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Social Democratic Economy: Part 2

Written By: - Date published: 4:25 pm, September 27th, 2012 - 32 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Economy - Tags:

When I first started studying economics at Uni the tutor told us that:-

Economics is the study of the distribution of scarce resources

This seems reasonable but then we started studying the distribution of money and how to make a profit which didn’t. Resources are limited and proper distribution is needed but the drive for profit has left us with massive inequality, overuse of resources and Anthropogenic Climate Change that has us heading for the first (and possibly the last) Anthropogenic Extinction Level Event. The only possible conclusion from these facts is that the present socio-economic system that we use, namely Free Market Capitalism, is a failure.

When thinking about the economy and how it works I realised I had to go back to basics as almost everything that’s taught about economics in the mainstream theories is bollocks – most of its assumptions aren’t even close to being realistic. This led me to two questions:

  1. What is the economy and
  2. What is the purpose of the economy

The Economy

Absolute Resource Base: The resources the nation has in it’s borders and EEZ such as minerals, water, fish, land etc. These numbers will change over time as better methods of counting are developed and resources are used.

Renewable Resource Base: The resources that the nation has in it’s borders that it can use indefinitely. This is the amount that can be used year on year as it’s replaced by the natural cycles of the ecosystem (i.e. limited to what the environment can clean up, the limited amount of water available etc), what can be recycled and electrical power through renewable generation. ATM we have no idea as to what this is in respect to NZ but we know that, in many places, we’ve gone beyond it as the pollution of our streams, rivers and lakes by farm run-off proves.

These are broad categories and each would probably break down into dozens of individual items which I’m not even speculating about ATM. The most important consideration here is the Renewable Resource Base as it’s limited within any time period (the most likely measure would be a year). Contrary to what economists have been telling us for the last couple of centuries the economy really is a Zero Sum Game as what we are able to do is dependent upon the resources available to us and what’s available to us is the Renewable Resource Base. Going beyond that will, inevitably, force a collapse upon society when resources run dry.

Now, what we can do with the Renewable Resource Base is the economy and can change due to increased knowledge and better processes. A good example of such a change would be changing the cold houses that make up most of NZ housing stock by improving their insulation or replacing them with houses that meet or exceed the Passive House Standard. Such a change would, effectively, increase the amount of power available to us without having to build more generating capacity by decreasing the amount of power used and thus allow us to do other things with that power such as power trains or run more factories. It is this point that seems to confuse economists and others into thinking that the economy isn’t a Zero Sum Game but this is wrong as we’re still limited to the Renewable Resource Base as such efficiency gains aren’t infinite, at some point increasing efficiency costs more than the resources saved from that efficiency.

These limits are an inescapable physical constraint.

Purpose

The purpose of a societies economy is simply to provide everyone within that society with the resources necessary to maintain a good living standard, to engage with their society and with rich and rewarding work. Simply stated, not so simple to address in what it actually means. Here’s some thoughts on the matter:

Living Standard:

  1. A healthy place to live in, a home
  2. A healthy and safe environment to live in
  3. A healthy and active community with the resources to be active within that community
  4. Healthy and diverse food on the table
  5. A fast and reliable internet connection
  6. At least one computer in the house and possibly as many as one per individual (In fact I like the idea of giving school kids in year 5 a pad)
  7. Plenty of leisure time

Some will question the need for the internet and PC but it is this technology that will help people to have more say in the governance of their community and country and help to connect with other people of like mind so I see both as essential. This is a minimum standard and so even those who aren’t working (preferably nobody) will have these available to them.

Work:

Work is the hardest one to define. It really needs to be of interest to the person doing it else they tend not to engage with what they’re doing and so aren’t creative within that sphere. Some will complain What if they just want to be surfers? But that brings up two points:

  1. Apparently some people make a good living surfing because a lot more people like to watch thus meaning that surfing is, as a matter of fact, of value to society and
  2. There’s the story of the unemployed surfer out at Piha (IIRC, It was in the Western Leader in the early 1990s, possibly before Ruth Richardson’s MOAB) who couldn’t afford a new board and so he made his own – and then got orders to make more and became a successful board maker

The story of the board maker is the story of why the basic income of people needs to be higher than what is presently paid on the unemployment benefit. ATM, the unemployment benefit is slightly less than enough to support a subsistence level living standard actively preventing the entrepreneurialism that we see in the board maker -€“ the entrepreneurialism that we want to encourage and that can only come about if people have access to resources.

Some things though, need more than a single person and the resources that that person has to create and so we also need to encourage and broaden peoples networking which is another use for having a PC and internet connection in every house that will allow people of the same interests to connect with each other and thus take a cooperative and creative approach to researching and producing what they want to produce.

The first part of the economy’s purpose provides enough so that people are free to choose the work that they want to do. That they are not forced through poverty and deprivation to do that which they don’t want to do. It also provides them with enough, either individually or as a cooperative, so that they can create their own work.

Draco T Bastard

Also see Part One

32 comments on “Social Democratic Economy: Part 2 ”

  1. karol 1

    I’m not very knowledgeable about economics, especially when it gets down to finer details.

    But it has always seemed to me that economic policies should first serve the kind of society you want, and not start with “wealth creation” and “growth”. So, I do like this principle:

    The purpose of a societies economy is simply to provide everyone within that society with the resources necessary to maintain a good living standard, to engage with their society and with rich and rewarding work.

    What about some resources being community based, rather than necessarily household based? e.g. computers and internet connections?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      What about some resources being community based, rather than necessarily household based?

      I suspect it would be a combination of the two. Larger capital expenditure such as research facilities/libraries would be community based.

  2. johnm 2

    Neoliberalism completely ignores, hoping it will disappear, a concept that’ll die in the outer cold, the public taught that it doesn’t exist, the fundamental basis of happy and sustainable societies, The Common Good. Rather it clings to competition which leads to an ever increasing Income and Wealth disparity, exploiting the environment mercilessly along the way, which leads to social instability and collapse eventually. This is now happening where ordinary people are having their living standards destroyed by the financial greed machine determined to extract as much fiat interest garbage out of the people it can get away with. But The Common Good hasn’t really gone away and if we want a decent future instead of neofeudalism we must enshrine this economic, social, political concept again! Or Else! 🙂

  3. Bored 3

    Bloody hell Draco, where to start? I love the quote “Economics is the study of the distribution of scarce resources”….on which basis you have a paragraph saying that over use of resources is heading us towards an anthropogenic extinction event. You then go to condemn free market capitalism as a failure.

    Before the RWNJs do it for us I will point out that burning oil, over using resources etc is our modern industrial equivalent of Easter Island tree burning, we would do it whatever the industrial system was (socialist or capitalist). The Aral Sea springs to mind….Soviet factories were fueled by fossil fuels.

    With the free market….yes it is very good at doing the scarce resource use, and excellent at distributing it to those who claim ownership. It works very well for those few people. It does not fail them. Just fails the rest of us……..

    All good otherwise except I am not so sure the internet and computing have as long a shelf life as others assume.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      You then go to condemn free market capitalism as a failure.

      Of course I do as free-market capitalism is the major cause of the over use of resources.

      Before the RWNJs do it for us I will point out that burning oil, over using resources etc is our modern industrial equivalent of Easter Island tree burning, we would do it whatever the industrial system was (socialist or capitalist).

      I don’t think so if we knew the limits of the resource base available to us which is why I defined the Renewable Resource Base. One we know the physical limits that the we need to live within then we can make rational decisions about how to use those resources. Both capitalism and nineteenth century socialism have always looked to more resource us to make society richer which really is just a euphemism for having more money which always seems to end up in the hands of the few.

      The Aral Sea springs to mind….Soviet factories were fueled by fossil fuels.

      The Aral Sea is a great example of doing something without knowing its full effect. In fact, I’d say that it’s an example along the same lines as anthropogenic climate change. Factories don’t have to be fuelled by fossil fuels – renewable power generation works just fine.

      All good otherwise except I am not so sure the internet and computing have as long a shelf life as others assume.

      They’ll continue as long as we have the resources and skills to make them and they’re not about to disappear.

      • Bored 3.1.1

        I think we are on the same wavelength Draco, I really wanted to make the point that resources being used unwisely is as much part of the human condition as a result of a particular “ism”. You quite rightly point out that once the problem is known you should stop: which as you say neo libs are incapable of doing.

        I think the interesting (and brave) thing about what you are trying to write is that you are doing it, well done. I myself are unsure that social democracy will get us there but for want of a better alternative (and in the face of worse scenarios) I will come along for the ride.

        On the longer term general availability of computers and internet I want to be wrong: I will be disappointed and deeply distressed when I am right,

        • Jokerman 3.1.1.1

          bet ya not “bored” now?

          🙂

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2

          Bored:

          On the longer term general availability of computers and internet I want to be wrong: I will be disappointed and deeply distressed when I am right,

          There is going to be a huge trade in fixing up old computers and canabalising others for parts, in the future.

          The internet will be around in some form for a very long time I believe, but the massive amounts of bandwidth and cloud storage many are used to or are expecting may not be.

          And remember, the internet is quite a different thing from the world wide web.

          The internet can run quite happily on much less resources and energy input than is needed today to support the web.

          Can’t wait for John Michael Greer to come back from holiday haha.

      • karol 3.1.2

        They’ll continue as long as we have the resources and skills to make them and they’re not about to disappear.

        I think the future will involve some mix of old, low tech, low-resourced technologies mixed with digital capabilities and recycled waste. Kind of what I was thinking of with my latest gravatar. First I was looking at images of steam punk keyboards. But they are too dark, fiddly and indistinct for a small avatar. And steam technology isn’t great for the environment and resource base.

        In the end I just opted for a clear image of an old fashioned typewriter – back to the future. New technologies meet old tech.

    • Lou 3.2

      If we collectively ‘let go’ of our consumerist ideals forced on us by higher powers and stopped feeling the pressure to own our own overinflated houses and cars, we could see clearer and possible shift our voting power to a shared (MMP) govt that was more thoughtful about environmental and people issues before money making issues – eventually we’d all use less resources.

  4. BloodyOrphan 4

    Why haven’t we regulated ?
    (I’m fairly sure it’s cause they are being told not too, and old spineless can’t say no)

  5. Richard 5

    This treatise on how to construct a better society is such a laugh, keep it coming!

    P.s. your argument for higher benefits on the basis that this would free up capital for entrepreneurship is possibly the best joke I’ve heard all day. 1) It disincentivses entrepreneurship by decreasing the relative benefit of working for a living 2) It ignores the fact that in the majority of circumstances an entrepreneur with a good idea could simply needs to convince someone to fund them – if you make good surf boards, just ask for payment of material costs in advance. If you have a demonstrably quality product, this is not hard. 3) Most of the additional money will actually be spent on consumption, making this policy ridiculously indirect 4) If you want to encourage entrepreneurship, why not have the government make available small low interest loans? Oh that’s right, because this is actually just a lame excuse for increasing welfare.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      NZ lenders and investors are exceedingly conservative. It is far far easier to get a $500K loan for a non-productive asset like a house than it is to start a new business.

      I’m afraid there are a lot of real world realities you glossed over.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      1) Actually, it does the exact opposite. A Universal Income, which is what I’m specifically talking about, is far better than the ~70% marginal tax rate that we have going from a benefit to work now.
      2.) Convincing someone to fund them requires being able to pay interest which is a prime cause of present the failing of the economy, need to know the hoops and loops of getting your way through the laws and, quite often, you also need the social connections.
      3.) Oh noes, people might have money enough to spend and so encourage people to look for ways to make the spending happen in their direction. What was your problem again?
      4.) Actually, I’d have the government make 0% interest loans available. As to you’re whinge, no, really, it isn’t. It really is about giving people the resources needed to be creative.

      • xtasy 5.2.1

        Warming for Gareth Morgan’s ideas, are you? I cannot agree with a fair bit he suggess, but with a minimum community wage and so, he has some “revolutionary” ideas, the present polticians appear to be unable to cope with.

        • Lou 5.2.1.1

          Redistribution of ‘tax’ (esp to address rich/poor gaps) is not ‘revolutionary’, it founded our country and earliest governments.

    • xtasy 5.3

      Richard: I admit the examples here may appear to be a bit “simplistic” and unconvincing to you. It may also not have been welll explained what the issues are. Really what my and other person’s concern is to find a healthy, fair balance, between people’s need to work, contribute, to be part of enterprising activity, and at the same time get the income, housing, welfare, health service and what else is needed in a decent, modern, humane society.

      Now if I may just refer to history a bit, it was after the last great war, that most “developed” and also less “developed” countries all over the world experienced sound economic activity and growth. There was construction, industrial output, increased transport and trade, more consumption and the works. This happened in ALL societies, east and west, capitalist, semi capitalist and socialist.

      You also had a country like the USSR send space ships into the sphere up there.

      Of course there were differences, of course the “east” and pseudo “communist” or “socialist” countries were technoligically struggling. But bear in mind the fact, that they were never allowed free exchange of trade and other values, they were also treated as the big enemy, so their dictatorial ruleers decided to spend more on defence than anything else, neglecting other development. It was maybe more the not truly labour focused and corrupt elites that ran the Eastern European countries, that sabotaged the economic development. It was not necessarily so much the “social system” problem.

      Hence things went as they did, and hence the wall came down, but what came after?

      The US, UK, France, Germany and so loved it, the governments betrayed their own workers and forced them to compete with low demand labour from the east, dismantled industries, services and introduced a ruthless capitalist system benefitting the elite already in power.

      In the end worker’s and social standards in the west were compromised, for the excuses, that this was needed to make workers competitive with the new low wage workers from the east. So it all went on and on, in cycles, led to rigid welfare cuts and margianalisation, more divide between haves and have-nots, thus dividing workers and society beyond repair as it is now in Europe.

      Look forward for real radicalisation, unrest, violence and more, and I suggest, in moderate forms, this will happen here too. We know who is responsible and wants this.

    • Polish Pride 5.4

      Well then Richard get rid of the money and thus the profit motive and you will solve these problems. Entreprenuers will be replaced by inventors, you know those people that find new and better ways of doing things because they have a very strong drive and paassion to do so. Those People that have been responsible for arguably the greatest technological advances throughout human history. This is vs your entreprenuers that have money as their primary motivation. No money no advancements with entreprenuers. Inventors on the other hand, supplied with the resources they need will be responsble for new advances with or without money.

      I agree with everything Draco says except the need to continue with money in the long term and the need for people to have to work. The goal of a well designed system should be to provide the resources that society needs and wants in a sustainable manner and to free people wherever possible from having to work.

    • Lou 5.5

      “entrepreneurship” thats ultimately how society ended up in the pile o shit we call present, often has signified greed at the cost of crawling over someone else to get it.

      • Colonial Viper 5.5.1

        Entrepreneurship and SME activity is generally fine. One reason being that those business owners live in the very same communities that they operate in and affect the most.

        Multi-national corporations, banksterism and corporate ticket clipping is what has really torn things. A chemical plant owner is not going to dump waste into the water table of a town that he and his own family live in and use the tap water of. A Board of Directors on the other side of the world is likely to care much less.

  6. Herodotus 6

    Interesting post, but keep you opinions commi g.
    Regarding resources I notice that you did not mention the pop. And the carrying ability of the planet. We in NZ are fortunate that our carrying ability is inxs of our pop., but at some stage the world will be unable to cope with the pressure which IMO there will be a major rebalancing with some pandemic/ WWIII?
    Problem for me is those who control the resources also control the politicians

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Carrying capacity would be a function of the renewable resource base. Once we know that then we will know the carrying capacity.

      Problem for me is those who control the resources also control the politicians

      yep, that is the big problem with capitalism.

    • Polish Pride 6.2

      Pop = Population???
      What this means is that we need to change the methods by which we currently do things in order to still meet the needs of the population. Because of ‘Capitalism and Corporatism we still use intensive ‘modern’ farming methods where permaculture has been shown to be able to produce far greater yields 2 – 10 times greater. Then we could look at options such as vertical farming especially in more densely populated areas of the world. That is not to say that both of these methods will not come with their own set of unique problems to overcome but they will get us closer to ensuring that population does not pose an insurmountable problem when it comes to creation and distribution of resources.
      Additionaly increases in the use of sustainable design and recycling will also help ensure that this isn’t an insurmountable problem in areas other than food supply.

  7. xtasy 7

    You can maximise the use of available resources by using them in a way of getting the most use and output out of them. You can apply a minimum use approach, and use resources by getting out of the limited resource available, what you need. There are other aspects and considerations to be applied.

    Fact is: Resources are limited by natural realities (only so many minerals available, only so much arable land and water is available), yet demand tends to increase with growing populations, and also with higher living standard expectations.

    Supply and demand are going to determine the price of commodities, resources and services, which is of course all based on the above limitations.

    So nobody will wonder that a growing world population will increase demand, and thus lead to higher prices. Same will a reduction in availability of resources and/or services.

    As limits to resources and services based on access to them exist, that demand may be controlled and reduced, creating a sort of balance.

    From region to region, country to country, there are differing circumstances, different resources and services available, and populations, economic activity and resulting demand also differ.

    Hence “wealthy” countries with high living standards can “demand” a lot, and this is usually only based on them having technologically advanced economic activites, or core resources, the rest of the world needs more, than these countries may need the rest of the world for.

    Economic realities are also largely dictated by wealth (as a consequence of advantageous trading conditions, or exploitation) being accumulated and available to the participating members of societies able to “enjoy” these.

    Hence Europe, North America, Japan and a few other countries are where they are now.

    Free trade is a farce for a start, it exists NOWHERE. It is only a phrase used to accommodate the preferred practices of certain trading economies gaining some advantages by applying some degrees of “freer” trade and exchanges. If there was true free trade, the EU, US, Japan, even Mainland China would collapse as economic powers within a short period.

    We are all sold a farcical system of free trade, which is merely a propaganda instrument by those supposed free market” and “right wing neo con” supporters and stake holders, who want to force certain other countries and economies to lower access restrictions, so they (the stronger economic operators) can get access to their markets.

    Social Democracy has appeal. The purely ‘socialist” economic system was not tried properly anywhere, but where it was attempted in rudimentary ways, it failed badly. Regulating and managing in very minute details production to meet demand seems to be almost unworkeable.

    So some incentivised mechanisms appear to be necessary, for motivation workers, enterprises, managers, inventors and other participants, to make the best effort to improve, keep running well and maintain production and service delivery. That means some wage and salary structures may well be justified.

    At the same time there must be sufficient controls for avoiding exploitation, unfair trading, monopoly creation, inefficiencies, lagging efforts to improve processes and the likes, so that negative social, environmental and economic damage is avoided.

    It is a fundamental belief of Social Democracy, that the worker and citizen have a right to participate in every aspect of economic and social activity in society. Participation in the work place, by worker’s councils and the likes meets this.

    This also means that capitalism in its present form is not an option. I do therefore support this debate about an alternative, fairer, more workable, sically just and responsible economic system, which may lead to nations trading some commodities and services, but otherwise focusing also more on the local economy and social needs.

  8. Ben 8

    For my two cents: People need to wake up to the fact that our economic system will not survive as it stands today, and it’s important people realise that there are alternatives. You present some good ones. Thank you for that.

    One small thing, though: Is it really so hard to write “at the moment”?

  9. xtasy 9

    My hope is limited. Nationalists “create” their own economies, same as “liberals” and other f-wits to their pleasure, it is just a f-you game:

    So it s a bit of “spirit”, the economic game is more complicated. The needed solutions also willl mean to be paid, which no petrol heaeded Kiwi wants, so there is a challenge! Brain is not a strentht in NZ. Most will carry on to go to the last gasp of petrol and oil and die at the front of no-hopers. Nothing new, Gallipoli repeated.

  10. fatty 10

    I consider a computer and the internet as a requirement for social inclusion. Its at the point now where access to information requires it. Just as the radio was before the TV

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Good job DTB.

  12. MrSmith 12

    Good stuff Draco, the saying goes something like: some people talk about other people, others talk about things and other people, great people talk about ideas.

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    Howard Hurst, University of Central Lancashire and Jack Hardwicke, University of Winchester Competitive road cycling is a demanding and unique sport. One where crashing is inevitable – especially at the professional level. While the risk of head injury is relatively low in cycling – approximately 5-13% – compared to contact ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • The coming US shitshow
    Today President Trump once again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the US election. Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a long article on exactly what that means, from voter suppression by armed thugs in the name of "ballot security", to refusing to allow the vote ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A moral void
    That's the only way to describe the SIS, who - like their British counterparts - decided to look the other way on child abuse: The SIS knew a young woman was being sexually abused by her father but failed to lodge a complaint with the police, effectively allowing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • When will Goldsmith resign?
    The National Party’s campaign has gone from bad to worse with a further two large miscalculations being uncovered in their alternative fiscal plan. Firstly, National’s economic spokesperson and list MP, Paul Goldsmith, used May's Budget figures instead of last week's PREFU numbers, and came up with a whopping $4.3 billion ...
    4 days ago
  • The Adventures of Annalax: Part IX
    The initial session was a struggle. Annalax and Magni tried sorting out the details with the Isaac twins (the people pursuing the mountain trip). Annalax happened to mention his devotion to Lolth… whom the Isaacs, being ...
    4 days ago
  • This is bullshit
    On March 13, three plainclothes police officers kicked in Breonna Taylor's door under a no-knock warrant targeting another person. When a person inside reasonably assumed they were home invaders and (this being America) started shooting, they shot up the place and everyone around them - killing Taylor. Today, one of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Arctic sea ice is being increasingly melted from below by warming Atlantic water
    Tom Rippeth, Bangor University Arctic sea ice today (white) is covering a much smaller area than in 1980-2010 (orange line). National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CC BY-SA Each September, scientists like me look out for the point when the Arctic’s meagre summer fizzles out and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • The long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy
    Prof John D. Potter* This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Going High, Going Low: An Assessment Of The First Leaders’ Debate.
    Uncrushed: Jacinda Ardern knew exactly what was expected of her in the first Leaders' Debate. Labour’s dominant position, three weeks out from the general election, is constructed out of the admiration and gratitude of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who, more often than not, vote National.  Nothing she said ...
    5 days ago
  • The smokefree policies of political parties: Do they care about people who smoke?
    George Thomson*, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards In this time of Covid-19, helping people who smoke to quit their addiction has an even greater importance. Smokers are more vulnerable to many harmful health effects, including severe effects from the virus. Policies that support people who smoke to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • The Fog Of Economic Policy Is Starting To Clear…
    Bryan Bruce, https://www.facebook.com/www.redsky.tv, 19 September 2020 National’s economic policy of temporary tax cuts yesterday proved, if proof be needed, that they are unapologetic neoliberals. While their claim that with more money in their pockets people will spend more might sound attractive, the reality is that tax cuts always benefit the ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #38, 2020
    Highlighted article: Carbon pricing and planetary boundaries  Engström et al take what might be called a systems approach to evaluating carbon pricing, taking into a account various economic sectors affected by and affecting paying for emissions. The conclusions are overall a rare pleasant surprise— a feature predicated on cooperation.  Abstract: ...
    5 days ago
  • Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes
    Nathan Mietkiewicz, National Ecological Observatory Network and Jennifer Balch, University of Colorado Boulder CC BY-ND Summer and fall are wildfire season across the western U.S. In recent years, wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and exposed tens of millions to harmful ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: China steps up
    China has increased its climate change ambition, and set a target to be carbon-neutral by 2060: China will reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak in the next decade, Xi Jinping has told the UN general assembly. “China will scale up its intended nationally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Humans have dealt with plenty of climate variability
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much climate variability have humans dealt with since we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous perspectives on unrestricted access to genomic data
    By Genomics Aotearoa researcher Maui Hudson, University of Waikato It is vital that genomics research respects genomic data and genetic heritage from indigenous communities. Genomics research is a rapidly growing field of study, and there is a strong push to make the huge amount of data being produced open ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    6 days ago
  • Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects
    What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important meeting. When the person in front of you gets the last seat on the bus, that’s bad luck. Bad luck is when it’s sunny outside, so you leave the house without a coat, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Ian Powell: Does private healthcare threaten public healthcare in New Zealand?
    Is the private health system impacting negatively on the public health system? Health commentator Ian Powell evaluates a recent NZ Herald article by Natalie Akoorie (“Public v private healthcare: Moonlighting, skimming, duplication – should NZ do better”), and looks at how the dual system works, and concludes that the answer ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • A rabbit-hole election debate: So do you want more avocado orchards?
    We live in strange and unusual times. It’s been a century since we’ve endured a global pandemic like this, more than half a century since we’ve had economic woes like this. So maybe we got an opening election debate for the times - because that was a strange and unusual ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • LIVE: Jacinda Ardern vs. Judith Collins, First Debate
    Tonight, The Civilian will be live-blogging the first of too many debates between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins, and also the last fifteen minutes of the news. Be sure to tune in from 6:45pm for regular updates, which can be accessed by refreshing this page ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Hundreds of Aucklanders arrested after illegal mass gathering on Harbour Bridge
    An enormous drive-in party, shown here, was held this morning on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, where police were forced to intervene. Hundreds of Aucklanders were arrested this morning on public health grounds, after an apparent illegal mass gathering on the city’s Harbour Bridge. Police say hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in their ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • The Looming Fight.
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    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
    For the past decade, Australia has had a racist, anti-refugee policy. Those claiming refugee status are imprisoned without trial and left to rot in the hope they would "voluntarily" return to be tortured and murdered. When the courts have granted them visas, the government has immediately revoked them on racial ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
    Yesterday afternoon I had to call on my car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For reasons best known to its driver, a car pulled out of a side road right in front of me while I was driving home after work, and I needed to stop in a hurry. I rather ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    6 days ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
    There are a fair few misconceptions about conditions within New Zealand’s Quarantine Hotels. Madeline Grant’s misplaced accusations being one prominent example, though she is not alone. Today, I thought I’d share the inside word, so to speak. A friend of mine has recently returned to New Zealand from overseas, and ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: ASA: Let’s not talk about this
    Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes its name from a controversial American anti-cannabis group and includes ...
    7 days ago
  • This is not kind
    New Zealand has a serious homelessness problem, due to skyrocketing rents and a lack of state houses. One of the ways we stick a band-aid on it is to put people up in motels. Previously, they were charged full commercial rates, saddled with odious debt due to the government's failure ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules
    Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported a case of Covid-19 in Auckland that is not related to the current Auckland cluster. Before we start to panic, here’s how I think the case happened and how we can strengthen our current border controls. The new Covid-19 case is someone ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: Our obsession with American politics
    Many New Zealanders take a strong interest in US politics, with the death of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg being the latest example. Liam Hehir wonders if it very wise for New Zealanders to get so worked about it.   Many politically engaged New Zealanders are now furiously ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • COVID: Back to Level 1
    After stamping the Coronavirus out via strict lockdown between March and May, New Zealand went through a good three months without any community cases. Then a local outbreak in Auckland rather buggered things up last month. Auckland’s been in level 3 and level 2.5 for the past six weeks. ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Climate injustice
    Who's causing our skyrocketing emissions? As with most of our other problems, It's the rich: The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    The border closure and resulting lack of foreign slave-workers is driving the fishing industry out of business: One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The tipping points at the heart of the climate crisis Many parts of the Earth’s climate system have been destabilised by ...
    1 week ago
  • Anyone for Collins?
    In the absence of national public opinion polls, we have had to make do in recent weeks with other guides to voter intentions. Those guides, such as the Auckland Central poll, the incidence of google enquiries and the responses to Vote Compass questions, have suggested, not unexpectedly, that Labour is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
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    1 week ago
  • Much of the commentariat’s reporting of the most recent GDP figure was misleading and unhelpful. The prize for the stupidest remark about the GDP figure for second quarter 2020 (2020Q2) released on Thursday (17 Sept) goes to Judith Collins, whose response to Grant Robertson’s comments indicated she did not ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Love and Hate as Complementary Revolutionary Acts
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh goloing@gmail.com (19/09/2020) Che Guevara said that a true revolutionary is motivated by love i.e. love of the oppressed, the poor, the children dying from preventable illnesses. This phrase of his is true but has been used by reformists and their more hippy wing have taken advantage ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 13, 2020 through Sat, Sep 19, 2020 Editor's Choice Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done A report by a ...
    1 week ago
  • Tax cuts for all!!! (except you, you, and you)
    With the National Party this week announcing a new policy of tax cuts to spice up the election campagin. MyThinks went along to the launch and afterwards we spoke to the party’s finance spokesperson Paul “Golden Touch” Goldsmith. MT: Thanks for speaking to us Mr Goldsmith. PG: No. Thank you. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 week ago
  • Great Waves Washing Over New Zealand
    Always to islanders danger Is what comes over the seas ‘Landfall in Unknown Seas’ (Allen Curnow)Six economic issues external to New Zealand, which will greatly impact upon us. 1.         The Diminishing Global Dominance of the US. Since 1941 America has dominated the world economically and politically. Probably it could ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand has role to play in resolving crisis on ‘geopolitical fault line’, Helen Clark says
    By Geoffrey Miller New Zealand should continue to champion human rights in Belarus amidst an ongoing crackdown on protests by the country’s regime, former Prime Minister Helen Clark says. Protests in the country often referred to as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ erupted after the country’s disputed presidential elections on August 9 ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions
    Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why we need cameras on boats
    In case anyone needed further convincing, there's another example today of why we need cameras on fishing boats: reported seabird bycatch doubled during a camera trial: Commercial fishers operating off Auckland's coast around vulnerable seabirds are twice as likely to report accidentally capturing them when cameras are on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Graham Adams: The religious right’s campaign to spike the euthanasia referendum
    In the leadup to the euthanasia referendum, an array of conservative Christian political organisations is running an expensive campaign to sow doubt about the safety of assisted dying. Graham Adams argues that these religious forces know that Christian arguments aren’t convincing the public, but that it is in the public ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Opportunistic looting
    The National Party has spent the last six months acting horrified at the cost of supporting people through the pandemic and banging on about how the debt must be repaid. So what was their economic policy released today? Massive tax-cuts for the rich, of course! National has walked back ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Uncomfortable Choices.
    Dangerous Times: This will be the choice confronting those coming of age in the 2020s. Embrace Neoliberalism’s belief in racial and sexual equality; adopt its secular and scientific world view; and cultivate the technocratic, multicultural, global outlook required of those who keep the machinery of hyper-capitalism humming. Or, throw your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tony Burton: Covid and benefit payments
    It would be a great time to reform the benefit system, according to former Deputy Chief Economic Advisor at the Treasury, Tony Burton. He argues the complexity of benefit system means that it’s failing to achieve its difficult three core objectives, which form an “iron triangle”.   New Zealand’s benefit ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking tax: How to win support for taxing wealth
    Tax Justice UK, September 2020 Serious tax reform is on the political agenda for the first time in decades due to the coronavirus crisis. As this debate hots up it is important to understand what people think about public spending, wealth and tax. Tax Justice UK, along with Survation and ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Tough.
    Not Mucking Around: With upwards of 800 dead from the virus’s resurgence in the Australian state of Victoria, leniency is not on Premier Daniel Andrews’ agenda. The Victorian Police are cracking down hard on the protesters the Australian press has labelled "Covidiots".IMAGES OF POLICE, some in riot gear, others on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Media Link: Nuclear strategy, then and now.
    Although I had the fortune of being a graduate student of some of the foremost US nuclear strategists of the day (1970s) and later rubbed shoulders with Air Force and Naval officers who were entrusted with parts of the US nuclear arsenal, I seldom get to write or speak about ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

  • Job numbers up in August
    New data from Stats NZ today shows a rise of more than 9,000 filled jobs from July – driven mostly by the education and training sector, Grant Robertson says. Filled jobs were up 9,147 to 2.2 million in August 2020 compared with July – with 7,409 of those in education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Māori development receives funding
    Māori development projects across the country will receive a total of $18.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund that will create infrastructure and permanent jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “These projects will support economic development in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Manawatū-Whanganui, Waikato and Southland to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Hand-up for owners of earthquake-prone units
    From today, owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings can apply for financial support to fix their homes, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing financial hardship over earthquake strengthening costs. “We understand how complicated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • PGF backing successful Māori enterprise
    Whanganui will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment in a local food-processing company which will help the company increase production and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. Kii Tahi Ltd, which is owned by South Taranaki iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, will receive a Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration
    Seddon House in Hokitika, once a hub for government on the West Coast, has been earmarked for government use once again. “Today we’re announcing a $22 million investment from the Government’s $3 billion infrastructure fund for shovel ready projects for the purchase and restoration of Seddon House in the heart of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Town halls and war memorials in PGF renovation programme
    Town halls, war memorials and other community landmarks across the country will be renovated thanks to grants totalling just under $12.4 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says more than 1000 jobs are expected to be created during the renovation programme. “Town halls, other ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes two diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced two new diplomatic appointments: •         Michael Appleton as New Zealand’s first resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. •        Tredene Dobson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Viet Nam.  Sri Lanka “New Zealand is opening a post in Colombo in 2021 because we are ready ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ’s most prestigious conservation award – Loder Cup presented to Graeme Atkins
    The Minister of Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, today presented Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award, the Loder Cup, to the 2020 winner Graeme Atkins while in Gisborne/Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa. “Graeme Atkins of Ngāti Porou is a Department of Conservation ranger whose contribution to conservation goes well above and beyond his employment,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Early help for whānau who need extra support
    The Government is investing in a new, whānau-centred early intervention prototype designed to strengthen families and improve the safety and wellbeing of children. The new programme, Ngā Tini Whetū, is a collaboration between Oranga Tamariki, Te Puni Kōkiri, ACC and the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) and was announced today ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Parliament to install solar and cut carbon
    Parliament is leading by example by taking action to cut its carbon footprint by installing solar and improving energy efficiency, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today. The Minister confirmed that Parliamentary Services will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to install solar PV and LED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tuvalu Language Week theme promotes community resilience in the face of COVID-19
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the 2020 Tuvalu Language Week theme of “Fakatili Te Kiloga Fou” which means “Navigating the changing environment” is a call on all Pacific peoples to be strong and resilient in the face of COVID-19. “This theme is a reminder to us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International sport back up and running in New Zealand
    The Government is welcoming today’s announcement that the West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams will tour New Zealand this summer.  “A lot of hard work has been undertaken by sports officials including New Zealand Cricket, Netball New Zealand and government officials to ensure that international sport can return safely to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 1BT funds for Northland forest taonga
    Northland’s indigenous tree canopy is set to grow for the benefit of mana whenua and the wider community thanks to nearly $2 million in One Billion Trees funding, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better health care for West Coasters as Te Nikau Hospital officially opened
    The Government has delivered a new hospital for Greymouth and is starting work on a much needed new health centre in Westport, ensuring local communities will benefit from better access to high quality integrated health services. Today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare officially open Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government backing local with PGF loan
    A West Coast distillery will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment that will enable it to expand its operations and create jobs in the town of Reefton, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Primary sector exports and jobs up again
    Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery. Stats NZ today reported New Zealand’s merchandise exports in August were up 8.6% on a year ago, driven by an increase in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Clean energy future for more schools
    Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The Minister has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New pest lures to protect nature
    The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures that would be game-changers for trapping and surveillance towards a predator-free Aotearoa, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, announced in Christchurch today. The proposal is to develop long-life lures attractive to a range of predators—rats, mustelids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Building business strength with digital tools
    New training and tools for digital commerce will give small businesses, especially in the tourism sector, the support they need to adapt and innovate in a COVID world. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
    Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.  “There is already an incredible amount of innovative and creative work going on in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
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