None so blind

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, December 12th, 2014 - 181 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, economy, Media - Tags: , , , ,

Like the Key government, today’s anonymous Herald editorialist refuses to acknowledge the implications of the OECD report on inequality. The title is a bit of a giveaway:

Competition way to reduce inequality

The piece begins:

The OECD, often described as a club of rich countries, has produced a report supporting a view that a widening gap between rich and poor within its member states is not only bad for their society but also harms their economic growth. The report is of particular note to New Zealand because it names this country as one of those in which income inequality has widened most since the mid-1980s. It estimates that rising inequality has cost New Zealand more than 10 percentage points of possible economic growth since 1990, which appears to be more than any other member of the club.

Yup.

In one sense this is not a surprise. New Zealand was a highly protected economy until the mid-1980s with a strongly unionised labour force, high taxation and universal benefits. It had removed these arrangements rapidly by the mid-1990s, conscious that it was opening itself to world markets later than most and with trade disadvantages of distance and scale. Even now, with its income gap having grown more than most, inequality in New Zealand is no worse than the OECD average.

So we removed “a strongly unionised labour force, high taxation and universal benefits”. We opened everything up to competition. And inequality in NZ got much much worse as a result (quicker than anywhere else in the world). For example:

inequality-nz

After various paragraphs of waffle, our anonymous editorialist concludes:

Competition has a way of closing the gap.

Hello what? We introduced competition and the gap widened. Competition doesn’t close the gap, it widens it! In other news, black is black not white, and water is wet. How can you write such drivel?

The answer, dear anonymous, was right there in your article after all. What were the tools that made the New Zealand of old one of the most equal countries in the world? “A strongly unionised labour force, high taxation and universal benefits”…

181 comments on “None so blind”

  1. Rodel 1

    Sounds like Garner or Hoskings to me. They talk like this.

  2. adam 2

    Zombie economics is all about the tina.

    Ideologues, who think they are not ideologues, are the most dangerous type of ideologues.

    The problem for NZ, is our media, companies and political system are full of these ideologues.

  3. coaster 3

    Competition creates winners and loosers.
    instead of us all working as a team to get better results for all we are supposed to fight and claw our way to the top by pulling others down and taking advantage of them in a sytem thats benefits certain groups.

    under a totally competitive system (just like abucket of shaken mud ) the scum rises to the top.

    • cogito 3.1

      “Competition creates winners and loosers”

      Yes, just look at the Auckland housing market…..

      As long as we have a government by the corrupt and greedy rich for the corrupt and greedy rich that survives by spreading lies and propaganda and diverting people’s attention to pointless issues like the flag, the situation will only get worse.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    These people are civilisation and culture destroyers. They are like doctors who, when a drug is causing bad symptoms in a patient, orders that the dose be doubled as the cure.

    Bet you that whoever wrote this is sitting comfortably in the top 5% of society, wondering why the unwashed masses are bitching, when surely anyone can make it into a $100K pa job if only they tried hard enough.

    Utter reality disconnect.

    • northshoredoc 4.1

      “They are like doctors who, when a drug is causing bad symptoms in a patient, orders that the dose be doubled as the cure.”

      sigh……….

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1

        It’s only a metaphor. Curing society’s ills, as it were. There is a day to day reality there somewhere though. The mistaken administration of drugs to patients who are known to have bad reactions to them is a major problem in western healthcare. In addition, millions of people (tens of millions? hundreds of millions?) around the world are prescribed drugs whose adverse reactions have never been correctly identified or properly managed.

        • northshoredoc 4.1.1.1

          🙄

        • minarch 4.1.1.2

          An acquaintance of mine had a close family member die recently

          His Doctor prescribed antidepressants for grief , can you believe than shit !

          • AmaKiwi 4.1.1.2.1

            Assuming your acquaintance cannot afford regular counseling, what would you prescribe besides antidepressants?

            • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1.2.1.1

              You’d expect the family doctor to have 15 minutes to sit down and talk through how the patient was feeling, and make sure that the patient got out of the house occasionally and made an effort to stay in contact with friends and family.

              At least, that’s what would happen in the old days, when your family doctor would actually know the family.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      These people are civilisation and culture destroyers.

      It’s what they’ve been doing for all of recorded history. The real problem is that the rest of us haven’t learned to stop them yet. Maybe this time when the evidence will be fresh in our minds we will remember and put in place means to prevent these psychopaths from ruining our societies.

  5. Marksman33 5

    Whats new, Guyon Espiner has spent the week slowly and steadily pouring scorn on this report. Come the revolution, and it will, these people will pay and I won’t be shedding any tears. They are the real menace to society.

    • cogito 5.1

      “Come the revolution”

      Can’t wait for the day when Key, Bennett and the rest of them face trial for crimes against the people.

      • BassGuy 5.1.1

        They’ll get refugee status in Hawaii, away from those big meanie jealous people in New Zealand.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    So we removed “a strongly unionised labour force, high taxation and universal benefits”.

    That wasn’t all that was removed. There was also the government’s commitment to full employment which was replaced by a commitment to ~6% unemployment. This resulted in more competition in the labour market keeping wages down and enabling ever higher profits.

    • framu 6.1

      oh dont be silly – obviously some reporter just got that wrong 🙂

    • minarch 6.2

      Dont forget they convinced women they had to go to work so they couldnt be “oppressed” by their husbands/partners

      doubling the work force, great way to lower wages…

      • Ah yes, feminism, that great capitalist plot 🙄

        • minarch 6.2.1.1

          dont get me wrong

          Im a staunch defender of Woman’s Rights buI dont consider the glass ceiling REAL gender equality at all

          I just think its a shame the family unit was smashed up in the name of “liberating” woman from their own homes , We swallowed that “nuclear family” bullshit hook line and sinker as a society

          To be clear i would be just as happy if society geared to allow men OR women to stay at home and raise there families rather than having to put the in the care of strangers because they have to work 40 hours a week

          I feel this way because IMO strong happy family units are more important than productivity…

          • Stephanie Rodgers 6.2.1.1.1

            Acting like there was ever some monolithic “family unit” which involved mothers staying at home raising the kids while Dad brought home the bacon is the fantasy of middle-class admen from the 60s.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1.1.1.1

              So does that mean the size of the workforce increased or not? Did this result in downward pressure on wages, or not?

              I don’t think anyone’s saying exploitation is the fault of Feminism.

              • Then you need to re-read minarch’s comment.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I took “they” in Minarch’s comment to be exploiters, not feminists.

                  “They” tend to monetise everything, I’ve noticed. Feminism, altruism, humanism, spirituality, you name it, “they” are looking for an angle.

                  So no, I don’t think Minarch is blaming Feminism for exploitation.

            • Treeleaper 6.2.1.1.1.2

              I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, my mother didn’t work, few of my school-mates mothers worked. It was an accepted feature of life in those times. Some families were better off than others but no-one was what you would call wealthy. Mothers did stay home and raise kids, my mother was always there when we went to school and was there when we got home. It was an accepted feature of life in those times.

              I can assure everyone I was not a middleclass adman of the 60’s although I was there. I wonder if the doubters were.

              • Maisie

                “I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, my mother didn’t work, few of my school-mates mothers worked. It was an accepted feature of life in those times.”
                Thanks Treeleaper, and I’m certain that if it were financially possible many, many families would be choosing that option again. A decent wage and a decent “family benefit”, free education and housing assistance, and the choice would be there again.

              • RedLogix

                I was there too. The very large majority of households only need the man to work full-time.

                Those women who did work tended to be either nurses, teachers or were employed in light industries. The usual pattern was for them to stop work when they had children and perhaps return when they had left home.

                I guess it does all seem like a far-off fantasy these days.

            • phillip ure 6.2.1.1.1.3

              @ s.rodgers..

              ..you are factually incorrect..

              ..many families survived/lived off one wage..

              ..and perhaps most important..that was an option for them..

              • and yes..i think feminism was ‘played’..

                ..and managing to sell to women/society the ‘freedom-pack’ of becoming a wage-slave..and putting children into holding-pens after school/school-holidays..

                ..as being a better option..for all concerned..

                ..was a stroke of marketing genius..

                ..and yes..clark et. al. had their (largely unwitting) roles to play in selling that..

                ..and here is the real con/success/sting-in-the-tail of that scam..

                ..what was sold as ‘choice’…

                ..has become the only ‘choice’..

                ..and has been.. as noted by others.. a major building block in the construction of our low-wage/permanent-unemployed/underclass..

                ..and the mess we are currently in..

                • i think we need to reinstate that ‘choice’/option..

                  ..what we so eagerly threw away..in the name of progress,,

                  ..to re-jig how we do things..

                  ..to bring back that ‘choice’ for one parent to be able to make..

                  ..to choose either paid work..for both parents..

                  ..or for the work of caring for/raising families…

                  ..to be an option for one of those parents..

                  ..time to unpick that scam that was run on us..

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.2

          It wasn’t what feminism wanted but it is what happened. The capitalists were over joyed (See Arron Russo’s America: Freedom to Fascism) at having more women openly in work (Women have always worked but they generally weren’t paid for it and were heavily restricted as to what it was) as it allows them to lower wages even more as there’s more competition.

          There’s even more that having all adults at home working that the capitalists liked – it opened up even more home services for exploitation and profit making. This, of course, created even more inequality.

          • Stephanie Rodgers 6.2.1.2.1

            Except minarch’s comment doesn’t treat this as a side effect of women’s liberation – “THEY convinced women …”

            Yes, capitalism took advantage of the situation. That’s the one thing it’s best at. But I can’t help but 🙄 at the way people want to talk about the terrible, awful consequences of feminism on the labour market as though (a) everything would be better for Workers (i.e. men) if women stayed in the kitchen and (b) the lowering of wages etc was inevitable.

            Given the number of times women’s issues have been shot down by men on the left who say “oh no we’ll deal with the pay gap, childcare, parental leave, sexual harassment, etc after the revolution, go away and make the tea” it’s pretty galling for anyone on the left to essentially blame the women’s movement for a lack of progress on the value of wages/labour/work-life balance.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1.2.1.1

              Is it even true?

              So far as I can see, wages didn’t start falling until Lab4 betrayed the country. Bit late to start blaming Feminism for that.

              • Treeleaper

                I would hesitate to ascribe the blame on the 4th Labour government. The fact is that the electorate indicated they wanted a Labour government but in the end received Act in drag.

                I hope my memory serves me right but I seem to remember that Roger Douglas was dumped from the parliamentary front bench by Bill Rowling. His sin was publishing an alternative budget which wasn’t in accord with Labour policy.

              • Foreign waka

                Women were happy about the change in the 50’s and 60’s as they gained the means of earning money – that was the clincher. So easily forgotten that they were effectively at the whim of the husbands or male family members decision in all matters. It looks so idyllic 50-60 years hence but it certainly wasn’t.
                Once the women entered the workforce it was mostly until they were married and had children. It was only after the early 70’s when the oil shock needed an economic remedy that did not cost a dime that it was all go with biased advertisements, slogans of “women can be anything” etc. And so they were and are. The result is that during the next decade the income halved. We are cotton on to the ploy as the median income is not covering living expenses for many families anymore.
                Sociological changes have lead to an alarming large number of men taking off in droves after their partners expecting a baby or within the first few months after birth. They have not learned taking responsibility and now women HAVE to do everything.
                The whole circle shows that this is about freedom and power. But not for the majority of women.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  It was only after the early 70’s when the oil shock needed an economic remedy that did not cost a dime that it was all go with biased advertisements, slogans of “women can be anything” etc. And so they were and are. The result is that during the next decade the income halved…

                  Sociological changes have lead to an alarming large number of men taking off in droves after their partners expecting a baby or within the first few months after birth. They have not learned taking responsibility and now women HAVE to do everything.

                  US data shows that since the 1970’s women’s happiness has been declining even as their relative pay, working positions and access to professional jobs has improved.

                  It used to be that women were clearly and consistently happier than men. The long term trend is such that this is now reversing. Since the 1960s, men have become happier with their day to day activities than women.

                  It is quite conceivable that in terms of happiness, men have been the primary beneficiaries of the womens’ movement.

                  • Foreign waka

                    Well, women were still expected to stay with the kids at home in the 70’s – at least until they go to school. In the 80′ all bets were off and in the 90’s it started to dawn on everybody where this is leading. Meanwhile, men have not changed in their status, behavior or expectation. Quite a few of the current generation are making a runner when faced with responsibility. I suspect a lot of the women choosing to not have any children is reflecting on that fact. As for my observation, I know that some men would looove to turn the clock back.

            • minarch 6.2.1.2.1.2

              “Then you need to re-read minarch’s comment”

              dont spin my words

              I clearly pointed out that it could be MEN or WOMAN at home raising there children,

              your being disingenuous to try and push your own opinion at my expense

              Ive already had that from another P*#ck on here recently…

              “Acting like there was ever some monolithic “family unit” which involved mothers staying at home raising the kids while Dad brought home the bacon”

              I never said anything near this, again your spinning my words and even my intention,

              family’s used to be large and included what we no longer consider “immediate family” in-laws, cousins etc

              . In the past this made it easier to organize amongst a tightly knit, Un-penetrable familial unit , this has been destroyed ( in “anglo” society anyway) and replaced with the nuclear family

              • Oh yes, you backpedalled admirably after your first comment – which clearly blames capitalism for the feminist movement, and scare-quotes the word oppression to denigrate the idea that women shouldn’t be satisfied barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

                • minarch

                  I know what i actually meant, what you choose to distill/extrapolate from that is your choice

                  My Wife of 20 years and 3 daughters will disagree with your half arsed analysis of my views on women

                • The Al1en

                  “you backpedalled admirably”

                  Fancy that, and so soon after the last time. 😆

                  • minarch

                    go and get fucked Al,

                    are you going to follow me around indulging some sort of complex you have for ever now ?

                    • The Al1en

                      Not for ever, and only when you get mullered and it makes me laugh 😉

                    • minarch

                      well if your up for it, why the fuck not i say

                      I can always do with sidekick

                    • The Al1en

                      “My Wife of 20 years and 3 daughters will disagree with your half arsed analysis of my views on women’

                      Using the blood from a period as an insult doesn’t really impart much confidence you’re the real liberated bloke you make yourself out to be.
                      I’d have to take your claim with a large block of salt.

                    • minarch

                      “Using the blood from a period as an insult doesn’t really impart much confidence you’re the real liberated bloke you think you are.
                      I’d have to take your claim with a large block of salt.”

                      Its patois

                      My wife is Caribbean, she would call you a lot worse

                      i refer to my previous comment which from here on in i shall abbreviate with an asterisk*

                      *Go fuck your self Al

                    • The Al1en

                      West indian patois or whatever, it’s irrelevant. What it does show is what a classy dude you really are. That’s one really big block of salt by the way. 😉
                      Other mens cocks and vagina blood. What’s next? Kiddie fiddler gags?
                      True colours, left foot, true colours.

                      Anyway, off you go with your credibility not tarnished at all. 🙂

                    • minarch

                      Im not classy guy, never claimed to be

                      In fact im far from it

                      see apendix *

                    • The Al1en

                      “Im not classy guy”

                      Your best post yet. I actually believe it.

                      Okay, done with you for now. Enjoy.

                    • minarch

                      refer *

          • karol 6.2.1.2.2

            Prior to the 50s/60s, the male was considered to be the family “breadwinner” and they were paid accordingly – ie their pay was considered to be a family wage and enough to support a wife and children.

            The women who did work were paid a lesser wage because it was considered to be “pin money”, or something supplementary to the family wage.

            Most working class women have always needed to work to supply enough for them and/or their families.

            This meant women were largely dependent on men providing them with enough to live on.

            A lot of women’s work was (and still is) unpaid domestic and community work that is necessary for society and its economy to survive.

            There is no justifiable alternative to paying women (and/or men) a fair wage for the necessary work they do.

            • cogito 6.2.1.2.2.1

              I remember my grandfather telling me that when he got married in 1930, his boss increased his wages because he now had “responsibilities”. My grandmother by contrast, who worked at Harrods, had to give up her job as she now had a husband to care for.

              • karol

                Yes, that’s how it was. And wives and children were dependent on the goodwill of the male “breadwinner”.

                Some husbands just handed over their pay to their wives and said their wives were the boss of how it was spent. Other husbands were very mean about how much money they gave the (house)wives and mothers, sometimes not giving them enough for housekeeping, clothes, etc.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Perhaps this is a win win then. As capitalists quite liked the idea of pushing women into the labour pool, once they got their chauvinistic heads around it. It led to a lot of economic growth and extra profit margins for them, while helping to keep wage claims low by ensuring that there was never a shortage of available workers. It was also helpful to employers that women were less likely to be unionised, being more recent entrants to the workforce.

                  It also helped to stress family units and social cohesion as parents and kids got less time together as a unit (at least one parent was usually away at work), a trend which families cope with to this day.

                  • karol

                    Capitalism always arranges things best suit its values and aims. It suited capitalism to have women as a reserve army of labour prior to the mid 20th century. And women also did unpaid labour servicing the male workforce ensuring that they were fit, healthy, fed and dressed for work. This resulted in something pretty much like slavery for many women.

                    The shift after the 60s and 70s, did result in women having more say in the work they did, and in getting paid more of a fair wage. For women this alleviated a lot of the oppression that many suffered.

                    But, of course, capitalism responded to the shift by nudging the changed gender relations in their favour once more.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The real disservice was done by those elements of the Labour movement who were (and are) hostile to “identity politics”.

                    It is difficult to present a united front with colleagues when you question their right to work in the first place.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Women should work as much as they like and in whatever professions they like. Send them to the mines, send them to the board rooms, send them to the front lines, send them to space.

                      Work more and more hours, for all I care. I’m not questioning any right to work. Go for it.

                    • RedLogix

                      Or maybe it suited the capitalists just fine for us to tear ourselves apart arguing the toss about which gender was the more oppressed.

                    • karol

                      It’s not just about “the right to work”. It’s about the rights to not be exploited, to get a fair wage for the work they do and to have decent working conditions.

                      Women, especially working class women, have always worked – in their homes, in the homes of others and/or in the sweatshops, factories and offices – generally for lower wages than most men get for the same kinds of jobs, and with little power or autonomy.

                      Women in NZ in the 19th century did hard graft in their homes and local communities with none of the mod-cons we have today. Gradually technologies reduced the hard labour of housekeeping and and child rearing. That has created more time for many women to do other things.

                      A lot of changes post WWII created the context for 2nd wave feminism – more state education outside the home, changing technologies, more time away from housework. It gave women the tools to reflect on their position, and demand better than the subordinate position in society, with little rights etc – little rights to stand up to abusive partners, little rights for legal and economic independence.

                      On the left, women really have just been asking for the same rights that left wing/working class men have been striving for for at least a couple of centuries. And for their exploitation and oppression to be acknowledged and accepted as part of the campaigns on the left.

        • aerobubble 6.2.1.3

          Double theworking population should mean half the working week.

    • aerobubble 6.3

      Key made the point, okay he didn’t I’m just reading in the point, and that -spoke to me, and I believe voters which this thread is missing by a mile.

      Competition happens, its the matching up of needs, some need wheels for their cart, some need horses of their cart full of wheels. The point, that Key says that its not so simple as greater control. And he would be right to say that.

      You must not take the context out from the Thacterite disaster. That a report on middle east oil dropped on the desks of world governments that said there would be a huge gush of middle eastern oil for the next three decades. This required a reordering, freeing up of the economy, yes even unions.

      The disaster, that a ideology of ignorance, that markets freed would solve all ills. It was of course nonsense, a secular religion was born, that stopped questioning, undermined democracy by frustrating conservative voices, whether from the left or right. Instead of building Green, looking to inequality, building social housing, the progressives forces were also shutdown. The promise of cheap oil was lost to fiscal book keeping. We did not go to Mars, we did mot discuss growing pollution, or resource usage. Note how Labour both brought in rogernomics and ran down social housing.

      And here’s the threat, that Key will steal in with the pragmatism as all you dullheads try to reawaked fail socialism. Unions had the oportunity to syand up for the poor, instead they let their numbers drop as neolibs brought off their membets with independance. Precisely because the notion of unionism should never have been based on communism. We all fell together because unionists forgot rank and file were those on benfits, those ill, those uninired, etc.

      neolibs is for dull people like seymour, who sound so utterly dull trying to explain the indefensible like it was biblical economics.

      Capitalism isn’t the problem, its our collective ability to hold power to account.
      Torturers, ceos who rob investors of their retirement, ministers who dont hire mine inspectors, politicians who deregulate and praise the state of the art mine.
      Its about heads rolling so that we all know where the line too far is.

      We have four million people yet the same few hundred keep getting churned over to lead us, returning on the list, getting fewer votes than the dope party, its the small size of the parliament, and the one chamber, you want more democracy, then have more players and greater churn. English, Goff, Cunliffe, WTF are they doing in parliament. When you run at the top job and fail get out of the way, making it easy to run destablizes, makes the job into a joke – as Key does it. Being PM should be hard won, like going to the moon.

      • Foreign waka 6.3.1

        Civilization is build on laws not on goodwill. Unfortunately, I would like to think that humanity has moved forward morally or ethically – but alas it hasn’t. Reality is that you cannot have competition with a certain amount of greed. And with that comes the need to constrain and the laws that allow a balance between the freedom to trade and the obligation to keep peace.

    • aerobubble 6.4

      The distraction is the free marketeers are not free marketeers, they want to choose the winners. Take dairy, they took the carbon taxrs out and dairy boomed, dragging in both incompence – Crafer, and fiscal stupidity – high debt relying on big payouts.
      Key could play the short for the time he wa in power,nd bugger the consequences.
      Key tax relief for the top bailed out the housing exposed, the bigger the mortgage the bigger the income so the bigger the tax bailout.
      Using the state to intervene hardly the free marketeer.
      And therein is the distraction of this thread. Growth can both harm inequality and also create more equality, its not simple. And it gives Key the pragmatic path bck to power making it so cut and dry, its not. The purpose the Thatcherite revolution was to take control of the narrative and block both conservative – wet, and progressive, actors discourse. And then to raise the temple of one true perfect finance.

      Growth is why Key fails, why NZ fails, proper targeted growth debate, not leaving it to the privte market, or to government alone. e.g Germany partly has found a balance.

    • Wayne 6.5

      Draco,
      Actually a broader income spread was an intended result. Prior to 1984 wharfies earned more than Doctors. Hardly a way to encourage greater skills in the economy. You may recall David Lange’s comments comparing the New Zealand economy to a Polish Shipyard.
      Now I know how Stanardista’s hated of the “failed neo-liberal experiment”, but you need to get over it. It is 30 years old now and is no longer an experiment.

      And Andrew Little clearly understands this. From what I can see he is not about fightings last centuries ideological war (which the far Left comprehensively lost). He is writing an agenda for tomorrow, not the past.

      • Nic the NZer 6.5.1

        “Prior to 1984 wharfies earned more than Doctors”

        Come on, pull the other one. More mythology.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.5.2

        Now I know how Stanardista’s hated of the “failed neo-liberal experiment”, but you need to get over it. It is 30 years old now and is no longer an experiment.

        Back in 1984 everyone was saying that the experiment wouldn’t work. Thirty years later we have proof that it didn’t. At this point we shouldn’t be getting over it but getting rid of it.

        And Andrew Little clearly understands this.

        Yes, Mr Little does seem to be determined to stick with the failed status quo.

        From what I can see he is not about fightings last centuries ideological war (which the far Left comprehensively lost).

        Actually, we comprehensively won it – it’s what built this and other nations. And then the far right got into ascendancy and trashed all that we’d built up which resulted in increasing stagnation and the collapse of the economy while a few people got very rich for being really big bludgers.

      • Anne 6.5.3

        Now I know how Stanardista’s hated of the “failed neo-liberal experiment”, but you need to get over it. It is 30 years old now and is no longer an experiment.

        Yet you go back even further and drag up the old wharfies earned more than doctors myth. So what if some of them did… working 18 hr days, six days a week? They were entitled to it. Their job was/is as important as doctors. Without them we wouldn’t have all that stuff from other countries we need to maintain our own country. Snobbery and a jealous desire to keep the big incomes all to yourselves eh? Typical Nat. sentiment.

      • Olwyn 6.5.4

        This piece in the Guardian is not so blase Wayne, about the income inequality in this country. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/12/how-new-zealands-rich-poor-divide-killed-its-egalitarian-paradise?CMP

        While it may be true that we need to find news ways of addressing inequality, the main source of the problem is still an economic model that we followed with too much enthusiasm, and too little regard for substantive human rights.

      • CATMAN 6.5.5

        Hey Wayne, why do you have a problem with working people being paid well?

        How much did you get paid to sit on your chuff in Parliament? More or less than someone doing actual work, like fixing your car or cooking your dinner or cleaning up after you?

        Why shouldn’t wharfies be well paid?

        Isn’t it an important job?

        Aren’t you in love with international trade any more?

      • RedbaronCV 6.5.6

        Wayne could you name just one thing practical objective thing that you have done, (not just spouting ideology, ) in all those overpaid jobs that us taxpayers have paid you for that has resulted in a better life for all your fellow new zealanders . You know like people who find cures for diseases or save a life in some other way. You can have a few weeks to think it over and also why it should result in an above average income for you. Please stay on topic and answer the question.

  7. vto 7

    The Herald is owned by some of the richest people and businesses in the entire world so what do you expect? That they will be objective? Ha ha ha ha ha not a shit show

    The Herald is conflicted all to hell and cannot be relied on to impart impartial and objective views to the world.

    The Herald is owned by the very rich and supports their views only.

    The Herald is crap.

    The Press here in Chch is exactly the same. Crap anonymous editorials

    • aerobubble 7.1

      I got off a plane over a decade ago now. Picked up the herald and got a shock, what aright wing paper, wtf. If you want to point out one factor in declining growth, then the speed setter, the Herald should be the place to start. Decades of it editors should hang their heads in shame.

  8. philj 8

    Great graph. It would be insightful to overlay the graph with National or Labour governments. Nat/lab may not be happy though.

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    Reality’s Liberal bias strikes again.

    Bill English responds to the fact that inequality stunts growth by asserting that growth can fix inequality, as though boiling water can start a fire.

    Sad but true.

    • RedbaronCV 9.1

      I have spent some happy time wondering if Bill English is sufficently stoopid to actually believe what he is saying or is he just saying it.
      With JK one doesn’t have to wonder as he clearly believes everything he says

  10. Huginn 10

    Intellectually bankrupt flatearthers

  11. Phil 11

    The fist graph here is the last-word on whether or not competition reduces income inequality:
    http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-income-distribution-1988

    Since 1988, the opening up of the developing world to competition and investment has done truly astonishing things for the vast majority of their citizens.

    Unfortunately, many blue-collar workers in developed nations like NZ, Aus, and the rest of the OECD fit into that 70-80 percentile range, and have been the unwitting victims of the move toward globalisation.

    Is that a bad thing? In all honesty, I can’t decide either way. The aggregate result for the globe has undoubtedly been positive and a huge win for the developing world, but it hurts a little more when you personally know the losers of this game.

    • Sans Cle 11.1

      I agree with your comments, that we need to see this from a global perspective. Acknowledging that we in developed nations need to ‘cut our cloth’, it is however galling that those with bigger cloths are not cutting at all. It is middle income people who are sliding into poverty in NZ (all relative), while the rich are getting richer.

      Capitalism at work, pure and simple. Capital returning dividends, while return on labour gets squeezed (and then motivation to work diminishes, relative to capital – think Auckland property owners greasing their fingers with capital gains they are making on property).
      One of my gripes with capitalist system (and not my only gripe by any means), is that capital is free to move to where ever it chooses, around the globe through financial markets. We even let our capital time travel, into the future, with the types of insurance the financiers of this world have created. Yet, for the basic Ricardian capitalist model to work (basic trade model), labour and capital need to be free to move. We restrict labour movement (for good cultural reasons) but let our capital run rampant around the world.
      ……and who benefits? Capitalists, the owners of that capital (who are largely unseen, as they are not clearly identified people but the likes of pension funds, and financial institutions like banks), along with those individuals who hold large investment portfolios.

      • Philip Ferguson 11.1.1

        I largely agree with you, but a corollary to your argument is that workers need to have free movement. This is something that is in the interests of the entire global working class; for one thing it would make using cheap labour a lot harder. But more importantly workers would be able to start seeing themselves as a global class. Otherwise the capitalists are always two steps ahead.
        https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/new-zealand%E2%80%99s-immigration-controls-%E2%80%93-not-in-workers%E2%80%99-interests-%C2%A0/

        Phil

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.1

          But more importantly workers would be able to start seeing themselves as a global class. Otherwise the capitalists are always two steps ahead.

          + !

          And what are the levers the rich pull to keep us from uniting?

          Debt and Class

          Nationality

          Race

          Gender

          Religion

          • karol 11.1.1.1.1

            race, gender and religion are transnational and should be incorporated into any transnational class unity.

        • Sans Cle 11.1.1.2

          Yes, for the capitalist system to work, labour has to be able to move (that is how the differential on the returns to labour (wages/salaries) and capital (dividends) become more equal).
          We have a system that requires free movement of capital (for it to be equilibrated, or justified as legitimate in good old 19th century economic terms)…….but political and social systems that cannot handle that movement.
          There are cultural barriers to be overcome (language, customs, family/kinship) to enable the movement of labour, and then racism and xenophobia to work through, when new migrants arrive (your blog in link above is great, Phil Ferg – as an aside, it got me thinking about analysing Te Tiriti from a perspective of bounded rationality, or Maori decision making with limited available information – with the Crown having WAAAAY more information than Maori: Interesting to discuss the role of information in the capitalist system…..and has been discussed in these threads, most recently about role of media and blogs in political discourse).

          Regarding “capitalists are always two steps ahead”, I can’t agree with you more…….that’s why the system gets its name!

          I see the role of progressive thinkers as being to truly understand the system, and to identify how to improve it (throwback to modernity, and idea that things can be better; that we have some control over changing the system – rather than just accepting the system as it is – which may be idealistic, but I am an optimist!).

          One of the major stumbling blocks for me is the complexity of the system (which is part by design), but I think developments on artificial intelligence of complex systems can really contribute to our understanding, and hopefully lead to improvements in the system.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.2.1

            The Capitalist system doesn’t work, not by any reasonable measure.

          • Colonial Rawshark 11.1.1.2.2

            One of the major stumbling blocks for me is the complexity of the system (which is part by design), but I think developments on artificial intelligence of complex systems can really contribute to our understanding, and hopefully lead to improvements in the system.

            So, the answer to a system of inhumanity is to rely on inhuman intelligence?

            Great, just great.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2

        We restrict labour movement (for good cultural reasons) but let our capital run rampant around the world.
        ……and who benefits? Capitalists, the owners of that capital (who are largely unseen, as they are not clearly identified people but the likes of pension funds, and financial institutions like banks), along with those individuals who hold large investment portfolios.

        The answer there is to return to restrictions on movement of capital and, most importantly, restrictions on foreign ownership.

        • Sans Cle 11.1.2.1

          Yes, I agree……but the cat is clearly out of the bag in that regard. Chavez in Venuzuela tried to reign in and protect against foreign capital, and had the wrath of the US directed to him. It’s easy to cite the negative effects of closed economic systems (N. Korea), so we have to acknowledge the benefits of an open economy. I am not sure what the solution is, but I know there is a problem with the system as currently stands.
          So it’s down to trying to protect our interests as best we can, to limit damage – such as what I understand is being considered, from leaked TPPA documents.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2.1.1

            It’s easy to cite the negative effects of closed economic systems (N. Korea), so we have to acknowledge the benefits of an open economy.

            Having restrictions on the movement of money doesn’t necessitate a closed economy and we’re now seeing the downsides of the open economy as the whole lot falls down. Things is, the majority never really saw any upsides from the open economy – only the rich did.

        • aerobubble 11.1.2.2

          Sovernity should mean owning means living here. Finance is now so advanced that investment is required to cross borders. Sure it would rquore a world currency used solely on the borders, and remove the cross exchange trading.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2.2.1

            Finance is now so advanced that investment is required to cross borders.

            What a load of fucken bollocks. No country has to go outside of it’s borders for the money it wants. Never has done and never will do due to the fact that the money that that nation needs and uses is there to manipulate it’s own resources. No ‘advancement’ in finances is ever going to change that basic truth.

            • aerobubble 11.1.2.2.1.1

              Srry thats what I mean. Ownership should be meaningless unless the owner is in the lawful region. Our financial system can workout the details of cross border trading by using a global currancy only at the border.

    • miravox 11.2

      Globalisation may have worked better if, as well as freedom of movement for labour, there were minimum standards agreed internationally for pay, sanitation, safety, building standards, environmental protection etc.

      This never happened, and it’s all been a race to the bottom.

  12. DH 12

    I think you’ll find the competition remark was a sly pimp for charter schools and, perhaps, more privatisation of the education system. Try reading the article again & view the context they’re using the term ‘competition’ in.

    The Herald has blindly supported charter schools ever since the idea was mooted by National.

    • r0b 12.1

      All true, but the “context” for competition includes the headline to the article -“Competition way to reduce inequality” – which is factually incorrect.

    • Puddleglum 12.2

      Well spotted.

      What the Herald writer fails to see is that the supposed mechanism of competition in the economy has produced greater inequality which is at least suggestive that it may do the same in education.

      And as Wayne, above, notes about the neoliberal ‘liberalisation’ (i.e., the ‘freeing up’ of competition) of the economy – one of its intended outcomes was inequality of income.

      He refers to it, euphemistically, as “a broader spread of incomes“.

      Similarly, changes in the education system no doubt also have the ‘intended outcome’ of educational inequality – or, a ‘broader spread of educational attainment’ to put it in Wayne’s euphemistic style.

      Presumably that is to ensure that people will keep striving for the better ‘providers’ of education – or something.

      Whatever, it seems that the editorialist believes that a ‘broader spread of educational achievement’ will, oddly, result in less economic inequality.

      Odd, but it’s hard to see how else to interpret the Herald editorialist’s superficially skilful piece of rhetoric.

    • Paul 12.3

      Who owns the Herald?
      Multinationals
      Follow the money…

  13. tc 13

    A strongly unionised labour force and high taxation….like across the ditch has.

    Weren’t we meant to be catching up to them, y’know the blighted future etc

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      Those elements are part of the solution but they are also part of the past. Democratising the economy and democratising the ownership of key capital assets and businesses (eg via employee co-operatives and employee/capital joint ventures) is also now needed.

      • Sans Cle 13.1.1

        +++ democratising, or communities governing their own debt management is one of the most important solutions imho.
        And in fact, rethinking debt it critical. It is all to culturally acceptable to borrow money, without putting some serious thought into alternative ways of doing things.

      • Tracey 13.1.2

        yes to co_ops. plus 100.

      • Bob 13.1.3

        “Democratising the economy and democratising the ownership of key capital assets and businesses (eg via employee co-operatives and employee/capital joint ventures) is also now needed.”
        100% agree with this CR (there’s a change!), it is a win-win situation where productivity increases due to the workers having a stake in the business, and income increases due to the workings taking home their share of the profits, this is a model that theoretically works for everyone.
        I know this is fairly common in the UK, so why are we lagging behind?

        • Draco T Bastard 13.1.3.1

          Sounds like you’re talking of profit sharing rather than cooperatives.

          • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.3.1.1

            In a democratic operation workers form a large part (if not all) of the Board of Directors; they would also vote in and vote out supervisors and management. Any major business change would also be subject to a vote by the worker-owners.

            • Draco T Bastard 13.1.3.1.1.1

              Which would be distinctly different from a profit sharing system where the bosses still call the shots, get paid excessively (really, have you ever noticed that the more we need of a profession the less that they get paid?) and the workers get a small share of the profits to make them feel included.

  14. Philip Ferguson 14

    The Christchurch Press, not exactly a bastion of progressive thinking, took a different stance to the Herald.

    I think there’s a bit of division in the ruling class about how to deal with the dramatic rise in inequality – just pull the drapes and ignore it, recognise it but fudge it, recognise it and do a few token things to address it. I think the Nats have actually opted for the last one. It’s not really in their interest to just ignore it.

    In terms of the period of strong unions, relatively high taxation, welfare state etc; it was *not* that these produced equality or prosperity. NZ was never anything like an equal society, for instance. In any case, it was the long postwar boom that lifted all boats (albeit to unequal extents). The sheer mass of surplus-value meant that the capitalists could use some of it too buy class peace, especially once they’d smashed the most progressive wing of the labour movement in 1951.

    Once the postwar boom ended, Keynesian attempts to stimulate demand simply didn’t work. That’s when the ruling class and their mid-week team, Labour, turned to neo-liberalism. Labour and National carried out a series of reforms between 1984-1993 that removed all the things neo-liberal theory suggested were obstacles to growth, but growth didn’t actually occur much. For the rest of the 1990s growth was sluggish.

    Just like Keynesianism was frustrated and discredited by the actual operations of capitalist economy, so was neo-liberalism. A big problem for Key-English now is what Big New Idea will lift the NZ economy, and there isn’t one.

    A couple of years ago tried to address what the Key-English government were faced with and were trying to do in the context of the problems of capital accumulation:
    http://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/the-key-english-government-in-the-context-of-capital-accumulation-in-new-zealand-today/

    Phil

    • Colonial Rawshark 14.1

      In terms of the period of strong unions, relatively high taxation, welfare state etc; it was *not* that these produced equality or prosperity.

      That’s a bullshit statement right there. Until your analysis explicitly introduces the element of economic power of interest groups, it will be incomplete.

      Strong unions and high taxation provided an effective counterweight against capitalist interests (including ensuring that the worker share of national income stayed high), which is why capitalists have assiduously sought to destroy any and every system of strong unionisation and taxation. Economic power is a real quantity and they wanted it concentrated in the hands of private owners.

      The global economy is fucked because the era of cheap energy and cheap resources is over.

      All that is left now is playing games with spreadsheets, gaming the numbers and speculating in financial casinos, as the real economy continues to slowly stagnate and go backwards.

      • greywarshark 14.1.1

        The global economy is fucked because the era of cheap energy and cheap resources is over.
        All that is left now is playing games with spreadsheets, gaming the numbers and speculating in financial casinos, as the real economy continues to slowly stagnate and go backwards.

        I fear that will be the case if people can’t revive their own economies in small ways but sufficient to enable continuation of services and reasonable lifestyle. And set up regional cohesion and help, perhaps making a sort of bi-lateral or multi-lateral arrangements with local bodies in other regions to channel work and business activity between them, and to try to act co-operatively not competitively to maximise enterprise, use of services and prosperity in the greater combined area.

        Central government appears to have been bought and sold by business interests and get-rich quick merchants who want to speculate on everything, but not get their hands calloused from serious physical work, just their fingertips from dancing over the keys. While dancer and prancer yek tows the Christmas slay for the money tribe.

        • Colonial Rawshark 14.1.1.1

          Precisely. Localised systems and localised economic systems are going to be key.

          And also something that Dmitry Orlov has said before: the very wealthiest people are the most disconnected, driving our economy (and society) into a dead end. The irony being that most of those people are only rich on pieces of paper and computer screen read outs. Once they drive the system to breaking point, all of their “wealth” is also going to go away.

    • Tracey 15.1

      thanks phil. have skim read but will give it more attention tonight.

    • aerobubble 15.2

      Fascism is a small group of equal partners, socialism for a cliche.

      When Key went to English and said I’ll support you for PM, if you fail you support me.

      Thays the problem Key has always needed others to raise him up, hardly the supermand of the neoliberal ideology where bonuses and success come to the invincible single minded individual. Scrape the Key surface and you find a socialist for the few. Payback double.

  15. Tracey 16

    I am confused. Which is the OECD that Bill thinks is great? There are obviously 2 of them.

    • minarch 16.1

      Organization of excellent cattle dealers ?

    • Philip Ferguson 16.2

      Yes. I guess Bill has a whole parallel universe thing going on.

      See also, Key’s ‘vision’: managing the malaise:
      https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/keys-vision-managing-the-malaise-of-new-zealand-capitalism/

      I can’t help feeling that being PM is a vanity project for Key. He has no ‘Big Idea’ that he wants to implement; he just wants to be a popular PM and get to meet important people that he wouldn’t have met as a money trader.

      Phil

      • Tracey 16.2.1

        agree totally… even he might be starting to think he is paying a high price for his knighthood

      • emergency mike 16.2.2

        “I can’t help feeling that being PM is a vanity project for Key. He has no ‘Big Idea’ that he wants to implement; he just wants to be a popular PM and get to meet important people that he wouldn’t have met as a money trader.”

        Yep. An important stepping stone job to a brighter future for John Key.

  16. emergency mike 17

    Good to see that 90% of the comments there are rubbishing this Herald article.

  17. Philip Ferguson 18

    The teabreak bill is an example of the whittling away. Here’s veteran workplace activist Don Franks on how it might be fought, but sadly workers don’t seem much interested in resisting:
    http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/ways-to-wreck-the-teabreak-busting-bill/

  18. Ad 19

    Would be great to hear from Dr Elizabeth Craig on the actual medical effects of deprivation caused by inequality over long cycles in New Zealand.

  19. Atiawa 20

    I thought that the outcome of any competition was to have a winner, and depending on the number of competitors, many losers.
    Isn’t that how the rugby world cup winner is decided.
    Great for sport. Not so good for industry and work.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      +1

      Society needs to be run on a cooperative model and not a competitive one. Running a society in competition with itself inevitably results in the destruction of that society.

    • goodsweat 20.2

      We are born to strive and prosper through competition. All living things are, it is the basis of evolution. The teams that lost the World Cup didn’t disband, they didn’t quit. They studied where they went wrong, vowed to come back stronger next time and set about playing the 1000 games each of them will play before the next World Cup.

      • Murray Rawshark 20.2.1

        If they play five games every week, they’ll be a bit tired by the next cup. As well as your maths sucking, competition is not the basis of evolution. Have another guess.

        • goodsweat 20.2.1.1

          There are a number of sayings we use that have come to encapsulate evolution. One is: ‘Survival of the fittest.’ I think that implies a spirit of competition. Most teams I’ve ever been a part of end training sessions with a friendly game, exercise the skills we’d been honing. The shirts vs the no shirts. Then we’d go home, have a beer and play 5 games on Playstation…. 2000 games before the next World Cup.

          • karol 20.2.1.1.1

            Are you sure you know what “survival of the fittest” means?

            It doesn’t have anything to do with physical fitness. It’s about the organisms being best suited to a specific environment.

            • goodsweat 20.2.1.1.1.1

              Hi Karol, yes, exactly. Physical capability is just 1 piece of being a thriver. More important is addressing and adapting to our environment. Mere slips of women have driven me to my knees…please don’t make me cry.

              • Draco T Bastard

                So, the answer would be No, you haven’t got friggen clue as to what Survival of the Fittest means.

      • Draco T Bastard 20.2.2

        We are born to strive and prosper through competition. All living things are, it is the basis of evolution.

        Nope. Pretty much all living things prosper through cooperation with each other.

        Then, of course, there’s the fact that we’re actually intelligent and can make rational choices.

      • Puddleglum 20.2.3

        I suspect you don’t understand the notion of competition in Darwin’s work.

        Although Darwinism is still often used to justify competition in human societies, in fact Darwin challenged the primacy of self-interest and gave a new foundation to traditional virtues such as compassion, sympathy, and love. He rooted ethics in animal instincts, but argued that such instincts are modified and strengthened in human societies through the power of natural selection, through our experience of approbation and shame, and through the influence of education and religion. In the Descent of Man, Darwin argued that the golden rule – “do unto others as you would be done by” – could be explained by a scientific, evolutionary, understanding of the development of human behaviour. The irony of this was not lost on him: about this passage he wrote to his daughter Henrietta, “I fear parts are too like a Sermon. Who would ever have thought that I should turn parson?”

  20. but hey its all about flexibility,you got to be flexible,workers love flexibility…..I feel like an old yogi whose been made so bloody flexible I can disappear up my own butt ….and look around for a decent wage increase and some reasonable working conditions………

    • McFlock 21.1

      Yeah. If tory employment policymakers were doctors, they’d call a dislocated kneecap “increased flexibility that might be your unique selling point in the marketplace”

  21. Nic the NZer 22

    Quite different (much better) perspective on the same OECD report,

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=29678

    The title is ‘Trickle down economics – the evidence is damning’.

  22. Michael 23

    I think NZ should follow the Danish model.

    Basically, markets remain relatively liberalised (probably a bit less liberalised than in NZ), but there is a universal welfare state and very high taxes etc that result in a very equal society. I think that’s an achievable goal.

    Denmark has a de facto minimum wage of about NZ$27 per hour. (37 hr workweek). It’s mainly set by union agreements.

    Denmark has the highest living standards in the world. However, we’ll have to be prepared to pay high taxes. GST is 25%. Paying 35-40% taxes on a middle class income is pretty average, with 50%+ for incomes mainly above $100k. Even low income earners might pay 20%. There is a 200% tax on cars.

    Taxes take up 48% of GDP, the highest in the world, whereas here they are somewhere around 30-35%.

    The benefits are well worth it IMO. There is more than one year of parental leave (for both parents) at 80-90% of salary. Unemployment benefits pay 80% of previous salary. Daycare is free. University free. Student allowances are universal. A solo parent with 2 children gets about NZ$50,000 on the benefit. There is no means-testing on most programs. Every single family gets a universal child payment of about NZ$70 per week.

    So are we willing to pay that much tax? Personally, I am. I would gladly pay that much tax in return for a fair society, competitive economy, and universal benefits.

    I think that the Danish model is also workable with this globalised world. Denmark pursues free trade, doesn’t have a rigid labour market, etc yet achieves high wages, full employment, low inequality etc because of its tax and welfare policies. Maybe this would represent a feasible thing to do that is in between returning to pre-1980s policies and staying in this neoliberal state, that ultimately works the best?

    • Maisie 23.1

      Paradise – let’s do it.

    • goodsweat 23.2

      As the Swedes are now finding out, it’s an ideology that lends itself to exploitation by those that aren’t 100% subscribed to the big picture.

      If we offered solo Mums of two $1050 a week and a state subsidised home yet hammered workers with a 48% PAYE bill…As per Sweden today, I fear a system like that in NZ would be abused to the extent that it would become unaffordable.

      I believe it is equality of opportunity that counts, that’s where I’d like to see a more level playing field. I want to live in the country where a kid in a state house can still grow up to lead the nation.

      • KJT 23.2.1

        You will be voting Green, then?

        • goodsweat 23.2.1.1

          If they vowed to attach 100 Yale/Harvard/Oxford/Cambridge scholarships to the Nga Puhi settlement they’d be barking up my tree.

          I don’t think we need free lunches, we just need access to a skilled tutor and a commercial kitchen.

          • Tracey 23.2.1.1.1

            why not auckland or otago?

            • goodsweat 23.2.1.1.1.1

              Because I want to live in a country that promotes equal opportunity on a global scale. The world’s future leaders and captains of industry will be coming from institutions of this type. I think Maori colonising the OECD will make us all proud.

              Auckland, Otago, of course. Just as a kid in Remmers can say, “I think I’d like to train to be a dentist Dad.” I’d like to live in a country where anyone could say “Mr Little, I’d really like to be a dentist please.”

              Again, I don’t think we need equal bankbooks. we need equal opportunity. There are only 4.5 million of us. A quarter the size of a decent Chinese city. We don’t need to be that good at getting it right for all of us to be leading beaut lives.

              • The Murphey

                “Yale/Harvard/Oxford/Cambridge”

                “The world’s future leaders and captains of industry will be coming from institutions of this type.”

                The selections and choice of words are undisguised nonsense.

          • AmaKiwi 23.2.1.1.2

            and the recipients would work elsewhere than NZ

      • Puddleglum 23.2.2

        “I believe it is equality of opportunity that counts…”

        Equality of opportunity – when understood fully – is identical to equality of outcome.

        A completely level playing field of ‘opportunity’ is a level playing field of outcome.

        Here’s a starter for 10: What factors go into the notion of ‘having equal opportunity’?

        Hint: Individual differences impact ‘opportunity’.

        Personally, I care less about equality of opportunity than I do about a level of equality of outcome for all.

        That is, I care about every citizen having a decent life – irrespective of ‘opportunity’, ‘ability’ or any other factor. In other words, I believe in equality of outcome, insofar as the reach of politics and policy goes or needs to go.

        That doesn’t mean that everybody ends up the same but, rather, that everybody ends up at least at the level of having a decent life in material and social terms.

        And, for me, a ‘decent life’ is one in which people thrive and flourish – all people. There’s precious little of that kind of ‘thriving’ in so-called modern, developed economies.

        This survey of European countries has flourishing rates between 41% (you guessed it, in Denmark) and 10% in the former Soviet Union.

        • greywarshark 23.2.2.1

          @ Puddleglum
          I thought this piece from the abstract for that link you gave, is interesting.
          These profiles offer fresh insight into cultural differences in well-being, and indicate which features may provide the most promising targets for policies to improve well-being.
          Comparison with a life satisfaction measure shows that valuable information would be lost if well-being was measured by life satisfaction. Taken together, our findings reinforce the need to measure subjective well-being as a multi-dimensional construct in future surveys.

          They say that trying to measure life satisfaction responses does not draw out as much useful information as framing the study around wellbeing. So their explanation re the difference between those terms would be a good subject to study. But not tonight. Yawn.

          • Puddleglum 23.2.2.1.1

            Good point.

            The dimension of ‘Life satisfaction’ is influenced by people’s understanding of the cultural norms related to ‘success’. (e.g., wealthier, higher income people report higher life satisfaction but positive affect (feeling ‘happy’) is more closely associated with social relationships).

            Unfortunately, media reports of ‘happiness’ surveys often ignore what the surveys actually measured. Many of the surveys are about ‘life satisfaction’ rather than ‘positive affect’.

            Of course, all of these self-reports assume ‘subjective’ well-being is what it’s all about – i.e., they individualise the notion of wellbeing. A bit of a mistake in my view, though understandable.

            • greywarshark 23.2.2.1.1.1

              @ Puddleglum
              I know the question is asked in public polling –
              Do you think the National Government (or Key) is taking the country in the right direction? Or such.

              Can there be open-ended questions in public polls – can’t see why there can’t be. And questions should have three options for answers – yes, unsure, no.
              What about –
              Do you think that all NZs seem to be having wellbeing, a good life, or is it a percentage? If yes, then –
              How many have good jobs earning good money? Answer – Percentage?
              How many are getting by with the help of credit cards?
              How many are either ill, jobless, parent having child care, carer looking after unwell person, or have one or a number of part-time jobs and really short of money with poor housing?

      • Michael 23.2.3

        While $1050 a week is probably a bit excessive (since cost of living is much higher in Denmark than in NZ), something like $650+ per week (incl. accomo supplement) would be more likely. That would go back to pre-1991 levels.

        But regardless, Denmark is not having any problems with affordability at all.

        The unemployment rate is currently 4% in Denmark. Before the GFC hit, it was 1.7%.
        Public spending currently makes up about 57% of GDP.
        Denmark ran quite large surpluses for about 11 years in a row before the GFC.

        That’s not unaffordable at all, in fact high public spending seems to work quite well.

    • Foreign waka 23.3

      The one issue that takes them by surprise is the wave of immigrants from the east and south who automatically have the same “entitlement” as those who are contributing. This spells already great unrest in many Euro countries who have similar social and economic policies. This is a factor hat could lead in the destruction of a very thought through and balanced system.

  23. North 24

    Sweet dream world you live in GoodSweat…….try out the fabulous “brands” this editorial jerk talks about. Who’s that for ? The kids and the connections of the snobs and the wannabees and the Koru Club lizards the ‘John Key Society’ has purchased. Bought. Fed some bucks. 100 scholarships to Harvard/Oxford/Cambridge indeed.

    You’re an idiot with no eyes for the real ground on which most people live in this suppurating inequality society. Puffed up notion that all you gotta do is ‘say it……..and ‘it is’. A la that dullard, gutless, war criminal George Bush. In essence you and MrGaucheKey are no better. Just ‘say it’. Pricks like you’ve got yours’ coming mate. Because a society can’t keep on serving fewer and fewer and blaming more and more. History is full of examples.

    And whoever said anything about equal banks books ?

    • goodsweat 24.1

      Hi North, cheers. I wonder how North you are? I’m at fabulous Doubtless Bay. When I first got here I couldn’t find any work that suited me, I did a day here and there, a handyman job here and there but I was fast eroding my savings.

      Fortunately I discovered a way that I could connect to a constructive trickle down that existed through good times and bad. I’m so grateful we live in a region that is aching with so much potential and opportunity.

      • McFlock 24.1.1

        Yes, because the economic conditions in the country are all about you. /sarc
        If anything, you just demonstrated north’s point that you have no fucking clue whatsoever.

      • The Murphey 24.1.2

        “Fortunately I discovered a way that I could connect to a constructive trickle down that existed through good times and bad. I’m so grateful we live in a region that is aching with so much potential and opportunity.

        References to ivy league captains of industry and future leaders and trickle down.

        The choice of words are undisguised fantasy.

        Move on from the story telling.

  24. North 25

    “Fabulous” Doubtless Bay aye ? There’s a pocket of something approaching a cafe society up there I guess…….try Kaikohe District Court and the “Brighter Future” fodder I see there everyday. Kaitaia DC if you can’t hack the longer drive. “Fabulous”. Yeah……just ‘say it’. Don’t give a second of thought to a collective aching heart, a collective weeping soul……just ‘say it’. Oh fuck……a Harvard scholarship. All is well.

    How about first we give a thought to literacy and numeracy Wonder Boy ? For the masses Wonder Boy ? And basic good health Wonder Boy ? And a Skyline garage with electricity and running water Wonder Boy ? Nah, fuck that. Just ‘say it’ Wonder Boy. Algud…..all fixed.

    • Tracey 25.1

      But sweaty only mixes with people who see the world as he does, he said as much in an earlier post

  25. newsense 26

    I agree- let’s petition the government to introduce legislation to allow fair competition in the Auckland newspaper market where there are barriers to entry, and to introduce competition where there is undue market dominance…say starting with the NZ Herald…

    Competition will reduce inequality right?

  26. A Voter 27

    There is no competition in NZ business and hasnt been since the late sixties because for starters the stock and station industry the roading building companies the building industry and most of the transport industries plus the meatworks have become absorbed either by finance conglomerates or by one or two of the most powerful players in their industry
    This has been to break the power of the unions and the everyday user of the industries to question the validity of the monetary policies and the legality of the conditions that they operate the businesses
    Theres nothing worse than customers who wont pay what you ask you go broke so as long as you have the power you stay in business by having a system that is protected by govt also by getting rid of the competition
    Also most of our insurance and finance companies and banks are subsidiaries of international corporations not originating in NZ even though they swear black and blue that they are
    Since Muldoon weve had the funny money men running nations finances and Key has taken it to a whole new level he might as well be Mugabe
    Its the same old story only it cost more to put it all on telly now
    Some one drop a bomb on this bullshit system so we can trust each other again

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