Neoliberal dominoes

Written By: - Date published: 9:55 am, November 6th, 2010 - 49 comments
Categories: capitalism, greens, labour, leadership, Left, monetary policy - Tags: ,

It’s been interesting watching the dominoes of those who used to support neoliberal economic orthodoxy (here within NZ) falling one by one. I’d argue that one of the first signs of discontent was Bernard Hickey’s extraordinary open letter to Generations X and Y in June last year:

Dear Generations X and Y

Did you realize the baby boomers running the country have just decided to make you poorer for decades to come so they can retire early with all the assets and high incomes?

Did you realise your taxes are going to rise and you won’t be able to afford your own home? Did you know the baby-boomers are refusing to save their own money now for their retirements so they can live off your hard work? Did you know you will be slaving away paying high taxes in your 40s and 50s to pay for their pensions and health care? Did you know you’re wasting your time trying to build a family and life in New Zealand? Did you realise you have huge student loans while they received free tertiary education?

That piece is driven by profound disquiet with fundamental issues, which all came to a head for Hickey a couple of months ago in this extraordinary piece:

Why we must abandon the economic orthodoxy and embrace capital, trade and exchange rate controls

I feel like a priest who has been wrestling with his belief in god and has now decided god does not exist.

It’s time for me to recant and to say what I’ve been thinking for months: the economic god of completely free markets and capital flows is not worth believing in anymore and we must look for other things to believe in and do.

I think New Zealand needs to have a debate about capital controls, about foreign ownership of assets, about measures to control our currency and about being openly nationalistic rather than internationalistic about our economic policy.

I think the Global Financial Crisis and the preceding decade of debt-driven instability in global capital markets and trade flows have demonstrated the failure of the economic model most New Zealand policymakers have adhered to for nearly 3 decades.

Well worth going to read the whole thing. Who’s next? Economics teacher and author Peter Lyons:

Mantra of free market ideology wearing thin

This worldwide recession can be attributed to the actions of the private sector, in particular, the finance industry. … Dodgy lending and the use of financial instruments of mass destruction such as mortgage securities were legalised by governments under the guise that “markets know best”. …

Ideas matter. In the past 25 years New Zealand has embraced the free market ideology of neoclassical economics.

This ideology states free markets, competition and the profit motive ensure a society uses its resources in the most efficient way to maximise the well-being of its citizens. I teach this mantra on a daily basis and have written text books on it. My job sometimes feels uneasily like a form of indoctrination.

From 1984, New Zealand was a laboratory for free market economics. This experiment has been described as a country that prided itself on its pragmatism encountering its first full blown ideology.

A better description would be a mugging. Yet there is still little understanding of this ideology and how it continues to shape our society. Neoclassical economics is an elegant and logically consistent theory. The only problem is it is based on some major assumptions that in the context of a society such as New Zealand simply do not work.

Author Ian Fletcher:

Free trade theories based on dubious assumptions

The price of living in the fantasy world of free-trade economics continues to rise for America. …

Any serious discussion of free trade must confront David Ricardo’s celebrated 1817 theory of comparative advantage, whose tale of English cloth and Portuguese wine is familiar to generations of economics students. According to a myth accepted by both laypeople and far too many professional economists, this theory proves that free trade is best, always and everywhere, regardless of whether a nation’s trading partners reciprocate.

Unfortunately for free traders, it is riddled with holes, some of which even Ricardo acknowledged. If they held true, the hypothesis would hold water. But because they often don’t, it is largely inapplicable in the real world. …

And so on and so on. It’s a good time to be exploring these issues — because at the moment too many people are asking “Are we heading for a second recession?” in NZ. The old ways of thinking got us in to this mess, and they won’t get us out again.

Some people get it. Some people are offering alternatives. The Greens have long had ready a comprehensive alternative — the Green New Deal. The CTU is offering an alternative economic strategy. And at their last conference Labour broke the mould on the old thinking (and there was much rejoicing). Ex UK MP and former vice-chancellor of the University of Waikato Bryan Gould sums up:

Labour reopens economic debate

Something important has happened in New Zealand politics. After two-and-a-half decades in which economic policy has been a no-go area for political discussion, we have at last seen the beginnings of a debate about what is potentially the central issue of our politics. …

The Labour Opposition has been thinking. They seem to have grasped that there is no upside in either electoral or practical terms in simply agreeing with the Government, and that the evidence before our eyes demands that New Zealand should strike out in a new direction.

So, the two-party consensus on economic policy is at an end. It is proposed that the purpose and techniques of government’s involvement in economic policy should change. Macro-economic policy is back. …

The voters may or may not reward Labour for its courage in challenging an orthodoxy that has prevailed for so long. But we all owe Labour a debt of gratitude for starting a debate that is long overdue.

According to some, the very definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. In economic terms the world, and NZ, have been doing the same neoliberal economic agenda over and over for the last 30 years. It hasn’t worked. More of the same will have the same result. So we need to try something new! Labour, the Greens, the CTU, and others, are offering alternatives and new ways of thinking. National is stuck in the failed policies of the past. What do you reckon – time for a change?

49 comments on “Neoliberal dominoes”

  1. Armchair Critic 1

    What do you reckon – time for a change?
    Yes.
    Unfortunately the neoliberal beast will inevitably rear its head again. I’m waiting for the comments along the “it didn’t work because we didn’t get to implement our agenda fully” lines.

  2. ianmac 2

    For those of us who are economically illiterate or should that be Illiterate with Economics, we will have to be nurtured.
    Does this mean that trickle down is dead?
    Does it mean that the market decides is dead?
    Does it mean that economics is paramount in deciding the direction of policy?
    Does it mean that Social Responsibility is born again?

    • r0b 2.1

      Hopefully all of the above. The debate is now on.

      Wouldn’t it be nice to be something more than a “consumer”?

  3. WOOF 3

    We can’t spend the next 30 years chasing our own tails. 🙂

  4. john 4

    US NeoLiberal Paradise has produced disaster for most Americans here’s a clip from one American who has published a book on the US’s dire straits where he says revolution is necessary! Scroll up to access video.

    http://maxkeiser.com/2010/10/29/david-degraw-the-road-to-revolution-99-uprising-unplugged/#comments

    • john 4.1

      Another disaster from NeoLiberal US. Michael Parenti discusses his California supplier of gas and electricity(Pacific Gas and Electric) which severely neglects safety by not replacing ageing pipelines, this has caused a major explosion where people have been killed and homes destroyed. The Company guarantees its shareholders 11.1/2 return yearly!!! an incredible return in a depressed economy such as California’s.The CEO and his associates pay themselves huge salaries. Now they are putting smart meters into people’s homes despite the objection the radio wave communication is bad for health. (My power provider Genesis wanted to put a smart meter in my home, I responded by changing to another supplier which doesn’t use them-there was no consultation like “Would you feel ok about these meters considering the health concerns around them?!”)

      http://www.zcommunications.org/death-and-profits-the-utility-protection-racket-by-michael-parenti

      • john 4.1.1

        Death and Profits: The Utility Protection Racket
        The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) permits PG&E to charge rates that are 30 percent higher than the national average. PG&E’s shareholders enjoy a guaranteed 11.35 percent yearly return on equity. That’s slightly higher than the 11 percent that swindler Bernard Madoff pretended to offer his investment victims
        PG&E enjoys a captive consumer market of 15 million customers in northern and central California. The utility is a shining monument to state-supported monopoly capitalism. If costs rise, then so do customer rates (in order to guarantee the 11.35 percent return). PG&E carries a $17 million insurance premium and additional millions in insurance deductibles; these expenses, too, are picked up by its ratepayers.
        An Avoidable Catastrophe
        Along with all the other expenses they bear, PG&E’s ratepayers usually pay for the enormous costs of utility accidents. This may still prove to be the case with the disaster recently visited upon San Bruno. On September 9, 2010, a PG&E pipeline blew apart. Gas explosions and flames ripped through the San Bruno community, taking the lives of at least eight people, injuring over 50 others (some very seriously), and completely destroying or damaging upwards of a hundred homes. An official from the National Transportation Safety Board described it: “My immediate assessment was the amazing destruction, the charred trees, the melted and charred cars, the houses disappeared.”
        Critics argue that the smart meters are too smart. They often inflate electric bills. Worse still, they may be harmful to our health. There is evidence that radio-frequency exposure is linked to cancer and other diseases. A number of ratepayers already complain of being sickened by the heavy doses from smart meters. PG&E gives reassurances that the frequencies pose no great danger, but it continues to face community resistance and skeptical questions from independent investigators.

        Smart meters cut labor costs. Lower labor costs do not bring lower rates for ratepayers, but higher profits for managers and stockholders. Never accuse PG&E of neglect or stupidity. The company knows what it is doing. In keeping with the essence of the corporate capitalist system, PG&E exists not to serve the public, but to serve itself.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        Now they are putting smart meters into people’s homes despite the objection the radio wave communication is bad for health.

        Another reason why every house/home needs a wired broadband internet connection.

  5. outofbed 5

    I find it difficult to believe that Labour has had a road to Damascus moment. You can’t go the opposite direction to your neo liberal one if you have a Roger Dougas acolyte as your leader.
    that is just not credible. really, they are having a laugh.
    The move to the left by Labour is probably to head off the new leftwing party that is in the advanced stages of being formed. Move to the left squash the upstart and then swing back to centre right again. classic (just what Helen did to the Alliance)
    Anyway it’s going to put the cat amongst the pigeons.particularly as the new party may well have an electorate seat. which of course will free up the labour left to vote for them.
    Remember how the Alliance was once out polling Labour?.
    Interesting times

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I find it difficult to believe that Labour has had a road to Damascus moment.

      Now not a moment in time, certain people in Labour have realised the fallacy of Chicago school free market economics for many years now.

      And it took a crashing defeat at the polls, but finally the parliamentarians are ready to set a new direction.

      You can’t go the opposite direction to your neo liberal one if you have a Roger Dougas acolyte as your leader.

      Don’t forget that former ‘followers’, once they leave the fold, can become the most ardent critics of their former ideology.

      AND it is up to us as a mass movement to keep Phil’s feet to the fire every hour of every day.

      • outofbed 5.1.1

        Say what one will about National they were very good in opposition they set the agenda Nanny state blah blah
        In comparison Labour seem weak and ineffective just a year out from the election.
        How many people out there actually know about Labours apparent change of heart?
        On a local level with the two Browns things are changing, but Labour nationally. not only needs feet to the fire ,but a rather large kick up the jacksee

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Say what one will about National they were very good in opposition they set the agenda Nanny state blah blah

          Setting up a bunch of ‘nanny state’ PR memes is not really much of an Opposition, yeah? I mean, we can see how much thinking NAT have actually done in their 9 years in the wilderness, yeah?

          In comparison Labour seem weak and ineffective just a year out from the election.
          How many people out there actually know about Labours apparent change of heart?

          au contraire Labour is on a roll my man. The activists now see 2011 as highly winnable, and NAT as slowly panicking as the tide starts going back out on them.

          And when commentators like Colin James, Bernard Hickey and Chris Trotter start focussing more and more on Labour’s economic direction as something quite different to the “just left of National” norm of the past you know that something is very different.

          No doubt though there is a lot more to be done and you do raise a good point, Labour has to communicate much more clearly to the electorate.

          • outofbed 5.1.1.1.1

            effective in terms of they now are in control and 50% in the polls. they were like fox terriers on every issue particularly between 05 and 08.
            I don’t think it is winnable unless we are looking at MP GP NZF and Lab
            just making it over, And I don’t think that u can guarantee support from the first three :~]
            and there is the HMS party
            Heaps
            More
            Socialists
            .to come maybe :~]
            anyway too off topic I suppose

            • r0b 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I suppose a lot depends on whether the parties of the left decide to support each other, or undermine each other…

            • M 5.1.1.1.1.2

              O, I share your concern with Labour not getting the message out and wonder if they have really changed.

              I think Matt running in Mana will force Labour, perhaps unwillingly, to modify its policies because he is a very liked and respected figure who through his sheer mana and message of helping working people might embarrass Labour into action.

              Labour needs to start its campaign right now and run an absolutely excoriating one on NACT, never letting up and not letting them get away with the least little thing. It needs to give massive publicity to past infidels who have promoted catastrophic economic policy such as Hickey and publish their words recanting their mistakes. Labour neeeds to get its foot soldiers out there advising voters how to vote if tactical voting will ensure victory. In my electorate I live on a main drag so I’ll have Labour posters along the length of my fence and I will get out and distribute flyers.

              The way things are going I believe we are in the Great Depression 2, we just have fancier toys these days and will need a government like MJS from 1935 that focuses on the really important, nitty gritty stuff like full employment, decent housing, health and education but with a less paternalistic slant. The government is going to have to get honest with the population about peak oil and why the transition to public transport is necessary for most everyone, and to that end will need to massively subsidise it at first so that people will consider themselves nuts to even consider using a vehicle.

              A wartime mentality never to be extinguished will need to become the new norm where conservation is paramount, waste is very much frowned upon and the inculcation of community over the individual is seen as more important. I’m not saying people should become cookie-cutter drones as I like people to be themselves even if they are outre and find them more interesting than people who follow the party line and I don’t mean people who are in gangs or those who indulge in criminal behaviour.

              Will Goff be the leader to take Labour to victory? I don’t know, we haven’t seen or heard enough of him to get the measure of him as a man or the message he should be carrying.

    • lprent 5.2

      Nope it is real. I’m pretty ‘right’ on economic matters, been in business and exporting for decades. , But over the last 10 years it has become evident that the hands off approach to the economy has been failing NZ.

      The most obvious sign of this is the level of unproductive investment going on. Quite simply you cannot get capital to build businesses, but it has been easy to invest in unproductive bubbles like the housing market or unsustainable farming on unsuitable land. Labour did a moderately good start on trying to shift that over the last decade – but it was politically faught because so many people were vested in the bubbles.

      Now the economic climate has changed and so has the political feasibility. The time for a long overdue change has come and with a great deal of relief, people inside and outside Labour are discussing where we go next. It won’t be to a daddy state like Muldoons (or Anne Tolley and her national standards)’ but it will have the state concentrating on what is required for our development decades ahead.

      • gingercrush 5.2.1

        Name one fucking thing Labour did to tip the balance away from so-called unproductive sectors.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1

          They held Labour Conference 2010.

          I sense an undercurrent of panic in the NAT Cabinet as they see the tide slowly seeping back out from under their toes, and that John Key in response is not providing any leadership to them at all.

          • gingercrush 5.2.1.1.1

            2010 and Labour are not in government. And the National government has done more to shift away from unproductive elements of the economy than Labour ever did in the previous 10 years. And National get slammed for it. For instance the removal of depreciation on most assets was a wise move and yet the left labeled it as “pushing rents up” even though most of them want to see a capital gains/land tax that has proved utterly useless in preventing speculation (one only has to see Australia for that instance) and would do considerably more harm for anyone renting than what National has done.

            Not that I believe National has done enough. But I really can’t see much vision in Labour’s ideas either. Do Labour honestly believe that a country the size of New Zealand with much smaller GDP than Singapore can control our capital markets and somehow create an artificial low dollar? It just isn’t feasible or likely and will undoubtedly add complications. And you can’t sell the idea of housing affordability and at the same preach for people to stop investing in land and housing especially when Labour offer no alternative.

            • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1.1

              NATs done frak all. In good times, sure, they would get credit for their mediocre efforts. But their response to the ongoing GFC aftershocks is…totally confused.

              And because of that NAT will continue to get slammed.

              And NAT will continue to be stuck in neutral and will continue to get slammed because what NZ needs today cannot be accomlished between the ideological lines of a hands off, laissez faire free market Chicago-School style economy.

              Do Labour honestly believe that a country the size of New Zealand with much smaller GDP than Singapore can control our capital markets and somehow create an artificial low dollar?

              YES I honestly do. Why? Because Singapore only overtook us in GDP per capita in the 1980’s. Up until that point we had been LEADING Singapore. BTW we are not creating an “artificially low dollar” we are creating a dollar which is not artificially inflated in value due to highly liquid speculative capital inflows.

              And you can’t sell the idea of housing affordability and at the same preach for people to stop investing in land and housing especially when Labour offer no alternative.

              I’ll give you a clue. Affordable housing means that there can be no more financial speculation on houses. It means that developers who put money into creating new housing will have to do so on the basis of generating affordable added value housing instead of waiting for speculative asset bubbles to inflate and trying to overleverage off capital gains.

              And it means turfing the NATs out and looking at seriously rebuilding the Government’s stock of state houses.

        • lprent 5.2.1.2

          Wrong question… Politically you don’t try to break peoples addictions until they’re ready for it to happen. Think about Nordmeyer.

          Right question. What did Labour do to tilt investment towards more productive sectors? That’s easy – just look at the major programs for reasearch and development (including market development) that national cut to pay for tax cuts.

          Every company I have been in in the last decade has used one or more of those to bring in board additional funding. There are virtually none of those programs running under nationals current regime.

          Even you should be able to answer that question…

  6. burt 6

    rOb

    “time for a change?”

    Love it… the same line that was denigrated when National were saying it now pops from the mouths of the Labour supporters. Why oh why are partisans stupid enough to say ‘time for a change’ is hollow when it’s used against them then go use it again themselves when it suits them.

    • lprent 6.1

      Good to see that you’re as farcical and shallow as ever Burt.. If you changed and put some thought into your comments then we’d have to worry that the bone was being shaved from your skull enough to let some new ideas in there….

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Its time for a change burt, try it out, you’ll be a happier camper.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      There’s one major difference burt – NACT weren’t really talking about changing anything except to give themselves and their rich mates more of our money whereas the left is actually talking about changing the system to one that actually works.

    • Akldnut 6.4

      Here you go Burt – It’s time the average Kiwi had an alternative to the B/S thats being peddled and pushed by todays Govt .

      Fixed, all better now!

    • burt 6.5

      Well I did talk about partisans but I didn’t ask for a role call…

      • Vicky32 6.5.1

        “role call…”
        As mistakes go, that’s amusing! (Presumably it ought to be “roll call”)

        • felix 6.5.1.1

          I was laughing at that too but I thought I’d best leave it to the teacher to point out 😉

  7. mcflock 7

    It really is gratifying when other parties move towards policies the Alliance has had for years. It indicates that although I might not have been on the winning team all this time, I was on the morally correct team.

    • burt 7.1

      Ummm, I’ll give you fashionably correct from time to time. Morally correct needs to be justified with a lot more evidence than the call of ‘time for a change’.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Its time for a change.

        26 years of neoliberal freemarket nonsense has done nothing but disadvantage the NZ economy and ordinary NZ workers, while putting more power and influence in the hands of those with the most financial capital.

      • mcflock 7.1.2

        I said “indicates”, not proof.

        Other indicators include geni, youth suicide, unemployment rates, ambulatory-sensitive hospital admissions, access to education, access to food, access to water, access to clothing, access to shelter, crime rates, imprisonment rates, crime clearances, general morbidity/mortality, etc etc etc.

  8. Herodotus 8

    Lab 99 version distanced themselves from Lab 84 with “we were wrong”, Lab ’10 distanced themselves from Lab 08 with “we were wrong”. With 15 years of experience in govt we get the appologies of being wrong the previous 2 times. So how can those educated under the Neo Lib system (from Phil, Jones, Cunliffe and co, even Peter Conway) now come out and say that we need a new system and we are to have confidence that they can:
    a: educate us in an election of what they propose with detail, that most can understand.
    b: communicate what benefits and initial suffering from the transition.
    c: Manage the change, and react when reality do not follow planning.
    d: Not tell us in 2018 we were wrong … again
    It sounds like Labs version of national standards.

  9. lefty 9

    It is not just a matter of changing a few economic policies. It is also about courage. Labour likes to talk big when it is in opposition but lacks the guts to stand up to capital when it comes to the crunch. We will see the same old pattern of labour pretending to listen and take on board the concerns of the working class until they are elected. The day after they win an election they will start backtracking as fast as they can. Social democrats are feeble buggers who can’t really make up their mind what they stand for and defend their position. Until they are prepared to name their enemy ,show loyalty to their class, and mobilise the people against the ruling class, not just to vote, they are worse than useless.

    • Carol 9.1

      Until they are prepared to name their enemy ,show loyalty to their class, and mobilise the people against the ruling class, not just to vote, they are worse than useless.

      Actually, I think it is more important for the people to collectively mobilise against the ruling class, and not wait for someone else to do it for us. Decisive leadership is very important for a political party, but without the large numbers of progressive and left-leaning people actively pressurising for change, political leadersip is pretty useless.

  10. Carol 10

    On whether Labour/the left generally has “changed its spots”?

    I noticed a major difference in approach, between Brown & Banks in the Auckland mayor candidate debates, and I think this should guide the way forward for the left grass roots. Basically, Bank’s approach was top down, and was characterised with a, “I know what’s best for Auckland” attitude by Banks. He constantly referred to the corporate/business-based finance people having doing the figures, with the result that Banks, & other powers at the top, were presented as knowing what is best for Auckland. Brown’s approach was more of a bottom up, “consult, engage with local wards & communities, consult, and consult again.” And the people responded to that with the votes.

    This indicates to me, that the power of the broad mass of (relatively) disempowered working, unemployed, and/or underclass people is in mobilising the grass-roots, on & offline. The aim should be to put pressure on the left and progressive representatives in local and national governments. …. including Labour & other left party MPs and leaders, as well as relevant people with a public voice.

    The MSM, frontline messages to the masses is part of a corporate, top-down approach. There are more considered views presented in the op ed columns away from the front page headlines. But most of the public don’t read beyond the front pages & headlines on and offline. The top-down approach of the neoliberals also works through the digitial networks of right wing blogs and discussion forums, where the main neolib ideas are first seeded and then virally circulated. The neoliberal champions have the finances to keep working that system.

    But the power of the people, is in the grass roots, collectively-engaged, bottom-up mobilisation. I know it’s not totally clear-cut with digitised social networking, and talk-back media capabilities that engage with (often asymmetric) two-way processes.

    But the main strength of the neoliberal philosophpies, pushed, in contradictory ways, by the corporate powers, is in the top-down pressure, exerted by those with wealth, polical power & financial influence. The main strength of the less powerful, but larger numbers, of working and unemployed people, is in applying pressure from below, through multiple networks, on and offline, as part of a large, collectively-engaged movement.

    Now is the time to work the grass-roots networks of the left, progressive, dissaffected, and disempowered, working and underclass people, through every means of connection possible, on and offline. And it is especially important now that many Labour & other party leaders, as well as diverse progressive thinkers are opening up the lines of communication between them and ordinary people.

  11. Nick C 11

    This is why the arguement against free trade is absurd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0pl_FXt0eM

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Friedman was extremely intelligent, but also really dumb.

      – New exporting jobs weren’t created to replace US steel jobs lost because US corporations offshored every major industry that they could. Steel was only one of many. Only low value service jobs which could not be exported stayed. (And they had a good crack at offshoring those too e.g. contact centres).

      – What exactly is a US steel mill worker going to do when his plant closes down? He can’t suddenly become a computer programmer or accountant even if those professions become more prominent. He is stuck unemployed for a long period of time. How is he going to feed his family in the meantime while he retrains?

      – Giving USD to Japan in the hopes that they would spend it back in the US was a foolish notion. The Japanese are SAVERS not spenders. And in fact what happened was that money fueled a huge unproductive asset bubble in Japan and all that wealth was lost. That money did not make its way back to the US real economy – except through Japan lending the US Govt money, increasing today’s Federal debt burden and because the US had to pay interest on monies the Japanese leant them it cost them even more. Oh yeah, the Japanese also used a bunch of cash to buy up important US businesses.

      – The banana growing example he gives is dumb. South America has a natural climactic advantage in growing bananas. Japan has no natural climactic advantage in milling steel. In fact, Japan has multiple disadvantages e.g. it has to import all the ore required to make the steel it has none of its own.

      – The laughable idea that Japanese Govt subsidies for their steel producers = foreign aid for the US. Did anyone look at the tax loss to the US Govt and in US GDP to not have all those steel workers employed in well paid manufacturing jobs but go to get jobs flipping burgers instead? All the ancillary engineering and technical companies destroyed by the loss of an entire heavy industry? (And the loss of all the tax revenues provided by them?) Where on earth was the cost/benefit analysis to the US as a country?

      – Cheap steel for US consumers seems like a good deal. For those consumers who still have jobs and can still buy products. For the 20% of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed, having cheap steel benefits only one group: US business barons.

      – Who took into account the costs of socially and economically destroyed steel cities and towns? Detroit, Pittsburgh, were left as shadows of their former selves. Of course, US business leaders now had access to cheap foreign steel, they did not have to pay for the costs of those destroyed towns, and they managed to destroy the strength of the worker unions too when the US mills all closed down and everyone lost their jobs. What a WIN

    • KJT 11.2

      Don’t you mean the argument for free trade. “The theory of comparative advantage” was heavily qualified even by its first advocate.

      “Free trade” has been as ruinous to most of the worlds population as “free markets”.

      Cheats prosper at the expense of people who’s work adds to community wealth.

      Just another excuse to take money off the many and give to the few.

      Do you really believe every country in the world is going to pay back debt by out exporting all the others.

      Read up on Peak oil, peak money and peak resources.

  12. john 12

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/category/economic-despair

    Great read with 60minutes doco on the 99s (Those in NeoLiberal paradise of USA who have their unemployment cut off after 99weeks). With Key and Wodney economics profits come before people,in the US Corporations make huge profits by having their factories in China where they work for a fraction of the US wage. That American citizens who end up on the scrap heap are an externalised cost-not their worry buddy! Bye! Scroll down to 3rd report.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    14 hours ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    14 hours ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    15 hours ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    2 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    5 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    5 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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