Lazy thinking

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, March 5th, 2012 - 70 comments
Categories: benefits, jobs, spin - Tags:

Anyone saying there are plenty of jobs, people are just to snobby (ie lazy) to take them, has to explain why 90,000 people suddenly got lazy between 2008 and 2009 as 80,000 jobs disappeared.

70 comments on “Lazy thinking”

  1. Yep the RWNJs seem to believe that a spontaneout outbreak of blugerism occurred when Key assumed power.
     
    Of course it has nothing to do with the economy or the Government’s handling of the GFC.
     
    The number of benefits includes those on superannuation and this particuar benefit will continue to increase in numbers.
     
    Did you know that older people are ageing for a business?

    [this graph is just working age benefits. but good point. zet]

    • Oops thanks zet

    • Gosman 1.2

      I think we have previously established that unemployment was rising sharply in the declining period of the Clark led Labour Government so it is a bit disingenuous to claim that it happened as soon as John Key took office.

      However even that doesn’t detract from the fact that I haven’t seen any person on the right actually argue that the reason people are unemployed is purely down to them ALL being lazy bludgers. Perhaps someone could link to someone making this claim?

      If people can’t find someone making this claim then the central idea behind this article is a straw man argument. Congratulations on creating one of those and effectively countering it. For your next trick I expect you to state that Right wingers believe up is actually down and how this too is just crazy talk.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

           
        Wrong again. I’m intrigued that a spin-tool like yourself isn’t familiar with the old tory technique of “targetting” a few “lifestyle” beneficiaries, while restricting the entitlements of a whole bunch of “worthy poor” as collateral damage. E.g. Pete George the other day.
          
        The fact is that there aren’t enough jobs, therefore unemployment protection is necessary and not an option. And bullying the unemployed is pointlessly vicious.

        • Gosman 1.2.1.1

          That post by Pete George is more supportive of my point than yours. He just stated that he knew of SOME beneficiaries who choose to be beneficiaries not that ALL beneficiaries choose to be beneficiaries. You may disagree with his position on this but it doesn’t provide evidence that right leaning people are trying to argue that the increase in unemployment is due to more people becoming lazy bludgers.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            But it does support the argument that if there are no jobs out there, and that all the unemployed-centred “encourage them back into work” bullshit is just bullshit. If the government wants to cut the number of beneficiaries, bullying the unemployed will have less of a result than, oh, investing in education and infrastructure, buying locally, and not laying off public service staff.

            • Gosman 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Ensuring a viable productive economy and a flexible labour market is probably the best for reducing unemployment on a long term sustainable basis. You may disagree, which is your right, but other people do think this. They are the ones in power at the moment. Next time the left is in power they might attempt something along the lines you are suggesting. I choose to ignore the rest of your emotive laden post.

              • McFlock

                We can’t get emotive about under-producing economic units.
                     
                What possible basis can you have for believing that the government is really trying to solve unemployment? Just how much are you going to blame on the GFC, when we’ve started (since, oh, 2008/9) sliding down the performance charts of the OECD? 

                  
                 
                Meanwhile, unmatured potential economic units cease to function.
                    

              • Overall productivity has been consistently rising for decades not just here but world-wide, and New Zealand is still a very flexible place to be an exployer compared to the rest of the OECD. If productivity and flexibility were all it took to increase available employment opportunities, we’d be having a jobs boom already, and it would be completely unrelated to changes in governments or other economic factors. I think we can both accept that the economy is more complicated than that, and at the very least we can agree to concede that it has natural cycles, (booms and busts) and is composed of several tugs of war between employers and labour in general, and more complicated relations between consumers and retailers and industries, and the impact of available information to each party.

                The fact is, average productivity (in contrast with overall productivity, which is steadily rising) is actually inversely correlated with high demand for labour, simply because as the demand for workers increases, employers have to settle for less productive employees, who they fire when demand for labour decreases. Low productivity is ironically a sign of a healthy labour market, not because productivity is bad, but because universal employment drags down productivity figures.

                To reduce unemployment, circulation needs to increase. Policies that create extra employment, or otherwise equalize the distribution of wealth to some degree, increase circulation and generate demand, which in turn prompts businesses to increase supply, which in turn prompts them to hire additional employees, which prompts them to demand more services and products from other businesses, and so on. You know what doesn’t help that process at all? Employer fleibility and productivity. In fact, productivity generally decreases the need to employ additional people because all of the available work is done.

              • aerobubble

                Talking about viable economics, low the high income inequality would boost both the economy and lower unemployment. Given both Labour and National inability to discuss the effects of increasing oil prices on the economy, business is left in limbo and risk adverse. National would like its voters to believe selling assets won’t harm the deficit but anyone with a clue knows that’s not true. NZ exports its skilled, its profits, and raw resources, when we should be keeping our skilled, our profits and adding value (introducing a CGT). But National are biblically sret against any tax increases unless its on the poorest, unbalanced and unfair GST rises.

                National have no idea how to run an economy, one National voter on TV actually thought that pushing single mums into fruit picking and replacing desperate pacific islanders was a real reality. WTF. Just as passing economic analysis shows that is wrong, its always going to be cheaper to hire desperate foriegners froma pacific Island chain (like Australia does to NZ citizens). And more so with some pacific islanders who have no work, no other opportunities and no baby (or home to heat).

                National voters know little about economics if they repeat anything a politician says without thought.

        • Pete George 1.2.1.2

          And bullying the unemployed is pointlessly vicious.

          Do you think no pressure at all should be put on beneficiaries to improve their edication or get work? (Labour tried to ‘encourage’ people off benefits before National started trying).

          Should remaining on a benefit be simply a choice?

          • McFlock 1.2.1.2.1

            Option 3: actually give them educational and employment opportunities that will allow them to participate in society, not bully them into becoming grist for the mill.

            • Pete George 1.2.1.2.1.1

              There should be more than enough educational opportunities now shouldn’t there. Some could be done better, but anyone can get education if they want it.

              Creating ’employment opportunities’ is election talk. No party actually knows how to increase employment to near nil-unemployment levels.

              We have fewer lower skilled jobs due to technology and offshoring, and a far bigger proportion of the population looking for work due to women becoming ‘equal’ participants in the workforce. Has any country successfully created full employment in the last thirty years?

              Do you think doubling public service employment would solve it?

              • McFlock

                There should be more than enough educational opportunities now shouldn’t there.

                Should be but aren’t.

                I was watching telly the other day and they had an engineering course targeted at disadvantaged youths – applicants outnumbered places by something like four or five to one.
                Universities and polytechs are not exactly running out of students.

                No party actually knows how to increase employment to near nil-unemployment levels.

                Some do better than others. Seems to be those ones that actually foster industry, health and education, rather than speculators.

                We have fewer lower skilled jobs due to technology and offshoring, and a far bigger proportion of the population looking for work due to women becoming ‘equal’ participants in the workforce. Has any country successfully created full employment in the last thirty years?

                Nope, not ones that dovetail ludditism and good old fashioned sexism, anyway. Why the apostrophes around women becoming equal (more precisely, women becoming recognised as equal)?

                Doubling the public service wouldn’t solve it, but culling the public sector doesn’t help.
                  

              • Uturn

                Oh now I get it, you’re in politics because you have no understanding of other people’s lives and the real interaction between classes. Makes it pretty easy to say things like “anyone can get education”. Oh sure Pete, the world is so rational and caring and giving. Then you go on to spell out a possible solution, but can’t see it, because you’re holding so tightly to a model that strokes your control dysfunction, but doesn’t work in reality.

                When’s you next banning due. I can’t believe you’re so old and so dumb, clearly you are a remorseless troll. Then again, those emails yesterday of rural types imploring Key to let them remain ignorant were quite instructive that a person can be eagerly ignorant for over 50 years. Who’s paying the bill for your eager ignorance, Pete? Unlike those collecting social security, the welfare you are taking has the opposite effect of being either social or secure. Get an education- anyone can – or hurry up and “retire”.

                [lprent: Banning is something that the moderators decide. I have banned people for insistently calling for a ban. It falls under the “boring the moderators” or “wasting moderation time” categories. ]

                • It didn’t take long for the petty personal attacks to return. I’d hoped to come back trying to add to debates, to address ideas and not attack people.

                  Some seem happy and willing to discuss differences. Will that be swamped by futile provoke-to-ban moronity? I guess if that’s whats wanted here.

              • Nobody’s asking for zero unemployment right now. I think we’d settle for policies that lowered the figures by a few percentage points this year, in addition to any natural upturn that might happen.

                Doubling public service employment would certainly solve the problem, but we’d need to actually have some sort of productive program for that, because the whole point of stimulating the economy with government employment is that you still have people doing productive work for the government on top of the economic gain in general. Doubling the public service would probably be too much stimulus, I would imagine, and there’d be no way to find enough productive work for that many people. Even a twenty percent expansion would be bold start.

                But in more staff-neutral terms, we could make significant headway by simply cutting out third-parties from government employment and having the government run its own temping agency, for instance, and stop engaging in this “contracting out” nonsense to get around its own employment laws. We ship an extraordinary amount of money out from the government by contracting out in areas like HR where it just doesn’t make any sense to do so, and the government could provide the services itself with better efficiency, as it wouldn’t need to make a profit.

          • KJT 1.2.1.2.2

            When it was a choice.
             
            When there was plenty of work and benefits were relatively a lot higher than they are now, very few people chose benefits. 
             
            The Prime Minister reckoned he knew all the unemployed by name.
             
            The big number of people on benefits are there simply because the RWNJ neo-liberals stuffed our economy. They wanted a pool of unemployed to help drive wages down.
             
            The current meanness towards beneficiaries is simple to scare all of us into accepting starvation wages and dog whistle to the unintelligent to cover NACT’s economic ineptitude. The same tactics used by another lot of Fascists in the past.
             
            http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/02/ten-myths-about-welfare/
             
            Pete George is a prime example of “lazy thinking”.

            • Pete George 1.2.1.2.2.1

              And then you quote lazy ‘myths’. I’ve had a bit of a look before, some of the detail is interesting but the questions are little more than exaggerated loaded nonsense.

              1. Anyone who wants to get off welfare can get a job.

              Many can and do. Obviously some can’t, for various reasons eg not enough jobs available, unemployable.

              2. People on welfare commit a lot of benefit fraud, at the expense of hard-working people

              Yes, some people (a small minority) do that.

              3. Putting a time limit on how long people can receive welfare is a good idea

              How many think that? About three?

              4. People who go off on the dole go onto sickness and invalids benefits. We have to crack down on them, too.

              A few do that. ‘People’ sort of implies all which is nonsense.

              5. Most of the people on welfare are unmarried mothers – many of them teenagers – who have extra children so that they can get more money.

              Obvious dramatic exaggeration.

              6. Lots of people are on welfare for years and years, and then their children and grandchildren become welfare dependent.

              Depends on what you mean by ‘lots’. Too many – yes. But a small minority.

              7. Making unemployment insurance compulsory would be a good idea.

              How many people think that? I don’t recall seeing it discussed.

              8. People on welfare are bludging on the rest of us.

              In effect a minority are, but ‘people’ is meant to sort of imply all which is nonsense.

              9. Young people need welfare reform in order to teach them the value of work.

              Nonsense – who thinks that? The best teachers of the value of work are parents and wider family, by example. Welfare reform may encourage or nudge some young people to find out the value of work for themselves.

              10. Thank goodness the Maori Party is at the Cabinet table, to ensure the genuine needs of Maori are being met.

              A political dig at the end. That’s been called a ‘myth’?

              • KJT

                PG. You know the article was debunking common RWNJ myths about welfare, don’t you?
                Or did you even read it.
                 
                I take back what I said about how good our education system is. It has obviously failed some people.

              • 1. “Some people get off the unemployment benefit” is not the same as “anybody can get off the unemployment benefit if they try”. Some people are legitimately unemployable, some people need additional resources to become employed that they don’t have enough social resources to acquire, and some people are simply unemployed because the economy is too depressed for them to be a worthwhile bet for an employer right now. The vast majority of those people couldn’t get off the unemployment without spending more money on helping them.

                And you know what? You shouldn’t have to be exceptional to get out of unemployment, you should need to be exceptional to require it, if we had a healthy society. Anything above 3% is not even arguably an exception, and ideally we should have less than 1% of the workforce drawing the benefit for more than a month at a time.

                2. The minority of people who abuse benefits is so small that measures that are already in place can deal with them. We should be more concerned with the fact that it’s not possible to eat healthily on the benefit and afford accommodation at the same time.

                3. Time-limiting benefits is just a more extreme version of the other sticks that the Right wants to offer beneficiaries. Sometimes it’s not a matter of sticks or carrots, sometimes you just need support to get into employment. People want to be productive, they want to feel involved, they want the things that meaningful employment (ie. not McJobs) offer, so the carrot is there intrinsically. We just need to stop dangling it from the stick over their heads and actually put it in reach.

                4. So you agree we don’t need to crack down on people who go onto sickness or invalids benefits from the dole? Because as I see it they’re pretty hard to qualify for as-is and unlikely to be a point of abuse.

                5. Sure, but it’s a significant portion of the complaining about benefits, too. I’m not sure you get to complain about people quoting back to you what people are actually saying- and as far as single mothers on benefits are concerned, that’s a pretty mild paraphrasing. And yes, I understand that this is getting into the foggy areas of personal experience rather than factual debate.

                6. Sure, too many. But actual dependency on welfare is a symptom of a great many social problems, and it makes sense to deal with the causative factors before we actually think about increasing pressure on beneficiaries, wouldn’t you agree?

                I don’t think anyone would claim that long-term beneficiaries don’t need policy to address them- the debate is about how legally mandating people to get jobs possibly helps them when we’ve already established they either can’t or won’t in their current situation, and I would argue the answer is “overall it does more harm than good.”

                8. Undeniably there are a few people who do this, but the question is whether they’re worth any additional energy to deal with. I don’t think so- it’s an incredibly low return on investment to follow them up directly when you could actually look at the root causes of the need for welfare.

                9. I’ve met people who think that. They’re fortunately a significant minority, but they do exist, and I get very embarassing praise from them for having found my way into being a “young professional”, (by which they mean I get paid more than minimum wage and need to wear business clothes to work, despite needing to work six days a week to save anything significant) even though they don’t know I spent multiple years dealing with a severe anxiety disorder in which I couldn’t work.

                (I was supported by my parents, so I didn’t actually claim the benefit at the time- which is yet more proof that being stuck on a benefit is a symptom of lacking other resources to fall back on more than some sort of intrinsic failing)

      • mik e 1.2.2

        more lies goose

  2. Kotahi Tane Huna 2

    The RWNJ’s are right. Bob Jones, for example, is on record as saying that when National forms a government, he changes his strategy to a low growth model.

    There is a direct correlation between the National Party and a slower work rate in the economy. The RWNJ’s are still missing the point though – they think laziness causes the problem, but the problem is their understanding of economics is a little bit shit.

    • Jackal 2.1

      I’m not so sure you can say there is a change to the entire system just because of one example. In my opinion, what Bob Jones says should be taken with a grain of salt.

      Your point is well made though Kotahi Tane Huna, people simply don’t work as hard when they’re earning less. You really do get what you pay for and if you’re a smart investor, you take your money out of the NZ economy when the Natz get into power. They’re not to be trusted.

    • burt 2.2

      The irony though Kotahi Tane Huna is that the likes of Bob Jones expect to make more income under a Labour led govt. Exactly the opposite of how Labour sells itself to it’s supporters…..

      But sure…. lets vote in a govt that’s better for the wealthy … just pretend it’s best for the little guy and lets make the wealthy …. well wealthier….

      • rosy 2.2.1

        I think this Global meltdown doesn’t mean a low growth environment is the same thing as a low profit environment.

      • mik e 2.2.2

        BS Burt labour is better for everybody god with your dumb logic no wonder your a National supporter so what you’ve been saying up till now that labour is bad for wealth creatos is just a figment of your imagination.
        Like gooseman you have been caught out!

  3. Foreign Waka 3

    Superannuation was paid to 535 300 people in the 2011 year. This is 12.75% of the population and really not very high by any stretch of the imagination.
    NZ should be investing in manufacturing of products derived from its prime products, i.e. wood, wool. It is tragic that whole logs are being shipped offshore and all we need to do is get diesel for the chainsaw. Plastics and Textile imports are the largest growth items between 2005 and 2010 mostly from China. Milk powder, butter and cheese export has increased by around 80% and logs by around 33%.Except for crude oil no other area is significant in exports.

    • Bored 3.1

      The biggest problem hidden in the figures are the number of under 25s out of work (or in “tronning”), I would hazard that over half of the under 25s have no “real” prospect of a “good” job. This is a form of inter generational theft. There is a call for the age of superannuation to rise, so the older workers have to stay longer…..which means the younger ones will have to wait longer. The thinking behind this is either warped or very self serving.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        Where is the evidence that a lower retirement age has a big impact on youth unemployment? Certainly if we look at the countries in Europe with a lower age of retirement I would suggest we would tend to find that Youth unemployment rates are the same, or even higher, than those countries with a higher average age of retirement. Your argument smacks of the same logical fallacy that some conservatives use for discouraging women in the workforce.

        • Bored 3.1.1.1

          Gos, I need very little evidence that if I add work to one age cohort (like an extra year) that work is not going to be available to another age cohort. Nothing is more obvious. And to make matters worse I have little faith that an extra years work will be available to that age cohort either.

          Whether that work is “available” or able to be undertaken by another age cohort is entirely another issue. What it screams to me is that whilst there is a youth employment crisis the politicians and Treasury are focused firmly on the wrong age cohort.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.1

            I just love Goose giving yet another call for “evidence” followed by him suggesting an alternative theory but supplying no evidence for it.

            • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1.1

              This is a good discussion on it

              http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2011/12/12/2003520527

              Especially this sentence “Governments had tried in the past to reduce youth unemployment by enticing older workers to retire, but had failed, partly because they had to raise labor taxes to pay for the extended pensions. Employers were not amused.”

              • McFlock

                LoL. 🙂
                  
                Merely pointing out that you are habitually arrogance rich, but evidence light. Although this bit made me laugh.

                “I won’t deny that there would probably be some increase in unemployment as a result of extended working lives, but that would just be a temporary factor as the labor market adjusts,” Kirby said.

                 
                When
                is an increase not an increase? When an economist says it’s a “temporary factor”.

                • Gosman

                  When I am asked to provide evidence for anything I have made a claim for I tend to provide it or at least provide a source for it. A good example of that is that list of links to various papers on the benefits of economic freedom for economic growth. You might disagree with the links but then again I tend to disagree with your sources as well. You also missed my linking to an IMF paper on Belgium which refers to the same fallacy that is mentioned briefly in the editorial you are commenting on.

                  • McFlock

                    Meh – saw it. My point was that on the one hand you were criticising someone for not providing evidence when they made a claim at the same time as doing the same thing. 
                        
                    But then of course you missed the wee comment in your own source that essentially contradicts it and your position (albeit a “temporary” contradiction). Of course, you have a history of failing to read your own sources.

                    • Gosman

                      Your temporary contradiction (whatever that means) seems only to be an opinion. The IMF paper goes into greater detail about the fallacy that Bored is promoting. If you care to discuss this then go ahead. If you want to try and score petty debating points go ahead and waste your time once again.

                    • McFlock

                      temporary contradiction (whatever that means) seems only to be an opinion.

                      Gos, it was your source that brought it up.

                      As for the IMF report:

                      We subdivide the population into three subgroups: the older workers (50–65 years of age), the prime-aged workers (30–49) and the young (20–29). The precise cutoff points between these different groups are clearly of a key importance and mostly dictated by the institutional setting. Since in Belgium education is compulsory until the age of 18 and data is generally available in 5-year age brackets, we do not consider any 5-year age bracket including people subject to compulsory schooling. Therefore, the lowest age considered is the age of 20

                      Not entirely sure 28 counts as particularly “young” in the employment market. Especially when they skipped the firest two years of post-school employment history (for reasons that are basically odd), even though they identified school-industry mismatch as a cause of youth unemployment.
                         
                      Sigh.

                       

                    • Gosman

                      You asked for evidence supporting my claim that Bored’s comments were a fallacy. I provided that evidence. Whether you agree with the evidence or not is irrelevant to me. Bored hasn’t even bothered to counter this, just restate his position as if it is commonly accepted as a fact. It obviously isn’t as there wouldn’t be a fallacy named for it.

                    • McFlock

                      So now you’ll only accept criticism of sources (that you link to only upon request, and that you frequently fail to read yourself) from those people who aren’t particularly interested in getting into a semantic debate with a slippery propogandist?
                               
                      slick.
                           
                      Of course, if the shoe were on the other foot you’d be all to eager to crow objectionably, not to mention subsequently insisting that no evidence had been provided…

                    • Gosman

                      McCock,

                      If someone posted a link to something that I disagreed with I don’t think I would state they haven’t provided any evidence. I might state something like, (if it is an opinion piece), that the evidence is not very persuassive or is flawed or that it isn’t hard evidence

                    • McFlock

                      And then a day or so later it becomes no relevant evidence whatsoever…

                  • KJT

                    Pity that reality contradicts your claims that economic freedom benefits economic growth.
                    The fastest growing economies have always had Government intervention, assistance and regulation. And the highest taxes!

            • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Here’s a paper that is discussing the link in Belgium (in which the participation rates for elderly people in the workforce has been declining).

              http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp0830.pdf

              Please note the following passage

              “The idea that forcing elderly workers out of the labor market before the statutory age of
              retirement would provide jobs for the unemployed young has been for a long time widely
              accepted in several European countries, particularly in Belgium where indeed youth
              unemployment is particularly high both in absolute and in relative terms. For most
              economists and fortunately an increasing number of Belgian this view is based on the
              erroneous belief in a fixed amount of work. Economists call this allegedly widespread view
              the “lump of labor fallacy”.”

              Is that evidence enough for you McFlock?

              • KJT

                For once Gossy is correct
                More people working grows consumption, the economy and allows more jobs. More State employment grows, not shrinks, the private sector.
                 
                Gossy has just contradicted his own previous positions, generally supporting those who think that austerity and small government are economically beneficial. The Laffer curve is also a result of the “lump of Labour, lump of capital fallacy.

                • Gosman

                  State spending needs to be underpinned by the productive sector and constatly increasing it is not self sustaining over the long term. Eventually you just end up borrowing more and more to fund unproductive expenditure. You just need to look at the problems in Greece to see the outcome of this. The only solutions in this case are either debt default, inflating your way out of trouble (including devaluation of currency), or severe Governement cut backs (i.e. austerity).

                  By the way it is interesting to see a sort of bastardised version of Keynesian being promoted here.

          • Gosman 3.1.1.1.2

            See my links. In short your thinking has a name. It is called the “lump of labour fallacy”.

            It must be nice to know your line of thinking has it’s own particular fallacy.

      • Foreign Waka 3.1.2

        Bored, having so many people under 25 out of work – these are University degree holders and NZ has only a small pool of jobs suited to that skill level. Many jobs are customer service, help desk and manual, part time and seasonal work. The pay is not going to cover living costs and paying back the student loan. Besides, one does not study for years to pick apples (not that there is something wrong with that). Many will go overseas looking for greener pastures and NZ is the poorer for it. As for the retirement age – there maybe people who want to work longer (never met any) but there are many who have to work longer as they still pay mortgage, help with grand kids or are on single income. So, all in all it looks like we are slowly becoming a very poor country.

  4. prism 4

    Right on there Foreign Waka. But NACTs are unlikely to think about the country and economy in any useful, meaningful way that would bring such practical considerations to the fore for implementation.

    I recently spent time with some RW. Not a book about the place, no newspapers which might spread round untidily. Lots of interest in Breakfast TV and the bright coloured mannikins that appear there giving the junk news. No RadioNZ reporting and analysis, only Coast with endlessly pleasant music and limited advertisements to provide ‘wallpaper for the ears’ as Peter Ustinov remarked about elevator music.

    It’s frightening to know that so much power is held in the hands of these smug people in their cloistered ivory towers, looking with disdain on the unsatisfactory plebs below. The strugglers and the non-achievers are the labels applied to those not regarded as worthwhile human beings at all.

    • Populuxe1 4.1

      Why? Disappointed you didn’t find the complete works of Ayn Rand on the bedside table? I really don’t like this kind of attack because ultimately you can say exactly the same things of a lot of poor working people, the “strugglers and the non-achievers” – not always groanoing bookshelves in their homes either. Attack a person’s views, philosophy and politics if you must, but it seems a bit mean spirited to attack their taste in home entertainment.

  5. Bored 5

    I remember going to work in the Uni holidays of 1975 and walking down a street in Sydenham calling into every factory en route asking for work. I worked 2 days for one place before deciding that the boss was an out of control maniac, so I went next door and asked for a job cutting up meat. We worked to a Union award and there was a group bonus, the Union man and the foreman drove this mercilessly so there was no slacking. Good money was paid, but you had to earn it, and I don’t recall any slackers or absentees.

    The point of the above is that when we had full employment we also had good wages, and we had very little need of welfare. And compulsory unionism meant there was some balance between employers and employees. Most importantly people were demonstrably NOT lazy. Any form of perceived bludging was frowned upon from all quarters.

    Funny thing, back in the 70s the National Party maintained a narrative that described workers as lazy. They also vilified the unemployed (all 20 of them) as the cause of all of societies woes. What we have from Nact today is the same old crew with the same old line…”kill the poor”.

    • Gosman 5.1

      So do you support compulsory unionism on a similar level to what was in existence in your time in 1975?

      • Bored 5.1.1

        Certainly do…there is a lot of bullshit talked about the role of unions that does not match the reality.

        A little background: organised labour (unions) originally had to accept a compromise: compulsory unionism in NZ was conditional upon acceptance of the Arbitration System. Unions referred to it as “labours leg iron”.What that meant was that unions were bound by a system that mitigated against the worst excesses of the unions (and the employers).

        I don’t regard Unions as socialist bodies: they are in reality a way of grouping together to get a better deal in the way that is regularly applied by other buyers and sellers in the “market”. As a buyer of their services (I employ people) I can see the downside of not being able to screw individuals down as easily. Conversely I don’t have the cost of dealing with multiple individuals, or multiple negotiations, which as an employer save me heaps of time.

        • Gosman 5.1.1.1

          Other than your views on compulsory unionism I actually agree with your position on Trade Union’s in regard to bargaining. They can be very beneficial to employee and employer alike.

      • KJT 5.1.2

        I do.
         
        And am writing an article soon as to why.
         
        You only have to look at how shop assistants are treated daily to see why Unions are needed.
        Compulsory unionism means that employers cannot single out and fire union members, for one.

        As an employer I prefer my employees and myself not to pay taxes to subsidise employers who cannot pay their full costs.
        AND I do not see why other employers should not have to compete on efficiency and usefulness rather than on how much they can undercut my employees wages.

        Unions are as much a necessary part of capitalism as employer associations. They provide a necessary balance.

  6. prism 6

    I remember reading James McNeishs book Fire Under the Ashes about Danilo Dolci and the
    poor in Sicily, which was under the thrall of the Mafia which strangled business and initiatives unless it suited them and bled operating businesses dry. Conditions were not good or improvable. Danilo Dolci did a consciousness raising project with the unemployed men which gained a lot of publicity and anger.

    The idea was to have an unemployment strike. The men for the time of the strike stopped being unemployed and went out to work on the roads at their own cost and time.

    We don’t want to sink to those levels of desperation, and if we had politicians with real commitment to all the people, to having a vital economy and a successful, buzzing little country, we would be managing our way out of recession not creating this fly-blown mess that everyone walks around at a great distance avoiding the smells and ordure.

    • Uturn 6.1

      I remember reading a book by Danilo Dolci. I recall his manner of speaking was very matter of fact: We wanted a well. I met with this person and they agreed to supply this, then I asked these people for that, then we put it all together and it worked… and so on. Perhaps it was a translation issue, but it was like he was deconstructing and sanitising the art of politics to cut a long, dirty, story short. I came away with the impression of a man who could do the impossible, but also with strong connections to the mafia. You just couldn’t walk round Sicily at that time and do stuff and annoy people and not end up at the wrong end of someone’s Lupara. He had big friends, no doubt about it.

      Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I think NZ has reached the point where people have to simply take back what has been taken away or given up by stepping in and doing the things they need without any permission or recourse to authorities. The principled, charismatic, Lone Ranger has turned out to be a whore on a mule, so we’ll have to save ourselves.

  7. Akldnut 7

    What do the numbers on the left and right of the graph represent?
    Is it working population and numbers on the benifit?

  8. Akldnut 8

    Zet looks to me like it should read “… lazy between 2008 and 2010Q4

  9. Kevin 9

    To be fair to National, the global economy crashed not long after they took office and unemployment spiralled not because of their policies but as a result of the global meltdown. Thankfully New Zealand is not as heavily indebted as the European Union, strong export returns of primary products, fishing, farming and forestry have staved off the more serious implications of a fiscal meltdown as in Greece’s case.
    The figures portrayed in the graph don’t reflect the true number of jobs lost in a contracted economy. Upwards of 100,000 Kiwi’s have left for Australia in the last 5 years and if that hadn’t happened the unemployment statistics would be worse and the situation grave for the economy.

  10. Ron 10

    I think this discussion keeps getting sidetracked.

    There is an assumption in the “reforms” and a lot of this discussion that there are a large numkber of unemployed/solo parents unwilling to look for and take work. This is simply not the case.
    While there is a small number of long term unemployed and a small number of long term dpb recipients who have children while on the dpb, their impact on welfare expenditure is very small.

    Meanwhile it is very hard to be on an unemployment benefit and not be actively seraching for work – the system already regularly reviews beneficiaries’ status.

    So – my question is why do we focus of the very few that are in position?
    Why isn’t the “reform” focused on assisting the vast majority who do want to work and are not sponging off the system?

    The answer is, of course, that the whole thing is a diversionary tactic. Key/Bennett know that by pretending that there is a problem with malingerers they will build support from the mostly uninformed electorate and divert attention from the real issue – that they have no answers to the lack of employment opportunities.

    • rosy 10.1

      Why isn’t the “reform” focused on assisting the vast majority who do want to work and are not sponging off the system?

      IMO it’s because the NACTs don’t want more people employed, they just don’t want to be blamed for it, the more people unemployed, the more likely a reduction in wages.

      And after a couple of years on reducing employment they can force these people back to work at a lower cost to employers – in terms of money for wages and money for worker protection. It’s that simple – while we’re all outraged about blaming/or blaming the unemployed for their plight, they’re getting on with the real business of lowering employer costs.

    • KJT 10.2

      It is a diversionary tactic that has been used often, successfully.
       
      Focus the hate of the ignorant on another group. So they do not see who are really causing the problems and taking the wealth.

      Fraud cops call it the “bait and switch”.
       
      The disgusting thing is that those who do the dog whistling, know better.
       
      http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  11. ropata 11

    Zetetic I can’t parse this post because
    a) spelling error: should be “people are just TOO snobby“)
    b) grammatically weak run-on sentence: please use punctuation when paraphrasing someone’s argument.

    Your argument is undermined by lazy misuse of English.

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  • October 2019 – Newsletter
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  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
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