Neo-liberalism at work

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 pm, November 16th, 2010 - 14 comments
Categories: Economy, jobs, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Sick days and employees who battle through illness but with reduced productivity are costing the economy billions of dollars every year, a Treasury paper says.

The Government has proposed a labour law amendment that would require employees to provide a medical certificate for a single day off, if their employer asked for one, in order to cut the number of “sickies”.

However, the Government says its proposed changes to sick leave are unlikely to reduce the cost.

Treasury Study: Cost of sick staff could be 13billion

So people get sick and become less productive. I would have thought that that was pretty much stating the obvious.

Spending tax payers money trying to quantify how much imaginary wealth these sick people could have created for their employers if they had been perfectly well, seems to me to be bordering on lunacy.

Workers are human, ipso facto, sometimes they get sick. It is part of the human condition.

Getting a government department to quantify this imaginary loss is lunacy, I expect very soon not only a study of how much imaginary wealth could have been generated by sick people if they had been well, but of dead people if they had been alive.

Is this the study that informed the government to bring in the legislation on sick leave?

If this is the case, then it reveals a complete dislocation of policy from reality, similar to the government proclamations of the old Soviet Union in the 1930s.

Even the Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson has admitted that the new law will make no difference to the rate of absenteeism due to illness.

The Government has proposed a labour law amendment that would require employees to provide a medical certificate for a single day off, if their employer asked for one, in order to cut the number of “sickies”.
However, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said the amendment would not affect absenteeism or presenteeism because of illness.

Just as in the Soviet Union the only affect of such unrealistic legislation is to make the lives of those at the bottom of society harder. Legislation out of touch with reality creates new layers of bureaucracy making it harder to do things. In this case making it harder for people to deal with illness at work. Most won’t be able to jump through the extra hoops and costs and will either go to work when they are sick, infecting more workers, or if the are to ill to do that, go without any income and even risk getting the sack.

Commenting on the Treasury paper that seems to have informed this legislation, Alan Geare, head of Otago University’s management department commented

It seems to me that it’s just figures plucked out of the ether

It is like the Treasury economists are inventing invisible empires for making money because they have run out of rational answers to the recession.

That’s bad enough, but that the National Government is passing legislation motivated by this craziness is even worse.

Jenny

14 comments on “Neo-liberalism at work”

  1. tc 1

    Initially I thought it was a joke but then I saw kate’s name and realised the joke’s on us as the minister for Lawn bowls err I mean IR knows about it which makes a change as she normally seems to know F’all about anything.

    Let me guess what comes next….we take the imaginary wealth and complete the make believe cycleway with it and then wait for all the virtual eco tourists destined for all the rides at the john key hobbiton theme park.

    Crikey these treasury dudes are onto it but hey we expect no less from a department that spawned Bill English onto the hustings.

  2. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 2

    My old friend Wikipedia says neo-liberalsim is:

    a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the corporate sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-liberalism

    So this is neo-liberalism how?

    I had a rather nasty corn on my big toe the other day. Damned neo-liberalism. I went to the dairy to buy a newspaper this morning. Fucker wanted $1.60. Damned neo-liberalism. It was uncomfortably hot in my office this afternoon. I blame that neo-liberalism.

  3. Greg 3

    Yes, proposals like this one are weird. The government seems to assume everybody is out to rort their employers for all they can get. Is that projection or what? Should we be investigating Ministers’ expense cl- oh, right.

    Perhaps National haven’t heard the old saw: think the worst of people, and pretty soon, that’s what you get.

    A more cynical person would think that this is just a back-door method of making it easy for employers to fire people at will. Oh, and putting up employees’ ACC contributions before they privatise ACC.

    • Shamy 3.1

      Just like you guys assume “employers are out to rort employees for all they can get”….its all about perspective. Truth in the middle somewhere

  4. It’s all metaphysics isn’t it?

    How much would a sick worker earned for his boss had he been healthy?

    How much would dead people contribute had they been alive?

    And what about all the workers who just want the day off?

    TO DO WHAT THE HELL THEY LIKE!!!!!!!!!!

  5. felix 5

    It turns out that many workers are spending 5, 6, even 7 or 8 hours sleeping every day!

    I haven’t calculated the amount this is costing us, but annually it must be a huge figure.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      Cripes. Whats more teh state taxes the hell out of John Galt to pay for it’s war on P. Seems like there are some obvious synergies here.

  6. aj 6

    Coming up next: a study on how much the country would save if everybody died at age 66.

    captcha: improvement

    • Lats 6.1

      Govt ought to mandate smoking, the costs to the health system would more than be made up for by savings to the pension, not to mention the huge amount of excise tax made on ciggies 🙂

  7. john 7

    Here is a description of neoliberalism a pretty nasty ideology dressed up to sound innocent:

    The main points of neo-liberalism include:

    1. THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.

    2. CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.

    3. DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminish profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.

    4. PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.

    5. ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy.”

    Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. It is raging all over Latin America. The first clear example of neo-liberalism at work came in Chile (with thanks to University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman), after the CIA-supported coup against the popularly elected Allende regime in 1973. Other countries followed, with some of the worst effects in Mexico where wages declined 40 to 50% in the first year of NAFTA while the cost of living rose by 80%. Over 20,000 small and medium businesses have failed and more than 1,000 state-owned enterprises have been privatized in Mexico. As one scholar said, “Neo-liberalism means the neo-colonization of Latin America.”

    In the United States neo-liberalism is destroying welfare programs; attacking the rights of labor (including all immigrant workers); and cutting back social programs. The Republican “Contract” on America is pure neo-liberalism. Its supporters are working hard to deny protection to children, youth, women, the planet itself — and trying to trick us into acceptance by saying this will “get government off my back.” The beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world’s people. For the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before: suffering without the small, hard-won gains of the last 60 years, suffering without end.

    But ACT-nat party think it’s the way to go mate! Well done John and Wodney! If they have their way you’ll get vouchers to send your kids to a private school, the rich will supplement theirs with cash to go to much better private schools! Keep voting for them Kiwis they’re so nice and that is what counts not what they stand for!

    .

    • OleOlebiscuitBarrell 7.1

      All very fascinating.

      But how is this little bit of bureaucratic nonsense neo-liberalism?

      You’re like those people complaining that anything they don’t like is “political correctness gone mad”.

      • john 7.1.1

        Hi oleOlebiscuitBarrell

        NeoLiberalism is overwhelmingly concerned about Profit and good returns for shareholders who share in the Capital of the business contrasted with Social Democratic systems where the workers may actually be on Management boards representing the workers interests. The former emphasises the rights of the investors and owners to a profit return the latter does not deny that but much more greatly emphasises the rights of the workers who produce the wealth. Under NeoLibearism all workers are disposable and only as good as their market position dictates-If you have too many sickies you are got rid of for someone who doesn’t have sickies at all! Workers are just cost units to the boss who is loyal only as long as you produce to the right standard- an over emphasis on this attitude is dehumanising. NL does not recognise workers have any stake in the business they are merely paid off with wages.

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    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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