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NZ’s capitalists dream of absolute power

Written By: - Date published: 6:49 am, November 5th, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags:

From Stuff:

“Richlister Alan Gibbs will host former National Party leader Don Brash and ACT founder Sir Roger Douglas to discuss what they would do as “New Zealand’s dictator for a year”

money_flagThat New Zealand’s rich and powerful have invited their political hirelings from ACT and National to fantasise about eliminating any last shreds of democracy that remain after years of neoliberal rule exposes their lust for full absolute rule over our society.

It is hard to parody this instinct for dictatorship from these capitalists and their political admirers. To the rich, the capitalists that control most of this country’s wealth while the poor do most the work, democracy has always been an annoyance, a hinderence.

The weird thing is that this wish fullfilment party for rich autocrats and their political allies will be used as a fundraiser for the risibly named “independent” think tanks; The Centre for Political Research, and the Centre for Resource Management Studies.

Surely such bizarre political patronage condemns forever any advice and conclusions that originates from these two erstwhile bodies.

But to contrast the capitalists dreaming of being plutocrats, I would like to suggest that Standard readers post their views about what they think a world not dominated by these profit first – people and planet last parasites would be like, what it could be like, what it should be like.

20 comments on “NZ’s capitalists dream of absolute power ”

  1. So Bored 1

    I hate think tanks, they are like rent a demo for the rich….does anybody out there know who backs and funds Sustainable Future (a self declared independent NZ think tank)?

  2. “what they think a world not dominated by these profit first – people and planet last parasites would be like, what it could be like, what it should be like.”

    Humourless (given the news item was about doing something relatively light hearted), equally poor and with much spilt blood as the last 20 odd attempts at eliminating capitalism were. Real (as opposed to crony) capitalism doesn’t involve initiating force of course.

    However, feel free to explain how to achieve the sort of change you’d envisage without at some point putting a gun (or similar) at someone’s head.

    • Zetetic 2.1

      a) sure would like to see this ‘real capitalism’. All I’ve ever seen is crony capitalism

      b) capitalism only exists because our system of government creates it. It’s imposed by force, the State’s effective monopoly on violence.

      • Libertyscott 2.1.1

        Zetetic:
        a) Indeed, so would I. Though you arguably see it between people trading freely without the state interfering in the transaction.

        b) You mean because the state protects property rights? Without that, capitalism could not exist. What would you do instead?

        • So Bored 2.1.1.1

          Lib, in answer to
          :
          a. trading freely, I note you dont use the word “fair”.
          b. capitalism could not exist without property rights. Correct, and property rights are at the core of the issue of biassed transactions.

          I like your question what would you do instead because capitalists rarely ask it unless they dont believe there are any alternatives. The reality is that there are many, only closed minds and thise ignorant of history would claim otherwise. And from my extensive reading of history the one thing I can state is that capitalism has been no less destructive of human rights, spills no less blood, and is no less culpable in causing human suffering than the great socialist experiments. The two are mirror images.

        • Zetetic 2.1.1.2

          you can have a system that recognises property rights without capitalism. indeed non-capitalist societies typically do have systems of property rights.

          The primary question is who the ownership of production lies with. In capitalism the answer is the capitalist. They control the wealth of society as a result.

  3. So Bored:

    a) If people undetake a voluntary transaction I trust them, as adults, to determine if the traded value is “fair”. I don’t believe I am in a better place to judge that, I’m unsure why others do.

    b) You still haven’t given an alternative. I believe the only way capitalism has spilt blood has been when those engaging in it have initiated force against others, in other words not respected property rights and not respected individual rights, or fraudulently neglected to take responsibility for their own negligence. However, I’ve yet to see a modern semi-liberal -semi-capitalist democratic government round up hundreds of thousands of people and deliberately execute them or work them to death and starvation in short order. You cannot equate the likes of any modern liberal democracies with either race (nazism or nationalist) and class (Marxist Leninist) based fascism.

    • So Bored 3.1

      Lib,

      I rest my point with regard to selective blindness. On points:
      a. You obviously believe in fairy tales, it might just surprise you that some people trade under duress, for example workers trading their time for unfair wages because they have to eat.
      b. You have yet to see a modern sem-liberal government round up and execute people…tactics differ, results are the same. Take the historic record of the US through out the Americas for the last 150 years, violence by proxy. Or for that matter throughout the third world. It may not be done at home by the US although they have managed the highest imprisonment rate in the world.

      As to alternatives might I remind you that democracy is historically a very recent development on histiories stage, it has many flavours. Check the record and you will find that it is not synonymous with capitalism or socialism, in fact they have regularly been its worst enemies.

      To work, some of us are still enslaved at a bad transactional rate, but mortgages demand etc….

    • RedLogix 3.2

      If people undetake a voluntary transaction

      Begs your definition of ‘voluntary’.

      Unless you have the power to say ‘no’ to something, then compulsion remains. Unless you have the power not to participate in a market (for instance we all need to participate in the food, water and shelter markets)… then the term voluntary becomes somewhat qualified.

      ‘Voluntary’ also implies parties of rough equal power in a transaction; unrestrained capitalism, with it’s concentrations of wealth and information, more or less ensures this is never the case.

      However, I’ve yet to see a modern semi-liberal -semi-capitalist democratic government round up hundreds of thousands of people and deliberately execute them or work them to death and starvation in short order.

      I agree that the unrestrained power of a collectivist govt has the capacity to actively persecute and oppress on a large scale, but capitalism creates the same scale of misery by ommision and neglect.

      • Quoth the Raven 3.2.1

        Unless you have the power to say ‘no’ to something, then compulsion remains. Unless you have the power not to participate in a market (for instance we all need to participate in the food, water and shelter markets) then the term voluntary becomes somewhat qualified.

        You’ll need food, water, etc in any system, there ain’t no free lunches (excepting some Keynesian post-scarcity utopia). So it’s not much of an objection. Just because someone advocates for a free market does not mean that they think everything has to be handled via market transactions.

  4. prism 4

    “To the rich, the capitalists that control most of this country’s wealth while the poor do most the work, democracy has always been an annoyance, a hinderence”

    Yes that’s why they are mounting another attack on MMP which might be a victory by attrition, as it drags on over the years till people can’t be bothered. It took concerted efforts by proponents to get the public to concentrate on it, emotions were high against FPP and support high for change with Commission favouring MMP but as time went on the drive for change went down. This could happen again.
    Wealthy people have so many more resources, and contacts, which they utilise and the average person often doesn’t have time to think about change and which choice to make, and sinks into apathy. People who want to have a fair and better world, both for themselves and others, getting together and supporting practical and good policies, not pie in the sky stuff, is my vision for the future.

  5. prism 5

    Is the slogan “My theory can beat your theory?”

  6. WTF!?

    until i clicked the link i thought this post was a parody. i can’t believe these bozos would actually hold a meeting with a moot like that, nor can i believe any bozos would attend it.

    in public that is, i could believe it as a very private circle jerk.

    what’s next? ‘who would be on my dream team of the world’s most notorious genocidal maniacs’?

  7. Sanctuary 7

    Danyl over at the dim-post speculates that Gibb’s farm is named after a compound in a Heinlein novel called “Friday”.

    Google some reviews yourself, if you are not familiar with this work, but Wikipedia says:

    ” The book deals with Friday, an artificial person superior in many ways to an ordinary human, but subject to great prejudice when she is discovered. Employed as a courier who is highly self-sufficient in a complex, Balkanized world ‘

    I would imagine this is how the classic ACT man sees himself Superior, self-sufficient, yet unable to cast off the fetters of those inferiors who presume to bind him into their petty, Balkanised world.

    What an extraordinary window into meglomania if Danyl’s speculation is correct.

  8. Olwyn 8

    To begin with I wonder if it really is capitalism we are talking about, or economic tyranny, which is what you suggest with your heading. Theory used to have it that if you put a lot of money into the hands of the rich, they will do something productive with it and everyone will benefit. This though, has not proved to be the case. Farming has made a come-back in recent years, but given the size of our population and our distance from other places, the easiest way to get rich in NZ is to get hold of something that everyone needs (land, water, power) and make them pay though the nose for it. The truth is, we do not need more right wing think tanks, we need creative efforts that involve the whole population – not lower middle class lords and ladies who pass as elites alongside the rest of us, and low-paid wage slaves, propped up by a variety of doles, which pass briefly through their hands on the way back to the rich.

  9. Patrick 9

    Thanks for the heads up about this the Standard!

    The mega rich in NZ has never particularly liked democracy. This here is an article about how the Business Roundtable were mates with Pinochet. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0612/S00209.htm

    There have been plenty of capitalist mass murderer dictators, such as Pinochet, Suharto, Chun Doo Hwan, Rios Monte etc Also the US government mass murderers, such as Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Snr, Clinton, Bush Jnr and Obama, just to name a few.

    Also capitalism was founded on the mass murder of poor people in the colonised countries, African slaves and proletarians exploited in factories.

    I think capitalism has killed way more people than the so called ‘Communist’ tyrants like Stalin.

    • Quoth the Raven 9.1

      There have been plenty of capitalist mass murderer dictators, such as Pinochet, Suharto, Chun Doo Hwan, Rios Monte etc Also the US government mass murderers, such as Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Snr, Clinton, Bush Jnr and Obama, just to name a few.

      Aside from the fact that many of them weren’t dicatators but Jimmy Carter?

  10. George D 10

    Carter was as bad as the rest. Seriously. His active support for genocidal regimes in Latin America qualifies him on that count.

  11. Patrick 11

    Also Carter’s support for the military junta in South Korea as it massacred hundreds of civilians during the Kwangju uprising of 1980. It was a lot like South Korea’s version of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

    http://www.villagevoice.com/2002-10-15/news/carter-hounded-by-kwangju-massacre/1

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