Rentier capitalism

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, March 24th, 2016 - 46 comments
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Tautoko Murray Edmonds’ comment yesterday on this Michael Hudson interview

This is an absolutely brilliant discussion of what contemporary economic theory SHOULD be all about, and why it is not (the main reason being that classical economic theory of the type that Key believes in, serves the 1% at the expense of the 99%).

It also shows why Andrew Little was right on the money in attacking the banks for not passing on interest rate reductions, and why Bernie Sanders is gaining so much support in the US. It’s time for a rethink.

46 comments on “Rentier capitalism”

  1. Phaedrus 1

    This interview between Michael Hudson and Chris Hedges is also worth watching.

    • saveNZ 1.1

      Thanks Phaedrus, great link.

      Really feel a transaction tax like Bernie Sanders advocates, greater regulation of stocks and a limit of profits brokers can make off it, tighter limits on profits from patents in particular medicine and a stamp duty on property (which is hard to evade) as well as making all corporations pay local taxes and tighten up loop holes would start to address these problems.

      Under TPPA the opposite will be happening.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      In that Hudson points out how privatisation increases GDP but doesn’t increase wealth. Instead, it simply charges more for the same service.

      • saveNZ 1.2.1

        Shocker about how Goldman sacs took over the parking in the city of Chicago when the council got into debt.

        Before you knew it, the citizens of Chicago was paying Goldman Sacs to park, to have a parade down the city streets etc. The cost of doing business in Chicago was increased and so forth.

        Privitisation of parking is one of NZ’s favourite ways to make money off ordinary Kiwis.

        When it costs something like $50 to park for 3 hours in some parts of Auckland (as much as the minimum wage just to PARK per hour in some cases) we know the cost of living in Auckland is too high and privitisation is unsustainable vs wages.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          Privitisation of parking is one of NZ’s favourite ways to make money off ordinary Kiwis.

          When you really look into cars there’s a lot of people making a lot of money by costing us all more. These people will tell us that public transport costs more but what they really mean is that they won’t make as much profit if people use the cheaper option.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Hedges is a brilliant man. (Hudson too).

  2. johnm 2

    Yes, have just read this interview on Counterpunch. Recommend for anyone who wants to understand the FIRE sector’s parasitism on modern societies. Key made his 50mill filthy lucre pile this way and is busy stuffing NZ along the same lines. In his defence he doesn’t know any other way.

  3. Murray Simmonds 3

    Johnm:

    “In his defence he doesn’t know any other way.”

    I agree that he MAY not know any other way. However that is not a defense, its a lazy copout. It is everyone’s duty to “keep up to date with the literature” and with contemporary ideas. Especially if you are something like a PM.

    He has professional advisors to keep him up to date – that’s what they are paid for.

    So its not that he doesn’t know any other way, but more that he doesn’t WANT to know any other way. OR, if he does know the truth about why classical economic theory is such a mess, he’s doing his best to hide that truth from us.

    Of these various inferences, I think I’ll stick with the latter in the absence of any real evidence either way.

    And Phaedrus, thanks for the You-tube link. I watched it with interest, but I think Mike Hudson really presents his insights much more convincingly on paper than in a TV interview.

    “Tautuko Murray . . . . .” i’m flattered by the term ‘Tautuko”, thank you Mike Smith (though I must confess, I had to look up its meaning.)

  4. Olwyn 4

    Thank you both, Mike Smith and Murray Simmonds, for drawing attention to this excellent article. It really shows us what we are up against. What is says to me is that we desperately need an extra-parliamentary left wing movement. You can see, with the rise of people like Sanders, Corbyn and DiEM, that their grip on the message is weakening (I suspect that C & T now provides less of a winning formula than they once did), but their grip on the levers of power is still strong.

    In light of this article, and what we have seen happen elsewhere, we cannot expect parties of the left to just rock up to parliament with an acceptable set of policies and implement them. The most we can ask is that they take our side rather than theirs, that they show commitment and imagination, and that they seize advantage, on our behalf, where they can. This is about ground, as in war, and the rules since the 80’s have been that they are allowed to take ground and we are allowed to implement a few of our little policies within the ground that remains. Up until 2008 that was more or less OK, but they have since taken too much ground for a meaningful left to be able to function as such. That is why we need a left wing movement – to at least push back against them from outside of parliament.

    • Bill 4.1

      I’d like to suggest that the ground you speak of is all sand. As such, they (who-ever) can have it.

      Rather than a resurgent left seeking to push any parliamentary representatives this way or that way in the sand, I’d rather see a left begin to lay the foundations of a viable, sustainable and democratic society ‘over there’ on solid ground.

      I’m saying that from the perspective that the parties within parliament who have called themselves ‘left’ are in reality statist in nature, and as such, really don’t have, and have never had, anything to offer to the left.

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        You might need a bit of both, unless you are convinced that the current power structures will simply disintegrate, and not switch to new, equally effective, modes of oppression.

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          Yeah, fair call. This and that.

          It would just be nice if people were under no illusions about what can and cannot be delivered by parliamentary means. It was an old argument on the left that the left lost. Seems to me it might be coming up for debate again. What a shame and a bastard it would be, if we allowed the same wool to pulled over our eyes again.

    • AmaKiwi 4.2

      The excellent article offers some great election campaign ideas without the need to put forward specific proposals for Nact to tear apart with sarcasm and their MSM co-conspirators.

      1. The Left could campaign on the distinction between productive versus unproductive loans and investments. This would be a powerful message, especially applied to foreign investors. This was an old NZ tradition. Forty years ago NZ business immigration required a business migrant to make the case that their investment would increase exports.

      2. Our 4 children all pay mortgages. The difference is some of them own their houses and some rent. The renters are paying the LANDLORD’s mortgage. A Left government could offer a rent-to-buy scheme. You rent but if you decide to eventually purchase the property the rent you have paid is applied to the purchase price of the house.

      3. “Financial parasites” is a damning phrase which should become part of the Left’s campaign lexicon. You don’t need to name them. We know who they are!

      4. Finally, Hudson makes clear why EVERY Left politician should be damning of TPPA. Read Hudson’s interview, Goff and Shearer.

      • AmaKiwi 4.2.1

        One more Left campaign suggestion.

        Without being specific, imply that lenders should take some of the losses on bad loans. I would NOT outline a specific policy before the election or it will be torn to shreds by the bank lobby. I would hint at it.

        This is one of Key’s great strategies. He does not make specific campaign proposals unless he knows they will be widely popular, like Winston Peters’ Super Gold Card.

        Once in office we get slammed with new legislation that was only subtly hinted at in the campaign.

  5. Bill 5

    That was a very comprehensive description of current market economics and much else besides Mike. Thanks. A lot of stuff in there.

    So Michael Hudson – to summarise – argues we’re on a downward spiral that is propelled by the financial sector creating debt that we all must repay back to the financial sector. And his message to the ‘youth of America’ is that there will either be a revolution or that they will starve (because the parasite [the financial sector] will starve the host [the productive sector]).

    He never seems to get to grips with any actual solution though. If various institutions are replaced or reset (eg IMF or World Bank) and if the financial sector in reigned in through, say, governments taking full control of central banking again and the government then creating money rather than private banking institutions creating money and debt and compound interest and all the rest of it, then…we’ll just wind up back where we are today after a time.

    I think Hudson’s blind spot is the notion that business (economic activity) can only occur in the presence of a profit motive. The problem with that (aside from the misanthropy that it promotes and rewards) is that with profit comes power and with power comes influence and…winding up back where we are today.

    But what if we were to have a democratic economy? What if production and distribution were both determined via democratic procedures or mechanisms rather than simply being informed by likely profit? What if profit was removed from the equation all together? It’s a bad mechanism. It’s one that has proven itself to be hugely destructive; it creates rampant poverty, it drives climate change, it blights millions and millions of lives and has decimated communities and entire cultures.

    I don’t think a rethink is necessary. I reckon a simple bit of remembering will do the trick. Remember what socialism was all about before the concept got taken and utterly trashed by, what Lenin’s socialist contemporaries slated or dismissed as the state capitalist project of the Bolsheviks?

    I liked Hudson’s descriptions and analysis. It made sense. Shame he can’t seem to see past profit to the solution that lies in substantive economic and political democracy.

  6. Murray Simmonds 6

    Bill:

    I think you are being a bit hard on the man. Michael Hudson is an academic economist. That means he’s paid to teach and to write and to think about things economic, and he does so extremely well in my opinion.

    He doesn’t claim to have all the answers and to expect him to have them is unrealistic. Besides, he’s still relatively young, so he has time on his side, hopefully.

    Whatever eventually falls out of the economic mess that currently faces the world, it is unlikely IMO to be a re-vamp of the present system with its present institutions replaced by new, and hopefully less-corrupt versions of what we have already – at least I hope not. Because If so, then the corrupt old-world order will simply have won once again.

    There’s a section in the article about how he has tried to change the direction of Russian and Chinese economics, which he laments has not been successful to date.

    But at least he clearly sees the problem for what it it, and articulates his insights in a way that all of us can understand.

    For me, that represents BIG progress, even if some here will accuse me of being naive.

    The first rule of battle: “Know the enemy”.

    • Bill 6.1

      Didn’t mean to be hard on him. Like I wrote, I found the whole descriptive analysis comprehensive and informative. But on solutions he comes up short, I mean, he calls (quite rightly imo) for revolution but fails to name the principle feature of our economy that has brought us to where we are today; namely, the profit motive.

      To my way of thinking, unless that motive is removed from our economy, we’ll wind up right on back where we are. To remove it would require that the economy and everything else associated with society is subjected to meaningful (ie – substantive) systems of democratic governance. (Command economies are not something anyone would ever want to see again – surely)

      • s y d 6.1.1

        I’m not sure that ‘profit motive’ is quite the right term – not trying to be pedantic – but I think there is an element of human nature to want some kind of a return or reward for effort, be it a smile, a thank you, food, shelter, applause, wages or whatever….Perhaps the principle feature of our current system that causes all the problems isn’t so much a ‘profit motive’ but that there are rewards that aren’t actually earned, but are rather taken from others (people, nature, the commons or whatever)…..or perhaps that there are costs associated with certain things that are never reconciled against the rewards.

        • Bill 6.1.1.1

          When I talk of the profit motive, I’m talking in monetary terms. Everyone knows that profit, above a certain level, translates into both economic and political power and influence.

          In an every day context, it more or less dictates that one should seek to buy at the lowest rate and sell at the highest – ie, that everyone should angle to rip everyone off.

          And if you don’t rip people off, then you ain’t going to be making a profit and so, in the normal economic scheme of things, you’re dead burger.

  7. Ad 7

    A different kind of capitalism, almost as beholden to banks as real estate, is represented by Fonterra. Waikato’s Professor Rowarth does a good job below:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11611251

    Her particular point that the New Zealand dairy comparative advantage of high animal welfare, grass-fed cows, high environmental standards, and high national branding image, is simply not supported by Fonterra into competitive advantage. That bulk powder is simply never going to work here, and doesn’t support what we do well.

    Fran O’Sullivan also points the bleeding obvious that Fonterra have spectacularly misjudged the global milk forecast and in doing so done massive damage to our economy.

    My advice to Andrew Little: dump yesterday’s 10-big-ideas list and put this out there: Labour will do to Fonterra what it did to Telecom:

    – smash its near-monopoly
    – restructure its legislation including requiring a value-added focus, and make it attend all the Select Committee hearings
    – threaten government statutory management unless its return to the economy improves massively
    – make its domestic price subject to the Commerce Commission
    …. and generally hold it by the short and curlies until it really apologizes to New Zealand, accepts that it will have this degree of direct oversight for stuffing up so often, and shows us all that it has improved.

  8. johnm 8

    I really truly despair over the dumbed down brain dead kiwi society. Here is a revolutionary insight into the predatory crimanility of the current set up and it just gets a yawn! Just blow your brains out and join the rest of the smirking idiots.

    Michael Hudson: The financial sector today is decoupled from industrialization. Its main interface with industry is to provide credit to corporate raiders. Their objective isasset stripping, They use earnings to repay financial backers (usually junk-bond holders), not to increase production. The effect is to suck income from the company and from the economy to pay financial elites.

    These elites play the role today that landlords played under feudalism. They levy interest and financial fees that are like a tax, to support what the classical economists called “unproductive activity.” That is what I mean by “parasitic.”

    The financial sector does something similar by pretending to be part of the industrial production-and-consumption economy. The National Income and Product Accounts treat the interest, profits and other revenue that Wall Street extracts – along with that of the rentier sectors it backs (real estate landlordship, natural resource extraction and monopolies) – as if these activities add to Gross Domestic Product. The reality is that they are a subtrahend, a transfer payment from the “real” economy to the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Sector. I therefore focus on this FIRE sector as the main form of economic overhead that financialized economies have to carry.

    What this means in the most general economic terms is that finance and property ownership claims are not “factors of production.” They are external to the production process. But they extract income from the “real” economy.

    MH: The financial overhead has grown so large that paying interest, amortization and fees shrinks the economy. So we are in for years of debt deflation. That means that people have to pay so much debt service for mortgages, credit cards, student loans, bank loans and other obligations
    2KillingTheHost_Cover_rulethat they have less to spend on goods and services. So markets shrink. New investment and employment fall off, and the economy is falls into a downward spiral.

    My book therefore devotes a chapter to describing how debt deflation works. The result is a slow crash. The economy just gets poorer and poorer. More debtors default, and their property is transferred to creditors. This happens not only with homeowners who fall into arrears, but also corporations and even governments. Ireland and Greece are examples of the kind of future in store for us.

    Financialized economies tend to polarize between creditors and debtors. This is the dynamic that Thomas Piketty leaves out of his book, but his statistics show that all growth in income and nearly all growth in wealth or net worth has accrued to the One Percent, almost nothing for the 99 Percent.

    Basically, you can think of the economy as the One Percent getting the 99 Percent increasingly into debt, and siphoning off as interest payments and other financial charges whatever labor or business earns. The more a family earns, for instance, the more it can borrow to buy a nicer home in a better neighborhood – on mortgage. The rising price of housing ends up being paid to the bank – and over the course of a 30-year mortgage, the banker receives more in interest than the seller gets.

    Economic polarization is also occurring between creditor and debtor nations. This issplitting the eurozone between Germany, France and the Netherlands in the creditor camp, against Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy (the PIIGS) falling deeper into debt, unemployment and austerity – followed by emigration and capital flight.

    This domestic and international polarization will continue until there is a political fight to resist the creditors. Debtors will seek to cancel their debts. Creditors will try to collect, and the more they succeed, the more they will impoverish the economy.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/23/junk-economics-and-the-parasites-of-global-finance/

    • Ad 8.1

      There is no motivation in our society to admit of the truth of rentier capitalism.

      It props up most of our economy, and dictates how the majority of New Zealanders will have a successful retirement.

      The closest here you will get to analysis with much bite is the Reserve Bank – particularly its ‘stress test’ from last week. The Reserve Bank are our default economic leadership.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        There is no motivation in our society to admit of the truth of rentier capitalism.

        It props up most of our economy, and dictates how the majority of New Zealanders will have a successful retirement.

        A perfect description of Kiwisaver.

        Which, of course, proves that Labour aren’t any good at economics either.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Basically, you can think of the economy as the One Percent getting the 99 Percent increasingly into debt, and siphoning off as interest payments and other financial charges whatever labor or business earns.

      QFT

      The financial system is nothing less than a vampire sucking the life out of the rest of us.

      • NZJester 8.2.1

        The financial system is nothing less than a vampire sucking the life out of the rest of us.

        I like that Vampire label rather than leach name others use for them as it does suit them better. Vampires do have that way of hypnotizing you so you do not notice them draining all the blood from your body if you are feeble minded. You tend to notice leaches and burn them off.

        • Murray Simmonds 8.2.1.1

          Michael Hudson uses the analogy of a parasite – which I think is more apt than either a vampire or a leech. (OK – a leech is an external parasite – Hudson is talking about internal parasites, like a tapeworm. He cleverly ties it up with the notion that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”). Quote:

          “To return to my use of the word parasite, any exploitation or “free lunch” implies a host. . . .

          At least in nature “smart” parasites may perform helpful functions, such as helping their host find food. But as the host weakens, the parasite lays eggs, which hatch and devour the host, killing it. That is what predatory finance is doing to today’s economies. It’s stripping assets, not permitting growth or even letting the economy replenish itself.

          The most important aspect of parasitism that I emphasize is the need of parasites to control the host’s brain. In nature, a parasite first dulls the host’s awareness that it is being attacked. Then, the free luncher produces enzymes that control the host’s brain and make it think that it should protect the parasite – that the outsider is part of its own body, even like a baby to be specially protected.

          The financial sector does something similar by pretending to be part of the industrial production-and-consumption economy. “

    • pat 8.3

      bloody good link…..we (NZ) could point out the emperor has no clothes but I know (fear) if we developed a truly classical economic system here, and removed the rentiers we would be shut out from all international trade (and despite what some on here say we must trade at some level)….and war of one sort or another would be waged upon us by the one percent and all they control.

      It also places a new light on the likes of AI , robotics and climate change….for the one percent.

  9. Wainwright 9

    I don’t know, Labour’s Twitter account seems to think we still have to have a debate about the bleeding obvious

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Labour have been integral to the dumbing down of the NZ public.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Yeah, NZ media is pretty shocking. And so people kind of stop listening. In terms of politics, that means disengagement from ‘accepted’ parliamentary processes (the ‘missing million’) and an air of cynicism and resignation from many others besides.

        Does that mean that the public are ‘dumbed down’? Not necessarily. It just means that when stuff that parliamentarians think to be important is put out there, no-one cares.

        True, that political parties have joined the ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of messaging. Examples from both sides of the house abound.

        Imagine though, what happens when a worth while message comes from ‘left field’. The media no longer controls any narrative that anyone actually cares about. All they have done is discredit themselves. The same could be said for all and any institution or party that has joined the dizzy media inspired downward spiral.

        So the message that resonates will not be contained or shut down. Look (again) at Corbyn, Sturgeon, Sanders…the media have been ropeable, but the people who didn’t really give a shit about what the media were reporting, continued to not give a shit about what the media were reporting.

        This ‘dumbing down’ is only on the institutional side of the fence and as such, the the gates have been thrown wide open. A direction articulated, and we’re gone.

    • The lost sheep 9.2

      Labour tweet – ‘The real issue is whether capitalism benefits society as a whole or a small group at the top.’

      The original Robert Reich quote – “The real issue isn’t capitalism versus some other ‘ism.’ The real issue is whether capitalism is organized for the benefit of the society as a whole or for the benefit of a small group at the top. That’s really what we ought to be debating.”

      So is it bleedingly obvious what the Labour tweet means?
      Are they saying the issue is capitalism itself, or the way we organise it?

      • Wainwright 9.2.1

        Capitalism in of itself will always benefit the small group at the top. That’s the point. Might as well ask if we should ‘organize’ the sun to rise in the west.

  10. greywarshark 11

    Who is Tautoko Murray Edmonds? And where can Edmonds’ previous comment about Michael Hudson be found? Has he got his own blog? Can we have a link?

    • Murray Simmonds 11.1

      greyrawshark

      Errr . . . I think that might’ve been me. I made a comment and provided the link to Michael Hudson’s interview in an earlier posting on “The Standard” this week. That comment is identical to the comment and link posted by Mike Smith above and attributed to Tautoko Murray Edmonds.

      Where the “Tautuko” and the “Edmonds” bits came from I’ve no idea; you’d have to ask Mike Smith that.

      The only thing that matters to me is the message (i.e. Michael Hudson’s excellent interview) – and whether or not other people read it – I don’t really care whether my comment is correctly attributed or not.

      I’ll see if I can find my original comment . . . . .

  11. Murray Simmonds 12

    greyrawshark

    yeah, here it is . . . Comment #6 on the article “The media treatment of Labour’s UBI discussion paper”. Posted by MickySavage on March 24.

    (just for the sake of “closure”.)

  12. Murray Simmonds 14

    Thanks for the links, greyrwarshark and pat.

    I’m trying to gather together and publicise as much literature as I can that essentially debunks classical economic theory. Those two links help with that.

    Essentially, the planet needs to formulate and develop a totally new economic approach in my opinion. Hopefully that new approach might allow us to rise from the ashes of the next GFC with an ALTERNATIVE approach to current global economic policy – an approach that throws out the old classical economic theory that has failed all but the one-percenters, and which stands some hope of creating an economic system that works for all, and not just the 1%.

    Otherwise, post GFC2, we’ll simply be back where we started all over again, with classical economic theory, which should have been debunked years ago, still serving as the handmaiden of the 1%.

    The interview with Michael Hudson was the most incisive and most complete summary of whats wrong with the present system that i’ve read so far.

    p.s. greywarshark – my apologies for mis-spelling your name in a couple of earier comments.

  13. greywarshark 15

    @Murray Simmonds
    No worries. Your mispelling didn’t amount to someone else’s name as with Mike Smith’s error.
    You are doing a great job with the others in the Band of Musketeers who mount heavy assaults on this dreadful economic dictatorship globally. Can you pop over to Bowalley Road regularly as I always read there now, and then I won’t miss your comments?

  14. Smilin 16

    Heres a bit of basic logic. Fonterra has known ever since it hit the top trader spot in the international milk market that the day would come when its competitors would catch up and reduce their market share
    It has billions tied up in corporations in the world, money that we dont get to use in this country because when they floated shares they also bought in international rules of commerce run by the money market controllers so that the co op became secondary in financial terms in other words a sophisticated ponzi ripoff of NZ
    Try and prove it or get the money owed back here and you have a can of worms stretching from China to South America and to London
    This the fucken stupidity of being forced to give up your best card
    Fonterra has billions that doesnt even see the NZ economy just like all the other corporation extracting billions from our economy ,tobacco companies, property developers, the american fast foods and other kiwi firms who have survived by the govt allowing so called investment in from overseas corporations basically propping up the poverty created by the military industrial complex the unregistered global corporation of the five eyes or a bunch of fives in your eyes if you dare to question their validity
    The corruption doesnt need a degree from university to work out. What have we for a govt is another bunch of folders to a system selling the carrots of affluence in place of what is the real wealth of this country the fact that for years we had a very conservative society born out of the cost of isolation so it learnt to save and preserve its assets and environment until the sellout crap began here when the gold standard became the oil standard and all the political puppets we have had running our country since, none of them are excused .Slaves to US foreign policy and the European monarchists and the rest of them who now control this country

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    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    2 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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