web analytics

The Accidental Bodyguards of Capitalism

Written By: - Date published: 6:33 am, November 15th, 2017 - 69 comments
Categories: capitalism, Deep stuff, Economy, political alternatives, vision - Tags: , ,

This Guest Post is by Standardista Incognito.

This is a follow-up on my previous post and a reply [1] to the comments that were made and I would like to thank all commenters for some great feedback.

The arguments in favour of sticking with capitalism run along two familiar lines: 1) capitalism has delivered so much; 2) there is nothing better. Both these lines are predominantly economic ones but obviously have political implications.

We have indeed had industrial revolutions and technology is advancing at phenomenal speed. Undoubtedly, the influence of capitalism grew in parallel and enabled & reinforced economic progress and vice versa. However, this does not mean that capitalism caused progress & prosperity, in the sense that it provided obligate necessary & essential or even just permissive & facultative conditions. This kind of answer relates to the second argument that there is no (better) alternative.

In other words, as the all too familiar reasoning goes, capitalism and economic prosperity appear to have gone in hand and they must, therefore, be causatively connected. Taken one quasi-logical step further, economic prosperity was caused by and could only have happened because of capitalism. This, to me, seems like retrospective historical determinism and a logical fallacy as, for one, it conflates correlation with causation.

Recently, we have seen and heard many economists arguing that capitalism is the best we have got and that with a bit of tinkering, a ‘human face’, it can be sufficiently improved that we can still reap the alleged ‘benefits’ but also counter the obvious side-effects of capitalism especially of its Hulkish form called neoliberalism. On the other hand, plenty of anthropologists and psychologists have pointed out the obvious failings of capitalism. In addition, even economically capitalism has not delivered the goodies to all; prosperity and wealth are very unevenly distributed, which is the default and inevitable outcome of capitalism, of course. Sure, many have enjoyed economic progress to some extent, but it has come at a huge cost.

The argument that there is nothing better is so weak it is funny. If the caveman had never bettered himself beyond what he knew so that he could ride a Woolly Mammoth Beast to work we would still be crawling in caves on our knuckles & knees. Interestingly, democracy, as we know it, also gets this woeful defence, e.g. Churchill said:

Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

To me it all sounds very much like “better the Devil you know” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – ignoring or diminishing the social and psychological damage that is occurring not to mention the ongoing devastation & desecration of the environment to feed the capitalist machine.

These arguments in favour of capitalism and democracy as we know it came together when Francis Fukuyama wrote that liberal (capitalist) democracy was the ideological endpoint and final form (and ‘destination’) of government.

One of the best counter-arguments in my opinion was provided by Plato in his story of the cave. This is an award-winning clay animation of this story and here is a good link for some follow-up reading. Briefly, my counter-argument is that defenders of status quo generally lack imagination and are trapped in their way & world of thinking in fear of change and the unknown and, in fact, denying there even is an unknown (hubris). It is a strong argument in favour of Utopian thinking and not accepting the here & now as the only possible interpretation of reality or, even worse, as some kind of Universal or Absolute Truth.

There are two more issues that are intimately associated with capitalism that warrant attention when arguing against it. The first one is that of ownership, which is, just like capitalism, an artificial human construct.

Even when you were still a twinkle in your father’s eye and even after you have departed this realm of the material world your existence is embedded in and defined by ownership of Earthly possessions although not necessarily limited to Earth.

The whole concept of ownership is engrained in our psyche entirely through ‘nurture’ I would argue. In fact, this idea results in competition, distrust, and exclusion (e.g. enclosure) and runs counter to our biology; it is in our nature to cooperate and be social. I believe it goes deeper than this but I won’t dwell on this here & now. So, it is hard (but not impossible!) to imagine a world and an economic system that is, in contrast to capitalism, not deeply founded on ownership and effectively we all are prisoners in a cave.

Property rights and ownership are enshrined in many of our Laws. But there are many other rules & regulations that limit our actions, our choices, and our thinking! Many human genes have been patented by companies so in a way you may not even (fully) own your own DNA.

The second issue is that of freedom. All sorts of institutions (state, insurance companies, employers, banks, etc.) demand full disclosure of all sorts of (personal) information. Every time we ‘accept’ the Terms & Conditions we freely give away our rights to some of our information when we use social media (never forget that we are the product). When we sign up for a loan or mortgage we chain ourselves to decades of wage-earning. None of these actions per se might be reason to worry but together they weave a suffocating straitjacket that severely limits or choices and actions. Freedom in this environment is as much an illusion as the shadows on the cave’s walls. However, it is oft used as justification for capitalism and vice versa capitalism is supposedly leading to more (personal) freedom.

Freedom is also determined by how well you know the system and its rules and other idiosyncrasies. Some get to know it well enough to game the system (at the expense of fellow humans or the collective) while others (e.g. beneficiaries) do not know or understand what their rights & entitlements are and thus miss out. In other words, not only is there a built-in and wilfully propagated asymmetry of power (ownership) but also of (system) knowledge and thus we are not equally free in the true meaning of the words.

If you accept that freedom is relative at best and an illusion at worst then you will also have to question the arguments for neoliberalism and the so-called free market dogma. It runs something like this: people are free to engage in voluntary transactions (trade, buy & sell) and make rational decisions. This cannot be true if we are chasing shadows on the wall or, in fact, when we merely are a shadow on the wall!

What does this mean for post-capitalism? We do not yet know what it will look like because we have not yet ventured out from our caves. It will be different, at first, but no worse than what we knew before despite our current belief that capitalism is the best thing since sliced bread – a belief that is harder to keep given the mounting evidence for the contrary. Till the time comes when we are sufficiently educated to see things differently we are and will remain staunch defenders of capitalism if not by conviction but for our actions.

Footnote:

[1] Unfortunately, I did not have time to reply at all to the comments at the time the Guest Post went up on TS. However, as Lynn recently suggested, it lightens his workload and that of the Moderators here if I were to do things by posting rather than commenting. Lastly, rather than replying to separate individual comments I thought it actually made more sense in trying to capture my thoughts in a single more cohesive post.

69 comments on “The Accidental Bodyguards of Capitalism ”

  1. Ed 1

    The media are in the front trenches fighting for neoliberalism.
    Indeed they are in our trenches, pretending they are on our side, yet undermining our position.
    Stop believing the media, New Zealand.
    It is biased, it lies, it represents powerful corporate interests and it spreads fake news.

  2. Andre 2

    In the past century there have been a bunch of societies that have tried something other than capitalism. The results have not been good. The societies that look most attractive to me, the scandinavian-style social democracies, are still firmly rooted in capitalism. They just have a slightly stronger state sector and firmer commitment to using the powers of the state to level the playing field.

    So, you want to move to something other than capitalism? Then provide a clear fleshed-out picture of what is to replace it.

    One problem is the sociopaths that will always be among us. They will always try to find a way to live in the biggest flashest quarters, eat the tenderest cuts of meat, root the prettiest girls. That’s what they live for. How are they going to be managed?

    How will people be empowered to indulge in the pursuit of happiness? Capitalism, with its attendant property rights, gives people the freedom to allocate their resources towards the things that make them happiest, whether that be their house, or driving their fancy HSV Codpiece or whatever. To be sure, in many capitalists societies that’s fallen down for a large chunk of their people who have to allocate all their resources to simple survival. But that failing is relatively easy to tackle with minor changes to expectations around state actions, as scandinavians have shown.

    • weka 2.1

      What did you think about Plato’s cave story? If someone presented you with an alternative would you be able to see it or are you looking at the shadows on the wall? Because I can see an example of non-capitalist societies 200 years ago right here in NZ.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        So just like us, did they occasionally fight one another for land and resources? Yes. That’s a sense of ownership if ever there was one.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Still not capitalism and looking at how that fighting and what you call ownership are different than what happens in capitalism is useful.

          • marty mars 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes the total reasons and purpose of what Māori did in the past is not actually related to capitalism at all and not even slightly. Looking backwards and saying they did it too and they did it for similar reasons that we do things is simply incorrect.

            The model is known and still around. It is based on reciprocity.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. Disappointing to hit the colonialist mindset so early in the conversation.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Weka, if you’re going to invite comparisons between pre- and post-colonial Aotearoa then complain when people make them, is that your post colonial mindset at work?

                • weka

                  I don’t have a problem with making comparisons, it was how you made them that didn’t look right to me.

                  You think that fighting over land somehow equates to landownership in the context of a discussion about capitalism. I think there are distinct differences between Māori concepts (pre-contact and now) of landownership and Western ideas entrenched in law in NZ that we inherited with the colonial system, and that those differences are worth exploring if one wants to look at getting past capitalism.

                  I’m interested in opening up the conversation not writing things off so early on especially where they appear to be being misrepresented.

                  As marty said, reciprocity. It’s a very different system than what we have currently. Andre wanted examples, I thought this was a decent enough place to start.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You think that fighting over land somehow equates to landownership

                    No. That’s your assumption. I’m not making value judgements.

                    I simply observed that concepts of ownership are evident. It’s often said that (by contrast to Capitalism) the land owns the people: that doesn’t prevent conflict over resources.

                    Incognito posits that ownership is a cultural phenomenon, and that’s probably true, but it’s a cultural response to a real phenomenon – finite resources.

                    Even reciprocity requires that one thing be weighed against another.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1.2

              what Māori did in the past is not actually related to capitalism at all and not even slightly

              You can still compare the two, especially in the context of a discussion of how Capitalism can be improved or replaced altogether.

              I wrote “a sense of ownership”. Not “a sense of ownership that’s exactly like Capitalism”.

              • Yep comparing different systems is valid.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  So, for example, reciprocity – willingness to sign up to a ‘win-win’ deal depends upon the perspective of the participants.

                  From a Taoist perspective, a large country can offer protection, a small country can offer service. Both may gain from the deal, but there’s an inherent power imbalance at play.

                  It’s the same for groups and individuals within the hierarchy of a society.

                  • Another word for reciprocity is utu.

                    I did a paper on reciprocity within Ngāi Tahu kinship groups once. Very complicated. A system of obligations – based around mana, kinship, resources, ahi kā – and within that whānau, hapū, iwi groupings. So sometimes you’d work with a group and at other times you’d compete with them. E.g. attacking a pa sometimes a group who were kin with the pa would go ahead and warn them to get out. Other times kin would be used to draw people out of the pa to the enemy – by the kin. Actually i found it very satisfying to read and hear these stories because they show the fluid and changing nature of reciprocity.
                    Please note I’m only speaking for myself. Māori are tribal – for instance where I come from Papatūānuku was married to Tangaroa not Ranginui.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Democracy and the rule of law are crude attempts to respond to the shared experience of things like ahi kā.

      • Andre 2.1.2

        You want my support for an alternative vision? Make it clear what that vision is. Fill out the details. Show me what’s outside the cave. Vague mutterings don’t cut it.

        I’m clear about what I want. For instance, you want details about how I’d like our education system to change? I’ll point to Finland as a model that actually works, and it’s easy to go find as much further information as you could possibly want.

        • weka 2.1.2.1

          I’m not wanting your support on anything other than a genuine conversation.

          You appear to be saying that the only examples you are willing to accept are the capitalist ones. That kind of defeats the purpose of the conversation.

          Pre-contact Māori had excellent education systems, have at it if you want to look that up, but I suspect you will be viewing it through the shadows on the wall. Going outside the cave is much more interesting IMO, even if you don’t end up liking or valuing what you see.

          • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.2.1.1

            And also, current Māori systems do offer an alternative model, or at least glimpse of alternatives. I am increasingly engaging with such protocols and systems at work. Look to the marae, to protocols, etc.

        • Michael 2.1.2.2

          “Show me what’s outside the cave” – isn’t that the point of Plato’s cave allegory? Pursuers of wisdom are meant to journey outside the cave (in this case a neoliberal one) and come back inside to enlighten those still chained up (to neoliberalism?), by telling them that the real world is (a) different and (b) better than the version they can see reflected on the walls of the cave (mainstream media?).
          IMHO, I’d say that there is more than one alternative to neoliberalism but none of them are perfect. I’d also say that we’d do best to pick an alternative that suits conditions in 21st century Aotearoa-NZ, as opposed to merely copying and pasting someone else’s version.

          • Andre 2.1.2.2.1

            Thing is, I’m fairly confident I’ve done a fair bit more travelling and experienced more alternatives to what we now have than most others.

            I’ve spent (a thankfully very short) time behind the Iron Curtain, and may an abomination like that never be foisted on humanity again.

            I’ve been exposed to a commune type structure, and the group-think and suppression of individuality would never appeal to me nor anyone else I find interesting. The few productive thinkers there lost interest fairly quickly and left, followed by the collapse of the commune shortly after.

            I have some rellies that practice a fairly self-sufficient bucolic lifestyle that appears similar to what some commenters seem to aspire to. It works for them, sort of, but just as well for them they’re of substantial financial means and can subsidise it from their rentier income elsewhere. If they needed an income from it, it just wouldn’t work.

            The list is a lot longer than that, but suffice to say I’ve been close enough to enough alternatives that don’t meet the starry-eyed descriptions of their promoters. Therefore I’m extremely wary of people promoting utopias that can’t point to something very similar actually working in practice over an extended period. Hence my enthusiasm for the scandinavian model, which does have a fairly healthy extended history.

            • marty mars 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Have you done any research on the indigenous people here and how they structured the society? Or any indigenous peoples experience in other places such as first nations peoples and so on.

              • Andre

                Like I said to weka, historians seem to have a wide range of reports about what historically happened here. If you can recommend a link to something you consider authoritative and has a lot of detail, please do.

                For a while I took an interest in southern US and central american indigenous cultures. There were a lot of tales about egalitarianism, consensus, non-violence etc that often sounded very nice. But human remains often told another story.

                So I’m not inclined to put a lot of credence to historical accounts that can’t be independently confirmed now. When it comes to ideas about how to improve societal structures, I’m much more interested in models I can go see in action.

                • This country is prefaced on the treaty between the crown and Māori. It is important that everyone understands the two cultures imo especially as here quite a few Māori concepts get incorporated into society. Maybe one of your friends can recommend something. You seem pretty good at sorting the good from the bad – I hope you accept the challenge and investigate further.

                  But to help

                  Reading the maps and He Höaka are two blogs with some good information and perspectives.

                • If you can recommend a link to something you consider authoritative and has a lot of detail, please do.

                  Debt: The First 5000 Years is pretty good. I might even go so far as to call it a must read.

        • Tracey 2.1.2.3

          You are also wanting an example that exists. Inotherwords someone elses status quo.

          Greater minds than me can give it a go, and some must have but all innovations will fail your “show me a current example” test.

      • McFlock 2.1.3

        And I can imagine non-capitalist societies in the future, when energy production and fabrication make resources non-scarce. Star Trekky-stuff.

        The issue is whether the person in the cave looking outside can also see the chasm between them and the cave entrance, and a way to bridge it.

        How does society change or move forward? It’s not engineered. It moves forward by accident, pressures and scarcities behind and opportunities in front. That why the communists in europe were successful first in Russia – a feudal society in the twentieth century. The rest of Europe had constitutional safety valves to let off pressure.

        Small groups can apply some pressure, but the big social drivers are economic or catastrophic.

        So what do we move towards when we move away from capitalism, and how do we get there without falling into a chasm?

        • weka 2.1.3.1

          Good questions.

          I think those drivers of change are real, but also, wasn’t neoliberalism engineered?

          I quite like exploring how the bridges can be constructed, but I also think that that is mostly a mental (and perhaps emotional) exercise. You can’t build a bridge to something that doesn’t exist yet. But we can imagine different possible futures and then what those bridges might look like.

          It’s certainly easier to do that with the change of govt. Not that I think Labour are looking at ending capitalism as their long game, lol, but creative freedom to influence change is just going to be so much better for a while. I also think that the Greens increasing in parliamentary power would shift us considerably. They have some solid beyond capitalism values built into the kaupapa. Again, not that I think that’s where their thinking is at, but that if they had more power the window would be shifted enough that the view would be different.

          Permaculturist David Holmgren, when talking about the Powerdown, says we don’t have to solve all the problems for the generations ahead, we just have to solve the ones in front of us with an eye on the long term. The generations who come after us will be better placed to understand what the next steps are and how those might be done.

          • McFlock 2.1.3.1.1

            I think neoliberalism was the objective of a small group, but it wouldn’t have happened without stagflation (which keynesianism had no immediate response to) and other economic crises, or the opportunities in NZ from the backlash against Muldoon.

            I agree about the changing dominance of the different parties being an opportunity for creative freedom.

            But circumstances will drive us more than imagination – the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy is partially a response from society to climate change, but it’s also basically destiny as renewables become cheaper and betteries more energy dense per kilo than fossil fuels. We’ve had a century of intensive development of the internal compustion engine, we’re gettng diminishing returns on how much power we can pull out of them. The discovery of graphene still has blue sky areas when it comes to energy use and storage, let alone other new battery technologies.

            I think the other main driver to a new society is automation and AI: driving people out of work while making that work negligible in cost over the long term will necessitate UBI/UBS (the “S” is for services provided without payment). Resources mined and developed by robots into products have no feedback loop for profits to go back into the community that buys those products. The system breaks down.

            Call me complacent, but we won’t reject capitalism. We’ll just outgrow it.

      • Andre 2.1.4

        weka, it might be helpful if you linked to something that provided more detail about the kind of society you’re speaking kindly of.

        There’s all kinds of portrayals of pre-European maori out there, from rampant cannibalism through to hopelessly romantic noble savage fantasies. Left to my own research, I might end up with the idea you’re advocating some very strange things indeed.

    • Bill 2.2

      In relation to comments 2 through ….

      So this whole thing of trying to imagine a future when we’re bound by the imagination of the present – or trying to understand the past by way of projecting current understandings into foreign settings…it’s kind of arm wavy daft.

      That said, we can easily enough know by simple observation what’s “wrong”. And we can easily enough figure out what causes those things we consider to be “wrong”.

      So by rejecting the believes, politics, economics, traditions etc that produce those “wrong” results – or by rejecting the components of the believes etc that produce “wrong”results – we inevitably wind up in a better place.

      A problem arises because there are some who enjoy immense privilege and benefit from believes etc that have deleterious effects for a majority or even just a sizable minority. And they will defend that privilege and power, principally and in many ways, by defending the underlying believe etc that delivers them their privilege and power.

      But it seems to me that state of affairs (whatever the details of it may be) always relies on our participation and consent (the “consent of the governed”).

      Withdraw consent and capitalism (or whatever other arrangement we’re talking about) collapses.

      And it’s pretty simple to identify the “shamans” and then accord them the same level of respect and acquiescence as any other who would elevate themselves above the rest of us unless… at some, perhaps difficult to acknowledge psychological level, “you’ve” got ‘skin the game’ and therefore a reason to maintain a given status quo. 😉

  3. Neoleftie 3

    With respect to post capitalism or the Next Way economic system one wonders if we have seen the present elected tribal leaders first glimpse out of the cave with the cry of “wellbeing for the people”, ” global warming” action plans and the first policy changes such as monetary policy reforms. Small acts maybe but profound statement of intent without scaring the established societal actors…gradual subtle long term system change might just be the new generational plan by the left coalition dreamers.

  4. shane 4

    We need to understand what the Romans left behind then reflect on the system that educates and why it was created…..

    • shane 4.1

      In this so call capitalist society one needs to be lucky or work in areas of compliance, regulation or per cent clipping.

      In a bee hive the drones are reduced each winter so the worker bee’s survive the winter…… why not build a system that rewards productivity but not procrastination or accumulation.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

    To me it all sounds very much like “better the Devil you know” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

    Things that aren’t broken can nonetheless be improved. Churchill’s remark can also be read as a warning against Utopian thinking: ‘best is the enemy of good’.

    runs counter to our biology; it is in our nature to cooperate and be social.

    The brain adapts to dishonesty: brainwashing and propaganda are also “in our nature”. So are psychopaths who exploit the brain’s weak spots to their own advantage. Political philosophies ignore this at their peril.

    • weka 5.1

      How have pre-industrial non-capitalist societies dealt with those that work against the common good?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        Mostly, elevated them to ‘leadership’. Just like we do.

        • Andre 5.1.1.1

          In sarcasm veritas.

        • weka 5.1.1.2

          Can you give some examples so I know what you mean?

        • marty mars 5.1.1.3

          Not in this country oab.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.3.1

            Firstly, I’m not making value judgements – and I’m sure I have a whole lot of ignorance and poorly understood ideas so please forgive them.

            Rangatira, tūtūā, and taurekareka. Surely a society with such predestined hierarchy cannot help but elevate the odd idiot. Prince Charles leaps to mind.

            Even the most socially mobile of taurekareka will find rangatira status out of reach.

            In this case, you might say that it’s the system that works “against the common good” (in Weka’s original comment).

            One of the chief failings of Capitalism is the way it concentrates wealth, and therefore, power, but what’s the difference between “ownerless family wealth” and social status determined by parentage?

            Not much, in practical terms: they both convey unearned privilege.

            That said, these (existing) systems have “worked” for centuries, or not, depending on your perspective. How do you judge “success” in this context?

            Once again, please forgive my ignorance. Sorry for blundering around.

            • marty mars 5.1.1.3.1.1

              All good mate this cave is dark for all of us ☺

              I like your comments oab.

              Yes idiots, due to inherited mana, could take over but not for long in my understanding. The major reason was that mama came from the people as all and if you could not show you could lead them effectively (a lot of different aspects to what e ffectivelly means here) they’d just not follow or rather give their name (metaphorically and practically too) to someone else.

              In the old times if someone had very high mana they were untouchable literally and metaphorically.

              It was a good system with flaws like capitalism but it accepted the ebb and flow nature of life I think.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Apocryphal (ie: I can’t remember the source): the burka (sp?) indicates wealth and privilege: working class women cannot do their jobs while wearing them.

                This is going to sound shitty no matter how I phrase it, so again I apologise: appreciate the ebb and flow of life as much as you like, taurekareka don’t have the luxury.

                What I’m blundering towards is the idea that hierarchy and privilege might be endemic to societies that exist for longer than a few generations.

                A problem that certainly predates Capitalism, as the Tao can attest. I think this is part of what Incognito’s getting at: seeing the cave from the outside.

                To labour the metaphor, if society is like a cave, let’s choose one that doesn’t experience immediate cave-in, and proceed carefully, like walking on thin ice.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.4

          Actually, mostly they banished them from the tribe. This was effectively a death sentence.

      • KJT 5.1.2

        In the remnants of Polynesian societies there are useful concepts..

        Like the talkers standing up and doing the talking. But they are only allowed to say what the “Aunties” leaders, let them say. Or you get massive eye rolling at the back.

        A chief is only the Chief so long as he looks after his people, and/or shows competence in the area in which he is Chief. You can have a “talking Chief” a Navigation Chief, and a warrior Chief, in charge, depending on the need. . His mana depends on what he gives away, or contributes.
        We could learn from Polynesian culture to avoid our most common mistake. Assuming the best talker/bullshitter is the best leader.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.2

      Yes, and it is also in our nature to be competitive – both cooperation and social engagement and competition are in our natures. A lot depends on how they are related.

      Sports teams, with a strong colonial, and/or warfare connection, use a specific mix of competition and cooperation.

      Competition comes to the fore especially when resources are limited. This situation can become artificially generated when some groups hoard the resources, and limit access to them by others.

      Hunger games.

  6. DoublePlusGood 6

    Well, I for one am keen on some Fully-Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism…

    • adam 6.1

      define your take on communism Doubleplusgood

    • OnceWasTim 6.2

      But would that fully-automated gay space communism come equipped with all the comforts? I mean – such as a ‘faghag’ robot to service all your emotional needs?, or mmmm
      Utopia perhaps? But shit! what about the other (admittedly fluid) 9%
      Perhaps I’ll talk to a few more taxi drivers before I form an opinion

  7. If you accept that freedom is relative at best and an illusion at worst then you will also have to question the arguments for neoliberalism and the so-called free market dogma. It runs something like this: people are free to engage in voluntary transactions (trade, buy & sell) and make rational decisions. This cannot be true if we are chasing shadows on the wall or, in fact, when we merely are a shadow on the wall!

    And it most definitely cannot be true if we have FTAs that force us to sell that which we don’t want to.

  8. SpaceMonkey 8

    I think I prefer Oscar Wilde’s definition of Democracy, from his essay ‘The Soul of Man Under Socialism’:

    “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people”

    • Carolyn_Nth 8.1

      Spoken well by a member of the privileged classes. They are oh so clever – and so witty – the best education money can buy.

      • SpaceMonkey 8.1.1

        That he was, but Wilde was adamantly opposed to capitalism. In his eyes it “crushed creativity” in society due to constant need to apply resources into fixing the social problems that capitalism caused. He was an advocate for socialism as he saw it as the only political and economic organisation that would enable humanity to realise its true potential – what he called “individualism” – which in his view was the ideal state where people were free to develop their talents for the betterment of society as a whole.

        It is a privileged 19th century perspective but it gives plenty of food for thought, especially as we head towards a possible future where the means of production are fully automated.

        • Carolyn_Nth 8.1.1.1

          Oh. So he saw socialism as an alternative to “democracy”, rather than democracy being a component of socialism?

          • SpaceMonkey 8.1.1.1.1

            He appears to have had no time for any form of government. From the essay:

            “Individualism, then, is what through Socialism we are to attain to. As a natural result the State must give up all idea of government. It must give it up because, as a wise man once said many centuries before Christ, there is such a thing as leaving mankind alone; there is no such thing as governing mankind. All modes of government are failures. Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things. Oligarchies are unjust to the many, and ochlocracies are unjust to the few. High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. It has been found out. I must say that it was high time, for all authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect, by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and Individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising. People, in that case, are less conscious of the horrible pressure that is being put on them, and so go through their lives in a sort of coarse comfort, like petted animals, without ever realising that they are probably thinking other people’s thoughts, living by other people’s standards, wearing practically what one may call other people’s second-hand clothes, and never being themselves for a single moment. ‘He who would be free,’ says a fine thinker, ‘must not conform.’ And authority, by bribing people to conform, produces a very gross kind of over-fed barbarism amongst us.”

            • Carolyn_Nth 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks.

              By “democracy”, does he mean “representative democracy”?

              • SpaceMonkey

                As opposed to direct democracy? Not sure the distinction was made back then… so I would assume representative democracy. Even then, not in the way we might view it today. For example, women were not allowed to vote in Wilde’s day.

    • Sounds like someone who understood that democracy is communism – and didn’t want others to realise that.

  9. Thanks for this post – very enjoyable reading your thoughts incognito

  10. Ant 10

    It is consistently overlooked, perhaps because of aversion to having to contemplate the possibility of a “sky fairy”, that humans have the capacity for a mode of being that brings fulfilment and a sense of purpose through cooperative living rather than competition. Implemented en masse, cooperative living based on the belief that everyone has talents, skill and ability that can be put to work salvaging the mess earthlings have gotten themselves into could bring defining steps saving humanity from the many dismal futures consistently portrayed.

    Competition, peaking with destructive capitalism and neoliberalism, has surely reached its “use by” date.

    Many are aware of a transformative element within self that recognises fulfilment has avenues at variance with self-aggrandisement and competition. The route to its discovery was pointed out in Buddhism a non-theistic “religion” and (surprise, surprise) the tenets, in terms of the work required on oneself to forge the new, are mirrored in the major faiths of the world. (No I am not a Buddhist).

    Countless millions of prayers go out to “God” hourly; to be sure there is enough sincerity there and an over-abundance of global disaster spots to have warranted some kind of divine intervention by now.

    God (if there is such a being) is not going to rescue us; the capacity within self which awakens following certain disciplines and leads to a naturally expressed life-style of cooperation might.

  11. Sparky 11

    The notion of what amounts to capitalism is hardly new and indeed its been on a continuum for a very long time.

    That said we were progressing towards something better with notions like Communism and socialism but sadly one ended up in the hands of dictators and the other was subverted to bring capitalism back.

    Whats next? Who knows. It really depends on a lot of things and I doubt there will be any real movement in my lifetime. As we are seeing its become ingrained in our political system with only the Greens being the real stand out that I can think of. The rest talk if improving capitalism or reforming it but I really don’t think that can work long term.

    I’d say China’s hybrid capitalist Communist system works for them because of the sheer size and scale of their economy., population and land mass. What will work for us? I’d say a return to a pragmatic socialist model would work but I doubt the vested interests who have a stranglehold on our society will let that happen.

  12. Angel Fish 12

    Capitalism is the best we have because the alternatives are stupid and fantasical beyond belief! In arguing against capitalism you’ve provided NOTHING OF VALUE OR VIABILITY! Nothing! You just mentioned a bunch of idiotic idealistic statements
    and allusions to what our human nature is.
    Provide something viable and practicable and then we’ll see if it’s good enough to beat capitalism.

    Take crypto currency for example, it isn’t merely critical of the debt based fiat currency, but then worked to offer an alternative! You lot need to try something similar, other than making stupid vague remarks about how our nature is to share or give or some nonsense like that.

    You lot also fail to address the innate need for individuals to exchange resources and services with each other. And fail to address the different extents to which some individuals desire things. Some desire more and some desire less.
    A market allows such exchanges to take place freely, where the participants can express their wants and needs and negotiate with each other towards the price/value they desire.

    Personally the only viable alternative to any ills that one may perceive in capitalism, are technology! Eg: medical advances like vaccines, The internet for the most part, GPS. That is technology can potentially give a population an equal footing.

    Another thing to address is CONSUMER RESPONSIBILITY!
    Many of you people who whine about capitalism are gluttonous consumers yourselves! For example, most of you shove meat, eggs, fish down your throat with little thought to the animals or the environment. Many of you also buy the latest technology, instead of trying to get the most out of existing ones.

    Much of the problem in this system therefore comes from stupid and irresponsible consumers.

    So in conclusion, it’s very very silly and ignorant of people to blame capitalism as a whole for all this. It’s also pathetic in that you as a consumer is not helpless but can take charge on many issues from environmental ones with green technology, ethical ones by being vegan and economical ones by avoiding child labour/slave labour involved products!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Capitalism is the best we have

      So why isn’t it fully applied anywhere? And why do the happiest people live in countries with mixed economies?

      avoiding child labour/slave labour involved products!

      Can you show me an example of such a product? Whatever you’re using to make your comments isn’t one of them. By your ‘standards’ the people who want to end slavery must first stop using all electronic media devices.

      And if we did that, cui bono?

  13. R.P. Mcmurphy 13

    almost everybody alive looks at the world and says this is the way it has always been but that is not so. Every species will expand to the limit of the available food supply and humans are no different. no amount of belletristic words and recondite exposition will alter the fact that capitalism is sui generis and will continue till it reaches its own break point. It has become a cultural fact and as long as the pundits experts and commentators keep discussing the isms then they are totally missing the point about what is happening in the world.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • This is not what accountability looks like
    When someone commits trespass, assault with a weapon, and kidnapping, you'd expect them to be prosecuted, right? But apparently the rules are different if you wear a blue uniform: A police investigation has found officers in Northland trespassed on a man's property, then unlawfully pepper sprayed him and arrested ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    44 mins ago
  • Cycling: head injuries ignored because of entrenched macho culture
    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
    2 hours 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
    2 hours 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
    2 hours 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 ...
    3 hours 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 ...
    5 hours 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
    5 hours 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
    7 hours 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
    8 hours 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 ...
    9 hours 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
    9 hours 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
    18 hours 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: ...
    23 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 days ago
  • The Looming Fight.
    Social Distancing Be Damned - It's Jacinda! Shortly after ascending to Labour’s leadership, Jacinda described herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. It was an inspired oxymoron – packing into just two words the essence of the social-democrat’s dilemma. It was good to know that she knew what lay ahead of her. ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
    Back in 2017, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Its a basic climate change measure, aimed at reducing emissions by shifting the vehicle fleet to cleaner technologies. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, they're planning to bring it forward ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 days ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
    by Ani O’Brien In the absence of a better word with which to refer to the rabid activists who claim progressivism while demanding adherence to an increasingly prescriptive set of political beliefs, I call them “woke”. With its roots in Black American slang, the term originally denoted a person or ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days 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
    3 days ago
  • Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis
    Becky Casale Elon Musk reckons his Neuralink brain implant is much more than a medical device–that one day it will drive a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. “Good morning! I’m Dr Benedict Egg and I’ll be supervising your Neuralink insertion today. Do you have any questions?” “Yes, Doc. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days 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
    3 days 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. ...
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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
    3 days ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
    Crusher Collins - National Party leaderWe all know that the National Party is desperate to gain some traction during this election campaign and have been throwing pretty much everything at the Labour Party in order to try and undermine Jacinda Ardern and what the Coalition Government has achieved. But unfortunately ...
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    1 week ago
  • The Chinese List.
    News that Zhenhua Data, an arm of China Zhenhua Electronics Group, a subsidiary of the military-connected China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), maintains a list of 800 New Zealanders on a “Overseas Key Information Database” that contains personal information on more than 2.4 million foreign individuals, has caused some consternation ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Things that grow fast, and things that surprise us
    Marie Becdelievre January 2020. The number of news article mentioning coronavirus exploded and anxious voices whispered about a global pandemic. Whisper? To me, it was only a whisper. I tend to learn about the world through non-fiction books, conferences, and academic research rather than news and social media, so ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2020
    2,082,476,000,000,000 Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean  (not open access, unfortunately) walks us through the numbers on a particular means of CO2 removal, addition of volcanic tephra to the ocean. The mechanism is straight chemistry and the cost is fully an order of ...
    1 week ago
  • Barbados to become a republic
    Barbados is planning to remove the queen as head of state and become a republic in time for the 55th anniversary of its independence in 2021: Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November 2021. [...] Reading ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
    At the 2017 election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a Fees Free Policy for tertiary students. Basically, it would make the first year of university education free in 2018, with a second year in 2021, and a third in 2024. It also promised to restore Post-Graduate access to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
    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 What is the impact of temperature increases in the tropics? ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons It felt like 100 degrees in my in-laws’ Grass Valley, California, kitchen, but at least the lights were on and for the moment we were safely “distanced” from the Jones Fire. We’d just finished dessert, after pizza and a movie ...
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is...
    Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A flaw in our electoral transparency regime
    A key part of our electoral funding regime is a requirement for some transparency around donations, on the basis that if we can find out who has bought our politicians (typically after we have voted for them) then everything is alright. There are a lot of problems with that regime ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Don’t Steal This Book
    On “In Defense of Looting” Matt Taibibi takes an entertaining look at this generation of woke activists and how they compare with Abbie Hoffman the iconic anti-Vietnam war counter-culture figure of the 1960s On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Carbon prices must rise
    When Parliament introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was worried that carbon prices might get too high. So it introduced a "fixed price option", allowing polluters to pay the government $25 in the place of surrendering credits. The result was predictable: after we were thrown out of international carbon markets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosure
    The government will finally be requiring large New Zealand companies to disclose their climate change risks: New Zealand finance companies will be made to report on climate change risk, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced. The policy will force around 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the hard issues – trust and relationships
    By Claire Grant, Genomics Aotearoa Communications Manager Community consultation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of research programmes in New Zealand, and with that comes the art of relationship building. Engagement between scientists and user-groups is certainly nothing new. But as stakeholder involvement becomes more of a requirement for science, ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Equality Network – September Newsletter
    Read the Equality Network newsletter here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Lost Allies.
    Rebels In A Wrong Cause: The truly frightening thing about Jami-Lee Ross’s and Billy Te Kahika’s success in persuading thousands of New Zealanders that Covid-19 is just another trick, just another way of stealing away their power, is realising just how many of them once marched at the Left’s side. ...
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Low-Hanging Fruit
    In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time.They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some not, some complex, and some simple, but they will gain one ...
    1 week ago
  • Closing the Gap thinks that Labour’s proposal to raise the top tax rate is great but………
    Media Statement For Immediate Release 10th September 2020 The income and wealth inequality lobby group, “Closing the Gap” thinks the Labour proposal a great start says Peter Malcolm, a spokesperson for the group. But they need to be aware of what many of the rich do and of what do ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: No nonsense
    ACT is pushing a "no-nonsense climate change plan". What does it involve? Repealing the Zero Carbon Act and Emissions Trading Scheme, reversing the fossil-fuel exploration ban, and allowing mining on conservation land. In other words, repealing any policy which might actually reduce emissions. Which is the very definition of nonsensical. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • My Climate Story: Coming full Circle
    This blog post is a follow up to my recap of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Training I recently participated in. One of the exercises we were asked to complete was to write about our respective "Climate Story". This is a slightly updated version to the one I had submitted during ...
    1 week ago
  • A bill to criminalise wage theft
    Wage theft is a problem in New Zealand, with a widespread practice of forcing employees to work without pay, and regular cases of underpayment and exploitation. One reason why its such a widespread problem is impunity: rather than a crime, wage theft is merely a tort, dealt with by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: What the voting age debate tells us about our disconnected political media
    New Zealand’s media and online politics often reflect the values of liberal and progressive agendas. According to Liam Hehir, the current proposals to lower the voting age to 16 years – which the media overwhelming supports – is indicative of a wider mismatch with society, which is not good for ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week 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
    2 hours 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
    6 hours 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
    8 hours 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
    8 hours 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
      A Proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch has been given the go ahead. Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, has approved the Proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Minister Williams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
    As part of the Government’s focus on building closer partnerships with Māori and enhancing the quality of, and access to, Māori medium education, a payment of $8 million will be made to Te Wānanga o Raukawa in partial recognition of its Waitangi Tribunal claim (WAI 2698), Associate Education Minister Kelvin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature boosts efforts to restore Kaimai-Mamaku
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced a $19 million investment over four years in an important forest restoration project involving a partnership between the Department of Conservation, iwi/hapū, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional Councils, community conservation groups and organisations such as Forest and Bird across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting
    New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The changes build on the huge progress this Government has made to tackle the climate crisis. “Today is another step on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Economic data highlights impact of Auckland moving out of Level 3
    Economic activity across the Auckland region and the country bounced back to levels experienced under Alert Level 1 following Auckland’s move out of Alert Level 3, analysis in the Treasury’s latest Weekly Economic Update shows. The analysis of economic data since Auckland’s move out of Level 3 shows: Auckland card ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM statement on Cabinet COVID-19 Alert Level review
    Takiri mai te ata, ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea, tihei mauriora! Tātou katoa ngā iwi o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou! Tēnā tātou e whakanuia ana i te wiki nei, te wiki o te reo Māori Greeting to you all from Otepoti, Dunedin.  This week is the Māori Language week and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More mental wellbeing services for young people in regions
    More mental health and addiction services are available for young New Zealanders in Rotorua and Taupō, Wairarapa, South Canterbury, Dunedin and Southland from next month, Health Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter say. “The Government is serious about making sure New Zealanders struggling with mental health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government joins forces with Central Otago communities to clean up waterways
    The Manuherekia catchment in Central Otago is the third exemplar catchment to be targeted as part of the Government’s plan to clean up waterways by supporting community-led programmes.   Environment Minister David Parker said the Manuherekia catchment is vitally important to the people of Central Otago.  “The Manuherekia rises in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government confirms new Dunedin Hospital design
    The Government has agreed on a preferred design for the new Dunedin Hospital featuring two separate buildings, and has provided funding for the next stages of work.   Minister of Health Chris Hipkins says Cabinet has approved in principle the detailed business case for the new hospital, giving people in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago