web analytics

The Irrationality of the Free-Market

Written By: - Date published: 12:29 pm, August 18th, 2010 - 68 comments
Categories: capitalism, Deep stuff, Economy - Tags:

The free-market is irrational. A number of reasons have been postulated as to why this is so (except by neo-liberal economists who think that the market is always rational) from behavioural patterns (habit), emotional decision making and other human fallibilities. A lot of the irrationality, though, comes from lack of information, asymmetric information and information overload.

As Lester Brown in his Plan B 4.0 (Page 16) puts it:

As economic decisionmakers—whether consumers, corporate planners, government policymakers, or investment bankers—we all depend on the market for information to guide us. In order for markets to work over the long term and for economic actors to make sound decisions, the markets must provide reliable information, including the full cost of products. But the market is giving us incomplete information, and as a result we are making bad decisions.

Lack of information is due to the market price not conveying the full data necessary to make a rational decision. The best example of this is the case for the train cars for Auckland to be made in NZ. The Berl Report has this to say about making the train cars in NZ:

Our research suggests that overseas manufacturers would need to produce the rolling stock at between 29 percent and 62 percent less than the price of manufacture in New Zealand to offset the benefits to New Zealand GDP of producing the trains here. The range is dependent on whether we consider only the direct benefits (29 percent) or total benefits (62 percent) to New Zealand GDP of building the rolling stock here.

The price doesn’t portray the added advantages of making the cars here. The report also notes that the price of building the cars in NZ would be competitive (i.e. about the same price) with importing them from the main manufacturers in Europe and America and that manufacturers in Asia may be able to build them at the needed discounts but this comes with the caution that the quality may not be as high which would result in higher full life costs (saving money to lose money). What this shows is that price alone cannot convey all needed information and yet it is on price (I haven’t seen a detailed report from Kiwirail saying that they can’t do it – only the non-researched quotes from the CEO and John Key) that the decision (and most decisions in the “market”) is being made.

Asymmetric information is when one party to a transaction knows more about the deal than the other. This opens the doors to corruption as the person with the greater knowledge can manipulate the person with lesser knowledge. An example of this type of corruption can be seen in the actions of the tobacco companies about the dangers of smoking. They knew that smoking was bad for the smoker but managed to obfuscate the evidence for decades. This was only possible because the majority of people just didn’t have all the facts to hand and so doubt could be created by the use of misinformation and misdirection. The same can be said for climate change deniers today.

Information overload is caused by competition. Lots of places to buy the same or similar products at similar prices. Which is the best? The cheapest? The most expensive? Who’s is the best to buy from and other questions all of which takes time to evaluate. Steve Keen put together a conservative estimate of how long it would take to go down to a corner dairy which stocked 50 items and buy a perfectly rational basket of goods it was a mere 80 billion years. Only six times longer than the age of the universe. There’s many more than 50 products available in real life so, how many spare eternities do you have to make a rational decision? The effect of this information overload is that when you do go to the shop you’re more likely to buy from habit and custom than from rational analysis.

There really isn’t any doubt about this any more, the free-market ideology put forward by the Chicago School of Economics (and the Austrian school) and slavishly followed by National, Act and Labour is irrational as individuals just don’t have enough knowledge to know what is best for themselves and they certainly don’t have enough to know what’s best for the community. This was proven in the 19th century, in the 1930s and again now as another bubble of irrationality collapses and yet we still look to the same paradigm that continues to prove that it doesn’t work. A decision made on less than full information is an irrational decision and this is the mode as most people just don’t have access to the full information which, of course, results in the market being irrational.

Draco T Bastard

68 comments on “The Irrationality of the Free-Market”

  1. bbfloyd 1

    so what is your position on commodity based economies? i have been told that we can produce everything we need here in NZ. is this true?
    some would assert that going back to a barter system that doesn’t involve the exchange of money would be a step back.
    it seems obvious to me that the global economic system we operate under now has a finite lifetime. when a large percentage of our so called wealth is no more than numbers printed on balance sheets, and has no relationship to assets or economic activity based on day to day realities all humans face every day, then what good is it to us?

    • John Elijah 1.1

      Bring back the Committee for Public Safety
      John

      • Bored 1.1.1

        Ah the delightful long line of rational materialsts that leads from Robespierre through to Marx, Stalin, Friedman, all related……..just bitching over the details.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      i have been told that we can produce everything we need here in NZ. is this true?

      Yes. It would mean that we would have to look at what we produce, how much we produce, introduction of extensive recycling and limiting population so that we can exist within the real resource base but we could certainly do it.

      it seems obvious to me that the global economic system we operate under now has a finite lifetime. when a large percentage of our so called wealth is no more than numbers printed on balance sheets, and has no relationship to assets or economic activity based on day to day realities all humans face every day, then what good is it to us?

      Part of the problem with the Gold Standard was that there just wasn’t enough gold in the world to effectively represent all the real wealth. This conundrum led to fiat currency but with this came the banks ability to print infinite amounts of money (Not that they weren’t already doing that even under the Gold Standard with Fractional Reserve Banking) which pushed money from being an abstract tool to assist with trade to pure delusion. When we run out of resources, and we will under BAU, large numbers on balance sheets aren’t going to feed, clothe or house people.

      Basically, money is becoming useless.

      • comedy 1.2.1

        ‘We can produce everything we need in NZ’ – what fucking fantasy

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          Can we produce all the food we need? Yes.
          Can we produce all the clothing we need? Yes
          Can we produce Housing? Yes.
          We can also produce computers, trains, aircraft etc, etc. We have the knowledge, resources and skills.

          The delusion is that we can’t.

          • comedy 1.2.1.1.1

            Explain how we will provide the pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical devices and health supplies to maintain a functioning health system.

            I’d also suggest we probably can’t service a building industry without imports nor have we got the resources to manufacture trains or aircraft unless you expect us to maintain our current fleet ad infinitum which is also probably unrealistic.

            • bbfloyd 1.2.1.1.1.1

              you really need to take a breath and stop making half assed assumptions C. we have all the raw materials required to do anything we want to,within reason. how much of that raw material is being sold off to other countries? do you not have the wit to see the obvious? what do we need to build houses that we can’t provide for ourselves? it seems that we were doing that quite well before. do you have no faith in our technological abilities to produce medicines etc?
              are we then to believe that we are an inferior race of people, unfit to have control over our own destinies?

              • comedy

                Are you retarded ? Please explain how we will provide the pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical devices, vaccines etc and health supplies to maintain a functioning health system ?

                And nebulous bullshit such as “how much of that raw material is being sold off to other countries” doesn’t cut it – don’t you have the wit to see the obvious ? or are you just a complete fucking fantasist ?

                Have you got any fucking idea how to manufacture pharmaceutical actives ? how about hip and knee joints ?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Are you retarded ?

                  That’s not the problem, the problem is that you, and others like you such as the National Party, are deluded.

                  Please explain how we will provide the pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical devices, vaccines etc and health supplies to maintain a functioning health system ?

                  How about we make them the same way as they make them overseas but using our resources instead.

                  Have you got any fucking idea how to manufacture pharmaceutical actives ?

                  I don’t, no, but that doesn’t mean that such skill isn’t available or that such skill and knowledge can’t be developed.

                  • comedy

                    Oh so we make them they same way they make them overseas ! of course brilliant !

                    So if we look at pharmaceuticals the fact we don’t have

                    1. The Manufacturing Plants
                    2. The expertise
                    3. The raw materials
                    4. The formulations

                    and we’d be breaking intellectual property laws in producing them despite the reality we wouldn’t be able to in the first place is merely a small matter that can be taken care of by the pixie living at the bottom of the garden

                    • mcflock

                      we can actually produce the expertise that will create the plants, research the formulations and produce the products. The only thing we possibly don’t have is some of the more rare elements.

                      Which we can either produce with nuclear reactors made from West Coast sands, or consider purchasing, or make rockets to mine asteroids.

                      Theoretically possible (but extremely long term), but the point being that we’re in an import mentality. 99% of what we need we can be self sufficient in within a year or two – food, clothes, housing, trains, buses. The only reason it’ll take that long is because many of our food and industrial production facilities have been shut down over the last 20 years.

                    • comedy

                      It’s also theoretically possible that you’ll win the Big Wednesday……. and that’s also probably more likely than the fantasy bullshit in this post

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I agree comedy, your post is complete fantasy and BS.

                    • comedy

                      Oh noes Dracobot doesn’t know the difference between a post and a comment, your tutors must be so proud.

                    • Bored

                      Im sure the pixies who own the pharmaceuticals will be hungry enough to trade them at an ethical price for that other life saving thing that we will have plenty to trade…..food. Go the pixies I say.

                    • comedy

                      “Im sure the pixies who own the pharmaceuticals will be hungry enough to trade them at an ethical price for that other life saving thing that we will have plenty to trade ..food. Go the pixies I say”

                      .I agree bored – but that does not square with the supposition that

                      “i have been told that we can produce everything we need here in NZ. is this true?

                      Yes. It would mean that we would have to look at what we produce, how much we produce, introduction of extensive recycling and limiting population so that we can exist within the real resource base but we could certainly do it.”

                      Which for NZ and indeed the majority of countries in the world is pure fantasy.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      All I have to do is provide this link here and your entire argument falls down. That’s just one pharmaceutical company. We’ve been manufacturing pharmaceuticals in NZ for quite some time already – decades that I know of.

                    • comedy

                      MSD is an American multinational and manufactures nothing in NZ apart from employees in pin stripe suits.

                      We manufacture less than 1% of the pharmaceuticals used in NZ

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Which just bought out a NZ company. It used to be called colonialism and was done at the end of a gun but now it’s called free-market capitalism. Still not good for the local populace or economy.

                      We manufacture less than 1% of the pharmaceuticals used in NZ

                      And? That can change, in fact, if we had a viable economy it would change. As I point out down thread – it’s cheaper to produce for the local market in the local space using local resources rather than importing.

                    • comedy

                      “Which just bought out a NZ company.”

                      Um no they didn’t/haven’t.

                      “We manufacture less than 1% of the pharmaceuticals used in NZ

                      And? That can change, in fact, if we had a viable economy it would change. As I point out down thread it’s cheaper to produce for the local market in the local space using local resources rather than importing.”

                      Um no we can’t, we don’t have the facilities or expertise to produce the many hundreds of different vaccines, oral pharmaceuticals, cytotoxics etc etc let alone the multitude of other medical devices and hospital supplies but keep arguing the indefensible it’s quite amusing.

                • Deborah Kean

                  Comedy, I think that your swear-fest shows the weakness of your arguments! Would you need all that effing, blinding and abuse if you had confidence in the facts? Therefore I assume you don’t.
                  “Are you retarded ? Please explain how we will provide the pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical devices, vaccines etc and health supplies to maintain a functioning health system ?”
                  What makes you think we don’t have the raw materials or the expertise to produce these things? The knowledge is here.
                  The person you’re abusing doesn’t need to know how pharmaceutical actives, or hip and knee joints. But there are people in New Zealand who do know! We are not mediaeval ignoramuses!

                  • comedy

                    No Deborah you are clearly a post modern ignoramus.

                    The facts yet again

                    We don’t have the facilities or expertise to produce the many hundreds of different vaccines, oral pharmaceuticals, cytotoxics etc etc let alone the multitude of other medical devices and hospital supplies at present we have one facility in NZ which produces prescription pharmaceuticals (Douglas in West Auckland) from memory they make about ten different chemical entities with the actives sourced from overseas.

                    To produce manufacturing drug master files for all the products needed to keep the health system running would likely require all the science graduates in all the universities in NZ over the next several years along with a monumental investment in plant to then manufacture the various compounds – the investment requird would make Muldoon’s ‘thing big” look like coffee money.

            • Nick C 1.2.1.1.1.2

              We could mine all the minerals we need here in New Zealand. Oh wait…

              • felix

                Oh wait what?

                Did you suddenly realise we could mine the minerals that aren’t in National Parks? And then use them ourselves instead of giving them away?

                zOMG what madness! No wonder you stopped yourself short. Go have a lie down.

                • Nick C

                  So wait a moment; you are advocating that New Zealand stops all trade with the rest of the world, and you are accusing me of madness?

                  • loota

                    Uh actually advocating things like not selling bulk aluminium ingots overseas for a few dollars a kg, then buying it back as value added CD’s and DVD’s for thousands of dollars per kg.

                  • felix

                    Don’t recall advocating that, Nick C.

                    Just pointed out the falseness of your objection is all. And it’s very, very false.

  2. Peter Cresswell 2

    Draco, you say, “…the free-market ideology put forward by the … the Austrian school … and slavishly followed by National, Act and Labour is predicated on fully informed individuals making rational choices.”

    This is quite simply wrong on its face.

    1. Neither National, Act nor Labour follow, subscribe to, or promote the Austrian school of economics. More’s the pity.

    2. Austrian economics is not at all “predicated on fully informed individuals making rational choices.” It is predicated on individuals making choices on which they then act, but it makes no call at all on whether those choices are good, bad or indifferent. Simply that people act, from which consequences follow. “Only in the ivory-tower world of rational-expectations theory does one find perfectly rational humans making judgments using all available information to satisfy their subjective end… In Mises’s view, economics doesn’t deal with homo economicus at all, but with homo agens: man “as he really is, often weak, stupid, inconsiderate, and badly instructed…”

    3. Nor is the Austrian school predicated on anyone being “perfectly informed,” or have a problem with so-called “asymmetrical information.” In fact, it was them who first started talking about so-called imperfect-information economic analysis. that’s where Austrians begin talking about knowledge: about knowledge distributed so thoroughly through society that no-one — no central planner — can know all that everyone knows</a..

    So you're quite simply wrong right at your starting point, which is one reason you fail to understand just how important price signals are, and how much information is packed into them.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I almost left that bit about the Austrian School out. I know that they tend to have slightly better understanding of the fallibility of the free-market but they still subscribe to that meme and so I included them.

      Price signals are important for a free-market to function, unfortunately, the price invariably fails to contain all needed information.

      BTW, I’m not advocating central planning. I understand why that fails and do believe that the free-market is a better option over that but that doesn’t mean that we should stay with it when it’s so obviously a failure.

    • Bored 2.2

      So Peter, might I take you back to first principles. Consider this rational criticism of both Hayek and Keynes.

      Hayek cannot be held responsible for the ideological simplifications of his acolytes. Like Keynes, he regarded economics as an interpretive science, not amenable to prediction or precision. If planning was wrong for Hayek, this was because it was obliged to base itself on calculations and predictions which were essentially meaningless and thus irrational. Planning was not a moral misstep, much less undesirable on some general principle. It was simply unworkable – and, had he been consistent, Hayek would have acknowledged that much the same applied to ‘scientific’ theories of the market mechanism.

      The key criticism is that “market signals” are interpretive, not precise or able to have numbers wrapped around them as is done by economotricians. Do you think Hayek deliberately ignored this inconsistency in his market theory?

    • Ag 2.3

      Oh God… Not Austrian economics again, the internet’s favourite kook theory.

      Isn’t that the theoretical approach that proudly declares itself (a la Kant’s idealism) beyond the bounds of empirical verification? I seem to remember being told that by a cult member at some point (as if this were somehow a virtue of the theory).

      It’s the economic equivalent of Intelligent Design theories.

      • Bored 2.3.1

        The Austrians have got a hell of a lot to answer for, Mozart and Strauss (incessantly played by my music teacher: ruined my childhood sort of), Hitler, Arnie and Bruno (ascribed if not real). Then there are the economists. Sick nation to produce that lot.

        • Ag 2.3.1.1

          Unless it was Johann Strauss rather than Richard, I can’t see why you are complaining. Anything’s better than the flower power crap my music teacher foisted on us, the only benefit of which is that it made me understand where Johnny Rotten was coming from.

          • Bored 2.3.1.1.1

            In the words of Johnny, “You will always find us out to lunch”! I think they went with some Austrian economists.

  3. KJT 3

    Poor pricing signals that do not reflect the true cost.
    The greenhouse gas emissions effect on the environment is not reflected in oil costs.
    True costs of labour masked because some of it is passed off to the State. I.e Instantly available labour from AW only because they can live partially off a benefit.
    Costs of finance overinflated by artificial mechanisms such as the RBA.
    ratepayers paying for water treatment of supplies polluted by farmers.
    Industries moving to China relying on the firms that stay in NZ paying their workers enough to buy the products.

    NACT and Labour subscribe to the Friedmanite Chicago school if anything.
    Neo-liberalism.

    • djp 3.1

      If pricing signals do not reflect the true cost it is generally because of state intervention in the market and property generally:
      a) price controls
      b) monetary policy
      c) tragedy of the commons
      d) permits to pollute
      e) subsidies or taxes

      in fact states often try to hide information from the public (eg. the fed refusing to identify recipients of billion dollar bailouts)

      • KJT 3.1.1

        State intervention properly should be making business pay more of their true costs. like that of maintaining an educated labour force, infrastructure such as roads and ports, police to protect property and their real external effect. I.E. pollution taxes.
        At present State intervention is focused on making those with most of the capital avoid paying for their real impact. Like the fake ETS. Bank bailouts etc.

        • bbfloyd 3.1.1.1

          KJT… admirable sentiments.. would only be possible to develop a system that works like that once parties like national, act etc are consigned to the dustbin of history under “failed experiments”.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Factory A exists in China, it runs at 100% efficiency, requires 100 people, requires X amount of infrastructure and requires 100kW of power.
        Factory B is exactly the same as Factory A but exists in NZ.

        Which costs more to run, Factory A or B?
        Which factory would be cheapest to introduce their product to the NZ market?

        Considering these questions why are we shifting factories out of NZ?

        Please note: Due to engineering knowledge and ability, economies of scale no longer apply.

        • bbfloyd 3.1.2.1

          from what i hear the only rationale is that there are short term gains from reducing labour costs, and reductions in safety/health spending.
          so we get to pay less for products that don’t stack up in the quality stakes. which don’t last as long as the local product, and which generally don’t perform as well. which means having to replace said products more often.
          would this qualify as “false economy”?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1.1

            Exactly – the only reason for moving factories out of NZ is apparent savings in labour, health and safety costs and costs associated with protecting the environment.

            • Nick C 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Draco why do you believe that the chinese sell us goods, unless we can sell them something of equal value in return? Do they just like to give stuff away?

              • loota

                Uh Nick C, we use legal tender (currency which can be exchanged for goods and services) to buy stuff from China.

                We don’t exchange (barter) “something of equal value” to close the deal.

                In doing so we send offshore capital which allows the Chinese to save and grow their capital markets, while we have shite on The Warehouse shelves and find it difficult to save and grow our capital markets.

              • KJT

                We borrow the money from China so we can buy their products. Then we have to pay it back plus interest from our exports. We then have to persuade the Chinese to buy our exports so we can pay back loans. However the Chinese not being as dumb as us will learn to produce things themselves so they do not need our exports. Like the UK and US when they were building up their economies China will protect their own manufacturers.

                Companies who make profits from Chinese imports depend on us still having enough wages, from the ones that do not, to pay for them.

                NZ coastal ship, Fishing boat, local factory. Company taxes, PAYE, ACC, Fuel taxes, stores, wages, profits stay in NZ. No exports required to pay costs. Complies with NZ safety/labour rules, product safety rules. Positive for invisible’s balance.
                Foreign ship, Overseas crewed fishing boat, factory in China/Mexico. Exempt from all NZ taxes, labour laws, safety requirements, dodgy product safety. Wages and profits normally go offshore.
                On the face of it cheaper, but requires exports to pay back borrowings plus interest as our trade balance is already negative.
                In an ideal world our dollar would drop to make up the trade imbalance, But!
                Excessive interest rates in NZ to fight the resulting inflation make the dollar artificially high. .

  4. Bill 4

    Seeing as how a few hundred years of market based decisions have brought us to the thresh hold of having a fried planet, I’d have thought the innate rationality or otherwise of markets would be a strange focus to have.

    A wee focus on the irrationality of the beasties that won’t stop using the market might be in order though, don’t you think?

    • bbfloyd 4.1

      the focus will be through a gunsight before too long if they don’t wake up soon.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      I was showing how that few hundred years of irrationality came about. My next post, which will be a week or two away, will be an idea as to how to fix it.

      Then we can work on the revolution 😛

  5. bbfloyd 5

    VIVA!!!! LA RRRREVOLUTIONE!!!

  6. The irrationality of the capitalist market is that commodities are only produced if they can be sold at a profit.
    Today millions cannot afford the most elementary commodities to keep them alive. This does not see commodities devalued to the level that is affordable because this would be unprofitable,
    Hence there is overproduction, huge waste, speculation and impoverishment.
    In a socialist market the majority would decide what comodities were produced to meet basic needs.
    That rationality.

    • KJT 6.1

      So we get things like the EU dumping milk to keep the price high.

      Hard to see an alternative to markets on a micro level though.

      • dave brown 6.1.1

        You already have local markets in the form of producer markets. This would cover the essentials, and as far as mass produced commodities go, these could involve national plans which then dovetail into an international division of labour. The international division of labor would take advantage of skills and economies of scale which conserves labour power and is therefore efficient.
        The difference would be that a collectivised economy would be producer-owned (putting wage workers and farmers on the same footing) getting rid of the private owners and speculators (land would be collectivised as would banks).
        This would make possible the organising principle of socialism.
        From those according to their ability, to those according to their need.

  7. Bored 7

    The EU dumping is a classic example of why rational market theory is wrong in the real world….its why the likes of Fonterra and their equivalents offshore are so intent on distorting the market via politicians, cartels etc, anything to keep the price high. If milk was freely traded in a pure market sense our dairy farmers might go to the wall as the dumped milk floded the market. Unfortunately for “pure markets” they deal with impure humans. And that wont change, which is why market purists need to get a grip, get real and shut up.

  8. Lats 8

    With all due respect Draco, it would probably pay to take any figures coming out of BERL with a sizeable grain of salt. Some of their methods used to determine costs to society in the alcohol and smoking debates have been downright shonky. It seems they manipulate the figures quite considerably to arrive at very big numbers when requested, rather than reporting actual costs. So it wouldn’t surprise me if their figures for economic benefit are somewhat inaccurate too.

    Pop over to http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/ and search for posts about BERL and their methods.

  9. more_ben 9

    The free-market is irrational. A number of reasons have been postulated as to why this is so (except by neo-liberal economists who think that the market is always rational) from behavioural patterns (habit), emotional decision making and other human fallibilities. A lot of the irrationality, though, comes from lack of information, asymmetric information and information overload.

    This is a terrible opening paragraph. The free-market is irrational? What does that mean? Exhibit A: the higher living standards on just every single measure enjoyed by people living in market economies as compared with anything else. So not anything that much matters to people. Exhibit B: the pc you type this rubbish into, the shirt on your back, the car in your garage, the house you live in, the bus you caught to work, the office you work in, the street you drive on – all produced by people working to make a buck, much of that produced by one or more markets, acting in concert without you even knowing it. Irrational?

    All economists accept the proposition that people are imperfect, make mistakes, are imperfectly informed. So wrong there too. The case for markets does not depend on perfection in anything, least of all information or understanding. The case against government starts by noting that government officials suffer the very same problems you just listed: they, too, suffer severe asymmetric information problems. But, on top of that, they basically have no idea what the preferences of most people are, or how they change over time, and they are incapable of either detecting or responding to variations in preferences across the population. On top of that officials have very poor incentives to operate in the interests of the community. Officials generally face no competition, operate in ways people find hard to measure performance, are backed by the force of the state, and generally but not always the end users they deal with have no other place to turn.

    And then on top of that you can measure the relative performance of governments against market-based private operators, and guess what – nearly every single time the market operators come out on top, for all the reasons just listed.

    Other than that, I think you’re spot on.

    • Yes very rational. Capitalism produces productively but not sustainably. It wastes more than it consumes to reproduce itself. Both actively with planned obsolescence and passively by allowing billions in the surplus population to be relatively underemployed.
      The producers and surplus population grows and gets poorer while the richest 10% gets super rich.
      Workers actually create value, including the most advanced techniques. The productivity gains of capitalism are down to labour input. This is rational.
      What is irrational is the ownership and control of the process by the tiny class that accumulates surplus value as immense wealth while impoverishing the masses.
      Solution is simple. Remove the parasites and allow the productive working class to collectively own and control the economy.
      That way the principle of energy conservation, or reduced necessary labour time required to produce what we need is met, and the rewards from this are equitably distributed.
      Also the planet survives.
      The first to be retrained as productive workers would be the economists.

  10. more_ben 10

    Oh no. And I just noticed you cite BERL.

    Fail.

  11. loota 11

    Exhibit A: the higher living standards on just every single measure enjoyed by people living in market economies as compared with anything else. So not anything that much matters to people. Exhibit B: the pc you type this rubbish into, the shirt on your back, the car in your garage, the house you live in, the bus you caught to work, the office you work in, the street you drive on all produced by people working to make a buck, much of that produced by one or more markets, acting in concert without you even knowing it. Irrational?

    I think if you keep going you’re going to say – the people paid to maintain the pipes which give your house water, the big mac you eat, every ounce of petrol you use to get somewhere – all exhibits of the rationality of the free market.

    EXCEPT none of your examples shows any such thing.

    They merely demonstrate the motivating power of capital and of money. No more, no less.

    For instance your example of “the pc you type this rubbish into” -the gargantuan players of Microsoft and Intel did not operate in a ‘free market’ for years. They deliberately constrained and controlled the market for CPUs and for OS’s, generating virtual monopolies. That’s where the PC came from.

    Further to the motivating power of capital and of money – China does not have a free market economy. Money flows are heavily controlled, the exchange rate is nearly totally fixed, Govt ownership of major industries is significant, etc. yet because of huge washes of capital and money, China is a global hub of economic activity and enterprise.

    Free market rationality? Even though it does not have a free market, China has used ‘free market rationality’ to suck companies, manufacturing jobs, technology and even entire industries out of western economies to benefit itself and a traunch of corporate shareholders.

    Now that’s rational for China, irrational for everyone else. (Except the aforementioned shareholders of course).

  12. loota 12

    The case against government starts by noting that government officials suffer the very same problems you just listed: they, too, suffer severe asymmetric information problems. But, on top of that, they basically have no idea what the preferences of most people are, or how they change over time, and they are incapable of either detecting or responding to variations in preferences across the population. On top of that officials have very poor incentives to operate in the interests of the community. Officials generally face no competition, operate in ways people find hard to measure performance, are backed by the force of the state, and generally but not always the end users they deal with have no other place to turn.

    What, so a capable private sector manager who moves into a public sector management role suddenly becomes more dumb and more insensitive?

    No, you’ve skirted all around the issue which is about having the right values, competency and leadership in the public service. If it isn’t there it is a real problem, but one which can be resolved with appropriate political leadership and will power.

    Now, shall I begin listing the ways in which private ‘free market’ corporates have ****’d over consumers and citizens?

  13. clandestino 13

    The sad thing is I agree with the sentiment of the post but it is painfully clear the author doesn’t quite know what they are talking about. Nice try though.

    • Bill 13.1

      There’s an odd thing happens with the ebb and flow of two, apparently diametrically opposed ideologies that are contained within the one system.

      Whereas in their pure ideological state they might seem incompatible, as the ebbs and the flows of the encompassing system moves it’s components, the ideologies become less distinct as matters enter a ‘neither in/ neither out’ phase before separating out again.

      But we have had for the past few hundred years – always – on the one hand, state centred authoritarianism where a clique within the state controls the market directly or on the other corporatism, where the state acts an an enabler for private market interests. And washed around in between these two flows, and always the potential (and over the longer term inevitable) victim of one or the other, we have our ‘social democracies’.

      Time to stop hanging around between the bleak destinations of corporate totalitarianism and state totalitarianism. Both are no use.

  14. clandestino 14

    @Loota: “China does not have a free market economy.”

    Are you serious? Having been lucky enough to have been to a few places, I can inform you that ‘people’s republics’ are ironically where you can find the clearest examples of free markets in action.

    • loota 14.1

      You mean free market as being able to move capital in and out of the country at will? Or purchase land as a foreigner at will? Or an exchange rate which is set by the free market? Or freedom to set up a major industrial enterprise without part ownership by a Chinese or Chinese Govt firm? Or freedom from the practice of official bribery, corruption and nepotism? The list goes on…

      I guess if you ignore all those things you might get what you call Chinese “free markets in action”.

      • clandestino 14.1.1

        Don’t think we’re on the same page here. What I’m saying is that because these places are poor, with largely ineffective government, people have very little to do with them. And, minus an armed crackdown, the government is often powerless to enforce itself upon it’s citizens. Funnily enough, where people cannot rely on government to facilitate or foster or provide, they do it themselves. In this sense I would say they are more free than we are. That isn’t to say they have it better, far from it, my advocacy for prudent government only goes so far.

  15. bbfloyd 15

    @comedy… don’t quit your day job. your act isn’t funny. although i was impressed with the passion you brought to your expletive laden abuse. shame that’s all you got isn’t it.
    and to the “free market” proponents. do you not ever try to look past the cover to see the writing behind? there is no such thing as a “free market”. markets all over the world are manipulated in order to maximize corporate profits.
    what is presented to us as the result of natural forces at play, is just the end product of self interested manipulation.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Some fluoride-IQ researchers seem to be taking in each other’s laundry
    Image credit: Publish Peer Reviews. Illustration by David Parkins Scientific peer-review is often touted as a guarantee of the quality of published research. But how good is peer-review? Does it guarantee poor ...
    4 hours ago
  • Spread the Word
    If you like any article please help promote it (and the blog). Link to it on facebook and other social media, write about it anywhere or re-blog it. We’re very happy to have other people re-blog our material, all we ask is that you mention the original source and put ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Pronouns etc
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   John Fenaughty is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. In a recent column Fenaughty suggested that school teachers should use students’ “correct names and pronouns (e.g., he, him, they, them, she, her, etc.)” ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • “People’s Faces” by Kate Tempest
    Heard this on Radio NZ this afternoon. Perfectly captures how I'm feeling just now.It's always good to find new music, though it would be nice to be hearing something celebratory. Even "Things Can Only Get Better" would be welcome, if it was accompanied by a thumping Labour victory. ...
    1 day ago
  • A reflection on the British general election
    by Don Franks Like New Zealand, Britain is officially a country of equal opportunity under the rule of law, with increasing hardship for those at the bottom. When there’s an election, and the party most obviously callous towards poor people wins, decent folks are dismayed and bewildered. “What the hell ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Well, crap
    UKanians went to the polls yesterday in early elections aimed at resolving the Brexit impasse. And they certainly have, delivering a huge majority to the Tories, and (barring internal rebellions of the sort which delayed Brexit) giving them the power to do whatever they want. And thanks to the UK's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Austerity meets fresh resistance in Iran
      by Karim Pourhamzavi Mass protests are occurring across Iran, taking place in over 100 cities.  The protests have been sparked by the government’s cutting of fuel subsidies, a measure which caused fuel prices to double overnight. Mass protests are hardly new in Iran, but there is an important difference ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Oh No! It’s a …..
    What other song could we play as the UK's political rule book gets torn up and thrown away?Video courtesy of YouTubeThis post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    2 days ago
  • Election 2019 – The Legendary Liveblog
    Legendary in my own mind, I mean.  All times are NZ, which is an hour10.00am (NZ) There's about an hour to go until the exit poll is released.  At that point, half of the British voting public will devastated, and the other half celebrating wildly.  Unless everyone is simply confused.Turnout seems ...
    2 days ago
  • Some Thoughts On Socialism As Jeremy Corbyn Loses The UK General Election.
    Forlorn Hope: When the call came down to make Corbyn unelectable, the Establishment's journalists and columnists rose to the challenge. Antisemitism was only the most imaginative of the charges levelled against the old democratic-socialist. There were many more and, sadly, they appear to have worked. Boris Johnson may not be much ...
    3 days ago
  • Cartoonist David Low’s Radical Sympathy.
    "Rendezvous" by David Low, September 1939.DUNEDIN IS THE BIRTHPLACE of, for my money, the world’s greatest cartoonist, David Low. At the height of his powers, in 1930s London, Low’s cartoons represented the visual conscience of the civilised world. His most famous cartoon, “Rendezvous”, penned a few weeks into the Second ...
    3 days ago
  • The UK has a choice as to whether it chooses to be manipulated… or not.
    If you want to study propagandist techniques, you are typically told to study Dictatorships. Not unfair, but what’s always been more interesting to me is so-called “democratic” countries and their broader information systems. Why? Because people opt for it, even as they decry “totalitarian regimes!”.. It’s quite an eye ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 days ago
  • Today’s secrecy legislation
    Introducing legislation which shits on the public's right to know seems to have become a daily occurrence for this government. Today's example is the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill. The bill establishes a framework for the establishment of "special purpose vehicles" (SPVs) to hide debt from local government balance sheets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Time to vote!
    Below is the longlist of words and phrases generated in the korero phase of Public Address Word of the Year 2019, with some editorial moderation. Now it's time to vote. As you'll doubtless be able to see, you get three ranked choices. Use your power wisely. Or frivolously, whatever.As usual, ...
    3 days ago
  • Encryption, passwords, and self-incrimination
    The University of Waikato and New Zealand Law Foundation have released a report today on the law around encryption in New Zealand. There's stuff in there about principles and values, and how proposed government policies to provide for "lawful access" by creating backdoors would destroy the trust which makes encryption ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Drawn
    A ballot for two Member's Bills was held today, and the following bills were drawn: Insurance (Prompt Settlement of Claims for Uninhabitable Residential Property) Bill (Stuart Smith) Social Security (Exemption for Ex Gratia and Compensation Payments) Amendment Bill (Willow-Jean Prime) Neither bill seems likely to be particularly controversial. This is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Bougainville votes for independence
    Earlier in the month, Bougainvilleans went to the polls in a landmark referendum to decide on whether they would remain part of Papua New Guinea or become independent. Yesterday, the results came in, with over 97% support for independence. The referendum wasn't binding - instead it means negotiations with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Bus strikes, suspensions and solidarity
    by Daphna Whitmore This week 800 unionised bus drivers in Auckland were suspended from work after they refused to collect fares as part of a campaign of industrial action. Drivers working for Auckland’s largest bus company NZ Bus are asking for more pay and better working conditions after being offered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • How to support after the Whakaari/White Island volcanic eruption
    As details emerge about what unfolded on Whakaari / White Island two days ago, my thoughts go out to all the families affected by this terrible event. My thoughts are also with the first responders who worked in perilous circumstances to assist and protect those affected. Both local and ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarb Johal
    4 days ago
  • Final BMG poll – nothing to see here
    BMG research have unleashed their final poll of the 2019 campaign:Westminster voting intention: CON: 41% (-)LAB: 32% (-)LDEM: 14% (-)GRN: 4% (-)BREX: 3% (-1)via @BMGResearch , 06 - 11 Dec Chgs. w/ 06 Dec That's a bit of a "Dunno why we bothered" sort of poll. "Phillip, I'm afraid I've been a ...
    4 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Spends Up Large – On The Establishment!
    Grant Keeps On Trucking: Out of the $12 billion Robertson has announced for infrastructure investment, $8 billion will be allocated to specific projects, with the balance of $4 billion held in reserve. What does it say about this Government's "transformational" ambitions that 85 percent of that $8 billion is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Boris Johnson … Hides … In a Fridge
    I am not making this up.First few lines of the Dail Mail write up:Boris Johnson's exasperated media minder swore on live TV today as the PM refused to speak to Good Morning Britain before trotting into a fridge as he started an early milkround in Yorkshire. Piers Morgan was visibly ...
    4 days ago
  • Shy Labour Voters?
    In previous elections pollsters have bemoaned the 'shy Tory' - the respondent who is so fearful of being judged as a cruel and heartless bastard by an anonymous pollster, or their spouses, workmates and friends, that they lie about their intention of voting Conservative, skewing the poll figures in Labour's ...
    4 days ago
  • Seven reasons to be wary of waste-to-energy proposals
    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 I was in Switzerland recently and discovered that they haven’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    4 days ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    5 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    6 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    6 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    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 According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago

  • Record export highs picked for primary sector
    Sustained high growth in primary industry exports looks set to continue over the next two years with strong prices predicted for farmers, fishers, growers and rural communities. Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • New partnership to boost screen sector job opportunities
    Auckland’s growing screen sector is the catalyst for a new partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). The launch today at FilmFX in Henderson, is to celebrate the partnership which looks to capitalise on the social and economic development opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A minute’s silence for Whakaari White Island victims
    A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. “Wherever you are in New Zealand, or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.   “Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand remembers Sir Peter Snell
    New Zealand is today remembering one of our true sporting heroes, triple Olympic gold medal winner Sir Peter Snell. “He was a legend, here and around the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.” “Sir Peter is recognised as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago