How To Get There 10/3/19

Written By: - Date published: 6:51 am, March 10th, 2019 - 54 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:


This post is a place for positive discussion of the future.

An Open Mike for ideas, solutions and the discussion of the possible.

The Big Picture, rather than a snapshot of the day’s goings on. Topics rather than topical.

We’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

So have at it!

Let us know what you think …

54 comments on “How To Get There 10/3/19”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Meekness isn’t weakness.

    “We are living in a time of extreme delusion, disorientation, and dishonesty,” Havrilesky notes later in the essay. “At this unparalleled moment of self-consciousness and self-loathing, commercial messages have replaced real connection or faith as our guiding religion. These messages depend on convincing us that we don’t have enough yet, and that everything valuable and extraordinary exists outside of ourselves.

    “It’s not surprising that in a culture dominated by such messages, many people believe that humility will only lead to being crushed under the wheels of capitalism or subsumed by some malevolent force that abhors weakness. Our anxious age erodes our ability to be open and show our hearts to each other. It severs our ability to connect to the purity and magic that we carry around inside us already, without anything to buy, without anything new to become, without any way to conquer and win the shiny luxurious lives we’re told we deserve. So instead of passionately embracing the things we love the most, and in doing so reveal our fragility and self-hatred and sweetness and darkness and fear and everything that makes us whole, we present a fractured, tough, protected self to the world. Our shiny robot soldiers do battle with other shiny robot soldiers, each side calling the other side ‘terrible,’ because in a world that can’t see poetry or recognize the divinity of each living soul, fragility curdles into macho toughness and soulless rage. All nuance is lost in a fearful rush to turn every passing though or idea or belief into dogma.

    • WeTheBleeple 1.1

      There is a lot to digest there.

      The subtext of the messaging that ‘we don’t have enough’ is that we may be judged not enough. Thus, we may be alone. So we adorn ourselves with enough to be enough as it is something, something is more than the desperation of nothing, but it is never enough.

      A lack of real leadership led us down the garden path (allowing media via merchants to drive the narrative).

      When we seek (physical/monetary type) security is it that we seek an escape from (emotional) insecurity? The community cohesion that once allowed us to brave the wild is seriously fractured. As an evolutionary construct (social animal) this fracturing may cause an underlying dis-ease.

      The outlet for existential angst, retail therapy!

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        You’d hope that being led down the garden path would be a good thing!
        I’m always happy to lead people down mine, in fact this week I’ve eased the Wellington Vintage Car Club, a cycling club from the central South Island and a host of Italian, French, Israeli and Kiwi couples, singles and teams, down the convoluted paths of my forest garden and none felt deceived, so far as I could tell 🙂

        • WeTheBleeple

          As I wrote the phrase into the sentence its ill fit was apparent so I left it as an ironic hook hehe. And it caught one… 😉

          I was asked a plant question in a garden recently and went on a plant rant and was told I might use the gardens to teach by a tutor listening. As I’m only now in the first year of restoring a bulldozer damaged landscape to glory I thought it would be at least several years to be in a position to use my garden to go plant ranting.

          To do a long performance I used to use various memory techniques… I thought anchoring specific plants/landscape features to specific material might be a great tool to allow a more conversational ‘free flow’ as you go, while ensuring critical information is included. And a specific route through the landscape might then allow a specific sequencing of relevant materials.

          How do you do it Robert? Do you have a format or just wing it? What stuff do people most commonly want to know?

          • Robert Guyton

            Hi, WTP.
            Coffee, mainly, black and strong, 3 minutes before we start. I have a principle (just the one 🙂 or practice, rather, of trying never to repeat myself, by taking winding and previously unexplored paths, following the lead of others and being at least as curious as my audience. In the garden, it’s very easy; “Wow, look at those egg-capsules, I’ve never seen those before!!!”, that sort of Botanic Man bubbling. In front of a static/seated audience (I’m addressing 80 farmers, 40 of them from America, on Tuesday night, as they eat their wonderful organic meal at a restaurant in the city) I hop about a fair bit, zigging and zagging, trying to keep it light and thought-provoking and wring a few laughs where I can (beard jokes work for me). If it’s the forest garden I’m talking about, I just start and go till the time’s up, but with these farmers, I’m constructing a mind-map and projecting a few photos as markers – much of the material I’ve been asked to cover is well off from gardening, and I don’t like to flounder, having suffered a spectacular failure early in my speaking career; best thing that ever happened to me 🙂 I don’t use written notes. For garden groups inside a hall, a series of photos of plants is all that’s needed and all are easy to extrapolate from, into any area at all. My problem sometimes, is getting back to the point, if there was one in the first place. Was this what you meant, WTP?
            Questions from visitors to my garden are too varied to characterise, as we get people from all over the globe, most of whom have seen video or read about the forest garden before arriving, often in their country of origin. I’m always hoping to meet someone who’s met, say, Masanobu Fukuoka, Sepp Holzer or someone like that, and often I do, so there’s that, as well as getting to share ideas with people who are living interesting lives and doing meaningful things. The two Israeli women who were here last week are planning to buy land in Portugal and forest garden it, so talking, late into the nights, with them was rewarding.

            • WeTheBleeple

              “My problem sometimes, is getting back to the point, if there was one in the first place. Was this what you meant, WTP?”

              Exactly that. A system to ‘anchor’ that allows for free communication while being able to return to the main topic/s readily. Too many ways to get distracted when you love ecology yet a garden ramble is the best with a highly passionate teacher…

              I can combine all that love for the topic and an audience with extensive ecology and entertainment experience to deliver something special – or I can meander into a self dug hole…

              The guy who taught me to garden trained with David Bellamy, so though not a direct connection, there’s that. We have a PDC tutor (Fin) who worked directly with David Holmgren. Lucky aye.

              I was privileged to hang out with Charles Mitchell and corresponded a bit. He’s a bloody legend, just not as famous. So much knowledge he just kept handing out along with this or that plant/seed/cutting idea… He was the scientist and ‘whitebait farmer’ on country calendar. If councils/iwi want to ramp up the whitebait in their area sing out, though unfortunately we lost Charles, I was paying attention.

      • Bruce 1.1.2

        i spend a bit of time with people who have nothing. i used to feel guilt about how much i had. but then i worked out they dont know about having excess they have everything they need and have not been seduced by consumption. and they are very happy indeed, even in hardship, its life they love and boy do they enjoy it.
        bamboo race carts whoopee , try google Akha swinging .

      • Incognito 1.1.3

        Good comment!

        The outlet for existential angst, social media and the internet, among the usual materialism, consumerism and counter-cultures (e.g. decluttering).

  2. Ant 2

    Michael Leunig’s whimsical animation “How to get there” reflects the understanding that “there is here,” that landmarks gained merely open further enticements, that for a being possessed of a mind that can reflect on infinity “there” cannot be more than a temporary achievement… (Mandela’s mountain top revealing glimpses of higher peaks; Emerson’s much loved “life is a journey, not a destination;” Goldsmith’s “parenthesis in eternity” and Ram Dass’s “will it ever be the big ice cream cone in the sky? Will it ever be an eternal ice cream cone?”)

    It is fortunate that infinity stretches in two ‘directions’. Compelled to look outwards and onwards we amass experience, stretch the mind and make progress – not all of it favourable. But here and there beings of enlightenment have said we are to look in the other direction: ‘it is within you will find the kingdom’ urged the Nazarene while the Buddha weighed in with “identification with things temporal leads to recurrent suffering.”

    Whilst competition (and survival of the fittest) drives organic evolution and produces a dazzling variety of forms suited to the most diverse environments in humans it has been taken to unwholesome behavioural extremes: doping (athletics), match fixing (cricket) and more seriously the full range of environmentally destructive acts attendant upon putting production and economic growth ahead of habitat care and looking after one another.

    Scale back competition, make it less intense? You may as well say to rugby players “guys there’ve been too many injuries just lately. Please play the game more gently.”

    No. There has to be a major orientational shift. The competitive consciousness needs to be superseded by the cooperative one. But how to satisfy our adrenalin-hungry natures fuelled by intrinsic aggression? At sea on a sinking vessel bitter enemies have little trouble working cooperatively to save the ship. What greater and more worthy challenge could there be than working together on a thousand fronts to save the earth and its myriad life forms?

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      A visitor to our home commented that he practices generous giving and yes, receives as a result but accepts generosity from others so that he can, in turn, give out even more.

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        We are brought up in competition. School is all about competition. The schools I went to were obsessed with sporting competition. Teaching you how to train yourself to link into your nature and genetic bounty and ability to learn and grow mentally was not the main thing.

        Now we have humanities being dropped from university courses in favour of the questing, curious science courses that operate in a bubble of pure curiosity and novelty; a dangerous attitude which lays aside the human as being primitive, antique, undeveloped, archaic, naive, pantheistic, pre-industrial and unsophisticated. But the ability to develop and acquire sophistication does not necessarily lead to anything but a surface understanding of life, merely clever skills and use of abstract ideas.

        It leads to hubris which leads to selfishness and self-worship as in Ayn Rand’s books and thought. Having thought of a part-truth she exalted it beyond its true value. (By the way has anyone come across Ruth Dudley Edwards who writes amusing books that encompass crime and human systems. In Murdering Americans she goes into PC and Ayn Rand.)

        Now it is competition to have things, to make a show, to come up to a standard which requires a majority of waking minutes to maintain it and doesn’t include time for reflection or discussion of how we feel, and how we think we should feel and relate to the wider world.

        Do we have/make time for consideration of gratitude to the spiritual source of our consciousness? Meals are graceless now, Sunday is not spent as a time of rest and relaxation, we are doings instead of beings. There needs to be more balance.

        I appreciate the space to come here and talk about being and also about doing. And to value a little time to be and think alone and then enjoy being with others who are in the same mind to achieve balance, how to get it and how to take it into the future,. Also how to use discrimination sensibly; to discriminate at present is not PC and that thought was introduced for good reason, but we need to learn how to discriminate wisely.

        • Stuart Munro.

          Sadly I think the humanities did it to themselves for the most part. Post-Marxist rubbish like post modernism couldn’t foot it in philosophy and so it cultivated niches in language and literature, rendering those subjects almost worthless. We need a new synthesis, but the humanities are not presently capable of it.

          • greywarshark

            Oh thanks for that Stuart M I might have to come back to you on this matter for thoughts.

          • WeTheBleeple

            As an artist I found the English component of my uni studies frustrating nonsense. Going over and over some poor dead sods words extracting hidden meanings where there was none. Deifying drudgery…

            I was glad to hit the science department, here was knowledge!

      • greywarshark 2.1.2

        Being able to accept generosity is an art I think. Today quite often if something is offered to another, it may be rejected or taken in a graceless way. And this is because we are supposed to be self-sufficient and some people have exalted ideas about themselves; being above and better than others. Being offered something by another not considered part of our class, is demeaning and to accept it is to put oneself in the class of a beggar. And beggars and people in need are to be looked down on.

        Farmers for instance, when in strife sometimes go through agonies at having to accept social welfare. They have been so dogmatic and prejudiced all their lives against people receiving welfare, and full of pride and hubris in themselves. They have never understood that some people need it always, others to boos

        Being able to accept kindness and be thankful and gracious about it, is actually good training for being kind to others oneself. A pass-it-on experience.

        • KJT

          Irrigation subsidies, Myocoplasma Bovis eradication, agricultural research, drought relief and tax free capital gains, obviously don’t count as welfare, for farmers?

  3. Molly 3

    Been busy with renovations for a while now, and still a few months to go. But have been considering holding some community meetings – in Fed Farmers territory – about the issues of climate change, the need for transition etc.

    Rather than a talk and Q&A structure, would design it around the New Economics Foundation Democs process, where information is provided and discussed in participatory groups. (Sorry can’t find the link to that at present, have downloaded the docs at home. Basically, it provides a series of cards relating to the issue that allows those around the table to glean new facts and discuss how it will impact). For robust conversations, the ability to critique and question will remain, but will be limited by equitable time management for all partcipants, and unanswered questions will be researched and results posted online after the meetings.

    I would be able to come up with quite a few facts etc using the IPCC and NASA reports etc. but thought it would be more valuable if there was a broader input of ideas and facts that people thought relevant or important to include. Particularly, around NZ, our farming industry and our current emissions trajectory and recent actions both positive and negative. I know my exposure to the issues of climate change and the impact of it was triggered only by my habit of randomly selecting books from the non-fiction section of the library in an effort to find something to read before my-then toddlers took off. Everyone here can no doubt provide a story of the moment they knew that this issue was bigger than they had previously understood.

    If anyone would like to contribute, it would be appreciated. Very much.

    • WeTheBleeple 3.1

      What I’d want to see on the table:

      The increase in, and mitigation of, drought and flood conditions. The concept of on-site water storage and earthworks to mitigate not only weather, but restore stream and river flow, aquifer recharge, and lend reprieve from public backlash on water allocation.

      Restoration of tree shelter for animals – where landscapes are stripped of trees.

      Erosion control – how steep before tree crops are a better idea than stock.

      The collective experiences, wisdom and information of many farmers discussing such issues would be invaluable – so am definitely in favor of online publishing of the process.

      • Molly 3.1.1

        Recent Landcare meetings in the area, have reassured farmers that their methane emissions are not impactful as methane dissapates much faster than carbon dioxide. For a local community who are not yet engaged with the issues around climate change, very strong National support, and very strong in climate denial – the leap to possible changes is a leap too far, and will be strongly resisted.

        The idea is to present facts and considerations in a manner which allows for open discussion, and by doing so, inculcate both individual awareness, and voter pressure for change to happen at a political level. I am relying on informed farmers themselves to come up with solutions, and would rather put energy into getting the discussion going at a community level. Local discussion on climate change is almost non-existent, or dismissive. The influence of the farming community on politics at both local and national representation level is considerable.

        I have a limited knowledge (very) of WordPress, but can use it to put up information about the process and provide a framework for other participants or communities to use.

        • RuralGuy

          The Landcare meetings you’ve referred to was meeting facilitated by Landcare Trust for the ICCC members and secretariat to test their ideas for their report for the minister due in April. You’ll find the slide packs and content on the ICCC website. The meetings were invite only to select farmers and rural professionals, and weren’t open to the public.

          I attended one of these meetings, mainly to understand the fiduciary risk to my farms. In attendance was Harry Clark, Lisa Tumahei, David Prentice and Suzi Kerr from the ICCC.

          If you think you’re better capable of communicating the risks of climate change, and the policy instruments the minister could enact to charge farmers for their emissions than the ICCC heavyweights, then be my guest.

          Reading your post after having heard directly from the ICCC members, I think you’ll be in for a shock when the report comes out in April as it was the ICCC that was at pains to point out the significant differences between short and long lived gases. A quote of interest was “over reducing methane emissions is a direct subsidy from the rural community to a lethargic and lazy urban community” (David Prentice -ICCC chairperson)

          • greywarshark

            Oh dear. “A lethargic and lazy urban community”, from the ICCCCC – I put an extra one in there for good luck, it looked like a horseshoe – it might be true of some people but most urban people are not l&l. Generalising like that just shows lazy prejudice and speaking to the apparently feral genetic slant the rural community show the urban whenever farmers are criticised.
            See anything you can do, urbans do it better!

            Try actually studying the problem and see how rural and urban can move in synchronisation to remediation otherwise what we’ll get is an endless loop of –

          • Pat

            will be interesting to see if that quote is included in a month or so when they release their report

            • RuralGuy

              I have no doubt that you won’t see the quote, but I’m pretty confident you’ll see a policy package that treats short and long lived gases differently.

          • Molly

            The Landcare meeting referred to was one held locally, in a very conservative and climate denying district. The presentation was not by an ICCC representative, but a local who reports to the local newspaper on environmental issues and farming. Verification of that is reinforced with personal interaction with our local representatives.

            Thanks, for providing information about the national Landcare approach and the engagement with the ICCC. But that was not the meeting I was speaking of.

            The idea was not to replace or duplicate information, but to give locals a chance for face to face discussions with other locals about climate change. More informing their opinions, rather than changing someone else’s. I think most people, when informed and motivated are able to come up with long term sustainable changes themselves, rather than having them externatlly imposed and feeling resistance even if the changes are necessary.

            ” The meetings were invite only to select farmers and rural professionals, and weren’t open to the public.”
            Community meetings with such indepth discussion, are not being provided. And so the voting public continues to vote for politicians and policies that will not solve the issue, or even give reference to it. To open the Overton window wider, the ICCC need not only to inform recognised stakeholders, but start engaging with the public.

            BTW, I think the comment below from greywarshark, is a suitable critique. And the excuse of the “urban community”, is one I have heard often in my local area. It seems to lack any self-awareness, and is problematic that it comes from the ICCC chairperson.

        • KJT

          One of the issues is how measures such as de-stocking, reducing high input ratios (Feed and fertiliser) shelter belts, field rotation, and reduced number of milkings can, in many cases, improve the long term profitability of farming.

          Probably need an expert (farmer) understanding to communicate these well. But it is worth raising them as discussion points.

          Not all farmers are in it to sell for capital gains. Some actually like farming.

          My inclination, as a Greeny, is not to force farmers, or anyone else, to be more sustainable, but to assist them with the necessary transitions. There are at least as many farmers looking for a long term sustainable future in farming, as there are, “get rich quick, and get out” ones.

          • Pat

            “Objectives of the group
            The BERG’s objectives were to:

            increase industry, government, and public understanding of the current and future sources and drivers of biological emissions, and the potential to reduce their impact
            build an agreed and robust understanding of what can be done to reduce biological emissions, and the costs and opportunities involved
            build trust and confidence between New Zealand’s primary industries and government agencies.
            What was not in scope?
            The BERG did not have the mandate to develop policy or to make recommendations about policy. However, as part of building a portfolio of evidence, the group commissioned analysis to estimate the costs and barriers of hypothetical policy options.

            The BERG did not commission any analysis that considered different ways of accounting for methane as a short-lived greenhouse gas. ”


    • greywarshark 3.2

      Molly I discovered a site referring to the Rural Business Network and wonder if they would be useful to co-ordinate with. Have put reference to a coming talk in Whangarei that I think might be getting towards providing information and discussion as you envisage.

      • Molly 3.2.1

        Thanks grey. I had a quick look at the Northland event and Dr Warren Parker, but so far my experience of attending such Landcare meetings etc, is that they are often focused on the ability to continue as much as possible, business as usual.

        From basic Google search, on Dr Parker and climate change, his perspective is often still from an economic and business perspective, rather than an information one. Identifying opportunites for growth and diversification, without looking at the impacts climate change will have on other aspects of farming life and community.

        Would be interested to hear from any farmers here, on the information that changed their minds on the significance of climate change, and how they are discussing it within their community. Grassroots discussions based on facts, rather than authoritative interpretations made palatable.

        • greywarshark

          OK Molly. It is good to know the various disseminators in the community and their position about sensible farming and climate change etc.

          We had Mike Joy here in Nelson for a talk on water and full house and 20 people hoping for late people’s seats. So everyone knows about him. Then the step from knowing to getting leaders doing intelligent stuff, getting rid of soft plastic supermarket bags is part of Future Thinking; Now 101.

          Good to hear what you are doing. It would be a good network to have an alert and practical person in each town and city sector – sort of Activists Hive – reporting on comings, goings and successful promotions, events, actions, changes. Trying to keep in touch, encompassing things over the whole country and feeding in news from overseas about findings, information rather than meetings and politics. Mainly sticking to the knitting and letting others feel the shock and horror of the latest sayings from the Great Gargantuans there; (I’ll also throw in Swift’s Brobdingnag).

          To some extent this post is a bit like that. I am hoping that people will stick to the knitting of community here and ways and how to be while we are being. If we don’t get together and think, someone with no imagination or understanding or love of fellow human beings and life will pull off our butterfly wings as part of some business or personal scheme and we will die out.

          • Molly

            Hi grey, I do get re-energised to a degree by reading these Sunday posts, which is important.

            At an individual level I think we all have circles of influence that can include friends and family and I think individual changes we make are positive for us as individuals, and influential in those circles as they see how our actions are mirroring our values.

            I also believe that an individual – on issues of high concern – have the ability and moral duty to participate – to a degree – on democratic processes and movements in regard to those issues, and should give some portion of their time to those things. But given the nature of our current democratic choices and resultant changes that have been made in regards to climate change – this too, is ineffective by itself as there are still people in power – and voters who elect them – that are committedly resistant to effective change.

            Unless we devote some time to finding a way to create an environment to support systematic change, we will be constantly pushing against well resourced and powerful institutions and individuals, and we will be expending energy that will be best used elsewhere in implementation.

            In previous community conversations, we have had to deal with resistance to the inclusion of Māori pre-settler history, in historical projects and commemorations, so I am anticipating a similar level of hostile reaction in this instance. However, this is offset by a possibility of others creating connections with currently isolated people who don’t have a local forum for discussion on the issue of climate change.

            If there can be a challenge to status quo thinking by participants themselves in their own communities after participating in a conversation, then although the change will be small and slow, I am hoping it will be more sustainable. And then, pressure will build on our local representatives for effective change.

            I also think that face-to-face conversations are important in change facilitation, and not as effective when delivered in other mediums.

            • greywarshark

              Could small meetings to discuss some definite subject be held, and also to keep up withe the latest findings in climate change, and the latest local applications of the new tech or approaches? Perhaps they could happen centrally before other important meetings, ie before Council meetings,
              or such. The face to face thing has to be organised, with something solid to take away from it.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    I saw Michael Leunig walking up the steps of the cathedral in Dunedin and surprised myself by greeting him spontaneously, “Hi, Michael!” as though he was an old friend. He was a little startled by my familiar manner, I think, but responded with a kindly, “Hello”.

  5. Heather Grimwood 5

    The urgency of the coming week is to join with the wise young folk still at school in their plea for urgent action to defray climate change.
    These hapless young beings, only too aware of what lies ahead if concerted radical measures are not taken immediately, are at our mercy. Our avarice, laziness and at least thoughtlessness and lack of critical thinking has wreaked the havoc.
    Everyone of us can this day, at no monetary cost decide to spurn the ‘throwaway’ culture that’s arisen, resist the power of advertising, grow at least a little of our own food , refuse to use weedkillers, walk, and use bus or rail where possible to name a few remedies.
    We can also apply our minds to creating or adapting to new ways that enable the stability required for existence.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Living Wood Fair, Takaka, Golden Bay in April. See if there is something for you and try to get there.
    13-14 April 9am-6pm East Takaka Rd, East Takaka, Takaka 7183, NZ (with map)
    (Volunteers to help set up the Fair.)

    And the Rural Business Network – Positioning for a Different Future talk series.
    (This is a group putting farmers in the picture and showing them new ways
    of looking at the farming practices to cope with the present and future problems.)
    This featured talk is in Whangarei 21 May 2019 only $20, but the Network may be holding more talks enabling all to get informed.



    At the other end of the country – taking an interest in rural things in Mackenzie
    22 April there is the Highland A&P Show 8am-6pm


    • Cinny 6.1

      Cool, I’m going to forward those links to our local paper, thanks for that info Grey.

      Edit… Link forwarded 🙂

      Looks like a primo day out, yay, girls are with me that weekend, might see you there 🙂

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        Wow Cinny that was quick. I don’t know if I will be there as I am working on some other matters at minute. Will let you know later as I think you are interested. Am busy making contacts and seeing if I can push my barrow.

        Thinking of water. Did you see the alternative scheme thought up to the Waimea-Lee Valley Dam? The dam has now gone through third reading in Parliament. Voting in Council I think 9 to 5. Originally dreamed up in 1970 so still mired in last century planning and ideas as much of our stuff is. Cost now estimated at about $100 million and regarded dispassionately I think, as not cost/efficient.

        This link to alternative water system for Waimea. Pond system I think they call it.

  7. greywarshark 7

    On Inequality – why and how to lessen it.

    Bryan Gould’s Inequality Means Less Freedom

    ,,,[2004] Nuffield College whose Warden at that time was Professor A.B. (later Sir Tony) Atkinson. He was a renowned economist and the world’s leading authority on inequality, its causes and consequences….

    Sir Tony was able to show that levels of inequality vary from country to country and from time to time. Countries whose governments deliberately counteract inequality show a lesser degree of inequality, not surprisingly, than those where the interests of the wealthy and privileged prevail without restriction.

    He demonstrated that a market economy will always show a natural tendency for the rich to get richer and for the poor to get (comparatively) poorer. This because the return on capital is almost always faster than the growth of the economy as a whole, so that an increasing proportion of any new wealth created goes to those who already have money and own assets. In New Zealand, we can see this demonstrated by the increasing share taken by profits and the decreasing share of wages in our economy over recent years.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Gould finishes up: We have a long way to go – and may even be heading in the wrong direction – if our goal is a society that is both free and equal.

      In this there is an implicit question that I’ve been struggling with for some time. Inherently you cannot have both freedom of action AND equality of outcome at the same time.

      People are innately different in many different dimensions, and given an equal freedom to act they will always head off in their own directions and with quite different abilities. On the other hand if you want to impose (by some vast bureaucracy perhaps) equal outcomes on everyone, this must be a tyranny that erases all freedom of action.

      The two concepts stand in contradiction to each other.

      Actually BM in his blunt fashion asked this question some weeks back by asking in relation to inequality “what is the problem you are trying to solve?” In other words exactly why is inequality a problem?

      It’s worth asking. Setting aside the obvious deprivation of absolute poverty, and that once a person moves beyond roughly U$10k pa income there is not much measurable improvement in life satisfaction … once the majority of poor have moved out of deprivation, the question is worth asking … why is extreme inequality actually bad for us?

      Unlike BM I think there is a reason why it is detrimental, but it’s not obvious. In particular the answer is not necessarily economic. It’s more likely psychological or spiritual in nature. This is indicated by the nature of the measurable pathologies associated with inequality.

      This suggests a re-framing of the question Gould poses, “how can we retain the necessary freedom of human innovation and action that markets provide and at the same time address the very real ethical and social harm that gross levels of inequality creates? “

      • Pat 7.1.1

        it can be summed up in one word….a word you will find frequents policy and economic theory….confidence. Inequality undermines this and therefore the functionality of any society

        • RedLogix

          Yes. I like that … it steps in the right direction. Confidence is also closely allied to the notion of trust which is fundamental.

      • KJT 7.1.2

        A certain amount of inequality is inevitable.

        No one will ever be willing to take on the training required or the intensity of, my job for an average wage, for one.

        However, no one ‘earns’, 100 times the average wage.

        You will find agreement for “equality of opportunity” amongst many, but the overly wealthy, who want to keep their advantage, “thanks very much”.

        Inequality over a certain level has always led to dysfunctional societies. Usually after several generations of inherited wealth. Successful capitalist societies rose after they short circuited the dead-weight of inherited wealth. China most notably, in recent history, though I don’t entirely approve of the method used. The USA did, twice, the Revolution, and the New deal (90% Taxes on millionaires, inheritance taxes, antitrust laws, etc).

        Inheritance, and other wealth taxes are necessary for good capitalism. Forcing people to earn their ‘own’ money.

        The wealthy, as history has shown, have two choices, contribute to the society that made them wealthy, or, face the pitchforks.

        • RedLogix

          Up to about three years ago I would have written exactly the same response myself KJT. And I’m not even in that much disagreement with it.

          But as I said above, beyond considerations of deprivation and poverty, inequality is more about the steepness of the social gradient and how we subconsciously perceive this, than it is about ‘fair outcomes’.

          For instance globally across all societies there is a very close correlation between GINI coefficients and young male violence. The obvious reason is that young men typically look to maximise their socio-economic status in order to attract the most desirable partner into their lives. (And women run the same script as well, just in the other direction typically selecting for the most successful male they can attract.)

          But when the rungs on the social ladder become too far apart, and or removed altogether, they lose confidence in the orthodox system and resort to other non-socially sanctioned means to bolster their status. Such as crime, gangs and the like. Or as in the NZ case when neo-liberalism smacked us all, they became dramatically more prone to suicide.

          I’m not discounting the role re-distributive policies can play in reducing the problem; but at the same time I’d strongly argue we need to better understand the roots of the problem we are trying to solve here. There is already a lot of good information out there, that goes well beyond narrow neo-marxist calls to ‘smash capitalism’.

          • KJT

            I thought I already made it pretty obvious that I favour a functional democratic ‘mixed’ economy, as the only model that has been proven to work so far.

            However, our Governments have been taking us towards a dysfunctional extreme since the 80’s.

            And. We still have the problem that a mostly capitalist system requires exponential growth, to function.

            You are not going to get a democratic country to vote for a solution, where the poor bear all the costs, of adaptation. Nor are we going to get solutions, when people, in bad faith, trying to retain privileged positions, block any attempts to solve the problems. With propaganda, outright lies and bullshit.

            Even the mild attempt to reverse some of the, repeated tax cuts, those of us on higher incomes have had since the 80’s, with a CGT, has been met with a storm of hypocrisy and greed.

            Same with the perfectly sensible decision, to put the oil industry on notice.

            • RedLogix

              Again we’re pretty much on the same page with your first three paras at least.

              has been met with a storm of hypocrisy and greed.

              No question the system was distorted to privilege some positions; but assuming that resistance to change is entirely motivated by malice is not the whole story; and not even a very useful version of it.

              I think I’ve made this point before; if you want people to move from one position to another, you have to sell them the idea that the journey will be worthwhile, that they will be better off in some fashion.

              You can be quite creative and subtle about this; indeed if you appeal to their better natures the outcomes can be surprising. People do change, they will move from a base motives to broader, higher level ones, given a realistic vision and pathway to get there.

              But if you scold them and tell them they’re greedy hypocrites … guess what?

              • KJT


                I know enough of ‘them’ as I can put on a Kings accent and a suit, and “pass” when I want to, to know that being ‘nice’ isn’t going to make ‘them’, look out for the good of anyone but themselves.

                There are well off people who want change for the better, for everyone, I’m one of them.
                Those I will get alongside and talk to.

                It is a waste of time talking to those, who will only respond to the pitchforks.

                The only use James, Gosman and Alwyn have, is they help us to sharpen up, and reach those not commenting, who have somewhat of an open mind.

            • Sam

              New Zealand has always been an egalitarian society. It was an inevitable process that we would go from an egalitarian society to a more diverse melting pot. The communists started with a classless society so they literally chopped off all the heads of capitalists, land owners and so on. But if you go to China today you will find leaders and princelings. The sons of the princelings are well fed, well educated. They are bright because there father is bright and there mothers are also revolutionaries who is another bright woman and they have all the connections and Chinese people are doing marvellously as bankers and financiers, developers in real estate.

              Lee Chung is an energy specialist in hydro. He pushed for the Three Gorges Dams and I think his children are in China Electricity. So his children are bright and they probably deserve the job, if they were not well connected then they may have never been recognised and then they’re just one of 1.3-1.5 billion Chinese.

              I don’t know if any of you know anyone in Auckland who needs an elevator lift up, if we don’t identify bright young people and give them responsibility early then they will be just like every other 1.6 million Jafas. Now a days you don’t even need to be academically gifted to go to university because people can just buy there way in. So those students who do achieve a scholarship means that they ARE bright AND gifted otherwise they wouldn’t have got one.

  8. WeTheBleeple 8

    For GWS records, and others who might be interested.

    Chinampa’s are extremely productive terrestrial/aquatic systems. In a New Zealand context they have considerable potential.

    e.g. flood prone areas could be converted (back) to wetlands, with chinampa style production as part of the area. In this manner high production is inclusive with ecological restoration. Production of: fish, eels, crops, timber, medicines, tourism, science, recreation, aesthetic beauty.

    e.g. estuarine chinampa/whitebait hatcheries. Chinampas horizontal to estuarine streams with floodgate inlets for aquatic species. Whitebait go to sea, get fat, and come home. I’ve seen this in operation in Raglan you could almost walk on the fish trying to get back in the ponds. Open the gate and in they pour. The chinampas are edged with sedge grasses, and then manuka and kanuka feature alongside coprosmas, flaxes and more. This is a honey production zone, wildlife refuge (predator free islands if you set em up like that), and will attract huge numbers of whitebait, eels, mullet… Put a hinaki on an entrance and fill it up.

    Unfortunately we’ve lost Charles.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      What a good memorial to a scientist doing useful, crowd-leading stuff it would be to set up a group to carry out his passions and systems!

      Think of Christchurch and all that low land on the east coast red-zoned and how it could be used to good effect. Obviously it is no good rebuilding there, but if it sits there too long, people will forget about why, and a developer will get out his calculator and whoosh.

      Instead Go Chch – Chinampas? Give them a look! (Seems good at first sight – don’t know anything except WtB does and thinks its viable. So that opinion gives it weight.)

      Brisbane got caught in a house-deluge flood torrent 2011. See how events have progressed there with lack of visionary leadership of value from those responsible for planning for the community relying on them.


      2016 Problems for present owners unaware of vital moves:

      • WeTheBleeple 8.1.1

        Charles had little to no luck dealing with the various rules and regulations surrounding aquaculture in New Zealand. He struggled for permission to sell eel at every turn and got in trouble for it when he did. He also created brilliant simple models of anadromous fish migrations that he could back by predicting their locations at specific times. These were rejected by the status quo for ‘lack of stats’. I do not have those models unfortunately after he mentioned he’d tried submit them he died before I got to ask.

        Those glass eels are worth $US 6000 kg. But he couldn’t sell them. One time I saw Charles he was trying to raise 2K for a pellet of food. He had a farm full of the best fish and no cash. It was that stupid. The eels he raised were tested for omegas and came up around 9 x what wild stock have. Fat, oily, tasty eels. Not available to public.

        When people like him are let at a piece of land (and given time) we begin to really see what’s possible. Many of the pioneers that start with little in way of means create systems that cost little, or verge in directions that need to be traveled e.g. trying to create a food chain from nitrate runoff. It is unfortunate though, when you succeed and might realize a well earned profit, but lawmakers and status quo wont allow it.

        I was doing similar but in an ebb and flow aquaponic setup – dealing with nitrate, breeding whitebait… We met. We clicked. His wife listened for about a minute, rolled her eyes and said, “Oh God, another one.” Then she made us a lovely pot of tea and scones to fuel the rantings. 😀

        The excess water much of New Zealand receives at times, and the massive drain systems installed for dairying are an almost set up aquaculture industry just waiting for someone to kick it off. Turn excess ferts into fish. Those excess ferts will come out for decades if we stopped dairying today. We could try take on the pollution with riparian planting or turn it to profit via aquaculture and riparian plants for honey, timber, nuts, etc…

        There’s a lot more production to be had from our land than we’re currently having. And this might be done in an ecologically sound manner realizing a number of products from more diverse ecosystems.

        I understand landholders are thinking I’m an idiot and there’s not enough time in the day for all that. And they’d be right. But additional production could be handled by contractors rather than all this laid on the farmer as well.

        Riparian design for stream protection – and profitable products. Likewise the drains. Why not make more products with the already paid for nutrients.

        There is of course a stage of retrofitting, of design and redesign as we learn in different contexts. But the retrofit is coming.

        Even if they made a magic carbon catcher tomorrow, major issues caused by current agricultural practice would remain. Biodiversity loss, aquifer depletion, pollution, erosion, eutrophication, desertification.

        • WeTheBleeple

          The chinampas are remarkable in that (in the Tropics) they can yield seven crops per year. This is the most productive system known to man. In a New Zealand context, this might offset losses of returning productive land to wetland systems, where both restoration and agriculture can work hand in hand via wetlands,
          and native riparian bordered chinampa production systems.

          Some conservationists envision things ‘the way they were’, which seems to me some historical pre-man pipe dream of wilderness coating the land. But, man coats the land. While conservation estates are tremendously important; hybrid systems where agriculture works with and alongside nature for human occupied lands… these will make life on Earth considerably more pleasant (and dare I say interesting).

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