with that class. Identity politics is the paramount frame nowadays.

          i.e. he is saying the failures of working class politics lie with a failure in working class identity.

          Separating class and other marginalised or oppressed identities is a false frame.

          Both class and the other forms of oppression have a material reality and an identity component. It’s necessary to be aware of the shared identity of an oppressed group in order to carry out collective actions. The material reality has a different make up, but they are nevertheless experienced in and through the material world.

          And if the new right gains any more traction, many of those experiencing the hard impact of it in the material world, daily lives, and institutional arrangements will be selected ethnic groups (of all classes), women, LGBT+ people, etc.

          • marty mars 6.1.1.1.1

            Sadly class verses identity is a wedge used to splinter the left – always does my head in how lefties can’t realise BOTH are correct and both advance the struggle. The bogus debate just strengthens the enemy.

            • Carolyn_Nth 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Exactly. And that really IS trying to turn the clock back to the 70s-early 80s when white males still, on balance, dominated left wing politics.

              It was a long struggle for people of colour (immigrants and indigenous), women, LGBT+ etc to get more equity and acceptance within the left. And millennials now are very open to working alongside and with all those groups – so futile to turn the clock back, and counter-productive.

              I attended a few discussions/meetings, read quite a bit of stuff on different angles of what is now called the “oppression Olympics” – ie which oppression is primary in society?

              Socialists who said class was the primary division; feminists who said patriarchy preceded the rise of capitalism and is foundational to it; Afro-Caribbeans who said capitalism was built on imperialist oppression of colonised people etc.

              Intersectionality has moved that debate forward, though is also not perfect – basically it depends on the issue and context as to which is most significant, and often it’s a mix of all those oppression.

              But building a mass movement requires including all these groups with more than just tokenism.

            • xanthe 6.1.1.1.1.2

              Identity is the wedge that has split the left. There is only class. Forgetting that truth is a large part of how we got here.

        • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.2

          I tried reading Piketty last year, TRP. Too academic, his style, so I ended up skimming it to see if he ever got anywhere. Endless analysis, no detectable synthesis, effect inconsequential, was my verdict.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.2.1

            My reading of him was that he was trying really hard not to say that capitalism is a failure often to the point where his conclusions contradicted the evidence that he had painstakingly gathered.

    • Gosman 6.2

      “There’s little that he wrote that has been disproved, though capital has shown itself to be more resilient than he hoped.”

      LOL!

      That is so very funny. Thank you for giving me a morning chuckle.

      • If only there was a pithy saying about small things and small minds …

      • Tricledrown 6.2.2

        Gossipboy Capital has shown to be more resilient.
        With out & $20 trillion of bailouts QE money Printing welfare for the financial system it would have crashed.
        Like 1929 the aftermath required massive money printing and redistribution of money to Mainstreet then?
        For the world economy to recover.
        So the reason for the stability is a balance between welfare corporate or mainstreet.
        With out free education and health care the world’s economies would be back in the Dark ages!
        Like your thinking Gossipboy

  7. Jenny 7

    Nothing went wrong.
    Neo-liberalism succeeded fantastically. Way beyond its founding architects’ vision. Pretty much as neo-liberalism’s early critics predicted in their worst case scenario.

    In my opinion, the reason for Neo-liberalism’s runaway success, was the failure of the Left to mount a robust campaign against it.

    I put this down to the fact that, at least in this country, the launch of neo-libralism came from the Left, which effectively disarmed the opposition to it.

    • Tricledrown 7.1

      Jenny it has only succeeded through massive corporate welfare as well as mainstreet welfare.
      Jenny you are a dogmatist refusing to see any other evidence maybe your free education was a waste of time and you should pay for the money that it cost back to prove financialization of everything is the only way to go.

    • Stuart Munro 7.2

      +100

    • xanthe 7.3

      ” I put this down to the fact that, at least in this country, the launch of neo-libralism came from the Left, which effectively disarmed the opposition to it. ”

      This is true! But what it illuminates is that the failure of the left preceeded the (latest) launch of neoliberilism in NZ. !

      General failure to acknowledge this truth is a factor in neoliberalism’s continued rise

  8. Gosman 8

    I despise the (hard) left and most of what it stands for. I will fight hard left policies as much as I can and support organisations that will fight them. However I have little real fear of hard left policies coming to fruition because the supporters can never get their act together and sort out what they want. I am comforted by this fact.

    That is not to state I am wedded to my particular ideology. If someone was able to demonstrate a long term practical alternative that could be adopted on a wide scale I would be more than willing to re-evaluate my commitment to the current dominant economic paradigm. The left just are totally ineffective at demonstrating this viable alternative.

    • The problem is you don’t know the difference between ‘hard left’ and social democracy. It is because of your Americanized worldview, basically. You consistently quote the most extreme examples ie : Venezuela while deliberately ignoring far right neo liberal failures and the destruction it causes.

      Perhaps you would do better to look into and admit the success of the Scandinavian country’s before you type.

      Time and again you have no come back at all for the New Zealand pre 1984 and its social and economic success story. We were world leaders in our own small backyard for years.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      • Gosman 8.1.1

        I am quite happy if the left restricted themselves to pushing Scandinavian style Social democracy. Not exactly the paradigm breaking revolution though is it?

        • WILD KATIPO 8.1.1.1

          Well this is a first,… a concession and shout out to social democracy’s – that work.

          I may take your statement and frame it and hang it on a wall. Then use it for future reference every time you rail against it. And I’m not even being sarcastic, – its just that your track record in berating anything but neo liberalism is evident.

          Frankly , I do not have a problem with capitalism if the world must turn that way. It is the EXPRESSION of it that is important. And if that expression disenfranchises people then it needs to be changed. I am not a ‘communist’ , but neither am I by any chalk a hard right free marketer. I believe simple govt regulations are needed to curb the very natural human tendency towards excess and an excess that is harmful.

          There was nothing wrong with the way NZ used to operate pre 1984 , and there were plenty of millionaires in this country back then. And we didn’t have the mass unemployment , homelessness and low wages / poverty we have now. That came after 1984 in a tsunami.

          • Gosman 8.1.1.1.1

            I still prefer a more free market system to Social democracy of the Scandinavian variety so don’t expect me to agree with you that it is preferable. I just think it is far more acceptable and less dangerous than hard core leftist policies as promoted by people like Draco.

            • WILD KATIPO 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Well fair comment, However ,… I prefer to see wealth in the community and thus will never support free market radicalism or neo liberal ideology.

              And in that I am actually more CONSERVATIVE than you.

              How then does that fit with your Nat / ACT standpoint ?

              As for Draco, well, that’s just that persons viewpoint after all. I disagree with some of it , but DTB does raise some good points.The problem is its yet to be tried because there are too many of the 1%’ers who see change as a
              detriment to them.

              Interesting point raised by Winston Peters on election night to back up what I’m saying as well…

              —————————————————-

              [… ” We don’t like extremists, – we believe in laws and policy’s that support the mass majority of New Zealanders , and not just a small elite ,… who may have gotten control of the political system and the financial funding of political party’s , … shows that in this campaign ” …

              – Winston Peters.

              23/9/2017.

              Peters said the sell off of New Zealand interests to overseas buyers was the “continuing story of this country’s decline since the 14th of July, 1984”.]

              ———————————————————

              A viewpoint to which I totally concur .

              • Gosman

                Winston is relatively harmless. His views will be unlikely to ever be implement again in the NZ context (although he will give it a go). He will never get the ability to have the State running large parts of the economy again.

                • Your subjective view and completely groundless. You seem unaware of social trends and those trends are all indicating a desire for change. As for Peters , it may not come in his time, but come they will.

                  And I predict those changes will be kicked off in the country in which they began : England.

                  I find it slightly arrogant and self satisfied that you continually try to assert these opinions ,… particularly as has been pointed out to you repeatedly that even the IMF is saying neo liberalism is a failed system.

              • Gosman

                The problem with your view WK is that you have an incorrect view of NZ pre 1984. NZ has always relied heavily of foreign Capital and foreign ownership. It was just prior to 1984 that it was British or Australian capital that was to the fore. Now it is US, Chinese and Asian capital (as well as Australian) that drives our economy.

                • And the problem with your view is that you quote England or Australian and now Chinese , /Asian USA capital , – without mentioning the changes made under Rogernomics and our financial systems. As there is NO modern country today or then that HASN’T relied on foreign capital, – under neo liberalism OR Keynesian-ism.

                  As for foreign ownership , – it was post 1984 that the sell out truly began. Why do you think it has always been such a contentious issue in this country , Gosman?

                  ——————————————————–

                  [ ” A key point of the free-market cabal’s programme was to devalue the New Zealand dollar, an extremely sensitive issue. Several weeks before the July, 1984 election, Douglas, Labour’s shadow finance minister, “accidentally” released a statement which signaled his intent to devalue.

                  Since it was a near certainty that Labour, aided by the New Zealand Party’s drawing votes from National, would win, speculators began to dump the New Zealand dollar, planning, post-devaluation, to cash in each dollar of foreign currency for more New Zealand dollars than previously.

                  With Labour’s victory, the simmering foreign exchange crisis exploded. The Reserve Bank’s foreign Exchange holdings quickly ran dry, and Labour demanded, even before the end of the several-week transition period, that Muldoon devalue. After a brief struggle, Muldoon capitulated, and devalued by 20%.

                  Speculators made tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars overnight.

                  But now, in a pattern which was to repeat itself in later elections, the hard-core free-marketeers led by Douglas demanded, in order to deal with the “crisis” which they themselves had created, that Treasury’s entire Economic Management plan be implemented.

                  To help implement Douglas’ programme, the Labour government called an “economic summit” in 1985, chaired by Sir Ron Trotter, chairman of the Fletcher Challenge corporation. By early the following year, Trotter revamped an existing business group which he chaired, known as the Business Roundtable, to become a high-power lobby for “free market” reforms.

                  And high power it was: firms associated with the Roundtable had a total capitalization of $15.4 billion, representing 64% of the value of the New Zealand share market! Directors of the Roundtable companies sat on the boards of over 100 other New Zealand corporations.

                  As the New Zealand Herald of 12 Nov. 1986 observed, about the Roundtables clout: “Among them, these men help control 76% of the country’s newspaper circulation, the bulk of the private radio stations, the biggest bank, the biggest exporters of meat and horticultural produce, the biggest rural servicing conglomerate, the three biggest forestry companies, the two biggest supermarket chains, both brewery companies, and a sizable chunk of the rest of the manufacturing, finance and other sectors.” ]

                  ———————————————————

                  So there you have it. The sell out of NZ and the ones responsible and the deceit that was used to achieve it.

        • Tricledrown 8.1.1.2

          Gossip boy. No Democracy is pure free market.
          So as you point out both Dogmas have moderated to pragmatism.
          Your always pushing 1/2 truths to create more divisiness.

    • Bewildered 8.2

      Tend to agree socialism, communist economies don’t work as far as nationalisation of means of production goes, it just goes against human nature, families are communist society is not Now adopting socialist policies underpinned by a capitalist economy is another debate, how far you go is the policy debate between sensible left and sensible right The Nordic countries are often rolled out as the benchmark, not so much now as going right, similarly longitudal studies has show much of thier eeslth was created under more capitalist societies and since adoption of more socialist policies last 30!years have actually performed poorer Likewise issue of mono culture and all that re transferability of Nordic approach to other countries

      • WILD KATIPO 8.2.1

        Sounds like an apology for neo liberalism’s failures and the ensuing austerity it produces. Hardly a pin up poster for the successes of a system that even the IMF have stated doesn’t work.

        Post world war two Keynesian-ism on the whole never failed – it was subverted by groups like the Mont Pelerin society, individuals like Milton Friedman , and the Chicago school of economics , – which were basically just a regurgitation of the 19th century Austrian school of economics – the same that caused the Great Depression. Except then it was known as American Laissez faire.

        The Nordic country’s benefited from close proximity to the E.U regards trade,- so it can hardly be argued that ” much of their wealth was created under more capitalist societies ”… when at least half of those country’s are artificially held up by the stronger ones… much to the chagrin of places like France/ Germany. IE: The ‘pig’ nations.

        Secondly , – ” since adoption of more socialist policies last 30!years have actually performed poorer ”- is a straight out lie. The Scandinavians have ALWAYS had a social democratic stance , … and while the west changed over to the free market neo liberal system they resisted it. As a consequence, they remain , – per capita,- among the most wealthy , high waged ( and high taxed ) group of country’s on earth today.

        And if they ARE performing more ‘ poorly’ – that can be attributed to the failed economic policy’s of their nearby neighbors and the west’s adoption of neo liberalism,..

        But that doesn’t change the fact that they are performing far better than just about any other country’s on earth per head of population.

        • Bewildered 8.2.1.1

          Why are they swinging right then, simple fact is that their wealth was not created under socialism but is slowly been eaten away by socialism, hence the answer to my first question

          likewise very small economies, mono culture thus adopting their policy perscription would dystroy larger economies even quicker The ample evidence against rampant far left socialism, Dracoism and communism vs the contrary categorically proves it is a failure This is not saying public welfare nets, education, health is a bad thing, how much is provided by public vs private sector, individual vs social accountability is the policy debate but always underpinned and paid for under a capitalist economy, going full hog socialism is complete madness Like wise to argue nz is far right with 35pc of economy made up of government is also delusional

          • WILD KATIPO 8.2.1.1.1

            Are they indeed ‘swinging right’?… perhaps in comparison to the already existing ‘right’ they may have. But hardly anything of major significance. They have yet to become the full blown versions of their immediate / distant neighbors, are they…

            [ ” likewise very small economies, mono culture thus adopting their policy perscription would dystroy larger economies even quicker ” ]

            Really ?… seems the neo liberal experiment was first conducted in NZ as a guinea pig nation, – and we and our standards of living were certainly destroyed by the new virulence of neo liberalism. Perhaps if we had known what to even call it back then and taken measures to defeat it ever taking root in the first place we wouldn’t be in the comparatively impoverished condition we are today.

            But then, no one can look into the crystal ball can they ,- esp when they are being lied to about how good it would all be.

            [ ” The ample evidence against rampant far left socialism, Dracoism and communism vs the contrary categorically proves it is a failure ” ]

            I don’t recall saying anything about adopting a ‘communist’ stance – in fact I said the exact opposite. And socialism ,- like conservatism,- are broad field generalizations of a vast parabolic curve open to potential misuse and the twisting of intent. I advocated our former social democratic stance and that of the Scandinavians, – hardly the feared rabid communism you seem to try and compare it too. I don’t support extremists of any vogue. And that includes communism and far right ideology’s. I hate them both equally for the damage they cause.

            [ ” This is not saying public welfare nets, education, health is a bad thing, how much is provided by public vs private sector, individual vs social accountability is the policy debate but always underpinned and paid for under a capitalist economy, going full hog socialism is complete madness ” ]

            Again , either we are talking past each other or you have not read how NZ was before 1984 and Rogernomics. And if you want a prosperous , healthy and educated and advanced society – you don’t get that by having a free for all ,open slather dog eat dog economy that works completely against those ideals and only panders for a few , do you.

            Again , a reminder:

            New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
            http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

            And again , as I said to Gosman , – ” There was nothing wrong with the way NZ used to operate pre 1984 , and there were plenty of millionaires in this country back then. And we didn’t have the mass unemployment , homelessness and low wages / poverty we have now. That came after 1984 in a tsunami ” .

            • Gosman 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Your understanding of history is seriously lacking. Thatcher was half way through her time in power by the time NZ started undergoing reform. Reagan was heading for re-election and Chile had been going through similar reforms since 1973. If you want to find one country that may have been used as a Guinea pig you should use Chile. check how that turned out.

              • No my understanding of history isn’t really lacking at all.

                It would be more accurate to say others interpretations of history are selective and revisionist. If I wanted to quote history I could just as easily quote the Batista regime – reinforced by American money . And that predates the Chilean example which you make.

                In other words, American free market forces have been in operation since forever. Perhaps we could also quote the Philipine’s as an even earlier example. Or even China 100 years ago. How far back do we need to go?

                And that process was not exclusive just to the USA , – it was the tendency of the British Empire also, – in fact any power that adopted Friedrich Hayek’s exploitative economic arrogance.

                But neo liberalism as a complete ideology and propagated by groups such as the Mont Pelerin society progressively came more into fruition under Reagan and Thatcher. And it is no coincidence at all that the two most influential and powerful economy’s in the western world led the neo liberal heist.

                All it took was to establish their ( the far rights ) people in both leadership positions and they knew that would be enough to forever change things to suit the oligarchs.

                As for your argument about Chile, – by the time of 1984 , – neo liberalism had become far more formalized. It did not even have a ‘label’ for many years afterwards in NZ , – and most didn’t quite understand it at first. NZ was chosen because it had a small population, who were fairly politically casual and complacent.

                Again I quote :

                ——————————————————–

                [” Mont Pelerin shared the same “conservative revolution” philosophy as the Nazis. It also shared some of the same personnel. For instance, Max von Thurn und Taxis was a sponsor of von Hayek and his new society.

                Thurn und Taxis’ family had founded another society in southern Germany before World War 1, which was composed entirely of aristocrats, known as the Thule Society. Thule in turn formed a special “workers division” known as the “National Socialist German Workers Party” (NSDAP). The NSDAP, into which an Austrian corporal named Adolf Hitler was recruited, later became better known by the abbreviated version of its name, the “Nazis.”

                In 1989, Max von Thurn und Taxis attended a meeting of his Mont Pelerin Society in Christchurch, New Zealand, to judge, first hand, the results of the “worlds most radical free market revolution.” ]

                ———————————————————

                Now what do you call THAT , if not using this country as a guine pig, Gosman?

                Have you even heard of Max von Thurn und Taxis ?

                I doubt you have.

                Because if you had , you would have known what sort of treason was going on right under our very noses with Rogernomics.

                So again read this to find out where that quote comes from;

                New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
                http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

                • Gosman

                  The Batista regime was never a follower of the Chicago school of economics (aka Neoliberalism). Why you’d choose to use them as an example I have no idea. Do you know what Neoliberalism is?

                  • Indeed, – [ ” The Batista regime was never a follower of the Chicago school of economics (aka Neoliberalism ” ]…

                    The same could be said of you using neo liberalism when it wasn’t even coined in that era. Which proves the point I’m making : that we are merely arguing ‘labels’.

                    Austrian school of economics

                    American laissez faire

                    Neo liberalism.

                    Now,… even you can see that with minor variants they are all basically the same deal with interchangeable labels. Even within Keynesian-ism there are variants. So if we are going to argue semantics over what something is called rather than the substance so be it.

                    Do you know what social democracy is without quoting your old favorite Venezuela all the time ?

                  • Oh , – and it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that you have deliberately avoided answering my question :

                    [ ‘ Now what do you call THAT , if not using this country as a guine pig, Gosman?

                    Have you even heard of Max von Thurn und Taxis ? ‘ ]

                  • Tricledrown

                    Gosman Chicago School of Economics /Milton Freidman was an extension of the CIA.
                    Specially set up to undermine Socialism most of his theories have been discredited.
                    Several economists I know who have studied at Chicago School say it is the most corrupt bunch of people they have ever met.

                • Gosman

                  Neoliberalism was well established by 1984. Are you a little bit slow today?

                  • And are you a little slow?

                    It wasn’t until Labour won in 1984 and implemented Douglas’s ideology that it had any pertinent relevance to NZ. And that is what I’m talking about.

                    Get up to speed, please.

                    • Gosman

                      You claimed NZ was used as a guinea pig for Neo-liberal ideas. It didn’t need to be used as a guinea pig. The ideas wete already well established across the globe by 1984.

                    • You will notice that NZ was indeed the test case .

                      First off Reaganism / Thatcherism was around about the same time as Rogernomics ( later collectively grouped together as modern neo liberalism ) give or take a few years. However all those other country’s opposed ( unsuccessfully , unfortunately ) it more vigorously than NZ did because they were far larger . Where we were far smaller and had a more easily manipulated population.

                      And because we were an isolated nation in the middle of nowhere, – we were a population caught unawares of just what neo liberalism really was at the time.

                      And as already explained , the working mechanics of modern day neo liberalism date back to the 1890’s. It has simply undergone some name changes in that time.

                      It was originally called the Austrian school of economics aka Freidrich Hayek.

                      But you still refuse to acknowledge the passages I provided about Max von Thurn und Taxis , the Mont Pelerin society and their relevance to this discussion.

                      Why is that ?

                      Do you claim to know more about NZ political and economic history than Hugh Price did – who was a contemporary to all these events during the 1980’s and 1990’s?

                    • Gosman

                      I reject your interpretation of his opinion

                  • Tricledrown

                    Neo Liberalism is just the Fuedal system dressed up as lamb.
                    The peasants are still treated the same way.

                  • Tricledrown

                    Gossipboy we had a different economy with changes that weren’t tried else where like agricultural subsidies they were completely removed no other country did that.
                    Open our manufacturers to Competition no other country did that.
                    Many of the reforms were rushed and damaged businesses while countries we were exporting to continued to block our exports.
                    We would have been better off doing deals with trading partners than destroying viable businesses for the sake of Dogma.
                    Putting many on unemployment benefits now many of those on benefit are 3rd generation.
                    No planning while other economies like Australia took a moderate measured approach growing 3 times faster.
                    The OECD identified the problem with the NZ economy was poorly educated economists in charge of the economy.

            • Bewildered 8.2.1.1.1.2

              Nz adopted free market reform out of necessity, we where maintaining our one trick economy by borrowing once the Uk let us go in 72 You are looking at the past incorrectly, the lens you should look through rather than your rose tinted spectacles of the good old days is what would nz be today if we carried on with that pre 86 policy setting , hint Argentina

              • AH yes, the old … ‘ where Mother England goes, we go too ‘ ,… or its variant ‘ tied to Mother England’s apron-strings’.

                Yes,.. and we also had the Arab oil shocks at the same time as well. Like everyone else.

                And did any of THAT cause the poverty and social illnesses we see today in NZ?

                NO.

                This country was hardly a basket case and headed towards your snide example of ‘ Argentina’ , – SO MUCH SO – that the Rogernomes deemed this country worth PLUNDERING !!!

                Perhaps it is you that needs to ‘take off the rose tinted glasses and look through another lense’.

                WHAT DID cause the poverty and social illness we see today is a direct result of the implementation of Rogernomics and the successive governments that have adhered to neo liberalism.

                THAT AND THAT ONLY.

          • Dennis Frank 8.2.1.1.2

            “Dracoism is the human worship of dragons and the belief that humans and dragons should coexist in the same society.”
            https://elyrianventures.obsidianportal.com/wiki_pages/dracoism-religion

            Congratulations for being first to identify the relevance to economics! Since it’s generally known as `the dismal science’, this ought to improve the outlook of economists tremendously!! 🤣

        • Gosman 8.2.1.2

          Once again a leftist can not accept any downside of their chosen economic paradigm.

          • Stuart Munro 8.2.1.2.1

            Once again a far-right nutbar brays his nonsense onto the net as if it mattered.

          • left_forward 8.2.1.2.2

            This is not true at all.
            In general, a leftist (almost by definition) would choose an economic system that fundamentally supports social justice, reduces inequality, and builds collective wealth, and would rail against any system (i.e capitalism, neo-liberalism, neo-fascism) that basically supports individualism and the concentration of resource and control in the hands of the already wealthy (and their sycophants).

            • Gosman 8.2.1.2.2.1

              What is the downside of choosing that economic approach then?

              • left_forward

                Capitalism – injustice.

                • Gosman

                  Ummm… no what is the downside of choosing a left wing economic approach?

                  • left_forward

                    It certainly requires courage, but when driven by a moral conviction (as opposed to a choice) in regard to fairness and justice, there is no downside Gosman.

                    • Gosman

                      Then you have proved my point. Thank you for that LF. I couldn’t have got a better example if I had searched for a number of years.

                    • Gosman

                      BTW just to remind you that you stated my comment was untrue. I hope you will now retract that falsehood.

                    • left_forward

                      Different economic paradigms can be freely chosen on the left Gosman, as long as they are aimed at achieving social justice.
                      Indeed there is no choice in regard to this principle, but the appropriate economic system is freely debated.
                      Do you not get this because you do not understand the principle of social justice?
                      Do you not hold such a conviction yourself?

          • Tricledrown 8.2.1.2.3

            Gossipboy you are in the same boat
            Dogmatic to the end.

          • Tricledrown 8.2.1.2.4

            So where has capitalism flourished without Socialism.
            Tell me Gossipboy
            No where Gossipboy nowhere!

            • Gosman 8.2.1.2.4.1

              You are mistaking social democracy with socialism. They are two distinct policy mixes.

  9. Ad 9

    I’m less bothered by the rise of the anti-immigration left than I am by the shrinking of democracy and the scope of politics itself. More and more of both “left” and “right” prefer their own smaller identities rather than political parties, and now have the technological machinery to service that identity. So far, the right are better at exploiting that splitting towards democratic revival, but we’re improving.

    “What is New Zealand’s best course in these stormy seas? Are we to be a beacon for tolerance and respect, decency and human rights? Or just a bolt hole to which the lucky few can still escape?”

    Our trajectory of property ownership both foreign and domestic strongly suggests the latter. We could be a beacon of somethingorother, but that’s not the kind of leadership we have or clearly want. We are spending most of our time tending to the spatial and natural orders – dealing with urban growth, building houses, and ameliorating damage. There’s no burning desire in New Zealand for a bold anything.

    The crises of capitalism won’t stop. We recover, and there’s not enough to put serious doubts into our kind of capitalism. Global living standards have risen faster than at any point in history. Material progress has coincided with even more rapid progress combating hunger, empowering women, promoting literacy, extending life.

    A country that will have more smartphones than adults by the end of 2019 is a country in which more is possible for more people than ever before.

    Our state is still plenty responsive when the electorate raises concerns, and is throwing money out the back of the truck as never before.

    We have the most left-leaning and green advanced democracy in the world. We’re in power and doing useful things with it. Sure, do more, have a plan etc.

    My simple message to the left has nothing to do with whether we are “left”, “identitarian”, “social democrat” or “radical”.

    My message would be: don’t stuff it up.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1

      Global living standards have risen faster than at any point in history. Material progress has coincided with even more rapid progress combating hunger, empowering women, promoting literacy, extending life.”

      The carrot of continued material progress distracts from the true costs – global living standards have not been sustainable for some time, and there are (so) many more of us every day. We have (naturally) stuffed up.

      http://climateactionbrisbane.blogspot.com/2006/10/earths-ecological-debt-crisis.html [The bland leading the bland]

      “By analysing data from the US academic group Global Footprint Network, the think-tank has worked out the day each year when ‘humanity starts eating the planet‘.” (Hickman, ‘Earth’s ecological debt crisis: mankind’s “borrowing” from nature hits new record,’ The Independent, October 9, 2006)

      Just like a company bound for bankruptcy plunging into the red, the world starts falling into ecological debt on 9 October:

      “Problems, affecting everything from the seabed to the stratosphere, range from carbon dioxide emissions to the destruction of rainforests to the intensification of agriculture.”

      The crisis described in the article could hardly be more serious; humanity really is devouring the planet’s life-support systems. And yet, typically for a mainstream media report, Hickman’s analysis of the causes was lost in bland cliché: “rapid population growth” and “rising living standards” around the world.

      But consider the deeper, taboo issues behind these “higher living standards”. In a series of incisive books, historian Mark Curtis has shown how the traditional aim of British policy-makers is to protect “favourable investment climates” for big business around the globe, while targeting governments who refuse to comply. Hence the need for numerous British and US military interventions in Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Indonesia, British Guiana, Central America, and elsewhere.

      The choice of a bankruptcy analogy to explain the hopelessness of humanity’s self-engineered predicament shows the pervasiveness of neoliberalism in all its pernicious glory. Surely we have nothing to fear from ‘bankruptcy’ – consider how many times companies belonging to the most powerful man on the planet have been declared bankrupt. But there’s no weaning us off the planet’s teat – even on current metrics we will suck it dry soon enough.

      Apologies for bleakness – keep calm and carry on.

  10. greywarshark 10

    The traditional left-right political divide has been overridden by a new polarity of new right nationalism competing with liberal globalism. On recent evidence, social liberalism is losing.

    Isn’t it new-right nationalism competing nith new-right-liberal globalism.
    It all seems the same new-right mix to me, not opposites, just jostling companions.

  11. Incognito 11

    A very good post, thank you, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

    However, the post as well as much of the thinking of many (but not all) Standardistas contains a fatal flaw (i.e. assumption or expectation; false hope), which is that progressive politics that “reinvent itself to address the new challenge and provide new solutions for a new generation” and “shape what comes next” is somehow the domain of the so-called Left.

    It is almost taken for granted that it is now the Left’s turn to swing the pendulum back from neoliberalism. The problem is that the pendulum has lost much of its kinetic energy and momentum and is almost at a standstill; not much separates the Left from the Right any longer.

    The traditional Left and Right values need to be integrated into a whole new paradigm (cf. comment @ 5), one that transcends “the self-interest/common-interest dichotomy” (cf. comment @ 6.1).

    The new paradigm must not focus on socio-economic outcomes only. The endless cycle of being wage-slaves working at the altar of production & consumption (cf. comment @ 6) must take other factors into account such as the environment and our personal and collective well-being. We don’t need to reinvent or redefine ourselves, rather we must reinvent and redefine our values and value systems. This must be done from the bottom-up, by each and every individual, and simultaneously from the top-down, by our political/community spokespersons/representatives.

    Lastly, we must “ensure that we have a democracy of the people, by the people” (cf. comment @ 4.1). The current political apparatus is not fit for this and would ‘defend’ itself and actively ‘resist’ such (radical) change (revolution). It will be akin a retrofit of an old diesel engine into a modern EV but it can be done if the (political) will is there. Till that time, such ideas will make any party and any politician unelectable (political suicide)(cf. comment @ 5) and called and ridiculed as Utopian lunacy. So be it.

  12. corodale 12

    This guest post was well critiquet by Bill at comment 2. I would only add:

    Neo-liberilism is the orthodox alternative to letting the debt bubble pop and having a world war over who should pay the debt back.

    Socialism is illegal under NZ’s financial laws. And if you look carefully at our security and intelligence laws, you will be reminded that all of us here are being monitored, as we are a threat to the economic stability of both NZ and the world.

    The challenge for the left is to start dialog regarding a global debt write-off.

    Couldn’t see any research into debt at esra.nz – Economic Planning Inquiry Group? I couldn’t even find the word finance on the website. Perhaps a strategy, to go under the radar of intelligence services 😉

    • [ ‘And if you look carefully at our security and intelligence laws, you will be reminded that all of us here are being monitored, as we are a threat to the economic stability of both NZ and the world ‘ ].

      In a word , – DILLIGAF.

      And debt ? Who creates finance ( or any other variant on the theme ) and debt out of thin air? And without spouting off a whole bunch about balances of trade and the like.

      And if that’s the case , – why cant the same write off that same debt load?

      Answer?

      They don’t want to. And why?- because it means they will lose power and control.

      • corodale 12.1.1

        Yeah, what will fill the power vacuum? Risk, unknown, socialist nation states. Would be a globe of National Socialism wouldn’t it? Shall we do a round of black humour?

        The answer is “simple”, the “left” must stop the big 5 central banks from QEing, which will let the stock-market go bust. National central banks would then BUY a capital stack of the companies they want to save. These significant new levels of state ownership, would be adequate to back national currencies with state owned commodity… stable economics for green-growth to save the planet.

        But to stop the big five banks (and avoid war), we will have to win the hearts and minds of invisible militant-cyber-security-network (NZ security is obviously no risk, they are good folk, mostly hay-stacking and peace-keeping).

        Peace processes at choke points like the middle-east will be a priority.

        https://www.csmonitor.com/Daily Reading here about the Druze community in Israel, resigning from army in protest. Also examples of employers from Microsoft striking, and getting Microsoft to withdraw from military contracts.
        At our work place, we are working with the neighbour, who is ready to convert his farm to organic. Rain forecast tonight, first time this summer.

        • WILD KATIPO 12.1.1.1

          [ ‘ Peace processes at choke points like the middle-east will be a priority ‘ ]

          Well its interesting you say that.

          I have a theory about Trump feeling confident enough to risk outrage by shifting the U.S embassy closer to Jerusalem and virtually endorsing that city as the historic home of the Jewish people… and WITHOUT creating conflict with the Muslim populations… and I think it has something to do with this:

          THE COMING TEMPLE – YouTube
          Video for THE COMING TEMPLE you tube▶ 48:14

          As for the rest , it appears what you are essentially talking about is a type of re-nationalizing of former state owned assets, … something which i am not adverse to – provided it is done carefully and subtlety. However I am interested in your ‘5 banks’ scenario.

          However tongue in cheek though it may have been meant , I don’t think ‘socialist nation states’ necessarily equates to ‘ national socialism’… but it does seem that you are alluding to a certain cabal of globalist bankers… who have since at least the 17th century been manipulating global events for their own agendas…

          The 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad: The Illuminati Takeover
          https://www.biblebelievers.org.au/wilhelms.htm

          Traveling Templar: The 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad
          http://www.travelingtemplar.com/2013/07/the-1782-congress-of-wilhelmsbad.html

          • WILD KATIPO 12.1.1.1.1

            Lil bit more on that temple…

            The Temple | Bob Cornuke – YouTube
            Video for the temple bob cornuke you tube▶ 30:50

            • corodale 12.1.1.1.1.1

              skimming through videos.., yeah, good stuff. Much makes sense, but I thought King David was fictional (n that’s quoting a Jewish source)… I love the fluid nature of history. Like the official story on Twin-Towers, classic stuff.

              Hey, give the Israelites a fancy temple, fine. But they need to do some 49 year leasing, or 7 years to heal and de-militarise, before giving something big back to the Palestinians… it needs a deal. Let them be a Jewish state in a Greater Syria, as a vessel of Turkey 😉 I’m no expert on this, but this dialog has got to happen, even here in NZ. The Zionist wont let their power go easy, so can’t end neo-liberalism without peace around Israel. Can’t control climate without peace.

          • corodale 12.1.1.1.2

            5 banks: usfed, Swiss, Japs, UK, ECB – they the 5 worth their salt in extending the global balance sheet. Logically that is collaboration run out of Basal, with significant Jesuit influence. Keeping interest rates low in white Christian lands, seems a rational policy from the empire.

            • Gosman 12.1.1.1.2.1

              It is all the fault of the Illuminati and the Rothschild’s

              • corodale

                don’t be a twat

                • Gosman

                  Then you stop with spreading conspiracy theories.

                  • corodale

                    Ya saying the big 5 central banks extended the global balance sheet without conspiring? QE from each of these banks was developed as a conspiracy behind closed doors, which is removing the middle-class like wild-fire. Or you don’t like the middle class? Or you don’t think the Jesuits have any power up there? There was a Cardinal at the secret Bilderberg meeting this year… but lets leave the Caths in peace, they are in many ways the least bad option.

                    “Conspire: to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act… or to act in harmony toward a common end.” Webster-Dict

                    I’ll waste no more time on you.

                  • KJT

                    Ever heard of LIBOR, Gosman?

          • corodale 12.1.1.1.3

            yeah, I also think world peace is the main aim from Trump. Takes a mountain of compromise to get their. They can’t fight the Chinese, the Chinese would just dump their US bonds. Note that China isn’t on the list of big 5 central banks. Independent journalist JimS claiming there was an assignation attempt on Trump last week.

  13. peterlepaysan 13

    This whole post is very deja vue for me.

    The “left” and “right” words are meaningless expletives; please let us not discuss “socialism” and/or communism”.

    I have vivid memories of the R Douglas debacle ( he was not necessarily wrong merely hysterically over enthusiastic, Prebble was on meth and P). Lange could not stop them and Moore never wanted to

    Ken Douglas then FOL head and enthusiastic Soviet supporter was rather muted, I suspect he saw Marxist predictions coming to fruition ( still possible?).

    My favourite memory was watching a Federated Farmers demo (impressive in turnout) protesting against removal of farming subsidies waving signs claiming it was a communist plot.
    In 2017 we have another Federated fuckwit waving a sign saying Ardern is “a pretty communist”.

    The chinese and russian experiences were communist in name only, they were merely historic extensions of their feudalistic past. Farmers are feudalistic.

    Left and right have become equally meaningless. It had ,still has, relevance in class ridden Britain: hopefully not here in NZ.

    Greed has a place (OK entrepreneuership) equally the less greedy need protection.

    Instead of left right we should speak about the selfish and the nonselfish.

    SELFS v NONSELFS might be more accurate.
    Even Warren Buffet says the rich should pay their fair share of taxes.

    Just saying

  14. Beacon Hill 14

    First thanks to the many commenters on the post It is good (sort of) to see the debate joined.

    The ‘sort of’ caveat is that personal abuse and name calling just wastes reading space: Gosman, DtB and Tricledrown – you are better than that.

    Thanks to the many, of all viewpoints, who engaged in serious thought development: SM, Bill, Carloyn Nth, WK, Ad, Incognito to mention a few. You showed wisdom in the collective.

    Let me try to pull together a couple of key themes and respond to them:

    1. Gosman’s initial challenge (1): capitalism is not dead – it continually reinvents itself – true to a point, but can it reinvent this time without spilling over into the kind of period crisis that leads to war and the death of millions, or the gradual depletion and destruction of the planet. The jury is out and the past cannot predict this future.

    2. Stuart Munro’s response: Capitalism (in all its forms) and Neoliberalism (the pure free market dogma) are not the same. We can amend and ameliorate capitalism (see Robert Reich – “Saving Capitalism for the Many not the Few”. But Neoliberalism must be consigned to history as a failed experiment.

    3. Bill (2): highlighted the social democratic shift underway in the UK Labour Party and the US Democrats. Branded our current PM as a “conservative liberal” – that would be news to her – and forgot that the left “needs all its wings to fly”. Without the social democratic left there is no ‘sizzle’; without the centre-left there is often little “sausage”.

    4. Jumping to Ad’s (9) important comment: quit whinging – at least in NZ, the left is in power. Don’t stuff it up! Do have a programme that delivers on our values and is successfully implemented. Get runs on the board. Earn the trust of voters. Prove by doing. Much as I agree with this, let’s not underestimate how hard it is to deliver a clear programme of change amid Clausewitz’ ‘fog of war”. In a later post I will have a crack at what some of those core transformational elements could and should be, and ask how we are going so far?
    5. Incognito (11) makes a telling point IMO: in the 21st century the left must do more than fight and win the economic and social debates – we must grapple with the urgency of the environmental crisis, understand technology and how to harness and stimulate innovation, and how to earn credibility with markets while at the same time guiding and changing them. If that sounds like a tall order, chuck in the rise of China and the challenge of neo-Facsism. That’s a big grown up job that requires both character and skills of a high order. (I’ll blog some more on this but hat tip to Paul Mason for his outstanding book “PostCapitalism” – If you haven’t read it yet, do so now.)

    There are many aspects to the thread I have not done justice to: TRP and Carolyn on class v identity; Wild Katipo on the institutional power of the right; the importance of tolerance and diversity; and many more. Thanks all for the debate. Let’s treat each other well, and make this little country the beacon it can and should be.

    • Gosman 14.1

      Where have I called anyone a name?

    • Gosman 14.2

      Btw my initial point had nothing to do with Capitalism reinventing itself. As far as I am concerned Capitalusm hasn’t changed one iota. My point was the failure of the left to present a viable practical alternative.

  15. Jackel 15

    Tories get the easy job, take what’s there and then criticize. Yours my friend is a higher calling. When you’ve joined up all the dots we’ll have a cup of tea and a little talk. Oh btw, how’s your family?

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