Open mike 14/04/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 14th, 2010 - 26 comments
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26 comments on “Open mike 14/04/2010”

  1. Jenny 1

    It is all about language.

    The propaganda of profit.

    “Food prices rocket” says one headline while another says “Inflation on the run”.

    Both headlines run simultaneously in today’s business column. (see

    Rising prices? Inflation on the run?

    How can this be?

    One of the reasons that this occurs is that inflation as well as measuring rises in prices at the checkout, includes any rises in wages of the people standing in the queues and operating the tills.

    Rises in these people’s incomes, we are told is also inflationary and is therefore a bad thing. So when (average) wages slip in relation to living costs this can be shown as a good thing, as it is anti-inflationary.

    But have you noticed that rises in profits are never mixed in with the inflation statistics.


    Because the gatekeepers of public discourse, state that a rise in profits, unlike a rise in wages, (which are termed inflationary and a bad thing), are termed “growth”, and a good thing, to be measured by a completely different set of statistics.

    Does anyone else think, that it is about time, that the increases in profit, (which go mainly to the wealthy), should not be left out of these statistics but should, like increases in wages and salaries, (which go mainly go the workers) , be included in the measurement of inflation.

    This seems just, and sounds fair. So where am I going wrong in my logic?

    I am pretty sure that if this was done, that we would then see that the rise in profits closely match the rise in prices and the inverse decline in wages and give us a more realistic view on the rate of inflation and how inflation hurts the pocket of the average man and woman in the street.

    But that of course, is not what we are told we should be concerned about. According to the opinion makers and the statisticians, what we are supposed to be concerned about is the welfare of the financiers, the speculators, the profiteers, the landlords, the business owners, the marketers, the advertising agents, the media tycoons, the entrepreneurs, the so called “go getters” and all the other glittering jetsam and flotsam at the top of society and not to worry to much about the people at the bottom who actually do all the real work. (In fact, if you actually have to get your hands dirty and work for a living you are often looked down upon as a loser, by the above types of people.)

    (my anti-spam word was steal)

    • r0b 1.1

      Jenny – great stuff. Have you considered sending in some guest posts? The “contribute post” form isn’t working just now, but posts can be emailed to the address on the contact page.

      What is the relationship between GDP, corporate profits and inflation? Marty? Anyone?

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        GDP is the sum total of the value production (i.e. how much it sells for) within the national economy. Profit would therefore be included within the number but the percentage of the GDP that goes to profit is usually not reported. I would assume that it’s known somewhere as the IRD should have the numbers.

        Inflation may or may not be included in the GDP number. If it is then it is called “nominal” and is considered to be in today’s $$$. If not then the dollar amount is based upon the $$$ of a given year with the amount being inflation adjusted. The amount given will be less than if the GDP was reported in today’s $$$ but is a more accurate way to measure the change in production value year on year.

    • Bored 1.2

      Jenny, You are right its all about the language, he/she who frames the question in their language frames the answer. The simple counter is to not answer in the language of the question, i.e use your own. For example productivity might be retermed “labour and wage saving”.

      The real issue we have is that we have agreed to the language of the discourse en-masse, the next thing to do build is an en-masse alternative linguistic.

    • just saying 1.3

      Part of the problem is that many poorer people who support National believe that NZ is looking down the barrel of crashing and burning, and that the people at the top are their only hope for salvation. A kind of Stockhom Syndrome seems to have emerged.

      • This has been the case for yonks. Read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist,by Robert Tressell .banned by big business it was finaly published in 1914 by the union movement. Things have not changed. There should be a copy in the local library.Its as relevent today as it was then.

  2. Bored 2

    Found this little pearl of wisdom on…..

    “Every generation takes the natural environment it encounters during childhood as the norm against which it measures environmental decline later in life. With each ensuing generation, environmental degradation generally increases, but each generation takes that degraded condition as the new normal. Scientists call this phenomenon “shifting baselines’ or “inter-generational amnesia,’ and it is part of a larger and more nebulous reality — the insidious ebbing of the ecological and social relevancy of declining and disappearing species.”

    That seems to explain a lot to me about not only the state of the environment but also of the political mindset of generations. Could it be that we see the lack of respect for democracy by the Nats as a reflection of the Neo Lib revolution of 25 years ago changing our respect for democratic and public institutions?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Could it be that we see the lack of respect for democracy by the Nats as a reflection of the Neo Lib revolution of 25 years ago changing our respect for democratic and public institutions?

      One word answer – Muldoon.

      • Bored 2.1.1

        Dont recall Muldoon being anything other than a paternalistic “you get what I give you and be pleased with it” bastard. He did not as far as I am aware attempt to privatise or corporatise the public sector. Douglas did just that and introduced into NZ the neo libs shibboleth of no community, only individuals. We ceased to be citizens and became clients. I dont recall Muldoon doing anything so drastic to our attitude toward our institutions, and by extension democratic principle.

        • Draco T Bastard

          paternalistic “you get what I give you and be pleased with it’ bastard.

          Yeah, not what most would call democratic.

          • ianmac

            I distinctly remember Bill Birch saying that it was up to each person to look after himself. This was around 1983 and summed up the Muldoon Govt proposition that a community was not there to support, but it was up to each individual to get what they could before someone else takes it.
            Sound familiar in 2009-10-11?

            • Draco T Bastard

              It’s the delusion of National, Act and the libertarianz (not sure about the Peter Dunne party or Winston First). Society is there as support to the people within it simply because an individual can’t support themselves. National, Act and others take that support and abuse it – channelling all the wealth that the society creates to themselves.

  3. prism 3

    Interesting to see problems with tourists come to the fore. I contend that these are not isolated problems but come from a lack of commitment to quality and effectiveness on the part of NZ business and the psyche of the country. If it is working even though to an inadequate level, why put the effort in to correct faults – she’ll be right. Tourism is so important, but can’t be allowed to just ‘grow like Topsy’ with hands off attitude. Overseas people pay and take time to come here – we must look after them and make it a good and safe experience. Those from Europe, Americas and Asia especially have big travel kms and lots to look at closer to home. Also domestic tourism was neglected for some time, should be considered, very useful in shoulder seasons.

    The first response in NZ to suggestions for improvement where there is unsatisfactory behaviour, and particularly road accidents, is to deny improvements are needed and can be achieved, but to criticise those involved as being irresponsible or inadequate risk takers.

    So we have freedom campers ‘piling up’ in beauty spots, where there are no toilet amenities. We want the tourism dollar but lazy thinkers and doers in central government don’t ensure through grants to local government to force them to provide such amenities and maintain them.

    Also the business of hiring out vans without toilet facilities should be licensed, so that every one of these vans without a toilet should have to pay a levy towards the costs it creates. Then clear official information must be provided as to where in-vehicle toilets can be emptied around the country, with advice on the way to best organise this. Also where service areas are on a map with notes of travel times between.

    Cyclists have their troubles particularly in two areas – busy narrow roads or narrow hilly roads. I met a European man on a cycling tour around SI and asked how he found it. He said diplomatically that the traffic was ‘boring’. A cyclist spokesperson this a.m said he was surprised that truck drivers don’t stop to check on cyclists that go off into drains at the side of the road when trucks pass. Such drivers have schedules, and the time taken to find a place to pull up, walk back to cyclist, check, walk back, is time away from their load and could have an effect on whether their vehicle and its load is covered by insurance. The parked truck itself could be a hazardous obstruction causing danger. The needs of touring cyclists should be noted and effort to provide better information as Joyce suggested this a.m. but also to upgrade roads – I don’t know if the rumble strip at the roadside helps or not – it certainly keeps this motorist on the mid road line.

  4. prism 4

    Rises in house prices – did they get included in inflation stats? Were we all being sat on to keep inflation figures within target, while house prices continued to merrily rise by 10% a year, with all sorts of cosy little deals with deferred this and offset that to ensure that housing, and commercial buildings too I guess, were the best game in town.

    Probably the whole inflation fighting stance with housing left out, was the fuel for the horrible wealth -skimming scam that has given us the chronic disease that is leaky buildings syndrome.

  5. prism 5

    Another thing heard this a.m. on Nat Radio. British comentator saying that conservative party talking about ways of withdrawing central government involvement in country, letting local people choose local responses. I thought I heard something about electing police chiefs.

    t sounds like what the USA and I think, Canada or parts of it, do. Bit scary, there is room for so much cronyism between mayors and police and corruption of integrity of important positions that need to be even-handed and above reproach. This financial disaster is melting away our hard-won democratic services and conventions – have the perps lost much themselves? Just a few figureheads I think.

    Reading an old encyclopaedia and came across a listing for the peasants revolt in Germany in Martin Luther’s time. They wanted him to support them as they tried to improve their lot. The book says that instead he encouraged the nobles to take a firm hand with them and about 100,000 were killed. The final sentence says that this put paid to any peasant movements for 300 years or so.
    It is certainly hard to get fair treatment from those with money. Look at the video of the Bush’s over New Orleans destruction.

    Perhaps we do need Winston with his insouciance and his bulldog determination and his enjoyment of being an outlying stirrer and his ability to be a fact-finder and repository of sensitive information.

  6. Tigger 6

    Key needs a tent for party-central – Waiohopai must be looking to make use of their uninflated dome plastic – I smell a match…

  7. ianmac 7

    Have witnessed the disgusting mess left by freedom campers. (Actually Freedom Campers are those who are fully self-contained.) How about adapting speed cameras to catch bare asses at beauty spots? The camera would identify numberplates and a ticket rapidly sent to the Hirer. Perhaps a deterrent? Photographs of your actions will be published! Mildred! Come and look! Thats your arse!

  8. Dan 8

    I am intrigued by Michael Lhaws defence of driving with an unrestrained child as reported in the Herald.

    “Mr Laws said that made it sound like the child was sitting on the seat alone.
    “It wasn’t. The mother was – mum was buckled in. She was holding the little child close to her, comforting her in the way in which mothers do.”
    Mr Tamihere asked why he was defending the lack of restraint for the child.
    “Well I’m sorry but it wasn’t floating around on the seat all by itself,” Mr Laws said.

    “It” sounds somewhat impersonal; I am sure it was a he or a she. I am sure he knows its name.
    I am not sure what the use of third person gender neutral implies. It probably reflects anger or a lack of control.

  9. lprent 9

    Yay! New server to start loading up with The Standard.

    Apart from making dinner, I think I’ll know what I’m doing this evening

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