Open mike 10/09/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, September 10th, 2020 - 89 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

89 comments on “Open mike 10/09/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    I suspect some wag in Treasury converted Grant Robertson to nudge theory. If you nudge a complex system, the influence cascades down through all the levels within, transforming all subsystems & interrelations subtly. It likely derives from the butterfly effect.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

    So the general idea would be that a wee nudge of top income earners will transform the behaviour of all in the economy, and everyone will live happily ever after.

    In 2020, the UK government of Boris Johnson decided to rely on nudge theory to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, seeks to encourage “herd immunity” with this strategy.

    You got it, it's a sophisticated form of herding. Well, better not oversell the concept, so maybe replace sophisticated with trendy.

    Leading Silicon Valley companies are forerunners in applying nudge theory in corporate setting. These companies are using nudges in various forms to increase productivity and happiness of employees.

    Happy valley? Well, toss in the even trendier notion that spiritual consultants will turn zombie employees into inspired new-agers, and you can see why capitalism still hums along eh?

    In 2008, the United States appointed Sunstein, who helped develop the theory, as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

    Nudge theory works in governance by escalating compliance. Nowadays, when folks are getting increasingly random, administrators need all the help they can get.

    Cass Sunstein has responded to critiques at length in his book, The Ethics of Influence: Government in the Age of Behavioral Science (2016) making the case in favor of nudging against charges that nudges diminish autonomy

    Yeah but since when have wage slaves ever needed autonomy? The social system is meant to work like a well-oiled machine. Humans as cogs are habitual. It's why National & Labour think the way they do.

    There was, btw, a prior, more elaborate version of the theory in 1971 (google nudge nudge wink wink say no more).

    • Incognito 1.1

      My Nudge Theory is that when you nudge a sleeping dog, it is not going to wake up.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        I wondered why I saw those pics of USA people elbowing each other as an alternative to shaking hands. You nudge people with your elbows, but hey, giving someone the elbow means to get them to go away. If nudging is taking off what does it really mean? What springs to mind is a saying about 'nudging someone off their perch'. In these precarious times we want to feel safe on our perch. So we need to watch to see what this new craze is really about! Some new conspiracy??

  2. gsays 2

    Listening to RNZ during Checkpoint and the financial news was on.

    The news was rosy. ANZ survey business confidence is up 16 points, ASB have revised their figures for the GDP from falling by 20% to falling by 11%.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018763314

    Senior economists are scratching their heads and coming up with reckons left right and centre. Bring back the horoscopes, they are based on science.

    • woodart 2.1

      yes. all the experts and economists(often two different groups) predictions about the economy, should be given full airtime, showing how far from reality most of them have been.

  3. Ad 3

    No Dennis it's about the money.

    Enough with the tortured analogies.

    • Sabine 3.1

      Ad @3

      well nudge theory sounds a bit kinder and gentler then 'trickling down' theory. That always had a certain nasty tone to it.

    • Dennis Frank 3.2

      Treasury mandarins know what to do with Labour ministers of finance. The working model was devised as Muldoon lost the plot, and got traction within a few months of being applied to the incoming socialists during early '85. Obviously the rerun of the application was always gonna happen once the update got bolted on.

      Grant was never likely to reject a formula approved by "the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, and the World Economic Forum". https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/neuroliberalism-welcome-government-21st-century/

    • Incognito 3.3

      No Ad, it is about the control of the money. You know, who gets what, who has more than they need, who gets to keep it, et cetera. It should be about fairness and equality but these are just words without meaning in the real world. It is not about the money, but about how you toil away and spend a large chunk of your life because you have been brainwashed that it is about the money. When we go completely cashless, I cannot even show you my money, I’ll have to log into my bank account and show you a number, on my screen, that tells how much I have toiled and how many more years I have to toil – the toil calculators are the best thing since sliced bread.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Unheralded, a brave new world of social engineering via algorithmic control is dawning. Universities breeding behavioural scientists that view humans as similar to pinballs in that, if you zap them, they will ping off others and you can cause a chain reaction, have been pushing the mechanist-materialist worldview for a century.

    That's due to Freud & Jung advocating depth psychology, then other psychologists reacting by pointing out that you can't measure the psyche so `we can only study behaviour' – and because behaviour can be measured and counted psychology won't seem pseudoscience.

    From this past, we get this future:

    Neoliberalism was based on a crude and limited understanding of the human condition. Neuroliberalism is based on a much more realistic and accurate grasp of human motivation and frailty. But in a digital future it’s the systems of algorithmic learning and psychological prompting that know us best that should worry us the most.

    Don't worry. She'll be right. All one need do is spot the manipulation techniques, then do the opposite of what is intended – if you're nonconformist. If you like being part of the herd, accept your fate with equanimity. Vote National/Labour.

    ‘Neuroliberalism’ refers to the use of psychological techniques to shape human behaviour in free societies. As a political project it has become particularly popular over the last decade, during which it has been deployed to address the evident shortcomings of neoliberal society and its associated systems of government.

    As both a psychological diagnosis of neoliberalism’s problems and a proposed solution, neuroliberal policies are now evident in most countries and are increasingly promoted by international organizations such as the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, and the World Economic Forum. They came to particular prominence in David Cameron’s ‘Behavioural Insights Team’ in the UK, Barack Obama’s ‘Social and Behavioural Sciences Team’ in the US, and Angela Merkel’s ‘Behavioural Insights Applied to Policy Unit’ in Germany.

    The control system is moving with the times. Fed up with neoliberalism? Don't worry, your liberal paternalist controller has something better awaiting your subscription.

  5. Pat 5

    "Climate change is my generations nuclear free moment."

    Around 2 years ago it was stated by those at the frontlines of climate study that we had a little over a decade to make serious changes to our emissions profile in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change (a timeframe since shortened)

    We have witnessed the previous 3 years of inaction by the Coalition and with the general tone of the current electioneering it is almost certain we waste the next 3 years as well.

    What was an almost impossible ask to achieve in 10 years will need to be achieved in half that.

    Transformational?

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Are you always negative Pat? I forget the positives.

      • Pat 5.1.1

        Take a look around greywarshark and regale me of all the 'positives' you foresee for our species

        • greywarshark 5.1.1.1

          We have to check in now and then to remind ourselves and the people we care enough about to converse with, that there are some positives. Personally I do this so I can get out of bed in the morning and keep fighting for a better pathway even if it gets down to a wormhole in the garden. Worms are good! Hooray for worms. I have a ton in my compost who know nothing compared to me and yet are possibly saviours of the planet.

  6. Incognito 6

    JLR’s competition has been awfully quiet.

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      Luxon doesn't need to campaign. All them Chinese immigrants will dutifully vote National. Then there's god's will. He knows it. 😉

      • Herodotus 6.1.1

        Thanks for that xenophobia comment you sound like Michael Joseph Savage in some of his highly racists speeches regarding the 1920 immigration act that continued through to his time as PM.
        so you think Chinese are so stupid that they cannot think for themselves and act as Lemmings following the one in front?.

      • Prickles 6.1.2

        I had a lengthy conversation with one of "them Chinese immigrants" from the Botany electorate on Sunday. He was well versed on what was happening in their electorate, knew the names of all the candidates and was not inclined at all to vote for Jamie-Lee or Chris Luxon.

    • Graeme 6.2

      Building up the guy being doorstepped and asked a few questions about COVID response and responsibilities. Wonder if he’ll answer the door?

  7. Red 7

    Like all opposition when they get into power the world becomes a lot more complex, pet favourites now need to be balanced against complexity of the system, trade offs and unintended consequences Any one overly focus in one area ( a luxury of opposition) in a complex system can have massive affects elsewhere. Labour has learnt that, the Greens to a degree in perennial opposition have not. Winstone has, hence the 2 Winstons, when he is in power and when he is not

    • Pat 7.1

      If the world is too complex for them now then they are soon to be provided with far more complexity than they ever imagined….a monkey can kick a can down the road.

      All it does is highlight how ineffectual our (so called) leaders are, so what is their purpose?

      • Red 7.1.1

        Gradual change based on evidence based policy and managing the trade offs for the common good ( you can’t make every one happy or eliminate all trade offs and risk) which the electorate will determine every 3 years. Likewise acting decisively and proportionately when the situation dictates, ie Covid Not many would agree how the government has responded to Covid is how you should run and economy long term In regard to state intervention and control

        • Pat 7.1.1.1

          What a load of bollocks….minimalist change in order to manage the narrative of the common good while maintaining the advantage to the investor class regardless of the detriment to the majority, the country or even the survivability of society or even the environment that maintains all …..with no little self interest as a bonus.

          • Red 7.1.1.1.1

            ( investor class….🙄) You may not like it but it’s reality, and if you think different go form your own party and convince the majority, don’t ask labour to commit electoral suicide on far left ideology, similar National on far right

            • Pat 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I ask Labour to do no more than endeavour to achieve their stated goals

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.2

              The investor class are bludgers. Nothing more – they don't even invest:

              Unearned income is derived from control of an already existing asset, such as land, buildings, technology, or money, that others lack but need or want, and who can therefore be charged for its use. Those who receive it are ‘rentiers’. Mere ownership or possession produces nothing, and so any return to an owner merely for access or use is something for nothing.

              If you buy some shares in M&S or BP on the stock market, the money you pay goes to the previous owner, not the company. You are what Keynes called a ‘functionless investor.’ When such so-called ‘investments’ pay off they extract wealth from the economy without creating anything in return. They are parasitic.

          • greywarshark 7.1.1.1.2

            yes

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2

          Gradual change based on evidence based policy and managing the trade offs for the common good

          The evidence calls for immediate action – not trade-offs and more kicking the can down the road to make the capitalists happy.

  8. Herodotus 8

    Our minor finance on “that radio show” both the left and right are unhappy about the tax , so we must have got it right.

    So now we have a Labour Party that views their agenda as if everyone is unhappy that labour has got the balance right. No wonder so much attention on some left wing sites is directed at National. It is hard to accept what has just been announced. 3 more years of this transformational government. More like continuation from 1999 with nothing changing. 😢

    • greywarshark 8.1

      I thought Tiger Mountain on TDB has a 'balanced' realistic view in Chris Trotter's latest on why the lost thousands of voters may never be found:

      Tiger Mountain September 10, 2020 at 8:42 am

      Tactically Labour did not really need to do anything, just run the clock down to October 17. But I guess the TV debates mean some “qvestions vill be aksed” by Frau Collins, so answers were going to be needed for the PM.

      Crusher–“What unfair tax increases on the hard working, god fearing, salt of the earth, white, heartland kiwis will you be inflicting?”
      Jacinda–“already released, will not affect 98% of New Zealanders” (including obviously the new Labour voters Chris mentions).

      I am not going to revisit ( today anyway) my usual litany on the class collaborationist, weak as piss Labour Caucus and chief mini-me Blairites like Mr Robertson. I just want them re-elected so political struggle can resume in earnest in the time of opportunity created by the Covid plague.

      Expecting the lumpen elements of town or country to come to anyone’s rescue is indeed a forlorn hope. “she’s a pretty communist” is about the peak political analysis those wretches are capable of! Did anyone ever identify that clown holding the sign by the way?

      • Herodotus 8.1.1

        Also what our Min of Finance may not have thought of. In a time where businesses are struggling, should Labour had proposed an increase in the coy tax rate +1-2% (to reduce those able to manage their incomes), this would delay those companies who are currently making losses in paying tax once they regained profits that exceeded these losses(and next years ?). As you do not pay tax (Provisional or Terminal) until all carried forward losses have been wiped out with profits. So it would have assisted business in need in the short term, for long term benefits. And isn't that what a helping hand is – when in need assist and when times are good to return the favour, in this case by paying a slightly larger tax bill.

        https://www.business.govt.nz/tax-and-accounting/business-finance-basics/what-to-do-if-your-business-is-operating-at-a-loss/

  9. Reality 9

    Red, good to read a balanced post. It seems to me many commenters have unrealistic expectations of what is possible and not possible and they expect transformation in all areas to happen within months. When there is so much to be done it is going to take years. Governing is a slow and cumbersome process and will never please everyone.

  10. ianmac 10

    Legal but a bit like friends and family bidding for your item on Trademe to inflate the price.

    Farah Hancock: The National Party has spent almost $30,000 getting people to 'like' Judith Collins' Facebook page.

    Since July her Facebook page has gained roughly 20,000 new likes, at a potential cost of $1.50 each if they were all gained from the advertisements. Her page is the only politician's page with significant funds spent on it.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/a-quarter-of-nationals-fb-ad-spend-chasing-likes-for-collins?utm_source=Friends+of+the+Newsroom&utm_campaign=12e5e9be25-Daily+Briefing+10.09.20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_71de5c4b35-12e5e9be25-95522477

  11. swordfish 11

    .
    National spends Quarter of FB Budget on chasing Likes for Judith Collins

    The National Party has spent almost $30,000 getting people to ‘like’ Judith Collins’ Facebook page … Since July her Facebook page has gained roughly 20,000 new likes, at a potential cost of $1.50 each if they were all gained from the advertisements. Her page is the only politician’s page with significant funds spent on it … Collins now has 56,235 people who like her Facebook page and 58,725 followers. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has not spent any money on Facebook advertising for her page, has 1.7 million followers and 1.4 million likes.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/a-quarter-of-nationals-fb-ad-spend-chasing-likes-for-collins

  12. Peter 12

    I need help setting up a Givealittle page. On RNZ this morning I heard people being interviewed about the tax increases for those on $180,000+ a year.

    Apparently they'll be down the tubes to the extent of around $20 a week. Some woman (in Karori?) is going to find it really tough. If I can get some charity for her to save her the devastation of the tax increase my life would have been worthwhile.

    Apparently $180,000 a year 'isn't much really' especially when you look at the cost of housing. Imagine being in a household of one income and it being that low. Maybe there's someone else in the house can go to work.

    If I can rally a group from the under 60k band and set up a Givealittle maybe we can save her. Failing that maybe I can direct her to some budgeting advice place.

    • Gabby 12.1

      Was that the poor dear who reckned 180G wasn't much but $23 was a swingeing shitload?

    • weka 12.2

      for gods sake don't give her cash, she'll just spend it on booze and cigarettes. Instead teach her how to grow vegetables, how to cook from scratch and how to budget.

    • Sabine 12.3

      maybe this one should be send to Grant so as to re-consider the hardship espoused by losing $ 23 while on a 180.000 NZD income, and to maybe find it in his hard to add another $ 23 to the beneficiaries that barely make 13.000 grand after tax for the full year?

  13. Andre 13

    In case anyone was wondering why that rotting rage-gargoyle lurking under the road-kill hamster was completely unfiltered in spilling his guts to the journalist that's done the most in history to expose presidential misconduct, here's a good explanation:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/09/politics/why-trump-talked-to-woodward/index.html

    • weka 13.1

      tl;dr massive ego makes man stupid.

      • greywarshark 13.1.1

        Cripes weka, you are taking away the employment of numerous right wing academics who would have spent x hours and days to say what you have expressed in one line. If this sort of thing keeps happening there will be bucketfuls of newly unemployed uni grads.

  14. Andre 14

    Awww, that's sooo cuuuuute! I wonder if his letters to Ivana and Marla and Melanoma were just as sweet.

    In his letters to Trump, Kim addresses him as "Your Excellency" and punctuates them with flowery prose.

    "Even now I cannot forget that moment of history when I firmly held Your Excellency's hand at the beautiful and sacred location as the whole world watched with great interest and hope to relive the honor of that day," Kim wrote to Trump on December 25, 2018, following their first meeting in Singapore.

    In a June 2019 letter to Kim, just before Trump proposed on Twitter that the leaders meet at the DMZ, Trump wrote that "you and I have a unique style and a special friendship."

    "Only you and I, working together, can resolve the issues between our two counties and end nearly 70 years of hostility, bringing an era of prosperity to the Korean Peninsula that will exceed all our greatest expectations — and you will be the one to lead," Trump wrote. "It will be historic!"

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/09/politics/kim-jong-un-trump-letters-rage-book/index.html

  15. Byd0nz 16

    The super debate fails to revisit the Norman Kirk scheme which was trialed by local and gvt workers in the last term before it was to become compulsary if Labour won the next election. This was a scheme where the worker contributed %2 and the employer matched it. That money was held in a pool and was to be managed by the gvt on the contributers behalf. Local bodies would be able to borrow from that pool at %1 interest in order to carry out local maintainance and infrastructure projects. The howl from the Nats, bug business and insurers waa deafening with cries of socialism through the back door. Unfortunately Big Norm was as some including Bob Harvey believed was assasanated (cia apple ple).before that third term was up. Labour lost the election and Muldoon scraped the scheme immediately. We who had trialed the scheme got our money back and were surprised at the ammount which seemed substancial for such a short time in operation, but it showed how it would have allowed working class pensioners to retire with dignity and not like today where we live on or below the poverty line. Also local bodies would not be in dire straights as they now are. The poor poor cousin of that scheme, Kiwi Saver which is not kept in one pool but administrated by the wily nilly can never reach the heights og Big Norms socialist scheme. Why wont Labour revisit that scheme.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      Why wont Labour revisit that scheme.

      Because it doesn't give bludging shareholders free money.

  16. Byd0nz 17

    Oops. Spellcheck needed

  17. joe90 18

    Doctoring the intelligence to fit the propaganda is straight out of the neo-con Bush Putin emperialist playbook.

    Washington (CNN)A whistleblower is alleging that top political appointees in the Department of Homeland Security repeatedly instructed career officials to modify intelligence assessments to suit President Donald Trump's agenda by downplaying Russia's efforts to interfere in the US and the threat posed by White supremacists, according to documents reviewed by CNN and a source familiar with the situation.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/09/politics/dhs-whistleblower-white-supremacist-threat/index.html

  18. greywarshark 19

    Gordon Campbell on Scoop. Interesting. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL2009/S00042/on-saving-small-firms-and-disowning-peter-thiel.htm

    On Peter Thiel and how well he is doing out of Covid-19.

    By 20 April,Palantir was emailing to say it had to set up platforms to track Covid-19 and help combat it in 15 countries, including hard-hit Italy. "We could establish similar capability here in New Zealand within a matter of days," the company said. Overseas media have reported that the UK government gave Palantir access to sensitive patient data. (Health data is highly valued and sought after by tech firms.) The Ardern government declined Palantir’s kind offer. As Business Insider reported earlier this year, Palantir is now likely to become profitable for the first time in its 16 year history and will (perhaps) soon be listing publicly:

      • greywarshark 19.1.1

        Could government do that? Would Treasury let them? What barriers apart from their own wetness and timidity, would be against them purchasing the EFTPOS etc – it must be such a good money-maker for the banks.

        • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1.1

          Our government can, pretty much, do whatever it likes. There's nothing to legally stop them.

          Treasury probably wouldn't let them but, in this case, Treasury would be wrong.

          And its an excellent money maker for the banks that own it. As the article you link showed:

          But here’s the evidence :

          The average fee charged for credit cards is 1.6 per cent but they can top 2 per cent. That compares to 0.8 per cent on average in Australia and 0.5 per cent in the United Kingdom. In New Zealand, a typical contactless debit card payment costs 1.2 per cent, compared to 0.6 per cent in Australia and 0.2 per cent in the UK.

          There's a reason why the banks keep reporting record profits and its not because they're doing a sterling service.

      • Sabine 19.1.2

        lol

        that must be in regards to pay wave who raised their fees after dropping them during L4 and brought them back up in Level 1.

        You know what is a really good way for small businesses to avoid these charges? Not using the credit cards and or pay wave.

        Use cash. That easy. But hey Labour is finally doing something for the small businesses that are closing shop up and down the country because no one has any money left to spend. Good fucking grief, that bunch of doodas can not not find the most useless shit to 'deliver'.

        • Draco T Bastard 19.1.2.1

          You know what is a really good way for small businesses to avoid these charges? Not using the credit cards and or pay wave.

          Well, that's certainly one way to miss out on 70% of business. Had to use the WaybackMachine:

          “Approximately two-thirds of total spending in New Zealand is done electronically on eftpos and credit cards,” says Paul Whiston, spokesman for electronics payment provider Paymark.

          Yeah, I really don't think any business is going to go that way.

          But hey Labour is finally doing something for the small businesses that are closing shop up and down the country because no one has any money left to spend.

          I suspect that the actual reason why small businesses are closing is because they just can't compete with large business.

          • McFlock 19.1.2.1.1

            There are quite a few small businesses around that outright refuse credit card payments, or add a surcharge to pay for the fees.

            My local chippie is a refusenik – eftpos with no paywave or credit.

            And I just paid a bill with a 1.5% credit card surcharge – 2degrees I think.

            So in the real world, it happens.

            • Draco T Bastard 19.1.2.1.1.1

              I've seen the surcharge and even the credit card refusal. Haven't seen paywave refusal although plenty of places that haven't updated their EFT-POS which maybe a result of the paywave cost.

              Teach me for not fully comprehending my own quote.

              Still, there's really two issues here:

              • More and more people are using electronic payment as a sole means of paying
              • Why do the private banks get to charge us for us using our money? We really can call such charges a tax.

              So, the best way to get over those two issues is government ownership of the EFT-POS system and making it a state monopoly.

              • McFlock

                They get to charge us because we use a service they developed. Just as they pay us to use our cash.

                At the moment, for maybe a limited time, we can still choose (as vendors and as customers) to not use that particular service.

                Maybe EFTPOS should be nationalised. But maybe we should also keep the use of legal tender for a while yet, for those who don't wish to use it.

                • Draco T Bastard
                  1. They didn't develop it.
                  2. They don't use our cash

                  Although the banks do operate the system that makes EFT-POS happen it's pretty close to a monopoly system which simply should not be allowed in private ownership because, as we can see here, they abuse it.

                  The second is just an ongoing lie at this point. It was proven years ago that the banks don't need our money to make loans. It's also been proven that the reason why we have such massive capital gains is because of the private banks creating so much money for housing and other speculation.

                  Payment systems and money creation need to be under government ownership/control so as to prevent the abuse of the system that happens under a private, for profit, corporation. And, yes, keep cash for a while longer.

                  • McFlock

                    1: yeah they did

                    2 meh. Go with the analogy of paying bus companies to ride on their buses then. They provide the service, people choose to use it – or to not use it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Didn't know that Paymark was around in 1870.

                      And I think riding on buses should be free as well so as to bring about a more economical result.

        • Patricia 2 19.1.2.2

          Sabine – agree with your comment about using cash. However the banks are hell bent on having cheques no longer accepted as legal tender by June 2021 ; many shops / all public transport here in Auckland don't accept cash. Countdown grudgingly open a dedicated "cash only" check out but have to be reminded at times.

          The banks have long wanted a cashless society and Covid has provided the perfect situation for this to happen. There will be little demand for face to face contact so local bank branches will be few and far between.

          There are many elderly people who don't / can't use computers and have no desire to learn about online personal banking, They will be greatly disadvantaged without cheques or cash in their day to day lives.

          • greywarshark 19.1.2.2.1

            Few seem to understand the importance of having cash available to use for our transactions if we so wish. The power that authorities would have over us as we try to live our private lives if we had to pass everything through a machine is immense. Part of the surveillance of the fascist state. Keeping track of what you do, who with, how much, where did you get it, what haven't you disclosed. Bugger off all you machine-mad people, you have already left planet earth and are standing on some invisible one that has lost its connections with simple humanity.

  19. Tricledrown 20

    Dennis Frank Chinese migrants are for more freedom of enterprise less taxes.

  20. Pat 21

    Greywarshark berated my negativity earlier today and he/she was correct to observe my posts have been less than uplifting of late…..I suggest with good reason.

    An excellent comprehensive and fundamental explanation by Nate Hagens (thanks to powerdownkiwi over at Interest.co.nz)

    "Many challenges we face appear as classic social traps, whereby short-term social pressures guide individual behavior in opposition to the best long-run interest of the individual and society (Costanza, 1987). Cognitively, the implications presented in this paper are understandable to most people fluent in the issues, but behaviorally remain almost the perfect storm for the human brain to ignore or deny. The issues are: complex, abstract, in the future, threatening to politicians and business owners, difficult to answer, largely ignored by leaders, and depressing to think about. Typically, a description of our biophysical reality is met with denial or nihilism.

    Both denial and nihilism help the mind remove dissonance and thus emotionally absolve a person from working to make (uncomfortable) changes that might improve our chances. This and other social traps appear to mitigate against meaningful action. Our super sociality results in valuing conformity over science, and valuing fairness of process over quality of results. We attempt to use social sorting mechanisms (popularity/status) to solve complex problems. Perhaps the biggest social trap of all is that we don’t actually need all this energy and material stuff to be happy or healthy. Nevertheless, led by the emergent drive of the Superorganism, we let pecuniary metrics, social comparisons, and novel technology, drag us into unnecessary and wasteful consumption."

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800919310067

    Not for the faint of heart but worth the read

    • greywarshark 21.1

      Ta for that Pat Not recommended bedtime reading I think. But top of the list for soon, in the light of day. Perhaps understanding will result in surmounting.

      A song comes to me, hopeful to keep in the back of the mind. We need some sweet and good thoughts as mind wallpaper.

      I can see clearly now the rain is gone
      I can see all obstacles in my way
      Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
      It's gonna be a bright (bright)
      Bright (bright) sunshiny day
      It's gonna be a bright (bright)
      Bright (bright) sunshiny day

      Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone
      All of the bad feelings have disappeared
      Here is that rainbow I've been praying for
      It's gonna be a bright (bright)
      Bright (bright) sunshiny day…

      I Can See Clearly Now Jimmy Cliff

      • mac1 21.1.1

        Thanks for that, Greywarshark

        I listened to this today, by Joni Mitchell, on youtube. It has hope and reality too.

        "We are stardust. Billion year old carbon.
        We are golden. Caught in the devil's bargain.
        And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."

        • greywarshark 21.1.1.1

          We are amazingly miraculous really and being here is so random. When we make children we unwittingly are making life, so like Gods. But that's nothing, we can't be bothered – turn everything over to the machines.

          Another set of words to keep in mind are those written by Shakespeare centuries ago – fresh each day. 'What a piece of work is man, How noble in reason'.

          Fresh – Hamlet soliloquy by Kenneth Branagh. But stop it quickly as a dross piece of everyday cop show follows to invade your ears.

          (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxvvkXYN7wg

    • PaddyOT 21.2

      Thought provoking read Pat.

      The crux of issues facing us now are because we do not want to give up or lower our energy use.
      As the article poses, "Recognition that the future exists" already is uncomfortable and perhaps we do not see changing our own individual lives now as a huge part of the 'crisis'. There's always tomorrow.

      " Perhaps the biggest social trap of all is that we don’t actually need all this energy and material stuff to be happy or healthy. Nevertheless, led by the emergent drive of the Superorganism, we let pecuniary metrics, social comparisons, and novel technology, drag us into unnecessary and wasteful consumption."

      Then this quote from same text,

      " …. there is no instinctual ‘full’ signal in modern brains – so we become addicted to the ‘unexpected reward’ of the next encounter, episode, or email, at an ever increasing pace (Hagens, 2011; Schultz et al., 1997). Our brains require flows (feelings) that we satisfy today mostly using non-renewable stocks. "

      The business world exploits that insatiable wants of humans offering its glittery rewards and most uphold that exploitation by our own daily behaviours.

      This week was a work email from Spark , ' sign your business up to our new business plan and you will get a free phone and wait… a second phone free too."

      Not many would hestitate and think about the whole process to have that phone, let alone the unneeded second phone. That aside from cheap labour to make that phone, its harvesting of elements from a finite source, ( more likely 'mined' creating negative impacts in someone else's village), is increasingly a lost view in our consumption.

      " Despite the pervasive belief that more money and energy makes us happier, evidence suggests this is mostly not true. After basic needs are met, additional energy use yields a slower growth of the Human Development Index (Smil, 2017)."

      In a few short years we've forgotten that we could still be happy and healthy using less.

      The "disconnect" the article leads too makes some election promises laughable in a sense…

      So collective care is now deviously evolved to getting on board with a " strong team", come on you weaklings ! Let's build a road so high energy users can get to the shops faster and more comfortably, so we can all buy some walking shoes, a sham of an election prize.

      • Pat 21.2.1

        thought provoking is one way to describe it…..Im inclined to 'chilling' myself.

        • PaddyOT 21.2.1.1

          Ah well, must've misread the intent of your post adding such unchilled serious information then. Here's me genuinely bothering to read all your article's verbiage. Foolish me , lesson learnt.

          • Pat 21.2.1.1.1

            Dont know what intent you attributed to me but I think the following (accurate) description could be reasonably described as chilling…

            "We can’t precisely predict the future, but we can increasingly be confident of what won’t happen. Given the biological and social underpinnings of growth and kicking the can described above, we can hypothesize what scenarios are unlikely:

            Growing the global economy while simultaneously solving climate change (reducing CO2) or avoiding a 6th mass extinction.

            Growing the economy while replacing hydrocarbons with low carbon energy.

            Voting en masse to keep remaining carbon compounds in the ground.

            Leaders embracing or preparing for an end of growth before it happens.

            To avoid paying the societal debt bill we’ve amassed over past decades, we tend to keep kicking the can forward, with more financial guarantees, stories, and rule changes – all in increasingly less sustainable ways. With the backdrop of the Superorganism we might make some predictions:

            As more people recognize that energy underpins our futures, we’ll witness more schemes focusing on gross energy as opposed to its net contribution to society. Many technologies will be promoted that are viable, but not relevant, affordable or scalable.

            We will continue to create money and credit expecting their abundance to overcome physical world problems, until they too reach limits (no credit-worthy lenders, interest too high of % of growth, fiscal cliffs, etc.).

            To avoid social instability, we will remediate wealth inequality via programs like Universal Basic Income (If such ‘wealth transfers’ are direct, they will stabilize society but access more carbon as they are transfers of bank digits to direct calls on resources and energy. (Good for low income humans, bad for dolphins).(These transfers can be indirect e.g. ecological restoration, local public infrastructure etc.)

            Around the world, as economic prospects deteriorate, people will foster group cohesion by blaming their problems on outgroups, and tend to vote for leaders who promise better economic futures, or things to be more like the past, (linked to more economic growth, linked to energy, linked to carbon). Trump, Bolsonaro, Matteo, LePen, Morrison, etc. are but recent examples. (Conservative names listed, but most liberal types also promise "better economic futures.").

            As USA and Brazil attest, one of the few remaining economic cans to kick is de-regulation and removal of environmental protection. As the economy gets worse, environmental initiatives (e.g. climate mitigation) will become less popular – not because people disbelieve or care less but because they’ll have less financial and emotional bandwidth to advocate for them.

            As a globally tethered economic system, we will likely do anything we can to kick the can further down the road. We are caught in a spiral of growth, limits to growth, response to limits, more growth, more limits, more response.”

            Im sorry you felt obliged to read the article for my benefit….that was unnecessary.

            • PaddyOT 21.2.1.1.1.1

              Sorry about that Pat. I thought you were being dismissive, with "chilling" being ambiguous. My bad, apologies. And no I was not obliged to read the article, I enjoyed absorbing the take and thanks for your added commentary. yes

  21. ianmac 23

    Should I trust the The New Zealand Initiative? Do they represent a fair and reasonable opinion?

    The New Zealand Initiative is a pro-free-market public-policy think tank and business membership organisation in New Zealand. It was formed in 2012 by merger of the New Zealand Business Roundtable and the New Zealand Institute.

    For example:

    The New Zealand Initiative yesterday said the Government should consider raising the retirement age to 67 , pausing contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and stopping all KiwiSaver subsidies to get debt levels back under control.

    • Pat 23.1

      lol…think you answered your own question

    • greywarshark 23.2

      And I say raise the inflation level to allow some maneouvrability. And that money is a system devised by man for man and this country wants the Imf and their acolytes to remember that.

      We have to act in the most canny way we can to get our own way, with as little fall-out as possible from outside. Inside it's too dark to read. (Allusion to Groucho Marx.) If you can confuse them enough, you can steal their gold and run away down the beanstalk.

    • mac1 23.3

      The old raise the age of Superannuation eligibility canard. Eh? Brash wanted it at 75 IIRC and others want Covid-19 to see all of us shuffling off the mortal coil ASAP so that business can get back to the normal amassing of private fortunes at the expense of the public good.

      Remember there'll be "Pie in the sky when you die!" Woody Guthrie.

      "Working folks of all countries unite
      Side by side we for freedom shall fight
      When this world and its wealth we have gained
      To the grafters we'll sing this refrain

      You will eat, you will eat, by and by
      When you've learned how to cook and how to fry
      Chop some wood, it'll do you good
      And you'll eat in that sweet by and by, that's no lie."

    • Austringer 23.4

      Was that not called way back the Business Round Table, later known as the Libertarian Party now known as A,C,T.

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