Poverty Watch 2

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, September 8th, 2012 - 64 comments
Categories: national, poverty - Tags:

Welcome to Poverty Watch, a weekly update on the National government’s lack of response to the urgent and growing issue of poverty in NZ.

The facts are pretty simple.  Poverty (and inequality) were falling (albeit too slowly) under the last Labour government.   Now they are on the rise again, in fact a Waikato University professor says that poverty is our biggest growth industry.  Before the last election Labour called for a cross party working group on poverty. Key turned the offer down.  Report after report after report has condemned the rate of poverty in this country, and called on the government to act.  In a recent summary of the government’s targets and goals John Armstrong wrote: “Glaringly absent is a target for reducing child poverty”…

In relevant news this week a study estimates the cost of child poverty in NZ:

Child poverty costs NZ $10b a year – expert

Child poverty costs New Zealand as much as $10 billion a year and three-quarters of that cost is avoidable, a public health conference in Wellington has been told.

Independent researcher John Pearce, who spent two years studying the subject, said about 200,000 children grew up in poverty in New Zealand.

He told the Public Health Association Conference yesterday that the costs of child poverty were in four areas – poor education and its effect on productivity ($2.2 billion), health ($3 billion-$4.5 billion), crime ($2.2 billion) and social welfare ($1.4 billion).

Humanitarian arguments for reducing poverty don’t seem to move the Nats at all. But alleviating poverty would save money. Will this economic argument get results?

Poverty Watch always ends with the following list, the National government’s response to rising poverty in NZ:

• National has not yet set any target for reducing poverty
• ?

64 comments on “Poverty Watch 2 ”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    I fear that we have to settle for it, that we have one of the most heartless governments among all nations. With our tiny population, poverty stands out glaringly for all to see.

  2. red blooded 2

    What I can’t stand is the ‘blame the poor’ attitude. The assumption seems to be that people don’t have enough money because they WANT to be poor; that their kids don’t get fed well enough because they don’t care about them; that they don’t heat their houses well or dress their kids warmly enough in winter because it’s just not important to them; that the best way to deal with people who have fallen into addiction or even casual drug use is to cut off their income (after all, that’s not likely to drive anyone further down the road to desperation or make them feel less connected to society and its norms, is it?). The focus is on the failings of individuals rather than on the creation of jobs and reduction of the gap between rich and poor.

    If for no other reason than that violent crime goes up exponentially as this gap widens, you’d think that they might be more interested in helping people. But no; instead they just build more prisons (contracted out to the private sector, so at least our tax money is being used to support one growth industry!).

    • Mr Burns 2.1

      Of course it is the poor’s fault. I am not poor so therefore I am a superior being. This smug superiority I enjoy is the only thing that gets me up in the morning.

  3. TightyRighty 3

    Poverty is a relative term. You are poor compared to a rich person. There will always be people who are wealthier, therefore always people who are poorer. This is regardless of any economic system. If you can’t change what is human nature, then the only reason you care so much is that you hate the rich. Despite the fact they provide the jobs and pay all the tax that labour and the left love to spend. Strange you have never noticed this contradiction. Or is it an adult extension of hating your parents?

    • millsy 3.1

      So what schools and hospitals do you want to close?

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Poverty is a relative term. You are poor compared to a rich person.

      Of course. This word is used in two distinct contexts, ‘absolute poverty’ and ‘relative poverty’.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_threshold

      One can imagine an hypothetical society in which one person owns everything… or another at the opposite extreme where everyone owned exactly the same. Neither case is achievable nor desirable; all real societies lie somewhere in between with some considerable variations in GINI.

      What is now quite well understood is that our Western society has trended towards one extreme with a very small number of people owning and controlling a vastly disproportionate amount of assets and wealth creating a very steep gradient between the very rich and the rest of us.

      If you can’t change what is human nature, then the only reason you care so much is that you hate the rich.

      This steep social gradient is bad for all of us. Humans are happiest when we can see everyone sees that a fair effort receives a fair reward, while we all understand that some lucky and talented ones will always do better than others we know we are being cheated when the game is rigged by the rich to shut everyone else out.

      Or is it an adult extension of hating your parents?

      Consider the families we grow up in, that while each member of it is quite different, with quite different needs and responsibilities … there is a social cohesion because it is so intimate and there is normally the necessary caring, nurturing to allow the whole family to flourish. But on a mass social scale this intimacy breaks down and these differences between people become a very real source of anxiety and stress if we see the rich and powerful becoming increasingly insulated by their extreme wealth from the needs and rights of the wider society they live in.

      The same society that indeed made their wealth possible.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Neither case is achievable nor desirable;

        What is achievable and desirable is the realisation that the community owns all the resources and each individual has an equal say in how those resources are used, a variable claim* on those resources with a minimum supplied to provide a reasonable living standard.

        * How that variability is chosen is up for discussion but ownership is out as it is through ownership that the capitalists manage to exploit the rest of society.

        • TheContrarian 3.2.1.1

          “What is achievable and desirable is the realisation that the community owns all the resources and each individual has an equal say in how those resources are used, a variable claim* on those resources with a minimum supplied to provide a reasonable living standard.”

          Which community? How big is a community? What if you have community with more resources than the other? Do you assume they’ll be peaceful together and if so/not, why?

          I don’t think you have thought this through properly.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.1

            No need to over complicate it mate. The most important principle here is that very small groups of people don’t own, direct and control strategic resources for everyone else.

    • QoT 3.3

      they provide the jobs and pay all the tax

      *snort*

    • fatty 3.4

      “If you can’t change what is human nature, then the only reason you care so much is that you hate the rich”

      I do not know of anyone that hates the rich…and most of the people I spend time with are what you would probably consider leftish extremists/socialists. The only hate is a hatred of a system which is based on greed, and gives a large percentage of the resources to a few, while the rest have to struggle. The rich aren’t evil, and they are not hated…its the excessive inequality and suffering that is hated.
      I know a few rich people, and they are just as nice as the poor people I know.

      • Dr Terry 3.4.1

        It is not the rich as such that we might hate, it is the fundamental attitudes and actions of so may of the rich that caring people hate. One has to generalise, for undoubtedly there are decent and generous rich people, but comparatively rare, I should think.

        This afternoon I had time only to glance at a lead article in the “Listener” which deeply sympathised with our “unfortunate” government with the “unsolvable” problem on its hands of the poor and hungry (long ago I cancelled my sub. to this rag). What, they wonder, could the government ever do, when these poor and beneficiaries are such a lousy, lamentable and blameworthy lot? They cause their own problems, therefore the government is helpless to improve anything.

        This is victimising victims in the extreme, and gives the government the “cop-out” that it will so much appreciate. I would not recommend the “Listener” to my worst enemy.

      • Vicky32 3.4.2

        The rich aren’t evil, and they are not hated…its the excessive inequality and suffering that is hated.

        Seconded! 🙂

    • BernyD 3.5

      “then the only reason you care so much is that you hate the rich”

      Poor people starve TightyRighty, they don’t give a shit about your money, they just want to stop starving.

      If you want abuse so much, then take out an add, you can afford it …

      Self centered childish attention seeker, seeks abuse from others cause I’m “soooo loonley”
      Have made a lifetime worth of bullshit choices and decisions, I have plenty too spare
      I love too foist my own personallity on others, everyone thinks like me, I just know it.

      Reply too: [email protected]
      No time wasters please.

    • KJT 3.6

      Jobs are provided because of demand.

      The rich are notably poor at providing jobs. http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/the-wealth-creator-myth-stealing.html

      Half the wealthy do not even pay any tax. Source IRD and MSD.

      Most of the tax is paid by people like me. Working class with valuable skills. Those of us who haven’t got sick of most of the money going to non productive parasites, like most of the wealthy, ( http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2011/08/it-is-not-their-money.html ) , and left for Australia.

      The fact is “the wealthy are so envious of the poor they are stealing what little they have left”.

      When the system is set up so a very few people steal ever increasing proportions of our societies production, in the long term society will fail for them also.

    • mike e 3.7

      tighty almighty good spin from another house or field maid.
      Darwinism Calvinism
      Undermining democracy by cynicism is why I call you the house maid.
      I don’t hate rich people but sharing and caring for the rest of society makes us all richer and live longer according to statistics.
      Poverty is a $ 6 to $10 billion drag on the economy and you being an economist (even though you got sucked in to the Chicago school model of exploitative economics where the individual only counts ) should be able to figure out that if we fixed this problem you pretend doesn’t exist we would not be 27th on the OECD list instead we would be in the top 5 countries .
      Simple minded people such as your redneck self are easily sucked in though and my sympathies are with you.You would be to scared to show your face in some of the suburbs where real poverty exists and see for your self if the problem is real or perceived.
      One example of what a successful welfare state can do John Key.The man who forgot how he got to where he is today.
      Another example is your narcissistic self for without a heavily subsidized education system would not be in a situation to pee freely down on the poor, trickle down economic otherwise known as Chicago school neo liberalism!

    • Draco T Bastard 3.8

      Despite the fact they provide the jobs…

      They don’t supply the jobs or create the wealth. The community does that. All the rich do is steal from the community. If we had a society that didn’t reward people for being rich then we wouldn’t have any poverty.

      If you can’t change what is human nature,

      But that’s just it. We can change it. In fact, throughout history there have been societies that didn’t have greed as the driving force as we do today. They were far more equal societies.

      In fact, this would indicate that what you would like to be unchangeable human nature isn’t.

      • weka 3.8.1

        It does beg the question of how to get from here to there though. Any historical examples of cultures that have shifted from greed to egalitarian? We’ve been doing greed for a long time now (the dominating culture).

        • Dr Terry 3.8.1.1

          Yes, weka, how about the Michael Joseph Savage government of 1935 for starters? It was indeed egalitarian in principle. Do your research, you will find numbers of similar examples in history.

          • weka 3.8.1.1.1

            Hi Terry, yes that govt did some good things, but egalitarianism is relative. I wonder how Maori feel about the idea that NZ society shifted from greed to equality in the 1930s.

            Still, I take your point. The best thing that could happen now is for us to have a sufficiently deep and long depression to make NZ wake up and get politicised.

            ” Do your research, you will find numbers of similar examples in history.”

            Well, I did ask here. I’m not sure your example is what I was meaning, but am open to hearing of others.

            • KJT 3.8.1.1.1.1

              Venezuela after they reversed the “lost decade”. An early example of the “success” of austerity.

              Norway is another country where citizens regained their country from a few wealthy thieves.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.8.1.1.2

            The 1st Labour government shows that we can start heading in the right direction. The following governments are proof that once we start we need to keep going else we end up with extremes of poverty and wealth with the majority being in poverty.

        • Colonial Viper 3.8.1.2

          Any historical examples of cultures that have shifted from greed to egalitarian?

          Yes, recent history too. However, guillotines were involved, and it was a pretty messy 50 year period.

    • Dr Terry 3.9

      You hardly have to explain which part of your anatomy is “Tighty”.

    • McFlock 3.10

      Accusing people who want to end poverty of “hating the rich” is like saying that people who want to end capital punishment “hate the living”.
             
      TR, people don’t hate you because you’re rich. If people do hate you, it’s most likely because you’re the sort of fuck-knuckle who says that kids going to school on one meal a day and without adequate shoes or wet-weather gear is only “relative” poverty that we can’t really do much about, not that you give a damn either way about the suffering of children. 

  4. David H 4

    “I know a few rich people, and they are just as nice as the poor people I know.”
    Really I know both rich and poor and I’ll tell you this. The rich that I know would let you starve or just walk past you even if you were bleeding on the footpath. But the poor, they would help in anyway they can. It’s not rich and poor, it’s the rich peoples attitude to their fellow man that’s appalling, it’s like they think they are better, and they deserve more of the pie, even though they don’t work any where as hard as the poor. And yet theirs is the first ticket held out to be clipped, usually with the biggest slice of the pie.

    • fatty 4.1

      Yes, that might often be true, but I think those ideals are created by a greed based system. Since we live in a context that forces us to push others down to get ahead, everyone will use whatever power we have to do it. Its just that rich people have so much more power at their disposal to do this. That’s why poor people are more likely to commit physical crimes, whereas rich people can commit their form of violence through economic means, and by perpetuating the widely accepted discourse of hatred of poor people.

      “it’s the rich peoples attitude to their fellow man that’s appalling”

      Yes, it is appalling…but a system that demands individual responsibility, greed and disdain of poor people is the real problem. Rich people are merely actors fulfilling their role. I’m not sure we can expect them to change if we don’t change the structure.

      • prism 4.1.1

        fatty 4.1
        Do you think that there is an aspect of a shame based system also – which overlies the welfare state that was set up to assist poorer people? So people should be ashamed to go on welfare which is the attitude of 19th century Britain which was one of the downward pressures that people were trying to escape when they came here. We are very judgmental I think – ready to find fault not look for a solution to fixing people’s problems.

        • fatty 4.1.1.1

          Yeah, for sure. The stigma of welfare has become overwhelming since the 1980s. The assumption of individual responsibility throughout our society has been one of the most devastating parts of neoliberalism. That’s why if we are going to have welfare, it should be a universal welfare system, not a residual one.
          The universal child benefit which was suggested lately was a good idea, because it eliminates the concept of deserving/undeserving. However, it was not surprising for Key to claim it was a dopey idea, because by eliminating our stigmatised welfare, the power that the rich gain from our current welfare system disappears.
          Our welfare system is defined and controlled by the rich for their purposes, and their purposes only. Just as our current form of biculturalism is defined and controlled by Pakeha. Current welfare/biculturalism do not help improve the basic statistics of poor/Maori…they do the opposite, and to make it worse, they ensure the blame is only to be directed at these subjugated groups!
          We spend so much money on our targeted welfare not to improve the economy, or ‘motivate’ undeserving people, it is done to perpetuate blame and stigma, the same kind of blame and stigma from 19th Century Britain – as you’ve highlighted. Beyond essentialising all welfare recipients as scammers, statements like “ripping off the system” suggest that our current system is morally sound and that poor people should thank the rich for the opportunity to live on the poverty line. Adequate welfare should be considered a human right, because it is. Being on welfare should be seen firstly as a failure of the system, even in 2003 when unemployment was at 3%. Its crazy to think that now with our unemployment rate so high we are still blaming the individual
          Its unsurprising that National foster the stigma of welfare recipients, and they are quite blatant about it. It is a shame that Labour do the same, and this is not just the painter on the roof story…I still consider third way ideology to push the concept of individual responsibility much too far. It would be nice if Labour began to frame unemployment benefit recipients as victims, because they have been since the 1980s. But that is a long way off, the stigmatisation of welfare is now so extreme that we apply it to mothers/fathers that should be forming a bond with their child.
          That’s how sick and demented New Zealand is.

        • Vicky32 4.1.1.2

          So people should be ashamed to go on welfare which is the attitude of 19th century Britain

          Not just Britain, and not just the 19th century.  My mother was a Scots-descended New Zealand born woman who refused (until we talked her into it) to apply for National Super, as she thought of it as charity…. although she’d spent the previous 4 or so years on a widow’s benefit after my father died, as her younger children were still only 12 and 14… I think the thinking was that the WB was for them, but the pension would be for her, and that would be charity! This was in 1978…

          • fatty 4.1.1.2.1

            The reference to 19th Century Britain refers to the new poor law. The concept of ‘deserving vs undeserving’ poor became entrenched. We moved away from that for a good part of the 20th Century, but its back in fashion now.
            Your Mother is a good example…its a shame its such a normalised perspective now.

  5. Blue 5

    “Humanitarian arguments for reducing poverty don’t seem to move the Nats at all. But alleviating poverty would save money. Will this economic argument get results?”

    Unfortunately, no. The right wing like to put it about that they are so concerned about the economy and saving money, but time and again they demonstrate that they actually care more about ideology than any other consideration.

    Their faith-based recipe is always the same, and no evidence will ever alter it.

    The prescription for the poor in a right-wing universe is that they must get jobs and then all will be well. No matter that their economic policies destroy jobs, and suppress wages. So then they say that the poor must educate and upskill themselves to get better jobs, all while their policies lift education further and further out of the reach of those who can least afford it.

    Then of course when all this fails they just smear the poor as being lazy, stupid, greedy and dishonest, and so undeserving of anything other than a further helping of punishment.

    • Olwyn 5.1

      I don’t think it is ideology at all that makes them indifferent to the actual economy. I think that the wealthiest backers of right wing parties simply want to own and control as many resources as possible. Any concessions they make to the actual economy are based on what they think they can get away with at any given point in time. It is not idealism that drives them but predation. Ideology is the province of their intellectual and PR flunkies, who write the rationalisations.

    • KJT 5.2

      Nothing to do with ideology. Their ideology is perfectly flexible. Whatever they can use with the gullible while suppressing dissent, to allow the continued theft of a common wealth.

      Watch the call for “freedom of association” when it involves getting rid of ordinary peoples collective power, while at the same time getting police to block the freedom to protest.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        Jobs are provided because of demand.

        Yeah one super rich prick can still only eat one dinner out a night and only needs to get one hair cut a month.

        10 well paid workers on the other hand means ten meals ordered from restaurants and 10 hair cuts done at hairdressers.

        • kiwi_prometheus 5.2.1.1

          Plus warm clothes and shoes for their kids.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1

            Sure. One super rich dude still only needs one ski pass, ten decently paid workers need ten. Super rich dude only gives the garage work for one WOF in a year (maybe two if he’s got two cars), the ten decently paid workers need twenty. And on it goes.

            • kiwi_prometheus 5.2.1.1.1.1

              I think you got me wrong.

              I was actually supporting the argument that more money to the workers means more economic benefit for the whole community/nation.

              Interest.co.nz has all the info of how the global rich have poured all their capital into government bonds in the stampede for a safe haven in a crisis, not into business activity. Apparently the big US corps are sitting on piles of cash too fearful to make investments that produce real economic activity and thus employment.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hi KP, no probs, that is what I took from your comments, I just continued in a similar vein with a couple more examples. Thanks for the clarification though.

  6. Those watching poverty will never end it.
    Poverty is endemic to capitalism.
    If you want to get rid of poverty you have to get rid of capitalism.
    Don’t leave it to the poor children, do it now.
     

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      +1

      Capitalism is the problem but can’t seem to get people to realise that yet.

      • kiwi_prometheus 6.1.1

        Capitalism is fine if it is within a frame work of capital distribution instead of capital accumulation.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          The heart of capitalism is capital accumulation. If it was about capital distribution then profit wouldn’t be considered so important.

          • blue leopard 6.1.1.1.1

            I agree with kiwi prometheus

            however unclear why you are discussing capitalism at all. Is what we have in actual fact capitalism?

            I understood capitalism to be when those with capital create the means of production.

            Now we have those with capital creating credit instruments whizzing through optic cables at high speed and only a very small percentage of capital is going into creating the means of production; those with capital appear to have lost interest in creating the producing things and appear more delighted with creating money with money…or strange forms of credit which make them appear rich on paper, yet if one were to try and evaluate what the real price of the strange deals they are making on paper…its anyone’s guess what their real worth is…if such worth is anything like the derivative instruments sold out of America prior to the “Mortgage” Criss, well, they probably aren’t worth the paper they aren’t written on…

            http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/04/16/the-terrible-cost-the-u-s-pays-for-derivatives/

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Is what we have in actual fact capitalism?

              Yes. The capitalists still own the means of production and control the resources. the problem comes as increased competition lowers the rate of profit and so the capitalists reach for the financial system and speculation to maintain and increase profits. This speculation inevitably brings down the financial system as real wealth production gets left behind by the amount of debt in circulation.

              I understood capitalism to be when those with capital create the means of production.

              Nope, it’s when they own the means of production. It’s other people who create it.

            • blue leopard 6.1.1.1.1.2

              “Nope, it’s when they own the means of production. It’s other people who create it.”
              Agree, much more accurate, thankyou for the correction

              Accuracy in discussion about political philosophy is important to achieve clarity of thought and sound resolutions, which is why I suggest that we are in need of a new label for what we have. Squanderism perhaps? Speculationism?

              Couldn’t it be argued that “people owning the means of production” is no longer central to what we have…well it kind of is to the functioning part of our society …yet any “organizational principle” is being sidelined by the derivatives market.

              Where profits used to go into more means of production now they go into gambling.
              Not quite what capitalism started out as.

              If there were a new label then perhaps more people would see and acknowledge what is really going on here.

              • Colonial Viper

                Accuracy in discussion about political philosophy is important to achieve clarity of thought and sound resolutions, which is why I suggest that we are in need of a new label for what we have. Squanderism perhaps? Speculationism?

                Blue Leopard. I suggest you watch at least a dozen episodes of the Keiser Report from this point on

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BaDbK9jFts

                The most accurate description I have been able to come up with – and really its thanks to Max Keiser – is

                Kleptocratic ponzi-based crony capitalism.

                In other words: it is a system of enrichment for a few via theft, using dishonest means to make it appear that investment wealth is being grown, run by a network of buddies for the network of buddies, using the mechanisms and appearance of what was once capitalism.

                In another note: in this system the “real economy” (and means of production) becomes a very small part of the overall economy. Especially when most of the globe’s ‘means of production’ are now located in $2/hr China. The big part of the economy are the highly leveraged financialised gaming systems which suck/cheat money from real people in the real economy into their own vortex and never release it again into wider circulation.

                Although most Americans don’t realise it, this is the heart of the “Wall St versus Main St” divergence of wealth.

                • kiwi_prometheus

                  “The most accurate description I have been able to come up with – and really its thanks to Max Keiser – is

                  Kleptocratic ponzi-based crony capitalism.”

                  Yeah I’ve watched Max Keiser from time to time, found his material via Bernard Hickeys interest.co.nz and Steven Keens debtdeflation.com.

                  Max is hypo, typical American style I suppose. Sometimes I think he is going to fall off his chair he gets that excited, lol.

                  “Especially when most of the globe’s ‘means of production’ are now located in $2/hr China.”

                  That was the big idea – send all the tedious dirty laborious activity to the 3rd World giving them a chance to start moving up the development curve. Meanwhile the West would transition to and enjoy the fruits of the Knowledge Economy, with Wall Street, Hong Kong, London City etc the hubs of financial services to the global economy. Lots of high paying finance and IT jobs for all of us 🙄 .

                • blue leopard

                  CV

                  Belated response

                  I agree with the description you provide of “Kleptocratic ponzi-based crony capitalism” Bloody good actually!

                  I am playing with ideas here and am suggesting that debating whether capitalism works or doesn’t leads to a missing of the real problem, in that we have a system that involves a whole other “kettle of fish” (futures markets, involving something like 20x the amount of credit flying around than world GDP) which all the standard arguments for and against capitalism miss.

                  My thoughts being that if there were a new label sans the word ‘capitalism,’ which more accurately reflected what is actually occurring-“production becoming a very small part of the overall economy”-then people would start asking ‘what does that word refer to?’ This would allow for the type of information that Max Keiser imparts to get into mainstream thinking and get the debate shifting toward something that will effect positive change

                  …rather than what we appear to have now, which is where all of us (multi-coloured) niggers and house niggers (Thanks Mr Harawira) are left scrapping over the leftovers…without even acknowledging that that is exactly what they are…left overs..i.e 10% or 5% of the “overall economy”

                  And although I very much respect the suggestions and activities of “Boreds” (below) I consider it very important that a dialogue is conducted regarding the system we have because otherwise it appears there is simply going to become more and more charity work required and increasingly less opportunity for people to actually generate their own livelihoods 🙁

              • Colonial Viper

                I’ll add a corollary. In Marx’s day, who ever owned the means of production, controlled the economy. That’s because Marx’s economy of the day was an extremely industrial resource based on.

                Our modern economy is a highly financialised ponzi economy. In such an economy, whoever owns and controls the institutions and mechanisms of high finance, debt and credit control the economy. Everyone else, including the useless politicians, are completely secondary.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.2

            DTB: it’s what is done with those profits which is critical. Are they reinvested in the business and the people? The community? Or is it simply hoarded in electronic accounts doing no good for actual people?

            Let’s use Apple as an example. It has sucked up money from communities around the world at such a prodigious rate it now as a US$117B cash reserve. That is money which has been removed from communities, and is now just sitting stagnant, not returning to those communities in any way, shape or form.

            US$117B would do a hell of a lot of good for people in real towns and cities around the world, instead of sitting parked in electronically stored financial instruments.

    • If you want to get rid of poverty you have to get rid of capitalism.

      See, now if only National would pick up on sensible, practical ideas like this to deal with child poverty. What’s wrong with them?

  7. Bored 7

    Lot of yarbling about getting rid of capitalism, etc etc above….all very good, meanwhile as the whole economic mess becomes toxic kids go to school hungry, old people go without.

    Lets encourage a little help: yesterday in the gale I sowed more crops which will have a surplus to give away. We instituted a charities box at work for the same purpose. I hate charity, it cuts over what should be a right, but nobody else is doing much, especially the gumint. Hoping a few more do a little something to take the edge off of the chill winds.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Thanks bored.

      What you are doing is exactly what people always do when they are able to … putting a little extra back into their community.

      What you are doing is a radical act. While personally I believe capitalism has it’s place, it’s not in the unregulated, greed takes all, neoliberal form that has been pushed onto us this last 30 years.

      What you are doing takes faith and courage because the modern state and the corporates have reserved the right to collective action for themselves. Leaving the ordinary people dispossessed and powerless.

      We were told to stop believing in ourselves and our ability to act collectively as communities to make a difference. We we told that only the ‘gummints’ and the ‘free market’ were capable of acting and as a result money became the only measure of value … everything of value has been either taxed or commercialised.

      Because while the contribution you are making may seem like pissing in the wind … but if most people did a little something then poverty would be a memory and our communities strong, safe and a lot more fun.

    • just saying 7.2

      In years gone by there have been so many occasions of gardeners trying to fob off their excesses onto other gardeners, and friends of gardeners who’ve already been fobbed-off on. For some reason keen gardeners have disproportionate numbers of friends and neighbours who are also keen gardeners.

      This year we are organised – seeds, seedlings and the overabundance of the fruit and veg they bring are going to be distrubuted to where they are most needed in the community. Mostly. Finger’s crossed.

      And we’ll only get bet better at organising these things over time.

      These sorts of things are never going to be enough and certainly won’t hold back the creeping tidal wave of hardship and, suffering, and need going unmet. But at least we can share amongst ourselves and in the process extend out the links between us and reinforce the existing ones. Which even as I write it feels and is hopelessly inadequate.

    • mike e 7.3

      +1 Bored

  8. Vicky32 8

    Thanks all above, howzabout this

    It’s jolly good! 🙂
    (At the very least, a good start..)

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